When it comes to simple, old-fashioned life advice, it doesn’t get much more obvious than ‘count your blessings’ – a saying that dates back to 1878. Being told to count your blessings can be pretty annoying when you’re feeling down. But it turns out that it’s not just empty words: thinking about all the positives in your life has genuine benefits for your physical and mental health.
Counting your blessings is making a comeback, this time with a new name – gratitude. Research has been done on gratitude, showing that it can:Reduce feelings of envy, resentment, frustration and regret.Enhance empathy and reduce aggression.Help improve the quality of your sleep.Boost your self-esteem.Improve your physical health, reducing aches and pains. Strengthen your mental resilience.
What’s wonderful about gratitude is that it’s free, has no side-effects, and you can begin using it immediately. Counting your blessings is the perfect way to start, thinking about not only the big things, like your friends and your health, but also the little things that make life more enjoyable, like a new song or a sunny day. If you want to go further than simply counting your blessings, you could consider other ways of practicing gratitude:
Spend more time with the people you’re thankful for and let them know how much you love and appreciate them. When you feel grateful, let it show.
Keep a gratitude journal to write down your positive thoughts – it could be a book or a gratitude journal app or site. Recording your blessings helps prevent that natural urge to focus on the negatives.
Volunteer in your community – there are so many ways to help. Volunteering tends to encourage you to count your blessings while also feeling grateful for the chance to help.
J Durcharme - Seven Surprising Health Benefits of Gratitude (www.time.com).
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