How to Stay Happy, Part I: Count Your Blessings

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.  ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Ed and I have raspberry bushes in the yard. Prickly things; mean like a wild rose or briar. The canes will gladly tear your skin and whip your hand. But … ooh, the raspberries! Juicy, sweet and abundant – so good fresh from the bush or served with cream (well, milk – we try to eat healthy). Those bushes teach a valuable life lesson: despite the prickers, there are bushels of blessings … if you look for them.

Count your blessings. What are you focused on, the thorns or the berries? Too often, we mentally run ‘round and ‘round the briar patch of life’s stresses, troubles, complaints and frustrations. Instead, look for the berries – all the sweet things in your life. 

Count your friends. Be generous. Don’t just count those closest to you. Remember all the people who serve you – bank tellers, waitresses, store clerks, healthcare providers. Be grateful for the smiles you get, the hugs, the favors people do for you. Recognize all of them as evidence of God’s love, His eternal care.

Count your assets. Stop focusing on what you don’t have. Quit stewing about the things you want. Instead, take inventory of all you do have: talents, health, home and family, work,  all the beautiful, functional things that make your life easier and more enjoyable. Gratitude is powerful. If you are truly grateful for all you have, you will soon have more to be grateful for.

Count the laughter. One of the greatest and simplest health remedies is laughter. The Bible tells us that a merry heart is good medicine (Ps. 17:22). Find ways to add more laughter to your day. Watch a good TV comedy, share a joke, put on a favorite song and dance! Try something new, then laugh at your attempts to master it.

While you’re at it, laugh at your own seriousness. Whatever has you emotionally tied in knots is not worth the stress. Laugh it off! Smile on purpose, no matter what you’re dealing with. It will make you feel better.

Count the moments. Spend a few minutes before you go to sleep in thankfulness. Consciously recall all the simple pleasures of your day. A peaceful mind helps insure a peaceful sleep. And that’s something to be happy about!

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