10 Exercises To Help You Recognize The Blessings In Your Life

“There is so much blessing and beauty near us that is destined for us, and yet it cannot enter our lives because we are not ready to receive it. The handle is on the inside of the door, only we can open it.”

– John O’ Donahue 

On Monday I announced that this week would be a week of blessings on Courage 2 Create.

I explained what I meant by “blessings” and gave you an exercise to help you practice recognizing your blessings—a practice that I knew would radically transform the way you look at your writing and your life.

Today, I want to give you some more exercises that can help you recognize your many blessings.

10 Exercises To Help You Recognize The Blessings In Your Life

1. Turn The Mundane Into A Blessing

Take the most mundane and uninteresting part of your day, and bring it into focus and awareness.

Let’s pretend you are doing this exercise when you are in traffic: 

Become very present. Hear the sounds, smell the smells, feel the steering wheel beneath your fingertips. Then, start to look for the blessings around you. Recognize the paved road. The lights, the signposts, the crosswalks—recognize that all these things were specifically designed by a stranger you never knew to keep you safe and out of harms way. How blessed you are that someone put them there for you. Think of all the other drivers: you may notice that the majority of them are trying really hard to drive safely so that a crash doesn’t happen. We often focus just on the bad drivers, or on the drivers who cause car accidents, but if we are really pay attention, most drivers are actually very careful and cautious—and just as afraid as you are of those crazy accident-prone drivers! What a blessing these other drivers are to you.

See how you can take the mundane and recognize it as a blessing?

2. See Nature As A Blessing

Go to a place where you are surrounded by nature. A beach, the mountains, the woods, a park, etc.. Spend 15-30 minutes there recognizing the blessing that is nature.

3. Tell Your Loved Ones That They Are A Blessing In Your Life

Recall all the people who have been very kind and helpful to you. Can you take some time today to tell some of these people that they are a blessing in you life? Send an email, call them, or tell them in person. You will be amazed at how much you will transform their day when you tell someone you care about that you consider them a blessing.

4. Meditate On “Overlooked Blessings”

When on a break, think about the fact that there are many blessings in your life you are not currently aware of. Then, take some effort to recognize them.

Usually, it doesn’t take more than a few moments before a huge revelation comes across you, and you realize how silly you’ve been for cursing your life, when life has really been very good to you.

5. Recognize That Even When Everything Is Going Wrong You Still Have ONE Blessing Left

If you are in a really difficult spot and you cannot see any blessings in your life, then please focus on your breath and realize that, despite everything, your breath is still a blessing.

The fact that you are alive is the greatest blessing of all.

6. Recognize That You Are A Blessing In Someone Else’s Life

Recognize that you are a blessing in someone else’s life.

Then, pay attention to the little things they do to make this clear to you. They may not say it to you right out, but a hug, a kiss, a note—something is carrying the message to you that you are a blessing to them. Recognize that they are trying to show you that you are a blessing in their life. Even complete strangers may be sending you this message, but you have been overlooking it. Don’t overlook it anymore. Recognize that they see you as a blessing. Then, see them as a blessing in return.

7. Look Within And Discover Your Many “Internal” Blessings

Why lying down in your bed, or in your bathtub, scan every part of your body. Scan every bone, organ, muscle, and tissue, too. Recognize that each part of you is a blessing. Forget what you consider to be your “deformities” or “scars” or “ugly” features, and simply focus on their mere existence.

After you go through each of your organs, please make sure to take some time to rest on the heart. You may become overwhelmed with emotion when you recognize what a blessing your heart is. The ability to feel love is a blessing we all have no matter where we come from. Even if we have a broken heart, we can still recognize the blessing that, at one time, we knew what love felt like. Recognize what a blessing it is to have such a huge range of emotions to experience life with.

8. Recognize Your Five Senses As A Blessing

Take a moment to pay attention to the five senses. Recognize what a blessing it is to be able to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, and to smell. Recognize the blessing of your “intuitive” sense—that gut feeling that some call “the sixth sense.” If you are missing one or more senses, recognize the blessing it is that you still have the others.

9. Stay Steadfast In Your Blessings

Towards the end of Blessings Week, you might forget to recognize your blessings, or you may feel that there is a part of you that thinks this whole “blessings week thing” is cheesy, stupid, cliché, overly sentimental, annoying, a waste of time, laughable, or something that only “spiritual” or “religious people” do.

Acknowledge this as resistance to the transformative power that Blessings Week is now unleashing in your life, and keep on with your Blessings Week anyway.

You might want to write down all the blessings you’ve noticed so far so that the blessings stay powerfully entrenched in your mind.

If you feel yourself running out of things to bless, or are exhausted by the new flow of positive energy and joy that is entering your life, it may help you to recognize how far you’ve come in just one week. The one blessing you had at the beginning of the week has now increased one hundred fold. Rest in that powerful gap for a moment, and then return to Blessings Week when you are ready.

10. Give The Gift of “Blessings Week” To Someone Else

Finally, give the gift of Blessings Week to others. If you did it right, you may have realized that this step took care of itself: when you bless others, they, with lighting speed, bless you in return and suddenly they are off on their own Blessings Week (and you never even suggested it to them—Ha!)

Witness the power of living in blessings. Recognize that living in blessings is the first step toward really transforming your life and your writing for the better.

much “I love Blessings Week!”


How is “Blessings Week” going so far, readers? Have you “fallen off the wagon” yet? If so, don’t hesitate to let us know (we won’t judge). For those who haven’t “fallen off the wagon,” help me encourage others to keep going in the comments below!

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23 comments on “10 Exercises To Help You Recognize The Blessings In Your Life

  1. This is beautiful, Ollin. Thank you.
    Today was a crazy day for me and I’m feeling a little frayed around the edges… but now I’m reminded how much I have to be thankful for. 🙂

  2. BarbaraZ says:

    Well, tried earlier and it would not work. I am not doing a specific copy and paste this time because of that. I do try daily to give thanks for various things. Some may seem very simple, but they mean a lot to me, because of what is happening in my life. Other thanks are for major things regarding life in general as well as present circumstances.

    ❤ I see a child with a disability and I give thanks for having been given 3 healthy children (now grown)
    ❤ I am a cancer surviver and developed peripherial neuropathy post chemo. I give thanks for my extended gift of life. As for the neuropathy… I can walk (sometimes it is very painful), but I can walk. There are many with this problem that cannot walk at all.

    • Ollin says:

      I know that it is very hard to see our hardships as a blessing. But sometimes if we imagine who we would be and where we would be without the hardship, we might see that there are positives that came as an indirect or direct result of the hardship. If we didn’t have the hardship, those positives would go with it. For example, my hardships have made me more compassionate and have made me more close to friends and family. This is a positive I would not live without, and yet, it only came from a hard ship. That is when I saw my “curse” was really a blessing in disguise.

      Sounds like your blessings week is going great, Barbara! Keep it up!

  3. This is lovely. I am just beginning, but I look forward to this journey into blessings.

  4. Beautiful thoughts to hold on to … and to share. Thanks, Ollin.

    • Ollin says:

      How’s the blessings week challenge going for you, Judy? I hope well!

      • Ollin … Please read my current blog. I am trying to find a blessing for this issue. That might not be possible. 🙂 Actually, I love the concept that you proposed. As Henry David Thoreau said: “Things do not change: we change.” Blessings to you.

  5. Yvette Carol says:

    Hi Ollin! This is wonderful and you’ve given me much to think about. To see each and every aspect of our lives as a blessing is to live ‘more mindfully’. And as Dr. Sanjay Gupta said on The Talk the other day, even a few minutes of being more mindful in a day is beneficial for our health. I remember and forget in cycles to see everything as a blessing, that’s the way I’m finding it so far. Your posts are a good reminder and I can feel a fresh burst of energy for it now. So thank you!!
    Yvette Carol

  6. Rich Scileppi says:

    I have a great understanding now of what a blessing is and even more important how it is much deeper than gratitude. I will practice and make this a “blessing Week” . Somehow i believe this is going to change my outlook even deeper. Thank you.

  7. RD Meyer says:

    This erminds me of a Zits cartoon I saw once. The mom was trying to get her teenager, Jeremy, to look at the bright side of things instead of being so morose all the time. He sarcastically said, “Wow, so I should just pretend things are great, like how the sun rose this morning! And smell that? Mmm, good old oxygen!” He then walked out of the house, turned around, and said, “Dang…I DO feel better.”

  8. […] browsed a few blogs as well, my eye drawn to a post over at Courage to Create called “10 Exercises To Help You Recognize The Blessings In Your Life” which led me Ollin’s post earlier this week, where he challenges his readers to spend the […]

  9. Barbarann Ayars says:

    This kind of mind and heart therapy forces the recognition of the world around us as the melange of goodness to be found even in badness. Facing the coming chemo for my illness brings recognition of the blessing of a physician, a medical team, a place in the heart which had no need to know of these blessings. Working a plan to see and value blessings brings us down to the constant flow of them around us, so often taken for granted and never acknowledged. Driving, literally, through them is a great demo of the idea.

    We are blessed to be a blessing. In the past month as my choir of sixty strong have walk this frightening path with me, I have come to see who I have been to them as they tell me how I bless their lives even as they are blessing mine. And you are sooo right: when I tell them how they bless me, the return is nearly instantaneous. I know so well that this works like balm to the soul. What you have written here is incredibly important and Weill be passed on, as someone passed it go me, like a pebble in a stream.

    • Ollin says:

      Wow. That was so beautiful, Barbarann. Your words are a blessing to me. Thank you and many blessings to you as you go through this very challenging time. Please be kind to yourself. We’re all behind you and send you our love.

      • Barbarann Ayars says:

        When I need to really focus, I find that recounting the blessings to me by another, to that person, I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of the importance of small kindnesses unrecognized and taken for granted. Out of that, Ollin, comes the recognition that in this callous world, we are, on the whole, unflaggingly kind to each other without counting it much. That, dear heart, is blessing atop blessing!

  10. Sandee says:

    Ollin, I love your wonderful suggestions. They have been just what I needed to get back onto the path of blessings. Thank you!

  11. Barbarann Ayars says:

    Today I am exquisitely aware of the blessing of the recuperative body, it’s incredible resilience, it’s power to heal itself after a surgical insult. I am blessed with a husband able to absorb this upheaval, by friends who see a strong woman needing their strength, and delivering it. I am blessed to bless them with the mirror of thanksgiving held up to them to see their own marvelous image of giving. They will bless me across the next six months as I reach for recovery. Ollin, you do us all such a great service full of blessing to show us how much balm to our lives it is to bless each other in such simple ways. We need to stop searching for those big splashes we want from life and take hold of that which we experience every day and often leave unrecognized. in those ordinary blessings we find living treasure.

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