What It Means To Count Your Blessings

We’ve all heard it before. Whether it was the voice of your mom and dad, in a church sermon, a teacher or maybe that one Berenstain Bears book about Thanksgiving, at some point in your life you have been told to count your blessings. Gratefulness is a condition of the heart that can change the way you view everything. Undoubtedly, there are trials in this life, and people go through hardships that test limits. We are heartbroken by the sicknesses, catastrophes and brokenness of this world. It is good to be aware of the tragedies that people face and step in on their behalf to help them through. 

BUT there is joy found in those small moments, when we take the time to count in our heads, on the pages of a journal or on our fingertips, those things that we have that are good. Once you start counting, you might be surprised how long it takes to list them all and how quickly your perspective changes. There is no trick, instruction manual or magic words required for counting your blessings. We all know this. Then why does it seem like such a daunting task sometimes? Well perhaps it’s because we don’t truly know how to define a blessing. Let’s just all agree that a blessing is something that has been put in our lives that simply makes it a bit better. They are the things, both big and small, that bring a smile to our faces, turn a bad day around and make this life just plain good. They are all around us- you just have to be aware of them.

I think it would be fun to break blessings down into categories. Let’s go from big to little and see if this sparks something in your brain that makes you want to run and grab a pen and paper to write your own thoughts down. This would make the conversation at the Thanksgiving table much easier because once it’s your turn to say what you’re thankful for, you’ve already done your homework.

Let’s begin. There are big blessings that stick out to us each and every day. Our families, health, our homes, food, water and education. Never take these huge gifts for granted because even though they seem obvious to some, they are not readily available to others. If this is the list that comes to mind when you think about your blessings, you’re on the right track. Maintaining a steady thankfulness for these things on a day-to-day basis keeps happiness at the forefront and pushes feelings like envy and discontentment far away. Then there are little blessings. They might not be as obvious, but they are plentiful. Here are examples of some: 

  • Slow mornings, where you don’t feel rushed, and you get to hang out in your pajamas for a little while
  • Finishing an assignment and feeling the simultaneous joy/relief of turning it in   
  • Riding in the car with your friends listening to music that everyone knows the words to
  • The smell of cookies in the oven
  • When a new episode of your favorite show pops up on your que
  • When he brings you flowers just because
  • Sitting around the dinner table with your family, while everyone remembers old stories and laughs at each other
  • Getting all green lights on your drive home
  • Crossing off something on your to do list
  • Getting into a bed with freshly cleaned sheets
  • Having people you love and people who love you

Blessings can take the form of people, experiences or objects, such as your mom, your roommates, a much-needed nap, a rainy day spent watching movies, a cup of chocolate milk, a sweet text from your siblings, a phone call from your dad asking about your day, the email from your professor that says class is cancelled, a walk outside, a warm hug, the sound of your cat purring, a cuddle from your pup or a sweet Facebook video that makes you cry.

Contentment is a blissful feeling, and counting your blessings is a good way to find it. Perhaps your life isn’t full to the brim with riches. Maybe your current situation wouldn’t quite be described as lavish. But if after reading this, you count up enough of those little joys that make you realize this life is full and everything you need it to be, then those other things just don’t seem to matter so much anymore. Counting your blessings is an action that causes a shift in perspective. It makes the bad things not so bad and the goods things even greater. We here at Her Campus hope that your Thanksgiving and this heart-warming holiday season is filled with time taken to count your blessings. Most importantly, we hope for more of those moments that make you remember how good you’ve got it. Add those moments to the list too.