• African Mental Health First Aid

Count Your Many Blessing: Name Them One by One

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Maya Angelou

These last five years, there have been many challenges for many people, and because of this, it would be easy to focus on the negatives that have gone on in our lives. Without denying what people have been through, it is essential to be grateful and to count our blessings every day, for we are alive and still surrounded by beauty and positive relationships that bring belonging.

Counting our blessings and being thankful, is gratitude. Practicing gratitude has a positive impact on many aspects of our life, ranging from mental health to our relationships.

Researchers took a deeper dive into what differentiated those who felt positive emotions and those who didn’t. Scientists found that participants who expressed gratitude and thankfulness on that day were more likely to feel positive emotions with increased “life satisfaction” on the following days.

In another study, researchers examined how counting your blessings impacts overall well-being. Participants were divided into three groups: One group was asked to journal about negative events or hassles, a second group about the things for which they were grateful and a third group about neutral life events.

The sample that journaled their gratitude showed much higher levels of well-being across the board in comparison with the other two study groups. The major takeaway, according to researchers, was that a conscious focus on blessings may have major emotional and interpersonal benefits.

Gratitude increases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and helps you deflect those negative thoughts. So why not celebrate minor accomplishments, perform small acts of kindness, and appreciate the big and small things in your life.

Living a life filled with gratitude brings many positive changes in people. It helps you notice the little things that you haven’t had to consciously work towards ‘acquiring’. Things that are FREE like the sun shining ,the smell of the rain, the waking up of the day fresh and untouched, waking up alive, having a cozy evening with your family.

These are things that we take for granted – yet somebody somewhere wishes they could have what you have. Everyone can find three things to be grateful for.

Take a moment and reflect on your life and the positive things you have. The people you value, the possessions you enjoy, and the modern-day conveniences we often take for granted. I am reminded of a song we used to see in Sunday school “count you’re many blessings name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done…, count your blessings, count your blessings, count your many blessings name them one by one” You will find that there are many.

Taking the time to be thankful and appreciative for things you have received, tangible or intangible, makes you feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, reduces depression, lowers blood pressure, increases energy and happiness, and even prolongs your life! Who wouldn’t want that – it doesn’t cost you a thing!

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