YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Home Rule

Count Blessings After Holidays

December 28, 1986|BONNIE McCULLOUGH

Recently my 11-year-old son came to me complaining about finding static-free dryer sheets in his pajamas and jeans. I replied "You had better consider it a sign of good times."

Some of us are a little depressed. The big holiday is over. We have spent too much money and gained a few pounds.

A popular religious leader recently challenged his listeners to "Count your blessings, not your problems." This principle has been the theme of many songs throughout the years. It is the best way to get over the blues.

Organizers suggest that we keep a list of things to do and things we want. Why focus on the vacancy? Why not count the things we have? Why not keep a list of things we have accomplished?

Keep a 'Me File'

One of our seminar groups that teaches time and paper management suggests that every corporate officer keep a "me file" hidden at the back of the drawer to list successes, to give a boost and build self-esteem when needed. Start a victory list for yourself. Take a few minutes today to write down what you have done in the past year. List small things as well as large projects.

Several years ago I had a vivid experience. One evening about 5:30 I plopped myself down on the sofa, tired from a hard day at work. I began a dialogue with myself about how I hated to cook. I began to fantasize about how nice it would be to be relieved of that burden every day. Then a thought flashed through my mind. What if it were 5:30 p.m. 100 years ago? What was it like to cook dinner then? What would my options have been? I began to realize my good fortune. I was complaining about a task that could be done in 30 minutes. I could have a meat casserole, vegetable and a fresh salad on the table in just a few moments. I pictured my great-grandmother who lived in a tent in the mountains of Leadville, Colo., while her husband was out mining gold. She even had to collect the wood to start a fire. Mentally I counted the appliances in my kitchen. I jumped up from the sofa. I was ashamed at my ingratitude. Aware of my blessings I whipped up a tasteful dinner.

This applies to organizing your time and your life. The attitude of gratitude will take you a long way. Happiness is an inner attitude. Events and circumstances can sometimes knock happy people down, but mature and stable adults can pick themselves back up.

Unnecessary Stress

Today, we each have things to worry about, but most of our problems are not life threatening every moment. It is human nature to want a better life. But, at the same time, we have to learn to be content with what we have and the rate at which we can accumulate more or we will cause unnecessary stress for ourselves.

Count the good things about yourself and your life. Several months ago I had the opportunity to help a new mother. It was such a pleasure to hold that tiny new baby and watch him squirm and move as only newborns do. I helped her for an hour catch up on a few household chores. As I washed her dishes, I realized how small her kitchen was and that it didn't even have a window. This new mother was grateful to have a warm apartment and central heat. I went home glad to have a kitchen window. If you are depressed, do something nice for someone else. Compassionate service is a wonderful medicine and doesn't cost much.

Los Angeles Times Articles