Frequently I find myself complaining about little things that really annoy me. A customer at work was rude, someone cut me up on the road, or the milk has expired when I really want a cup of tea.
All too often nowadays it is easy to focus on the things that go wrong. What’s wrong with the world and why the things that happen to us are unfair. Rarely is it as simple to see the good in a bad situation.
But why is it so hard?
We become so drawn into the need to express our opinions and frustrations, that we forget to see the wood for the trees.
But how can we combat this compulsion?
The idea behind the gratitude jar is that for a whole year you write down daily what you are grateful for that day or something that you enjoyed doing etc. You can either write one thing, three or five, this is up to you. But whatever number you pick you to have to do this daily for a year. You write down the thing(s) you are grateful for onto a small piece of paper, fold it up and store them in a jar (or box). A year later (usually on New Years Eve) you open the jar and read all of the wonderful things you were grateful for. This is a great way to reflect, practice daily gratitude and one that will motivate you on your journey to a happy life.
The science behind it
Practicing daily gratitude has many benefits, not only to your general well-being and happiness but also to your physical, emotional and mental health.
As well as helping to create a more optimistic outlook on life, the practice of gratitude can also aid in stress reduction, better quality sleep, increased energy and can even improve our memories.
To learn more, please see the biography links at the end of this article.
So, without further ado, here is how to set this fun, beneficial system up for yourself, it really couldn’t be easier.
1. Find a Jar
I was lucky enough to be given a beautiful new mason jar this last year for Christmas by the further in-laws (thank you so much, I love it!) and frankly, I thought it was too pretty to be stuck in a kitchen cupboard full of pinto beans. I did toy with the idea of using it in my bathroom for my Epsom salt but I already have a jar for this and it seemed pointless switching them out.
Then the light bulb moment came and I knew this little mason jar was meant to be my new gratitude jar.
So, step one was nice and easy. What now?
2. Something to write on
I love Pinterest and recently I have seen someone making lovely tiny colored origami stars and I thought this would be perfect for a gratitude jar as it also adds to the visual appeal. Unfortunately, I am kinda clumsy with small things and this was not something I felt I would be able to reproduce on a daily basis. However I loved the idea of bright colors and so I have used red, blue, green and yellow memo pages from a block I keep near my desk to create my gratitude paper.
All you really need for this is some small strips of paper. I have cut mine into five strips as my jar is not that big and I do not want to accidentally fill it half way through the year (It would be great to have that much to be thankful for though!). You can either use a guillotine or a pair of scissors for this.
If you decided to use your gratitude jar as a family, you may want to color code your paper for different family members so that on December 31st you can see who was grateful for what throughout the year.
3. Something to store it in
For my strips of paper, I have made a little holder out of an old money envelope which I
have stuck to the back of the jar using double sided sticky tape. This works quite well in my option as everything is together and I will have no excuse not to contribute to the jar on a daily basis. Not only this, but it still looks nice and minimizes the possibility of clutter building up around the jar or looking untidy.
4. A place to put it
I have opted to put my jar in my office cupboard by the mail station. This is somewhere I go every day so I will see the jar but also somewhere that it is not liable to get knocked from the workspace or damaged in any way. If you have more than one person contributing to your gratitude jar you may wish to place it in the mainstream part of the house such as the hallway or the kitchen.
5. Find things to be grateful for…
This next step may not sound so easy but rest assured, once you go looking for things to be grateful for, you will soon be running out of space to write!
Things to include can be as simple as the people you love, having a roof over your head, the family pet, your job, or the kindly stranger who stopped to help you change a tire. Once you start looking there is no end of things to be grateful for, it’s great fun to do and will make you feel great, I promise.
So there it is, how to make a gratitude jar. Why not give it a go? I would love to hear about the things you will be putting in yours, so please leave a comment below. Happy Writing!