Happiness in a Jar
Last week I talked about writing a gratitude journal to help cultivate a happy attitude.
Another nice habit I came across this week has been the happiness jar. This project is inspired by author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert and is a simple way of noting the things that made you happy throughout your year.
The idea is that at the end of the day you think of something that made you happy that day, write it down on a piece of paper with the days date and make a daily deposit into the jar. It doesn’t have to be something big and often the happiest moments come from the simplest things.
Then when you are having a rough day/week and don’t feel very happy you can take out a few of the messages and read them. They’ll remind you of the happiness that you have experienced and will give you hope that you will experience happiness once again. It also shows how happiness isn’t a particular destination but is experienced in moments along the journey. Doing the daily ritual will also help cultivate a mindset of looking for those happy moments.
A lot of people do this daily ritual over the course of a year and at the end of the year empty out the jar to appreciate all the happy moments they had over the previous 52 weeks.
I think the happiness jar differs from the gratitude journal in a number of ways. While I may be grateful that I have a roof over my head, food on the table, a steady source of income, these things may not necessarily bring me joy or happiness. I think the happiness jar would help me focus on those snippets of my day that really light me up such as a great conversation with a friend, a walk in the beach with my feet in the sand, hearing a funny joke that had me laughing to myself for the rest of the day etc.
I feel by doing this daily ritual of focusing on what brings me joy would help me get to know who I really am as it’s said “our natural state of being is joy”.
I also think the happiness jar concept could be changed for different situations.
- To bolster confidence you could put in accomplishments (big or small), compliments received, times that you faced your fears etc.
- In a romantic relationship the messages could be specifically happy memories spent with the other person (dates, holidays, special moments). They could be things you love about your partner etc. Here you could add in momentos from special times (concert stubs, plane tickets, love notes etc) also.
- The jar could be set up for a child and every day there could be notes about a special moment, an accomplishment or how they brought a smile to your face etc. How great would it be to receive one of these from your parents when you were older? You’d totally feel loved that’s for sure!
Once you come to the years end and have opened all your notes, you could put them into a scrapbook, frame your favourite ones in a collage or even keep them in a box or jar to look back on in future years.