“Count your blessings, name them one by one.” These words from the nineteenth century writer, Johnson Oatman Jr. are truer now than ever.

Everyone faces problems, but sometimes it may seem like you have more than your fair share. Perhaps you worry what others think of you. In reality, others are too caught up in their own problems to take time to be judge anyone else.

When difficulties seem to surround you, it’s important to remember that there are probably aspects of your life that are going well. It’s easy to forget your blessings and to fixate on your problems, but if you can shift your focus, your problems may be easier to handle.

Why all the Problems?
Humans have problems because we are thinking creatures: we reflect, desire, with ideas of perfection are impossible to achieve. When one tries to make things better, it’s likely that someone else may feel inconvenienced or disagree. By reframing problems as challenges, they can actually become blessings.

Problems can be Blessings Because…
We learn.
Problems (and mistakes) can be lessons that teach us what we need to know. This ability distinguishes us from other animals which are less capable of deductive reasoning. It is our ability to conceptualize, reframe and learn that has led to technological progress.

We begin to appreciate. When we encounter problems and experience loss, it encourages us to appreciate what we have now. Moving on means focusing on the beauty and good around us. We are more likely to value our blessings.

We become stronger. Isn’t it a blessing to overcome a difficult problem? How else can you learn from experience? When we encounter another such problem or give advice to others, we can draw upon these previous challenges. We become a richer person. As author and magazine editor Tina Brown says, “there’s nobody more boring than the undefeated.”

We let go. Have you ever been overwhelmed and just as you want to give up, something shifts in your head and you begin to let go? If you stop pushing, you can take a step back and see the bigger picture. You realize that you can’t do everything, your stress lessens and the problem starts to feel more manageable. So be good to yourself and those you love. Just let go.

Try to Count Your Blessings
Even if you feel terrible, there are still things in your life to be thankful for.

Be thankful that you are alive. This is one daily blessings that most people take for granted. Just being alive puts you ahead of people in the history books! It’s easy to forget that you only live once and that life is your most precious gift yet.

Be thankful that you have food. If you have food on the table, you are already one of the fortunate ones. Millions of people die of starvation, and others cannot afford to eat healthily. If you have enough food and can eat fresh fruit and veggies every day, you are already blessed.

Be thankful that you have problems. Having problems means that you are alive and doing something to effect change. People without problems are those who are dead or inactive. Having problems gives you an opportunity to try new things, change and grow. Overcoming difficulty is a way to become a more thoughtful, stronger person.

Be thankful for people around you. You may be annoyed by friends or family members. Maybe you feel your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t appreciate you. These people probably love you and care for you deeply. It’s easy to take loved ones for granted. However, community nurtures our sense of identity and provides us with on-going support.

As long as we live and think, we will have problems. We are not perfect, and we will always make mistakes every now and then. When we learn from our mistakes and difficulties, we grow and become better individuals. We are able to triumph over a challenge. By embracing our problems, we feel alive.