“Why should I count my blessings?” Well, your quality of life depends on it. At the very least, look back at how you were when you had a bad mood or were in low spirits. It prevented you from enjoying many of the events around you, right?
Let’s look at why you should count your blessings instead of sheep when sleeping.
Negative thoughts also cause you to skip out on opportunities, and even affects relationships close to you. Angry outbursts caused by the strenuous conditions that one finds themselves puts a strain in interactions with your close friends and family.
On the other hand, with positive thinking, your emotional state changes, and gradually sets you up to be more emotionally stable. This will have a net positive effect on your day-to-day life.
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Counting your blessings also comes in handy in giving you reassurance. Just jotting down the things that you are grateful for will enable you to realize that you have so much more than you think, and allows you to see things in a new light.
Value Of Counting Your Blessings
Plenty of psychological literature has gone into the study of the benefits of being grateful:
A 2003 study by Emmons and McCullough had participants maintaining a diary with a list of gratitude for the different events in their lives. They would jot down the various items routinely. The patients—who had an assortment of neural diseases, actually reported that they experienced fewer pains and aches by the end of the study.
In 2011, Nancy Digdon carried out a study involving gratitude journals. Here, every evening the students took 15 minutes to write what they are grateful for. This resulted in the students enjoying their sleep for longer hours and having less day-to-day worries.
In 2016, a study by Prathik Kini and other Indiana University researchers had participants writing letters expressing their gratitude. Brain scans were used to study the impact of this on its functioning, such as with the medial prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is involved in retaining memories and making decisions.
After three months, this specific area was affected, though more research is still required to pinpoint the relation in which one being grateful improves a person’s thoughts and reasoning capacities.
Needs vs. Wants
One of the main problems affecting people today is the difficulty of differentiating between what you need and what you want. There are things in life that are necessary—like water, food, shelter, and clothing.
These basic necessities should not be taken for granted. Remember that not everyone on earth has them and that alone should give one more perspective.
However, in the current day and age, people simply want to get onto the next best thing—from the latest gizmo or product release, high-end computers to fast cars—and get caught up in the wave, becoming frustrated when these desires are not met.
While it’s good to have them, your survival does not depend on them. Feeling miserable because you aren’t living the glamorous Insta-life that your friends are will negatively impact your quality of life in the long run.
When Life Deals You A Tough Hand
Then there are those cases where a series of unfortunate events that have pushed you to the edge. From the cutthroat competition at the workplace, business going down, layoffs, illnesses—these understandably put a strain on you.
Relationships not working out, mounting debts, and eating into your income and preventing you from achieving financial stability—they are the challenges we face. Ignoring the blessings causes you to focus on your problems rather than the solutions.
When your mind simply dwells on the difficulties, it makes them appear larger than they really are. You build up despair, resentment, and anger, and find yourself in a situation where you’re frustrated, discouraged, and stressed.
This is as opposed to taking the time to list the blessings you have in life, from the people, places, and experiences. As your list grows—item by item, you will radiate along with it. This puts you in a better position to make decisions and take concrete steps to handle the problems you’re facing.
Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep—Irvin Berlin
Does the title sound familiar? This popular song was written by Irvin, an American composer, and lyricist, and used in the 1954 film White Christmas. The song was used in advancing the relationship between the characters of the film, with a material theme that urges you to remember how much you are blessed instead of focusing on short-term problems that rob you of your joy and mental peace.
The song was drawn from Irvin’s personal experience. He was struggling with insomnia, that had been brought on by stress. His doctor visited him and suggested that he should try counting his blessings.
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Here is a snippet of its lyrics, that point to the peace that comes with focusing on your blessings amidst the daily struggles that many of us face:
“When I’m worried, And I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, And I fall asleep, Counting my blessings.
When my bankroll, Is gettin’ small, I think of when I had none at all. And I fall asleep, Counting my blessings.”
The “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” song went ahead and got a nomination for the “Best Original Song” Academy Award, which is presented to songwriters for their work done specifically to feature in films. This award is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Counting My Blessings—A Reminder To Be Grateful
What are you thankful for? Is it friends or family? Are you in good health? Are you making ends meet?
Whichever the case, it is essential to be grateful for your blessings, instead of taking them for granted.
Sometimes people don’t appreciate things, taking the good fortunes and blessing for granted—until they are gone. “Well, you only need the light when it’s burning low; Only miss the sun when it starts to snow”.
So go on—count your blessings instead of sheep whenever you tuck in for the night. Whether small or large, we need to be thankful for the blessings in our lives.