How to create a simple gratitude habit
I used to have a joy jar.
Every time something happened that made me happy, no matter how small, I’d write it on a postit and pop it in the jar. At the end of the year I’d pull out all the postits and reread them.
I used to look forward to that day, surprising myself with great things that I’d forgotten about.
It always made me feel warm and gooey inside, just as looking at the notes piling up reminded me that no matter how hard the year was, there were also many moments of light.
I don’t know why I stopped doing it but I’m bringing it back.
Research suggests that having a gratitude habit has many positive effects on health, resilience and emotional control. Of course there are studies that say the opposite as well.
What I do know is that the act of writing down something great that happened, and putting it in the jar and seeing the notes pile up in the jar and then reading over them on New Years eve fills me with joy.
Give it a go for a few weeks and see how it feels. If it feels good, keep going, if not, ditch it.
I like the visual reminder of the joy jar but if it’s not for you try a notebook or a calendar prompt to write in a word doc.
The key to making this a successful habit is to make it as easy as possible.
I’ve put my jar next to my desk, there is paper and pen at the ready and there are no rules.
It something made me smile, like the light at dawn through the window, feel loved, like my husband making me nachos for dinner or is significant, like starting with a new client, it goes in.
It’s usually the little things that strike me the most when I read over them again.
There will be times where I miss a few days or even weeks. That’s ok, I can think back and write a note for all the things I remember or just start from that day.
This is my jar:
The point is to capture the moments in your year that made you feel good to give you an insight into what those things are so you can do more of them, notice what is missing so you can start doing them and to reassure your Chimp that life isn’t all bad.