The 5-minute gratitude exercise that’s transformed my life

It’s amazing how the first five minutes of your day affect your day. They certainly change mine. In fact, I’d say now that I do this one gratitude exercise every morning, these first five minutes have changed my entire outlook on.

First, let me just say that I am not a morning person. I hit the snooze alarm at least 3 times. I love sleep. And before I started this exercise, I would roll out of bed groggy and cranky, and that groggy crankiness would seep into the rest of my morning (and often, the early afternoon).

But now? Completely the opposite. My new gratitude exercise moments after I wake up are chocked full of happiness and positivity. It’s transformed my whole day, and I can see how the positive ripples of the first five minutes of my day are now affecting my whole life: my relationships, my business, my money and my overall happiness.

Let’s just say I’m pretty dang grateful I started doing this each morning 🙂

My 5-minute Morning SHOWER Gratitude Exercise

Again, I’m not a morning person. I really struggle to get out of bed and start the day on a “bright note.” So now when I wake up, I immediately jump in the shower. I turn on the hot water, step in and start to wake up. And then I smile, because I’m about to get into a really good mental place.

For the five minutes I’m in the shower, I think about three things that I’m grateful for. Some mornings, it’s as simple as hot water, a cup of coffee and sleep (both top of mind when I step into the shower). Other mornings I feel grateful for the people in my life, like my amazing family, or my home or the sunshine. Even on crappy days, I find small things to be grateful for.

Whatever is on my list, I soak into that feeling of being grateful, and I can’t help but smile. I step out of the shower feeling refreshed. I feel light and bright. I feel wealthy and rich. I feel full of love and happiness. I feel so incredibly thankful to just be alive and ready to eat breakfast.

And this is coming from someone who doesn’t like waking up in the morning 🙂

It starts my day off on a beautiful note. When my first thoughts of the day are focused on the good that I have in my life, I don’t feel the need for anything else. I feel complete. I feel wealthy. I feel grateful and blessed, and I feel like I always have enough, and that’s begun to permeate the rest of my day and my life.

All from those first 5 minutes in the morning.

Gratitude and Your Positivity Thermostat

We’ve all got this positivity thermostat in life that seems to go up and down like a thermometer depending on the day. Doing this gratitude exercise doesn’t erase the bad days, but it puts you in control of your thermostat and starts your day on a really high setting.

It wasn’t until I started my gratitude exercise that I realized I could actually affect how happy, wealthy and joyfully satisfied I felt. It’s made me a happier person. And when it comes to money, it’s helped me feel wealthier. I feel like I have enough. I feel less tempted to buy new things. I feel grateful for what I have. I start my days thinking of how much I have, versus what I lack.

Sure, I have off days. But I start off the day so happy, with my positivity thermostat up high. So even when the a bad “cold” day does come along, it doesn’t affect me as much. And the good days? Well, they’ve just felt even better 🙂

A 5 minute gratitude exercise to try this week

I was inspired to start my gratitude exercise after reading pieces of the book Flourish:

Gratitude Exercise

If my 5 minute morning gratitude exercise isn’t your thing, Seligman suggests starting with one simple exercise in the evening (still just 5 minutes)

Every night for the next week, take out a piece of paper, a journal or open a document on your computer. Write down 3 things that went well today and why they went well.

Anything. They don’t have to be important, just positive. Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?”

For example, if you wrote down, “I had a great conversation with my mom on the phone,” you might say that the reason that happened was that she is a thoughtful, cheerful, loving woman. Or if you have a great cup of coffee, write down that it was because you bought some awesome coffee beans.

Writing about why the positive events in your life happened seems weird at first, but it works. The idea is to associate moments of gratitude with everyday actions and people in your life. Stick with it for a week and it’ll start to feel more natural.

Over time, you’ll start to see patterns. But more importantly, you’ll start to seek good in your day-to-day life. Your gratitude radar will be on and you can’t help but look for wonderful things in your life. It’s a great cycle of gratefulness and positivity that keeps building and building 🙂

This week, there’s a lot on my gratitude list. Here’s a few things I’m thankful for:

  • A stream of good music out of my speakers that inspires me to do creative work
  • A cup of delicious french pressed coffee first thing in the morning
  • An email from a friend who told me they loved my blog post
  • The crisp chill that runs through me when I step out into the November air
  • A Skype call with someone I love
  • A cozy conversation over cookies and tea with my roommate
  • Getting lost in my library book
  • My blog and the ability to write things on the internet and share them with the world
  • You!

But truly, I want to take a moment to show my gratitude for you.

Thank you for being here, thank you for reading my comics and my words, thank you for your comments and emails and thank you for sharing what I do. It’s a great blessing in my life.

I hope you take a moment this week to exercise some gratitude, even if it’s just for 5 minutes in the shower 🙂

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7 thoughts on “The 5-minute gratitude exercise that’s transformed my life

  1. moneystepper

    What a brilliant way to start the day!

    Its so important to recognise these things to ensure that we don’t get lost in the day to day without appreciating the great things in our lives. Just because I’m typing to you on the internet, I’m automatically very lucky compared to other people in the world. Stay grateful, stay humble, stay happy!!

    Reply
  2. Veronica

    I’ll be adding gratitude to my mornings this week–I currently journal at night and it definitely makes me sleep better. I bet taking a 3-minute afternoon gratitude break would be the perfect pick-me-up at work, too!

    Reply
  3. Portia Dawson

    This article is realy a pick me up. I often feel so terrible in the morning, but after reading 5 minute gratitute, i feel guilty about most of the things, great or small I take for granted.

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Halligan Post author

      Gratitude is a beautiful way to start the day, and it’s a great way to replace guilt with something reflective and full of love 🙂

      Reply

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