I have always preferred to think of myself as quick-witted. But, since I have spent the past couple of years taking a good look at myself, I have to be honest and admit, what I really am, is snarky. I love sarcasm. And those of us who do, do not often have the most optimistic outlook on life. I know I will never be a complete Little Ms. Sunshine, but I have been working on at least being a bit less dark.
So, when I saw that many of my friends had created “Gratitude Jars” at the start of the New Year, I joined in and created my own. What exactly is a gratitude jar? Basically it’s a jar (or basket or container) that you fill with notes, thoughts, and scribbles about something that you are thankful or grateful for. Some people add something on a daily basis, some do it randomly, and some add things when they are having an especially hard time.
You can be as elaborate or as simple as you want, going as far as decorating your own jar, to doing what I did and repurposing a jar that had been gifted to me filled with seed packets. As for reviewing your gratitudes, this also is entirely up to you. Some people do it at the end of the year, some involve their whole family and read some at Thanksgiving, and others, like me, read them when they are having a really tough day.
While there are certainly web pages and apps you can use, I have found that the process of actually writing them down and doing it “old school,” helps me to unplug and get more in touch with my feelings and what I am actually thankful for.
Here are the reasons I think they are helpful.
1. You are forced to stop and slow down at least once in your day because you think about things in a different way, not just on autopilot.
2. You get an unexpected smile each day from thinking about those things or by taking a peek at some of your “gratitudes.”
3. You realize how awesome your life really is. My jar has helped me to stop focusing on the one or two things that make it seem like it sucks. That’s not to say that sometimes really bad things don’t happen, but by looking at the good things you realize that in each day, no matter how small it might seem, there is always something to be grateful for.
4. You learn what things in life are really important to you. I don’t put something in every day, and even in the short time I have done it, I have gotten back in touch with my real self, with the things that really matter to me. I already see a pattern of the things in my life that have meaning.
5. It motivates you to bring the things important to you into your life, and to get rid of or change the things that aren’t and that do not bring you any joy or add to your life.
Have you created your own jar or use something similar? I’d love to hear your ideas so please share them in the comments section.