Life & Leisure

Learning To (Literally) Count My Blessings

Since high school, I’ve had several journals chronicling the ups and downs of my life. I wrote about good times with my loved ones, my academic and personal accomplishments, my struggles with self-esteem and even my thoughts on current issues.
I also shared my deepest feelings about what was happening with and around me. When things were going well in my life, I’d share it in my journal. Whenever I was angry or upset at someone, I’d purge my anger into my journal instead of confronting the person.
Journaling helped me savor the big moments and cope with stressful times. It kept my deepest darkest secrets along with my wildest daydreams about the future. But if you’d read my past entries, most were focused on the not-so-happy events in my life. Pages dwelled on lost opportunities, personal letdowns and latent pain.
A few years ago, a non-fiction paperback significantly changed the way I write and perhaps, the way I live too.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Count your blessings” many times before.  I’ve also heard this line countless times that I dismiss it as a go-to phrase when someone feels down or complains a lot about his or her life.
“Oh I’m so unlucky, my phone got snatched” — Count your blessings!At least you weren’t hurt. “My crush didn’t notice me today”— Count your blessings! At least you saw him today.Something along these lines kinda consoles someone in an unlucky or unpleasant situation.
However, this common piece of advice became a lot more meaningful when I skimmed through a book on happiness at a local bookstore. The book expounded on easy but scientific ways to increase our level of personal happiness. In short, it cites proven ways we can all be happier. One of the ways mentioned was to count one’s blessings, literally.
A Harvard study was made on people who wrote 5 things that they were grateful for. Everyday, they wrote them on a notebook before going to bed. Just five things. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s a big thing like getting a promotion or something ordinary like getting a bus ride home. What mattered was they were appreciative of those things. They found out that these people became happier over time.
This is why I decided to change my journal into something more positive: a gratitude journal. I chose a colorful hardbound journal with animal figures. The cover has this bible verse
“In everything, give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18)”
I thought it was fitting for its purpose which was to highlight the blessings I receive.Simply put, I also wanted to count my blessings.
I’ve had this journal for about four years. I was actually aiming for a daily count but life got in the way.  Before I went to bed, I’d write the good things I remember for that day. 
At first, I wrote about them like I was telling a story. I got to end the day on a positive note because I relived these moments in my mind.
However, as time passed and things got busier, I just numbered them and would try to write as often as I could.These days, when I don’t get to write, we include them in our evening prayer as a family.
I love having a gratitude journal because allows me to reflect on the joyful and memorable moments instead of the negative ones.
I think it has been helpful because in a way, I’m training my mind to look past what went wrong and focus on the things that went well. And I can honestly say, it has made me a happier and more mindful person. There are still stressful experiences but I think they don’t stick to my psyche as much.
If I were to print my own diary, I think this would definitely be a feel good and interesting memoir. It’d be a hodgepodge of quirky to poignant moments from laughing out loud with friends to having a baby.
These written records would definitely be something people could enjoy reading over and over again.In my case, I’d get to  enjoy these experiences once again when I read them. 
At this point, let’s get a bit personal. I’d like to share a few moments from a day in 2013, when I was still single and teaching English to Japanese students.
I am thankful for:
1. oil control powder film given by a student, it was from Kyoto
2. another student also gave me a Meiji chocolate bar
3. my student liked my remembrance which was a hardbound notebook
4. had a bonding moment with co teachers , we ate at Adobo Connection and Pizza Volante
5. drank a glass of banana milk shake! yummy! 🙂
6. my hon waited for me to get home before calling good night <3
7. someone complimented me on my blazer
As you can see, these are just simple random ordinary things. Of course, my hon waiting for me is something sweet and special. These moments pass by quickly and we need to take notice before they are gone. In life, the small things are the big things.
Our keen ability to recognize and appreciate the blessings we receive can have a significant impact on whether we see the glass half full or half empty.
Quite possibly, the glass is already full of blessings just waiting to be tallied in your dear diary.
Sometimes we need to intentionally fin the good in every day to appreciate what we have in our lives.
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  1. I really agree with you, Madz!
    Now I’m grateful to get a second chance to read your writing. This blog reminds me of what you told me before.
    Thank you so much! I miss you!
    From your Japanese student in 2013

    1. Madz | Mommy N' More says:

      Hi Kanako!! Thank you so much for dropping by. I miss you and our conversations. I hope you’re doing well and I hope you find something useful on my blog 🙂

  2. Angelie Namindang says:

    As i read this blog, I just realize how lucky I am to be in this wonderful world. Na, gaanu man kaliit ang biyaya na dumatimg sa buhay, kailangan mo itong ipagpasalamat at bigyan ng halaga kasi hindi po lahat ng tao nabibigyan ng pagkakaktaong maranasan ito.
    Maraming Salamat po nito madam.. Marami akong natutunan na pwede ko i apply sa sarili kong buhay. Hindi man ako mahilig sa journal or diary, pero sa isip at puso ko nakatatak na po yun.
    Thank you for inspiring me madam. God bless you more!!!

  3. Love Compoc says:

    thanks that i bumped in this blog, i realize di ako gaano nakakaappreciate ng blessings esp mga malilit. Thanks much.

  4. Such a great idea! Just 5 things…I could so do that! I forget to be thankful when life overwhelms me; this is a beautiful reminder that even when life is crazy, we DO have things to be thankful for!

  5. Jenny says:

    Wow! Thank you po for sharing this kind of wonderful words. To be honest, I do counting my blessings and even my heart aches/trials and consider it as blessings too kasi dun ko nattest and napapatunayan na kaya kong malagpasan and that is a blessing di ba po. Kasi I still survive!! And thank you for inspiring everyone! Sobrang nakakatuwa while reading this! God bless po!

    1. Madz | Mommy N' More says:

      Thank you for your kind words Jenny. Oo sabi nga nila trials are blessings in disguise. The challenge is turning them into blessings.

  6. I also do that, may mini diary ako and kapag nagsesenti mode ako binabasa basa ko yun. Naging stress reliever ko at suoer helpful sakin kasi it made me happy and realized ang mga mali at tamang ginawa ko.

    1. Madz | Mommy N' More says:

      Oo ang saya balik balikan ng happy times di ba? tama stress reliever sila.

  7. Meldy Natividad says:

    I am also a type of person who writes almost everything!!! It feels great din po that aside from the images… Reading all the words you’ve write before can enlighten you and will let you reminisce the scenario even better.

    1. Madz | Mommy N' More says:

      Oo nga parang they stand still in time once you have them in words sa diary at memories sa mind mo.

  8. Joseph Banghal says:

    My emotions and feelings it make me realize and enlighten that life experience stories that really interesting and inspiring ever.

  9. I love you Journey madam ah! very exciting and sarap blaikan hehe..for me I don’t count my Blessings tlga but i do count the things I got hahah, well I really appreciate kasi mga bagay na binibigay sakin ng mga taong nakaka appreciate din ng pagkatao ko. For me, pinakablessing po tlga ang araw araw ako nagigising, another chance to live and gawin mga gusto ko gawin
    Above all, I’m very thankedful na nakakaya namin ng pamilya ko ang mga pagsubok na nahaharap namin everyday, kapit bisig tlga kaming pamilya! God Bless Us All!

  10. I find journaling one of my top hobbies too in the past and now that we have internet blogging has taken the scene lol!
    Yes, I also keep my own list of things that I am grateful for and I need I should share it too on my blog. Thanks for sharing yours Mommy Madz!

  11. Louisa says:

    I would love to do this for myself. I think being able to jot down the smallest blessings will help with a more positive attitude especially when you’re in the midst of turmoil. I think I’ll make this a plan for 2018!

  12. Counting your blessings makes life sweeter. I come to appreciate my loved ones more and even put value on people around me. Counting our blessings also make us humble because you tend to appreciate big or small things. How I wish we all be contented with what we have and continue to stay positive because life is indeed full of blessings.

  13. Counting my blessings has helped keep me sane. It's so easy to feel sorry for yourself when you're having problems but it really does give you a better perspective to focus on the positive.

  14. Yes, the little things are the more important things! This is why I always nag (hehe) my husband to pay attention to me and my daughter because when you say, "what's that again?", nawawala na sa moment.

  15. When Im feeling really down and out, I write. It really helps! 🙂

  16. A gratitude journal is a great idea! Plus it's something I can actually do. Friends of ours do the gratitude tree naman, they make the kids write down things they are thankful for in little cards then put them in a jar. Then on Christmas, they punch holes on them and hang them on the Gratitude tree. They have a day to read these cards and pray and thank God once again for them. 🙂

  17. I really like this idea of yours of a gratitude journal. I usually post on facebook things I am grateful for, but I think I want to do the same as you now. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful idea.

  18. Your post just reminded me of the gratitude posts that I used to write in my blog. Now, I'm thinking why I stopped writing them.

  19. Your journal looks really cute. I like your idea of writing down your blessings or appreciating good things in your life.

  20. Easier said than done but really, this is the key to happiness, when one can be happy with the littlest things in life.

  21. I started writing down things I'm grateful for every day at the beginning of 2016, but I have stopped doing it for months now. I must get back to doing this "happy" activity again. Thanks for the reminder! Maria Teresa Figuerres

  22. Yes I was before I got married.Pizza Volante is a popular hangout spot hehe.

  23. Thank you very much! It's a really great idea.

  24. I love your idea of a gratitude journal. I started something similar to this a few years back but when I got setbacks after setbacks, I forgot all about the notebook. I think I'll start one again.

    You got me at Pizza Volante. Are you from/in Baguio?

  25. I've heard of this technique before. In my mind, I think it's a wonderful way to be happy. I haven't tried it yet though. I should. 🙂

  26. I agree with you! Counting our blessings makes us appreciate and thank God's goodness even more. I don't do gratitude journals but I'm reminded now of how God is good to me. I had dysmenorrhea earlier today, thanks to the medicine I took, gumaling ako agad.

  27. same us sis, ako naman when I was on college, naka 3 journal notebook ako but ang sinusulat ko naman yung daily bible devotion ko with matching ups and down experiences din. and until now sometimes ginagawa ko pa din pero di na sa note book sa notepad hahahah!

  28. I agree, sometimes we are too focused on big things and not notice the small ones. I think I need a gratitude journal as well. 🙂

  29. I used to have a diary when I was still studying but after graduating, no time to write na. Now I blog na lang my happy memories. 🙂 But having a gratitude journal is really nice.

  30. This is such an inspiring idea. People should stop thinking in a pessimistic way and remember of the 'small' but good things that happen every day. In fact I am willing to do this myself and even shared this post with my boyfriend

  31. This is such a sweet idea. And I love the colorful blue elephant on your journal. It is so easy sometimes to focus on the negative but that is ultimately a destructive habit. I like the idea of doing this and I think I will start counting my blessings too.

  32. That's an excellent blogpost! I believe thinking negatively can affect you emotionally and physically! It's not at all good for Heath! A gratitude journal is necessary for each and every one of us who wants to be happy. The happiness could come from the most important things to the insignificant one…. It's just depend on you. It depends on from where you are getting your happiness…. And I believe writing gratitude points could lead us towards success! I m definitely going to do this from now on 🙂

  33. That's so true! I hopeto relive these happy moments in old age!

  34. Wow! Thank you for visiting my blog and the gift pack too! I'm ecstatic!:)

  35. What a beautiful post. Na-inspire ako to write in my journal again =)

    And yes, you are blessed. Nanalo ka ng Biogenic gift pack! =D

  36. What a wonderful thing you did, writing good things that happened to you daily. When you look back to those days, it is easy to see there are so many things to be grateful for that at times, people tend to look and lock down on one negativity.

    Living positively is the only way to go!

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