Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Count your blessings

A very common saying is “It is better to count your blessings than add up your troubles”.  I was talking to some friends recently about the benefits that come from being grateful for small blessings in your life.  The more small blessings you can recognise in every single day, the happier and more content you will be and the more blessings you will receive.  I don’t know the science behind this concept but it is absolutely true.

Since this conversation I have been trying to very consciously practise the concept of being grateful for small blessings, so the other day somebody said hello to me, I didn’t know them very well and they called me by the wrong name, but I was still grateful they took the time to say Hi.  On Saturday I felt quite unwell but still had lots to do, so instead of being miserable I was grateful I didn’t feel like that all the time.  It is a really fascinating mind shift, to be truly grateful for the smallest things in each day.  Two of our good family friends are about to move away from Roma, it makes me very sad and my first response is one of pessimism thinking life won’t be as good, things won’t be the same anymore, what’s the point of having friends if they just move away.  However, using this new way of thinking I am able to say I will miss them but I am grateful that I have met them and I hope we will always be friends.

I was very poor at uni, like most people, so during winter I was freezing, summer boiling, I couldn’t afford new clothes and I ate Weet-Bix for breakfast, lunch and tea regularly and I didn’t have a car so I walked a lot, and it always seemed to be raining. Basically I felt very sorry for myself but in my head I knew I was better off than most people in the world so I decided to sponsor a child in Ethiopia and I started a gratitude journal.  I tried to write five things in it every night that I was grateful for.  I remember writing things like ‘I’m grateful I have legs’ or ‘I’m grateful I can read and write’ but these were things from my head, not my heart, it didn’t matter what I wrote I was still very much focused on the things I wanted and so it didn’t really have any impact on my happiness. I was too young, and probably too spoilt, to really understand the concept, but I think it is more effective to try and be grateful throughout the day, as things are actually happening, rather than writing it down at the end of the day. 

By bringing your awareness to the joy and beauty that is abundant in your life your days will be better and life will be so much more enjoyable. Each time you recognise and give thanks for a small blessing in your day it is just like throwing a pebble into a pond, and every time you recognise a small blessing you send a wave across the water.  Something so small can have a big effect on the pond of life, it is amazing.

If you try counting the small blessings in your day but your problems still seem numerous and too big to bear remember this quote “If you want to forget all your troubles just wear shoes that are too tight.”  Puts everything in perspective really.

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