With Thanksgiving just passing, I felt compelled to share my recent discovery. This practice was inspired by my friend, Sarah Brantley, and Rhonda Byrne’s world-renown book, The Secret. Every morning, when I wake up I say five things I am grateful for. Since committing to this exercise only a few weeks ago, my life has changed. We’ve all heard the quote, “Start each day with a grateful heart.” Although that might sound cliche, I’m here to tell you, it’s worth it. Over the past few weeks, my view on life has shifted by simply taking a few minutes out of my day to reflect on what I have.

Many of us don’t realize how often we focus our attention on the negative aspects of life. The Secret’s chapter, Powerful Processes, reveals how to change your way of thinking from negative to positive. Dr. Joe Vitale explains, “What can you do right now to begin to turn your life around? The very first thing is to start making a list of things to be grateful for. This shifts your energy and starts to shift your thinking.” He continues by explaining how obsessing over things you don’t have will bring more negativity into your life. Feeling as though you do not have enough isn’t going to bring you happiness. Instead, you will feel ungrateful and in return incomplete. The key is to focus on what you do have.

After coming to this realization, I have consciously made the effort to say “thank you” and to reflect on what I am grateful for each morning when I wake up. Some days I am grateful for how my mom raised me or having two legs, other days I am thankful for my electric toothbrush or being able to get my nails done. It doesn’t matter how big or small your item is – what matters is how grateful you are.

Now when I splatter toothpaste on my shirt, my entire day isn’t ruined, instead I remember how much gratitude I should have. This exercise only takes me a few minutes, and I never repeat what I am grateful for. I always challenge myself to think of something new to say. It might take me a minute longer but it leaves me feeling more satisfied. I now find it impossible to “wake up on the wrong side of the bed,” because as soon as my feet touch the ground I am thinking of something I am thankful for. This automatically shifts my attention and mood to feeling happy, humble and hopeful.

I know life can have its challenging moments, and it’s not always easy to feel happy. Reflecting on what you have is a great way to start your day, and can grant happiness before you even get out of bed. This daily practice not only increases gratitude but enhances your life significantly by promoting happiness and positivity.