Counting our blessings – the trick to happy thoughts

Ask any person about their problems and you will hear a long list of challenges and things that are bothering them at the moment. Ask them for their life?s story and you will hear all the difficulties they had to face. But why is that? Why do we always focus on all the bad things that have happened to us? Why do we define ourselves as a collection of tragedies?

After a week of rain and overcast weather, the sun is finally shining on me today as I walk to work. The clouds are clearing away, I do no longer need to wear a thick jacket, but can enjoy a warm breeze on my face. Granted, today is Monday, the first working day after a three day weekend but why do all my colleagues focus on the fact that we can not enjoy another day off? Why not focus on the fact that we can watch nature bloom and tress flower for once?

I find it very symptomatic of western society to focus on the things that are bothering us. In it’s most extreme form, this way of thinking can lead to a downward spiral where we focus so much on what is bothering us that it consumes us entirely – a form of tunnel-vision where any answer to our problem remains hidden outside our field of vision. And yet, there is a very simple solution to this. Focus on the good things in life or positive thinking! Heard it before? Tried to do it before? Gave up after ten minutes? Not surprising. You may be in good mood when you wake up but by the time you get to work you have been exposed to so much negativity, from the news from fellow travellers, that your happiness is gone. And when you are boiling on the inside it is very difficult to focus on good things around you.

And this is where counting blessings comes into play. Are you having a nasty day at work? Do you have a picture of a loved one on your table? Well, look at the picture and think about the persons on the picture. What did it feel like when the picture was taken? Think back. Are you smiling? Good! Are you not smiling? Well, then think of a situation that always makes you smile. Now, the only thing you have to do is to express your gratitude for having been able to live through that moment. It doesn’t matter who you thank, God, fate, destiny, your loved one or just say ”thank you”. The point is that you acknowledge that you were given the opportunity to experience that moment of joy. And when you start to count up all the blessings that surround you, you start to realize that you are actually a very special person. And then, all of the sudden you may realize what really matters for you in life. And when you realize what is the most important to you, then you can prioritize your problems. And I would not be surprised if you will find that some of your problems aren’t that big of a deal after all and that there are a lot more important things for you to focus on.

So, close your eyes, imagine a situation that brings you joy, re-live it, feel the smile on your face, feel the tears of joy collecting in your eyes and then say thank you. And have a nice day.