by Terri Stewart

Rituals can make you happy, according to neuroscience. This ritual is, drumroll please, gratitude! Now, gratitude isn’t exactly a ritual but more of a way of being. But when we get stuck in a negative loop, perhaps we need to have a handy gratitude ritual. Rituals are so easy to create for our own lives (thank you for teaching me, Deborah Globus at

Rituals have four steps:

  1. Create a sacred or holy space. I use sacred and holy in the sense of healing and wholeness.
  2. Declare your intention. What are you doing? Name it!
  3. Embody your action. Do or say something that embodies your intention or moves you on the path.
  4. Closing. A simple “may it be so” or “amen” or whatever your imagination brings!

So, back to gratitude. When we are in a negative loop (and it does happen) or when we are anxious, according to an article in Time magazine, practicing gratitude “activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine.” So it actually does a thing! How can we create an easily accessible ritual that will remind us to practice gratitude?

mason jarMy first thought was to have a gratitude jar. Then I found this pinterest page: Mason Jar Crafts for Kids. It had a picture of what I’d like a jar to look like! It is decorated with shiny shells and twine. Easy peasy. Of course, I don’t have shells, so maybe another option like one wrapped in pretty lace. But I’m going to pretend I have shells for now. I will also need little strips of paper (fortune cookie size) and a pen or pencil. Ooo…colored pens! Or sparkly pens! Whatever you want to make a healing space.

  1. My jar is my sacred space for gratitude.
  2. I say, in my head or out loud, “I declare this a time to move from negativity to gratitude.”
  3. Write three gratitudes on your little strips of paper. Fold them in half and put them in the jar.
  4. Closing: May I remember to be grateful. May it be so.

That is sooo easy to do. And even if I don’t have a pretty, sparkly, shiny jar, I can stop myself and do all of the above and just say that wherever I am is sacred space. I think it is a good idea to have a physical reminder in your day-to-day territory, so I like an idea of a decorative container of some sort to remind you or even nag you into being grateful. 🙂

What are you grateful for today? How would you make this ritual your own?


Deborah Globus/LaPadre’s link to creating ritual:

Time article on neuroscience and rituals:

Mason Jar Crafts page:

© 2016, words and photograph, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

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