“Count your Blessings.” Everyone has heard the phrase. But did you know that a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, found that literally counting your blessings actually increases your emotional health. Which of course, makes sense. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it years ago: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
We’re here today with the essential list of reasons to give thanks, based on some facts about the wellbeing of the world. We encourage you to share this list around your own Thanksgiving table—we will be! Here are our 5 blessings we’re literally counting right now (emotional health, here we come!):
1. Shelter. A roof. A warm home.
Few things feel better, especially after traveling, than to return to a warm home with a roof over your head. Did you know that an estimated 100 million people worldwide are homeless?
2. Water. Plenty of drinkable water.
780 million people lack access to safe drinking water according to water.org. More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.
3. Food. Who’s Hungry?
Over 7.5 million children under the age of 5 die from malnutrition and mostly preventable diseases, each year. Some 805 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth, according to the Hunger Statistics | WFP | United Nations World Food … An interesting thought as we gather around tables for large feasts that often include a lot of wasted food.
4. Free Press.
The percentage of the global population living in countries with a free press is at the lowest level in more than a decade, according to the findings of Freedom of the Press 2013: A Global Survey of Media Independence.
We know that if your body is treated well, given plenty of sleep, exercise and healthy food, it should work well most of the time, and for that we are grateful. However, despite incredible improvements in health since 1950, there are still a number of challenges for people all over the world, which should have been easy to solve. 36 million deaths each year are caused by non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases. One billion people lack access to health care systems.
With those facts in mind, we offer you a couple of reminders about the “little things” in life that are often forgotten:
Access to Information
Imagine sending an email this afternoon…only to learn it won’t arrive until NEXT Friday; a ten day delivery time. Things have changed since the days of The Pony Express (which celebrates its 150th anniversary next year.) The fact that information moves at nearly the speed of light provides an opportunity to connect people from all around the world and allows us to stay in touch with loved ones in every corner of the world.
When doors are held open, when someone lets you merge into their lane or flashes their lights when you let them merge into yours, when someone lets you skip ahead of them in the checkout line….these little moments of acknowledgment and kindness can be rare! We try to practice them and teach them whenever possible.
A couple of examples: friends and family, warm sun, a walk in the woods, holidays, crisp autumn days, turquoise ocean swims.
And of course:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Challenges in life form character and make us stronger and more appreciative of the opportunities we have been given and what we do while here on this planet.
Being here now. This moment. This day. And hopefully many days still to come.