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    “Happiness” Exercises Boosts Mood For Those Recovering From Addiction



    Summary: Positive psychology exercises have significant benefits in boosting mood for those recovering from substance addiction, a new study reports.

    Source: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

    The researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Recovery Research Institute reported that brief, text-based, self-administered exercises can significantly increase in-the-moment happiness for adults who are recovering from substance use disorders.

    The study first of its kind is to examine whether positive psychology exercises increase happiness in persons who are recovering from substance use.

    A randomized, online survey was conducted which included more than 500 adults who reported current or previous problematic substance use. They were assigned one of five short, text-based exercises that took an average of four minutes to complete.

    Participants reported the increase in happiness after completing an exercise called “Reliving Happy Moments,” in which they chose one of their own photos that captured a joyous moment from the past and entered text recounting what was happening in the picture.

    An exercise called “Savoring,” in which participants described two positive experiences that they noticed and appreciated during the preceding day, led to the next higher gains in happiness. This exercise was followed by “Rose, Thorn, Bud,” in which they listed a highlight and a challenge of the day before and a pleasure they anticipated the following day. On the contrary, “3 Hard Things,” in which participants were asked to write about challenges they had faced during the previous day, led to a remarkable decrease in happiness.

    The authors note that the ease of use and effectiveness of these positive psychology exercises suggest they may be promising tools for boosting happiness during the treatment, which may help in supporting long-term recovery.

    The road to recovery is hard, and for the effort to be sustainable, positive experiences need to be attainable along the way.

    Published: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

    Contact: Bettina B. Hoeppner, PhD, senior research scientist at the Recovery Research Institute.

    Details: Image source Unsplash


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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