Create Your Own Rewards for a Healthy Living

Create Your Own Rewards for a Healthy Living

Addiction recovery is a major feat, and you need to celebrate your achievements, whether big or small. Creating a healthy-rewards system for yourself can help keep you motivated.

As we know, the human brain is wired to respond to rewards. That, in fact, is one of the reasons behind drug and alcohol addiction. Because the brain is wired to pursue pleasurable activities, it has a sophisticated “reward circuit” — and substances create a huge surge of neurotransmitters that signal the brain to repeat the activity.

You can use this neurochemistry to your advantage by creating new rewards that help enforce your positive behavior. There are endless possibilities centered on healthy eating, creative pursuits, hobbies, social interactions and so on.

Use these ideas for inspiration.

Create a ‘Recovery’ Fund

For every day that you are drug- or alcohol-free, make a contribution to a collection jar. This can be a couple of dollars or a few cents — the idea is to make it a daily rewards ritual.

You can decide to spend the fund every time you reach a new anniversary year, on your actual birthday or for some other occasion. The longer you stay on track, the more “spare change” you’ll accumulate for something fun.

Find a New Hobby

Are you constantly pulling out your smartphone to take sunset photos? Did you always wish you could learn to paint? Do you watch a ballroom dancing competition and wonder if you could be that good?

Whatever hidden talent you’ve dreamed of exploring or new activity you’ve been fascinated with, a new hobby can give you something to look forward to. Plus, keeping your time and mind occupied leaves fewer opportunities to fall back into old habits.

Plan a Trip

Expanding your horizons can be as simple as visiting your local museum, but why not aim bigger? Plan that getaway you’ve dreamed of for a long time. You may not be able to take a faraway trip for a while — you need to focus on getting healthy and rebuilding your life — but you can take small steps. Create a dream (or vision) board and start doing research about your dream destination now.

And don’t wait until you can take an exotic trip or drive across the country for a month. Start small. A weekend getaway to a local state park can be just as refreshing. Or splurge for a beach cabin by paying with your collection jar.

Give Your Time

Doing something meaningful can be a strong motivator when you’re working on goals. A simple but powerful way to create a better sense of purpose is by helping others who are going through the same trials as you are.

Share your story of resilience and overcoming obstacles. Whether you’re talking to a high school class or your peers at an Olalla Recovery birthday meeting, you can truly change someone’s life.

You’ll also find that many local nonprofits love volunteers and truly appreciate your time. And the best part is that you can find one that aligns with your passions.

Being proactive with activities that make you feel good will increase your resiliency in your recovery journey. You have a long, tough road ahead — finding new ways to relax and enjoy life will help you get through those rough moments.