Gratitude is, hands down, one of the most powerful practices that you can use to radically transform your life. And it all starts with the first five minutes of your day. When you begin your day with purpose, you forge a connection with your inner self, which allows miracles to happen. However, if you’re like most people, upon opening your eyes each morning, you automatically reach for your phone or alarm clock and either hit snooze or start checking email and social media. Or, perhaps you’re one of those folks who jump out of bed, and immediately start ‘doing.’ You make your bed. Go to the bathroom. Brush your teeth. Take a shower. Get dressed. Like a well-oiled machine, you run on autopilot and you get stuff done – everything in your life is planned and your schedule rules your life. Or, are you like Oprah, who says that the first thing she does in the morning is to say, ‘thank you,’ expressing gratitude for another day of life? Of course, there are many people who find themselves somewhere in between. Regardless of which camp you’re in, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably aware of the concept of gratitude, and have heard about how starting your day with gratitude and intention can lead to a more positive, fulfilling life. Yet, have you taken the time to really understand the reasons you should be implementing it into your own life?

Throughout my own life’s journey, I’ve found that there are five key benefits to starting your day with gratitude.

1. By practicing gratitude, you forge a greater connection to the universal energy that connects us all. This, in turn, allows you to be your best self. When living from a place of connection, resistance fades away and life flows like never before. You will find yourself less stressed, less anxious, and more decisive. Your creativity flourishes. Ideas come to you with ease. In short, you become the person you were always meant to be.

2. Gratitude also keeps you in the present moment. When we focus on what we have, we are able to give our full attention to whatever task is at hand, or, whatever person is with us. Completing even the most mundane of tasks becomes easier, whether it be at work or at home. Our relationships improve, as we’re able to be truly present with our friends, family, colleagues, and the random people we meet on the street.

3. Practicing gratitude also allows you to create a greater peace of mind. When you’re in a state of gratefulness, your worries lessen. Because you now understand that you are so very lucky. You know that all is well, and, that all will work out.

4. Another benefit of gratitude is that it allows you to attract greater abundance. By focusing on what you have, and the beauty that is present in your life, you will attract more of it. This is why, on those days when you wake up on the ‘wrong side of the bed,’ it seems like everything goes wrong. Because, in fact, you’ve attracted it by focusing your energy on those negative things. If instead, when something in your day goes badly, you take the time to reconnect to your inner self and focus on gratitude, you might just find that that negative something was an isolated occurrence.

5. Perhaps most important of all, practicing gratitude allows you to feel greater joy. Your whole outlook on life changes. You see the world through different eyes. Instead of looking at the world and seeing what it lacks, you chose to see that there is beauty in everything.

So, how does one go about practicing gratitude?

Start small. I also practice to start my day by saying ‘thank you’ upon waking up each morning, showing appreciation for my lovely bed, the sun shining and birds chirping. At bedtime I also reflect on my day and choose one thing I was grateful for. Express your gratitude for your children, your partner, your pets, your home, the pillow beneath your head or the sheets or blanket, which cover your body. Give thanks for the roof over your head or the clean water running through your pipes. It doesn’t have to be grand. Just start giving thanks for something…anything.

I find keeping a gratitude journal, taking a gratitude walk, encourages us all to be intentional about the practice. Write down one to five things you are grateful for each and every day. Take a walk and really pay attention to what’s around you. Then, give thanks for all that you see, whether it be a dog, a smiling baby, a flower, or, the ability to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

However you choose to practice gratitude – and do what works best for you–do it with intention. And watch, as your life begins to change.

What are YOU grateful for?