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I can't believe we're a couple of weeks into the new year already!
How's it been so far?
This year I started a gratitude jar. I had tried to create one a few years ago but I wasn't committed and it just didn't work... after just a couple of days!
But now I appreciate and value the difference in my mindset that a daily gratitude ritual creates. And the important role that gratitude plays in self-care and self-love. So, I thought I'd create a visual reminder on my working desk that I could contribute to daily.
And I thought it a fun and unique idea until, that is, I read about Eliizabeth Gilbert's "Happiness Jar", only yesterday, and realised that, well, great minds think alike.
So what is a gratitude (or happiness) jar?
It's simple, really.
You grab a jar, preferably transparent (mine's a tall spaghetti glass jar), a bunch of colourful paper and a pen. Have it somewhere where you'll be every day (I have mine on my desk in my office space). Then at the end of every day sit down and pick out one thing that you were grateful for that day; one thing that really made you happy, write about it (in detail) on a piece of paper and pop it into your gratitude jar.
And if you have a number of things you were grateful for in any one day (and as time goes on, you will easily be able to find more than one) choose the one that made your heart sing the most, the one that was truly special to you, and write that one down before popping it into your jar.
As the days go by your jar will start to fill up with colourful little notes of gratitude.
Then at the beginning of next year, open your jar and read all the gratitude notes you wrote and remember the amazing year you've just had.
So we're now 2 weeks into the year (it's not too late to start) and I've been committed to writing my daily gratitude note. But I can tell you, it hasn't always been easy.
At first it can feel a bit awkward trying to pick something out from your day that you feel grateful for because that something might, at first, seem too small or too common or too regular.
But, you know what? Pick it. Even if it happens regularly, write about it one time because we too often take for granted the beautiful things that happen daily. Even if it seems too small to write about, write about it because it's important to appreciate even the small things in our life.
Write about how the sun shone on your face while you were meditating. Write about how someone smiled at you while you waited at the tram or bus stop. Write about how someone let you board the train before them.
If you start small without high expectations, you'll stick with it and it'll become a habit that you enjoy. And before you know it the things you write about will feel bigger because you'll be starting to attract much bigger things into your life that you can be grateful for.
And what about days that don't feel so good? We can't be expected to be all bright and breezy, all happy and cheery all the time. that just wouldn't be natural, would it?
Well, of course we're going to have 'off' days when walking through life can feel a bit like wading through treacle. It's only 2 weeks into the year and already I've had a couple of those days.
But I consider those days to be even more special. Because it can be harder to find what you're grateful for in those days. But when you do, it really does lift your spirits.
Take today, for example. I had a really tough day today. I've had a really tough weekend, to be honest, as I came face to face with a couple of painful home truths. And all day, while I was feeling down and low, a little voice in my head was chirping (almost panicking), saying "What are you going to write about tonight for your gratitude jar?"
Because, you see, I'm now in a rhythm of writing something every day and I don't want to miss out on a day. So I felt inspired, obliged, whatever you might call it, to find something to write about.
And I found it. I was able to write about something that came out of the bad day I was having and how it turned things around for me and made me feel a lot better.
And that's one of the greatest benefits of having a gratitude jar. When you're having a down day, which we all experience, it helps you find something positive in what can, at first seem, like a very negative day.