Starting a “happiness jar” could help you to practise gratitude throughout 2020 – and provide a mood-boosting tool for next January.
Let’s not beat around the bush: mid February can be a bit dreary. Alongside the fact that the determined spirit with which we set our news year’s resolutions is now way out of the picture, we’ve also got to deal with all the disgusting weather conditions the month throws our way.
But just because the month itself is looking a bit dismal, doesn’t mean we need to succumb to feeling low and unmotivated. 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.
At this time of year, when many people are feeling the effect of the financial strain of Christmas and experiencing SAD as a result of the dark and dreary weather, 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 of January… 2021.
“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.