Blessing Others – The Greatest Gift
It’s the holiday season! A time of stress and chaos and hopefully also a time of love, family, laughter, yummy food, and blessings. When I heard about Mercy‘s* Holiday initiative to take the time to count our blessings and share them with each other, I knew I had to be involved! To me, this is a major part of what the holiday season is all about.
Mercy believes that ‘Our greatest blessing is to see others blessed.’
I couldn’t agree more!
With the pressure to buy more, do more and eat more during the holiday
season, this year Mercy is asking us to simply take a moment to count blessings. It’s as easy as logging on to www.OurBlessingsCount.com and adding your blessings to the tally.
Dr. Doug Walker, psychologist, clinical director of Mercy Family Center in New Orleans and an expert in coping with stress says that by counting your blessings, it’s inevitable you will reduce your stress and find some peace.
“During the holidays, the noise level around us is at an all-time high,” said Dr. Walker. “There’s so much clutter and unrealistic expectations to cut through. With all the holiday hype, we’re under increasing pressure to buy expensive gifts for people who don’t need them and finish a to-do list a mile long. We burn ourselves out and are unable to experience the joy of the season.”
It’s no wonder, according to a study by the American Psychological Association, that 68 percent of us feel greater fatigue during the holidays, along with 61 percent who feel more stress.
But just by being still, taking some time and listing what we are thankful for, we can change the course.
“The very act of verbalizing, listing or journaling what you have to be thankful for reduces stress,” said Dr. Walker, who has helped survivors of Hurricane Katrina, Japan’s tsunami, Joplin’s tornado and others through some of their darkest days. “It stops us in our tracks. There’s almost something magical about listing what you have to be thankful for. It can turn things around very quickly because all of a sudden you are looking at all you have to be grateful for. It’s all about perspective.”
And perspective matters. That’s why this year Mercy is sending out a simple message: blessings count.
Personally, this holiday season our family is very focused on this very thing. We have given up some things (A holiday family vacation, expensive gifts, frequently eating out and some entertainment) in order to bless a special young man this holiday season. I admit, it has not always been easy. However, in return we will be blessed 10-fold. We are striving for a simple memory making holiday. And honestly, this does take the stress off my shoulders! Less gifts to buy, less financial stress, less to worry about as far as making vacation arrangements etc.
And it is true… when you find yourself stressed or complaining, take a minute to list your blessings and you will discover how blessed you are! This is something my husband and I are working on ingraining into our children daily.
Let me get you started:
- Do you have food on the table?
- Do you have a home?
- Are you and your family healthy?
- Do you have good friends?
- Are you part of a faith community?
- Are you able to pay your bills?
- Do you have a job?
I know many of you probably can not answer yes to all of these, but I am guessing you are able to answer YES to a few; and you most likely have other things to be thankful for as well. We may not have the home we dream of, or the job we love, but things could be so much worse – ALWAYS no matter what your life circumstances.
I’m off to share my blessings on www.ourblessingscount.com I have much to be grateful for.
What can you do to bless those around you this season?
- Offer to watch their children
- Bring them fresh baked cookies
- Donate food or gifts to families in need
- Send a hand-written Card
- Pray for them
- Invite them over for dinner and game night
- Drop off a pot of soup
- Offer to shop for an elderly neighbor
*Mercy is a health system with 31 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities and 1,700 physicians located throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.
Mercy recognizes the stress we put on ourselves and our families over the holidays. They want to remind us that ‘Our greatest blessing is to see others blessed.’ One way we can do this is to pause, list our blessings, and share them with others. Let’s count our blessings together at www.ourblessingscount.com.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mercy. The opinions and text are all mine.