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How Acts of Kindness Can Improve Recovery

Research shows that doing good deeds can ease feelings of depression and anxiety, to mental health struggles those in addiction recovery frequently deal with. A recent study uncovered that charitable acts could lead to mood and brain function improvements that haven’t been observed previously. Using the “acts of kindness” technique as a therapeutic method seems to provide a much-needed social connection, something that many people are lacking in this day in age.

People who suffer from feelings of shame, low self-worth, isolation, and other self-defeating notions are often socially withdrawn. They tend to miss out on opportunities to feel useful or productive in society because others don’t want to bother someone who already seems troubled to ask for help. Joining volunteer organizations or making small personal efforts to do something positive for someone or their community can provide a much-needed boost for those who otherwise feel insignificant to everyone else. In short—making other people feel good can actually feel good!

Good deeds come in all magnitudes, from simple kind gestures to more significant, profound acts. There is a way to be generous and give every day.

Small gestures:

  • Holding the door for strangers

  • Letting someone ahead in line

  • Offering a friend a ride (especially to treatment)

  • Reminding loved ones, they’re appreciated with a random phone call

  • Giving an unprompted compliment when appropriate

Medium gestures:

  • Writing thank you notes for people who have been supportive and helpful

  • Offering to help a friend or loved one tackle a difficult project like moving or assembling furniture

  • Making a handmade craft or baked goods for close friends and family

  • Paying it forward and covering someone’s coffee order next in line

  • Initiating a local garbage cleanup at a park or public place (alone or in a group)

Large gestures:

  • Volunteering at a shelter (animal or humankind) or soup kitchen

  • Joining recovery community youth outreach programs

  • Sending kind letters to terminal pediatric patients

  • Fundraising money for deserving causes

  • Helping the elderly with reoccurring chores like grocery shopping, mowing the lawn

Patients in addiction treatment are urged to discuss approaching this methodology with their substance use counselors. They can be an invaluable resource for community referrals and organizations focusing on helping the recovery community. Group counseling sessions are also a perfect way to break into the habit of doing small, daily good deeds, particularly in an environment with people who share a common bond and are all working towards a positive goal. Those who feel that they’ve lost their social lives since entering treatment will be particularly pleased when acting out these good deeds with fellow recovery community members, as many of their peers are likely seeking to do the same.

RSONM offers outpatient medication-assisted treatment for those looking to address their addiction using evidence-based methods. Specialized medical providers, nursing staff, and substance use counselors work together to tailor personalized, comprehensive treatment programs for all enrolled patients to increase their chances of successful long-term recovery. To learn more about the treatment options available at RSONM, message or call today.


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