3 Gratitude Rituals for Joy and Wonderment

Two Women Holding Hands, Standing on Hands with Hearts in the Palms

Did you know that it’s almost impossible to be upset and grateful at the same time?

It’s one of those universal truths that is easy to prove — just try it yourself. Being thankful flips a switch inside of you that clears out any negative feelings you were experiencing a few moments before.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” —William Arthur Ward

It may seem counterintuitive to feel grateful when things are challenging in your life. But what if this emotion became more than just a reaction to good news and was something we felt all the time?

New research is showing that a gratitude practice doesn’t only make you happier and more fulfilled, but can also save your life.

A study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine discovered that people who were more grateful had better heart health — specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.

The study’s author, Paul J. Mills, explains,

“They showed a better well-being, a less depressed mood, less fatigue, and they slept better. We found that those patients who kept gratitude journals for eight weeks showed reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers, as well as an increase in heart rate variability while they wrote. Improved heart rate variability is considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk.”

Gratitude is good for you! But don’t take our word for it. Try it out for yourself and see if it makes a difference. To aid you in some random acts of gratitude, we’ve listed 3 heart-opening ideas below.

Before we get to those, I’d like to share a little ritual we do in our house to keep the thankfulness alive and radiant. It’s our own version of grace that we say at the kitchen table every night. My five-year-old son River knows that before we eat dinner, we say “the grateful things.”

Although he’s still young, he seems to have a grasp of gratitude that inspires me, and touches deeply into something that I’m not always able to. I documented one of River’s recent prayers and included it below for you read. I hope his words inspire you too!

River’s Prayer

“Thank you, Pachamama, for this yummy delicious food that comes from your bounty and is gonna go into my body and give me the energy I need to be more kind and more compassionate, and be a better listener at school.

Thank you for the Moon that tugs on the tides and creates the weather, and for the rain that gives the plants water to drink. Thank you for the earth and all the nutrients in the soil, and all the little bugs that we can’t see that help bring those nutrients to the plants so they can eat.

Thank you to Father Sun who shines down his rays of light onto all the plants so they can grow and be healthy and give us food to eat..

Thank you to all the hands that touched this food. Thank you to the farmers who grew the food, and to the people who work in the store where we buy the food. And thank you mom and dad for cooking this meal for us.”

3 Easy Ways To Bring More Gratitude Into Your Life:

Creating a daily habit is the best way to start your internal gratitude engine and invite more joy, health, wealth, vitality, and abundance into your life. Here are 3 simple exercises to help you on your path:

1. Gratitude for a new day. Each morning, say a simple “thank you” for another new day of life.

2. Say a daily gratitude prayer for “the grateful things” at a mealtime. Choose a meal each day where you have a moment to sit and reflect on a few things that you’re grateful for in that moment.

3. Write down one grateful thing each day for the next ten days. Grab a notebook or pad of paper — or if you’re really ready to take this on, find yourself a beautiful blank journal. Begin with a ten-day practice, and each day list one thing you’re grateful for. If possible, try to mix it up, including something from each area of your life over that period.

Some gratitude inspiration, to help get you started:

  • What you like about yourself, inside and out.
  • Can you derive some bit of wisdom from a challenge you are currently facing?
  • List your favorite people and what you love about them.
  • Perhaps take a moment to focus on the good parts of your job, the work you get to do, the people you get to do it with, and the compensation you receive for it.
  • What are the things you love about where you live?
  • What is your favorite color? How does it make you feel?
  • Have you received any kind words or praise lately?
  • What are you good at? Do you have hidden talents?
  • What are you looking forward to in life?
  • Was the sky particularly beautiful today?

The opportunities to find things to be grateful for are endless. They don’t have to be big; it can be something as simple as that first ray of sunshine in the morning.

One thing I know: I’m grateful for YOU, dear reader. Without you, The Sacred Science would not be possible. Thank you — sincerely — for being a part of our community.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Founder, The Sacred Science

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48 Responses

  1. Beautiful article, I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for it and for sharing your son’s prayer, that is so kind and inspiring. Your son a blessing in your life. Love and peace.

  2. One practice we have in our home is to say 3 things we enjoyed, appreciated or are grateful for that happened during the day each day as we go to bed.

  3. I am grateful for you and all that you have shared with me. You have inspired me in many ways and made me wanting to stay curious and open to the good things in life .
    I truly appreciate and thank you.

  4. Thank you, Nick for sharing all of this with us.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    In LOVE and LIGHT and BLESSINGS, always!

  5. Your son’s prayer is so touching and beautiful! Many thanks for sharing this and for being the kind of parent who cares about the world and passes on the humility and wisdom to his child that cannot help but shape him into a wonderful human being. At age five, River is obviously already on his way.

  6. Thank you Nick for this and your ongoing posts. I read all of them and each one is like a little treat for the soul. I hope you keep up the generous gift of these postings, and know that they are inspiring with their light and generosity of spirit <3

  7. Hi Nick
    I love this post. I love your site and how it makes me feel. Thank you for creating it and fulfilling it. I am away from home just now travelling in Oz and each day I am blown away with the generosity of complete strangers with their helpfulness, patience and their time. I am being showered daily with a loving kindness for which I am so grateful and your article reminds me of this. I cannot feel anything but joy and content as each kindness carries me forward. Thank you for sharing the prayer of gratitude by River.
    In friendship

  8. I am not a vegan but do eat some meat, fish, eggs, milk but i always appreciate the animals that gave their life for us to give us some nutrients, and not to waste any of it.

    I still don’t understand how we got to eating animals because if it wasn’t available, i wouldn’t be eating meat.

  9. Your son’s prayer is interesting and, to a certain extent, cute. But it’s pretty amazing (and sad) to me that you can write a “thanksgiving” article and not mention one thing about God. He is The One who gives every single blessing that you and I receive. In the Bible (God’s Word) there is a phrase that says in I Timothy 6:17 “…God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” There you go! There are many other verses that confirm the fact that God is the Author of our blessings.
    So to whom are we giving thanks? To ourselves? To fate? To some vague something out there? Thanksgiving makes no sense if we are not offering/giving our thanks, our gratefulness to the person who gave us the gift(s). Sure, we can personally thank a person, a human being, for a specific gift they gave us. But those things that aren’t directly from humans…to whom do we give thanks? Let us remember to give our thanks to the giver of the gift. To the Giver of the gift. To God, the One and Only True God and Creator of the earth and universe!

  10. Thanks for your ideas. I’m always looking for strategies to work more gratitude into my life because it’s so easy to get stuck in negativity.

    I believe there’s an intelligence behind eveything. Lessons show up. The cause and effect of our thoughts and feelings is fast and undeniable. And it taught me about gratitude in a really tangible way.

    I recently wrote a blog post on gratitude. It took time, and I was emotionally wrapped up in the content for quite a while. It gave examples about losing someone you love to gain perspective.

    One day later, I found myself in the ER waiting area because my husband was having symptoms of a heart attack. It was exactly what I had written about. (See humansforbeginners.com/parents/index.php/2017/09/20/gratitude-habit/ if you think I’m exaggerating about the degree of synchronicity.)

    Why was it a lesson on gratitude if I already knew I should be grateful? Because I had been taking him for granted in many ways that became obvious as I sat there wondering if I’d ever see him again. I realized that night that the universe was showing me exactly the lesson I needed—and even asked for by writing about it.

    We need to figure out how to start appreciating everything and focusing on the good. If whatever we focus on shows up, better for it to be something we really appreciate!

  11. Thank you, Nick.

    I am grateful for the sun and the moon and the stars

    Infinite intelligence that washes through this organism

    I’m grateful for the play of life and death and everything, the divine dance = )

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Thank you for reminding me to be thankful. I was always thanking God for my life and getting me through after making stupid mistakes but recently it slipped my mind completely. There is really no reason for my heart to continue to beat if it weren’t for God it would just sit there. My husband doesn’t believe so one day at lunch I decided to put this before him and asked him what did he think kept his heart beating. He thought for a moment then replied my pacemaker!

  13. ahoe, brother, things are better now for this attitude of thankfulness, many people forget these simple things we take for granted. Keep high in the clouds of graittude. thanks jr hughes oklahoma

  14. Nick – I love this!!! This cannot be more imperative to our health. I am very plugged into the natural health community and you are one of my favorite people as your perspective and approach is very unique and relevant. Please keep up the great work. You were put on this earth for a purpose and are fulfilling it beautifully.

  15. I am grateful that I can see & read
    I am grateful that my heart absorbs the goodness & my spirit fed wisdom
    I am grateful for this community unknown yet we are one
    I am grateful that I can still feel & express gratitude 🕊🥰✨

  16. Many thanks for the examples of gratitude to ask yourself. I found it so helpful and inspiring.
    All the best.

  17. Reading every comments on your writing which are all interesting and make me resume by a saying of well known Belgium
    Actor : be aware ! Stay aware! And I believe that’s right and also resume the thanksgivings attitude we can practice naturally anytime anywhere and I realized it’s like a joy coming up suddenly in my heart as a surprise and a giftsooo we mustn’t stop ourselves of being thankful
    And Nick thanks to your son’s prayers and your « lovely » work💖💖


  19. I SO loved this sharing of Gratitude, and am awed and inspired by River’s prayer!
    Many blessings and thanks,

  20. I think this is one of the best posts I have read from you. It is so important for us to find gratitude every day, especially during troubled times. And it is easy; there is always something that is deserving of gratitude!

  21. Thank you for this post. Gratitude, and consciousness of it, has been on my mind lately. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been e-mailing (and sending a flower photo) every day with a friend of mine who is 96. She is a widow, cannot drive any more, and her eyesight and hearing are impaired. She has a great attitude, despite her life being curtailed in ways she does not like. Knowing her is a gift, and reminds me to be grateful for the fact that I can see, hear, drive, and have a loving husband to live with, things I might otherwise take for granted! And, during the past year, I have had one hip replaced (due to arthritis) and will have the second replaced next month. I love to walk and hike, and to garden, and haven’t been able to do much of either for a year. I hope people will think to be grateful that they can do the ordinary things (see, hear, drive, walk, run, play sports, etc.) today, because you never know when these abilities may be gone or greatly reduced. I am also super grateful that there is a “fix” for a bad hip, and that I have access to it; I know this is not true for everyone. Thank you again for this post.

  22. When my husband was ill at the end of his life, I walked every day looking for things for which I was grateful . This turned into a grateful journal. My time was limited so I chose to write down five things each day for which I was grateful. Depression lifted & carried over to my guy. This totally changed us both. My journal continues today . One of the benefits is that your brain begins automatically looking for the beautiful, the good .

  23. Thank you Nick for such wonderfully articulated wisdom that we miss to apply in our day to day life. In any of our traditiinal Indian Hindu prayers “Aabhaar” & “Daan”….Gratitude & Giving are foremost. I teach Ayurvedic , Tradirional Indian Vegetarian classes & at the start of the class, we offer a prayer of Gratitude to Mother Nature, Five Elements ( Panch Maha Bhutas) & to The Universe

  24. I am grateful there are people out in this world doing great and inspiring things by spreading goodness and truth at a time when there is so much anger and mistrust generating everyday. It gives me hope. Thank you:)

  25. Thank you for this reminder of gratitude. I go through stages of morning rituals but haven’t done ant recently concentrating on getting fit. So now i can again incorporate my gratitude and my gratitude to you for the reminder. 🙏

  26. Dear Nick,
    I am very grateful for all the wonderful positive messages I receive by you and other great coaches. Although I cannnot read all of them each day it is very supporting for me in order to boost my own energy and at the same time the one of other people and beings.
    Much love and light for you and the whole world!

  27. Thank you, Nick, for this beautiful article on Gratitude. And, sharing the perspective of a child on Gratitude! What a Blessing ‼️🙏🥰
    So grateful for your heart centered contributions to this journey in light.

  28. ¡Gracias! I’m grateful for you, for your team and for all the positive and useful things that you share with all of us. THANK YOU.