We tend to focus on our problems in life and to take for granted our blessings and achievements. It is natural that we think about the difficulties we face and the challenges we have to overcome but there is a real danger that when we do this we can become become weighed down with worry or negative feelings. It is good to step back for a moment from our day to day cares and to list all the things that are going well in our life. It will give us a positive lift and help to put our problems into perspective. Here is one way to count your blessings.
1. Life. Start by giving yourself one point for being alive. It may sound silly but wait a moment. Your life represents a tiny interlude between the vast times when you did not exist and when you will be dead. You are in that tiny moment right now and you can do things to change your life so be thankful for that at least.
2. Health. If you are healthy and do not suffer from any major diseases or afflictions mark up another point. We take our health for granted and only realise how important it is when we become ill. Most of us have some minor ailments but if you are reasonably healthy then you are much better off than people suffering from serious illnesses and you should be deeply thankful.
3. Relationship. If you are in a stable relationship with another person then chalk up a point. If you can honestly say that you love them and they love you then give yourself a bonus point. Many people search for love without success so if you have found it then cherish it and count yourself lucky.
4. Family. If you have children, brothers or sisters or your parents alive then add another point. They may be frustrating and they will have their faults but they are your flesh and blood. Whatever happens in life your family remains your family and if you have them around you then you should be thankful for that – just ask someone who has lost family members.
5. Work. Give yourself a point if you are in work or full-time education. Even if it is dull and unfulfilling at times you are still better off than the many people who are desperately seeking employment.
6. Value. If you can honestly say that you are doing something that makes life better for other people and adds real value then give yourself a point. This might involve your work, your volunteering, your parenting or some other aspect of your life. Are you making the world a better place? If not then this is an area to think about.
7. Achievement. Can you look back on something that you are proud of? Did you achieve something worthwhile? This might be at work, in sport, with your family or something else. If you can you point to something that people would admire then give yourself another point.
8. Future – 1. Do you have something good to look forward to? This might be a holiday, a promotion, a wedding or just a trip to the cinema with your partner. If you have something good coming up then think about it, smile and add another point.
9. Future – 2. Do you have a plan for your improvement and success? This might include your career, your education, your finances and your relationships. If you have a plan then add a point. You are better off than most of the population. People with plans generally do better than those who just muddle along.
10. Financial security. Are you financially secure? Are you living within your means? Can you see a reasonably prosperous future? If so you are much better placed than people who are burdened with excessive debts and who struggle to make ends meet. You should get some satisfaction from that and you can add a point.
11. Friendship. Do you have one or more good friends who you can share your joys and problems with? Is there someone whose company you enjoy and with whom you can have a laugh? If so give yourself a final point.
Add up your total. How many points did you get? The maximum is 12. Eight or over is a good score. Now take a moment to express thanks for your success and good fortune. You have a lot to be grateful for.
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