We all have those moments in life where we are filled with gratitude—enjoying a warm cup of tea, reading a card from a friend, or escaping a rain storm just at the right moment. Regardless of where it comes from, gratitude is a wonderful feeling.

Unfortunately, though, for most of us, gratitude is fleeting. It’s always dependent upon our circumstances and often doesn’t last long enough to make a significant impact on our lives. Before we know it, it’s gone again, and soon forgotten.

The good news, though, is that gratitude doesn’t have to be limited to a feeling that comes and goes on a whim. Gratitude is a habit—a state of mind—something that you can cultivate. With practice, you can learn to live a life of gratitude and nurture a state of mind where gratitude is something that you’re naturally drawn towards, rather than something that you feel only once in a blue moon.

When you are grateful, you’ll view everything that you have as a gift and make an effort to consciously be aware of just how much you’ve been given. This can lead to some surprising benefits, both in your life and in your relationships with others. Being thankful will help you to be happier, have less stress, and strengthen your relationships. It has some surprising health benefits too.

Let’s explore some of these benefits now and see how gratefulness can, quite literally, transform your life. The practice of gratitude…

Makes You Happier

When you’re grateful, you’ll be happier. In one study, participants who practiced a little gratitude over a 10-week period were 25 percent happier, on average, at the end of the timeframe. When you’re focusing on the blessings in your life, you’ll magnify the positive, and downplay the negative. This can help you to feel more positive, in general, and will do wonders for your outlook in life.

Boosts Your Immune System

While gratitude can’t cure an illness, it can help to boost your immune system. Gratitude has been linked to better health, improved sleep, and reduced stress levels. When you have a grateful outlook you’ll feel better about life in general, and may even have more energy and vitality.

May Help You Reach Your Goals

Gratitude doesn’t just provide benefits for the here and now, the benefits of gratitude can extend into the future as well. In one study, participants were asked to list the goals that they wanted to achieve in the next two months. Those who kept a gratitude journal reported more progress on achieving their goals. Studies show a correlation between gratitude, and resilience to setbacks and failures. Having the ability and stamina to press on towards your goals even in difficult times is a necessary part of reaching your goals.

Can Help Your Relationships

Gratitude can have a significant impact on your relationships. When you live in a state of gratefulness, your overall outlook will naturally be more positive. This in turn, will cause others to be drawn towards you—and will enhance your ability to build and strengthen relationships.

As you can see gratitude is nothing short of life changing.

Being grateful isn’t as hard as it may sound. Even taking a few minutes each day to stop and count your blessings is a great place to start. Consider starting a gratitude journal, and jotting down the things you are thankful for every night before bed. By consciously practicing gratefulness, you’ll be able to enjoy life-changing benefits.

How do you practice gratitude? Share in the comments below!

You’ll find a space for recording your gratitude on the daily planning pages of the Flagship Day Designer. Try it for FREE here!