It’s human nature to want to make our lives better but how do we make improvements to our life without upsetting our inner control freak?
Several years ago I began a new ritual after seeing a video on Facebook which suggested starting a gratitude jar. The idea appealed to me, but in the example you were told to write down something that you were grateful for each day, week, or month. While I approved of the sentiment, I was already adding my thoughts of gratitude to my daily journal. So, I improvised and made a happiness jar instead.
My jar begins on the 1st January every year. Anything that I do over the course of twelve months which makes me happy goes into it. This includes big achievements, as well as the small moments, the kind people, and the instants of pride, joy, and hope that filled the year.
2017 didn’t start off well for me. The first six months were a hard slog against depression, self-doubt, and struggling in my own skin. It all hit the fan in May when I gave in and went to see my GP. She did a wonderful thing for me – she listened. For the first time that year I felt like someone understood me. It was this simple act that turned my year around. That doctor’s appointment made it into my happiness jar! When you are living in a slump, it can be tough to focus on the positives. Using a happiness jar allows you to remember all the precious moments you experience, the wonderful people who come into your life or help you along your path, and this turns negativity on its head.
On New Year’s Eve, I open my jar, tip the contents onto the table and read all the tiny slips of paper. I light a candle, make myself a cup of tea, indulge in a biscuit or two, and focus my time entirely on the positivity of 2017. By the end of this exercise I am no longer fixated on the darker side of my year, but instead, I’m filled with hope, joy, and determination that the New Year will bring more incredible experiences to overflow my jar once again.
Some examples from my 2017 happiness jar include:
- Lunch with my friend Jane at the Rose and Crown – good company and great food.
- Visiting the Tower of London on my own.
- Going to Kenilworth Castle with my son so he could practice his photography.
- FriendsFest with my daughter and her friend at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.
- Taking full advantage of my Cineworld Unlimited pass and seeing 24 films.
- Going to Leeds with mum and bumping into old friends.
- Seeing a Panto with my good friend Nikki.
There are more coffee dates, theatre trips, concerts, author/blogger events, and a host of other happy moments from last year in my jar. By doing this exercise, I’m allowing myself to start 2018 with an optimistic vibe.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to start this great habit:
- Grab an old jam jar, or buy yourself a pretty Mason jar and decorate it.
- Keep a small notepad/paper close by so you can jot down anything that you did, or experienced, that made you smile and add it to your pot along with cinema stubs, and concert tickets.
- Keep your happiness jar in a prominent place. Mine is in my kitchen, that way I’m always reminded to add to it over the twelve months. It’s a visual reminder of all the good things in your life when you see it filling up.
Feel free to share photographs of your happiness jars with me over on my Facebook page or leave details of other New Year rituals you enjoy doing in the comments.
All that’s left to say is Happy New Year to all my blog readers. May 2018 bring happiness, laughter, love, and prosperity.