Does Counting Your Blessings Help With Depression?

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I regularly suffer from depression and have since I was a child.

Thank God that in my 40s I was finally diagnosed with clinical depression and my doctor started me on a low dose of medication. Just enough to stop the rollercoaster ride of extreme highs and depressing depths.

That said, I’ve always been an optimist and have been described as someone who wears “rose-coloured glasses”.

So it wasn’t difficult for me to start a daily journal to list my blessings. Every day, I wrote out 5 things that I was thankful for.

Most days, it was easy. I have lived a privileged life and have grown up with two parents and three older brothers who loved me.

But those days when I felt severe blues, the guilt of knowing that I “shouldn’t” be feeling bad because of all the good in my life was almost unbearable.

I could list blessing after blessing that I felt thankful for. So why was I feeling so depressed?

It just made me feel worse.

I have since realized that the only thing to lift me out of the muck and the mire is in talking to a friend. A special Friend. Jesus.

He is the only One who can bring me out of my depression and change my outlook.

I love the prayer in Psalm 51:10 that says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

This has become somewhat of a mantra for me on dark days. It reminds me to not just look at my blessings but to look outside of myself.

To create a pure heart for me includes looking to others. How can I help someone else?

When I take the emphasis off myself my mood improves.

God works within me to lift the depression and help me to focus on others.

I still count my blessings and thank Him for His many gifts, including the miracle of medication that changes brain chemicals. But my prayer includes asking Him to renew me from the inside out.


(First featured on Medium platform February 20, 2021)

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