What If...

What if someone gave you an easy way to become more upbeat, positive, and energized? Would you take advantage of it? Scientists now know people who practice gratitude and appreciation reap many benefits, such as improved physical and psychological health, increased energy, reduced stress, improved quality of sleep, and mental strength. Gratitude reduces negative emotions such as envy, hatred, and anger while increasing positive emotions such as love and empathy. It lowers depression and improves self-esteem. It is important in helping people recover from Substance Use Disorder. It also helps keeps suicidal thoughts and attempts at bay.

Gratitude and appreciation will shift your focus from what is wrong to what is right. For example, what if, for the next 30 days, when you came home, you caught each person in your household doing something right and told them about it? How would that impact them? How would that affect your life?

Here are a few additional ways to make gratitude and appreciation your usual way of being:

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple “thank you” or note of appreciation. Handwritten thank you notes or notes of appreciation have a powerful and positive impact on those who receive them.
  2. Count your blessings. Write or journal the things that you are grateful for on a weekly (or daily) basis.
  3. Pay it forward. Look for ways to benefit others and look out for others. Check on your neighbors and connect with family and friends through calls, texts, or video means. Let them know why you appreciate them.

We can express gratitude through prayer and meditation. And, as you are grateful to others, remember to be kind to yourself and practice self-care.


The WOW Coalition is a prevention association that promotes safe and healthy choices and responds to problems caused by alcohol, marijuana, and Rx abuse by implementing strategies to prevent and reduce youth substance use. For additional information, visit or contact WOW Coalition Program Director Larry Tracey at 623-208-3230 or email:

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