Starting a happiness jar could help you to practise gratitude throughout lockdown – an activity proven to help boost our mood.
There’s no denying that we’re going through a massively difficult time right now thanks to the coronavirus crisis, some more than others. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, it can feel hard – transgressive even – to “look on the bright side” and try to find happiness, especially when so many people have been affected by the ongoing crisis.
But striving to boost our mood and stay positive is still incredibly important for our mental health. While the normal things we might find happiness in – such as a meal with friends or laugh with our colleagues – may be out of our reach right now, it’s still possible to find moments of joy in previously inconsequential things. And that, my friends, is where the art of practising gratitude comes in.
The art of practising gratitude has long been a tool recommended to people looking to boost their wellbeing. Whether it’s through a journal, telling others how much you appreciate them or simply prompting yourself to smile more often, there’s something to be said about making a conscious effort to recognise the good in life.
And while you may feel inclined to dismiss the practice as another wellbeing “fad” taking over the internet, research has shown practising gratitude can have a whole host of benefits, from improving our physical and mental health to helping us sleep better and increase our mental strength.
During the current situation, when so many negative things are happening, it can feel particularly difficult to be grateful for the things we have. And that’s where a relatively simple wellbeing project could be a big help.
Starting a “happiness jar” – a place where you write down the positive moments of your day and week and store them for safekeeping – is the perfect way to put yourself in the right mindset for the rest of the year. As we’ve already established, the practise of gratitude employed when writing down the positive moments can be fantastic for your health – and the little slips of paper themselves also have an important purpose in helping us through the low moments.
And while many people typically start their happiness jars at the beginning of the year, now could be the perfect time to get started.
“I have quite a few patients that do this,” explains Daniel Fryer, a qualified psychotherapist and author of The Four Thoughts That F**k You Up… And How To Fix Them. “They get a bell jar and throughout the year every time something nice happens they write it on a post-it note.
“Then, in the January of the next year, they pull out a post-it note every day and remind themselves of the nice things that happened over the year – and that sails you through what is supposed to be the most depressing month of the year.”
In this way, the happiness jar has not one but two benefits – the practise of gratitude all year round helps us to appreciate what is good in our lives (and comes with a whole host of scientifically-proved benefits) and the end product can help us to make it through the supposedly “depressing” days of January.
If you want to start a happiness jar, all you need to do is find a suitable container (it can be a jar, box or even an old pot or tub) and start writing down your positive moments. It’s up to you how often you write something down; you can make it your mission to write down three positive things that happen every day, or chose only to write down a few moments that stick out from every month.