One of the things I committed to doing a few years was starting a happiness jar. If you haven’t come across the concept it’s very simple – the idea is that you find a big old jar and every day you find at least one thing to be happy about every day, even on the bleakest of days – and you write it on a scrap on paper and pop it into the jar. At the end of the year you’ll have 365 reasons you were happy and at any point during the year you can pull one out at random and remind yourself of a particular moment and perhaps raise your spirits. Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, pray, love fame has written about them in a great post here if you want to find out more.
I thought it would be a fun thing to try and also a way to provide yourself with some random stimuli for personal or work related projects too. If you’re stumped creatively you could pull out one (or many) of your reasons to be cheerful and see if you can use it to stimulate an idea. You can also fill it with other things that make you happy – maybe a ticket stub from a gig or the theatre or a handwritten note from your kids. Anyway it’s free, it’s positive and something I’ve never done before which is also good for creativity so I’m going to give it a go!
I was reminded of this as it was National Happiness Day this week as I have stopped the habit of actually doing it (like so many other things).
What I have got better at since then is being thankful for small things, as well as celebrating the big milestones. I do this every night before bed – recognising 3 things that have gone well that day. It might be enjoying breakfast with my son, having a productive phone conversation with someone, getting out for a walk at lunchtime through to the big things like finishing a chapter of a book I’m writing or working with a great new client. With so much being written about self-care, being grateful can work on many different levels. In an article in Psychology Today 7 reasons to be grateful are given:
- Gratitude improves physical health.
- Gratitude improves psychological health.
- Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
- Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
- Grateful people sleep better.
- Gratitude increases mental strength.
- Gratitude improves self-esteem.
7 good reasons to give it a try!