16/12/2013 08:17 GMT | Updated 13/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Finding the Gifts in Life

When I have good days, I frequently find myself going over the details again and again, enjoying them a second and third time, as I feel the joy of my good fortune.

Should I have bad days, which don't happen very often fortunately, I find myself pouring over the details of my perceived misfortunes.

However, I can reframe those bad days by making it a daily practice to spend some time before going to bed each night to review the gifts I received that day. Regardless of my evaluation of the day -- good, bad, mediocre -- I can count the many blessings that were present.

Some days it's easy to recount the gifts I've received; on other days, I have to look much harder for the offerings of the day, but once I do, I will find there are always quite a few.

I can keep it simple and be grateful for the fact that I have a roof over my head, nature, food, and my health. Once I have fully experienced these gifts, I can move outward to the gifts that may require a little more thought such as the gifts of forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance that I may have learned that day. I can also always be grateful for the people in my life who support me, no matter how bad my day may have been.

Just reviewing the many positives in my life provides a context for my difficulties that puts them in proper perspective, but I can also make an effort to see the gifts even in adverse circumstances. This can be challenging and required some practice before it felt right, but I know we have all had the experience of a disappointment or loss leading to a surprising gain.

For instance, to take a tiny example. I saw online a lovely dress, and I knew my local shop stocked it. I went to the shop to discover that they had sold out. I was so disappointed. However, I turned around and there, on the rack behind me, was a dress I liked even more. It was in my size, it fitted well, it looked good.

So my disappointment turned to excitement in the space of two minutes. The gift of the situation was I got a beautiful dress, even better than the first.

Just remembering this and trusting the give and take of life will help us to remember that sometimes the best gifts of all are the ones we don't recognise right away. In addition, the lessons we learn in the face of adversity are gifts in their own right, allowing us to count patience, wisdom, and fortitude alongside the other gifts of the day.