Are you Grateful for Your Life? 13 Blessings You May Be Overlooking

I’m sure there has been much pain in your life. You have probably had extreme ups and downs, and times of emotional, spiritual, and physical unrest.

This is why gratitude can be one of the most difficult virtues to uphold.

We forget that gratitude is not only about our accomplishments, what we have, or the good fortune we experience, but that gratitude comes from simply being a person alive in the world.

There are many blessings in disguise that aren’t always apparent to us, and many of these blessings are afforded to us simply for being alive!

As long as we have life, we can learn to be grateful for it, and uncover our unique human blessings despite the hardships.

Below are some broad and general blessings that you may have overlooked.

1. Wisdom

Through life we have so many opportunities to grow as a person and gain greater awareness and understanding of ourselves and world around us. This is a true blessing. Learning from our mistakes and growing from experiences is a part of the gift of life. Recognize how fortunate we are to be able to grow spiritually and reflect on our own existence in order to reach greater contentment.

2. Service

As human beings we have been blessed to able to give and serve others. We can do kind things for other people, or altruistically help another person in need, and we can get this same behavior reciprocated to ourselves. Taking an approach to give back what we have been given and help others feel better is a wonderful gift. When we grow full of gratitude and joy we can begin to share it with others.

3. Protection

We are all afforded protection. Think of the many close calls and moments where you have safely made it through a precarious situation. Most of us have a sense of security and faith that we are going to be okay in difficult times. This is something to be very grateful for. Things may not be perfect but as long as we have a sense of safety it makes it possible to experience love, pleasure, and trust.

4. Rest

If you have a type-A personality like me you are always on the go, and viewing rest and relaxation as a blessing can be overlooked. However, we all need time to restore our body and mind, and having time to relax can be one of the most valuable gifts to receive in this busy world. It provides us a new beginning and fresh perspective. Don’t take for granted the opportunity to simply relax and be restful.  Recognize your downtown as a blessing.

5. Healing/Health

If you’re going through a difficult medical situation right now, this may be hard to accept, but our bodies are made to heal. Every cut, scrape, and bruise heals in time. Focus on the magnificence of your bodies natural healing ability. Learn to cherish your health, preserve it, and when you get sick feel blessed that you will get better.

6. Guidance

We all have moments where we receive guidance, whether directly or indirectly. We are given advice and receive advice every day if we are willing to stop and notice these moments. Feel blessed when you ask someone a question and they happily give you advice. When you are able to help another person, recognize the beauty in this encounter. There is an infinite amounts of knowledge in the world that is at our finger tips. If you are uncertain about something, guidance is around the corner.

7. Purpose

Everyone has a purpose. It just needs to be discovered. When we uncover our purpose we have a whole new outlook on life and can approach each day with vigor and resolve. This is a true blessing that we can uncover a purpose beyond ourselves. This may be one of the major reasons we are alive. Consider what you do best, what you desire to offer the world, and how you can make a difference, and start following your purpose.

8. Free Will

It’s an amazing thing to have free will. We can make choices that better our life and have a sense of control. In this sense, we have control over our destiny. We can also make choices that will cause us to learn from our mistakes and become a better person. We can choose to have fun and pursue our goals at the same time. We are free to choose how to live our life despite what others may say. This is a blessing is used appropriately.

9. Abundance

We are made to experience abundance and have our hearts desires. The universe does not lack in any outlet. There is enough in the world for everyone. This relates to creative ideas, wealth, and influence. The world’s abundance may not be distributed equally, but don’t let that fool you, there is enough for everyone, including you!

10. Eternity

If there is one thing that is easily overlooked in our day to day hustle and bustle is that we are eternal beings in an eternal world. We are hear to live our a purpose until our bodies expire. There are many beliefs about what happens after we die, but one thing that seems persistent is the eternity of time, and we are a part of this. We are eternal and everlasting.

11. Love and Sorrow

Our relationships, friends, and family are something to be thankful for everyday. Having someone who can give us support and allows us to experience love and affection is such a blessing. Whenever you develop a loving relationship realize how much of a blessing this is. Cherish relationships in all the joy and sorrow they provide. As the saying goes, “it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.”

12. Patience

When you are waiting in line, sitting in traffic, or anticipating a meeting, do you ever focus on these situations as a time to practice patience? It definitely requires a perspective shift to recognize what a blessing our ability to be patient is. Patience gives us a chance to be at peace, experience the present moment, and remain contented in a world of immediate gratification. Next time you have an opportunity to be patient recognize it as a blessing and use this capability.

13. Work

Work can seem like a pretty dirty word, but labor is a rewarding part of life. I’m sure we have all complained about work at one point or another. Yet without work, where would we be? Work is the fiber of our lives, and when we find work that is fulfilling, it offers us a sense of purpose, meaning, and pride. Work is a blessing. Even if you aren’t fulfilled by your work, you can be grateful for doing good work, and for what you do well.

We all have many things to be thankful for and that we can view with appreciation. Sometimes it takes a change in perceptive to find all the blessings in disguise that surround us. Begin to incorporate some of the ideas above and consider other blessings you may be overlooking. By doing so, it will help you develop acceptance, strength, and courage to make a better life.

Photo credit: andrea.rose

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  • Tess The Bold Life

    You are correct, I”ve never been grateful for patience, rest, eternity or free will. I’ve kept a gratitude journal for 7 plus years and play a gratitude game in the care with hubs and not once have I thought of these. Thanks for making me more aware!

  • Ralph

    Wow!  Good stuff!  Great job at pointing out the things that we are blessed with and don’t even think about.  This post is very unique in that sense.  Hats off to you!

  • Sibyl

    Joe: I really loved this post and message. Gratitude really is so important and I thought what you said about the need to change your perspective if you are having difficulty finding things to be grateful for is great advice. Great post.

  • Kenya Lynem

    I keep saying on a daily basis….I am so grateful! Thank you for sharing these positive tips…

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind


    Hi, thanks for commenting! I’m glad the post could offer a new perspective. I have heard you mention many gratitude exercises you do and know this is a focus in your life. Staying grateful isn’t always easy and is something that I have to really be conscious about, so I admire your focus on it. It’s such a valuable pursuit and one where we see more blessings in return.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Ralph,

    Thanks for commenting! I have always enjoyed the idea of blessings in disguise. There are many things we can learn to appreciate if we alter our perspective. Have a great rest of your week!

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Sibyl,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I often have to remind myself to be grateful and sometimes this requires I look at things in a different light, or I consider how my expectations or comparisons are impacting what I know I can be grateful for. Often, there is much to be grateful for just for being alive.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Kenya,

    Glad to hear from you and thanks for commenting! This sounds like a wonderful reminder to tell yourself. The may we say something the more it will get ingrained in our thinking and beliefs.

  • Angela Artemis

    This was fantastic. You’ve hit on all the key elements to living happily and with gratitude! If we follow your steps we’ll find that we truly love our lives and ourselves. When you love your life and yourself you are happy.

  • Cheri Allbritton

    There ARE many blessings in disguise that aren’t always apparent (or ever apparent) that occur for us and THROUGH us for others. One never knows when something one is prompted to say or do is helping someone else in their time of need. It can be as simple as a kind word, giving someone directions or in making a modest donation to a fundraising event or volunteering service. A wonderful post Joe!

  • John Sherry

    It’s all too easy to be only grateful for life when that life is threatened or difficult as I’ve discovered over the last 12 years. It has been a sobering and maturing experience so I love your whole approach here Joe. Well done and I can’t agree more that the simple things we often take for granted are the precise gifts that we should be eternally praising.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for commenting! I think a major part of gratitude is simply learning to love life. There is so many blessings we have simply because we are human beings. We are blessed with so many unique traits and capabilities. Life is a beautiful thing and whatever we can do to illuminate this idea can help.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Cheri,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think serving others is a major area of life that can be overlooked as a grateful experience. Serving others can be big or small, but when we are looking for things to be grateful for it’s more likely we will find the blessing within these discrete and everyday moments.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi John,

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate you commenting! I agree that there are moments where gratitude seems to be more apparent which is important, however there are aspects to our life that we may never view as a blessing unless we are prompted to do so. We can be grateful for almost anything if we change the way we look at things.

  • Lori Gosselin

    Wow Joe! This is a checklist for those times when you forget to be grateful! I want to write down the 13 sources of gratitude (or reasons for) and put them somewhere I can see them every day! I read somewhere not long ago about someone (was it you!?) who said they say Thank You five times for everything they see that makes them feel grateful. I’ve been doing that lately and it’s amazing how it makes me feel! Thanks for this great article Joe!
    P.S. Interesting that you included #11. We forget to be grateful for our capacity for strong emotion, even if that does hurt sometime.

  • Sue Pownall

    Great checklist. As a type-A number 12 is one I have not thought about to be grateful for. Although when I have my sketchbook and I use the time for something else, so that is good.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Lori,

    Thanks so much for commenting! It’s always helpful to have a reminder to be grateful. I’m not sure who it is that says thank you five times, though this is wonderful idea, and I’ll have to start incorporating this in my day. Thanks for mentioning it.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks a lot for stopping by! Number 12 for me has been difficult but I started to learn that there are many ways to occupy my time, I always carry a book and always have the internet on my phone. Though, on the other hand, during moments when I don’t have anything specific to “work” on, I really try to just “be” and experience some stillness and relaxation. It has been tough, but the other alternative is to be anxious and restless, so developing patience is well worth it.

  • rob white

    Great stuff, Joe. It is incredibly empowering to be grateful for that which we can easily take for granted. Anyone can be grateful for a blue sky on a Saturday afternoon… the real challenge is seeing the infinite blessings and abundance in our moments of doubt and fear.

  • Jaky Astik

    Life is full of wonderful gifts if you look at the positive aspects. The devil of depression sometimes creeps in to make us forget it. Though, the truth is,…life wonderful..a present.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Rob,

    Yes it’s a truly special person who can find value and continue to focus on our infinite blessings amidst difficult times. In the long-run the difficult experiences are often the one’s that can help us to gain the greatest wisdom and personal strength. When we can alter our perspective and be grateful for the good and the bad we have reached a new point in our spiritual development.

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind


    Nice to hear from you again! Thanks for stopping by. You are right that life is a gift and if we can learn to tame the dragons that are trying to scare us from being free and peaceful we will experience much more of life’s wonders. 

  • Frank Jennings


    Wow! This was a very thought provoking post. I can honestly say there are several blessings I have been overlooking in my life. Now with the great tips you provided I will open up my eyes and learn to be grateful for the many things I have overlooked. I refuse to spend my life complaining. I vow to catch hold to the attitude of gratitude. Great post!

  • Joe – Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for stopping by and adding your enthusiasm! I try my best to not overlook my blessings and focus on receiving them every day. It’s tough to be satisfied sometimes but I agree with you, there is no point in complaining. Gratitude will take us much further than playing the victim!

  • Stephen Budd

    Great list. Gratitude is number one in terms of improving your life and reaching your goals. This list is a great way to look at your personal gratitude. If you just improve your gratefullness for the things in your life, your whole outlook begins to change and thus your outcomes. Thanks Joe for another great article!

  • FeliciaCorrine

    Very good post.  Thanks
    for sharing.  It is very true that many
    people tend to live in the past and simply brood over the future. But the truth
    is that we cannot control the future nor change the past. We have to move on. Take
    life as it is. I think that it is always the unwanted expectations that cause

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  • tina

    I think sometimes you get so wrapped up in your own worries you forget about all the great things that have happened in your live and the people who love and support you

  • Joe @ Shake off the Grind


    I agree, it’s easy to take the good things in our life for granted. We get used to a good situation and it becomes mundane. Instead it helps to remind ourselves each day what we are thankful for.

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  • The Real True Answer

    Well it would be very nice if God can bless me to meet a good woman to spend the rest of my life with since many of us men do need to be loved as well as giving our love in return.

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