I’ve written before about the power of gratitude, and how important I think it is as a self-care tool.
Gratitude is a cornerstone of staying in recovery mode rather than slipping back into depression, for me, at least.
I’ve had a number of different gratitude rituals over the years. This year I’ve made a super-simple gratitude jar, and I’m trying to use it every day.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with focusing on gratitude and appreciation in your life, then this is a brilliant option.
I’ve seen some super-fancy gratitude jars around in Pinterest-land, and you can definitely decorate yours as elaborately as you like.
For me, though, I just wanted something simple.
The fancier the tool is, the less likely I am to use it consistently. I think it’s something to do with not wanting to ‘spoil’ the beautiful journal, or waste the fancy ink.
How I Made My Gratitude Jar.
So, this is a Kilner jar rescued from the back of a kitchen cabinet. I kept pasta in it, in the dim and distant past when pasta for dinner didn’t mean using up an entire bag in one go.
The clip-top has turned out to be a really useful feature.
I found a luggage label, wrote a gratitude quote on it, and tied it to the jar catch. That was my only concession to ‘decorating’ the jar.
Making It Easy To Keep Up With.
To make it as easy as possible to use the jar every day, I knew that I needed to make sure that everything was easily accessible.
So, I raided the ever-growing stack of scrap paper next to my desk. I used a ruler to tear little rectangles of paper, just big enough to write a sentence or two.
A tiny bulldog clip holds a little bundle of paper together, and hooks nicely over the latch part of the jar. (I took off one side of the wire ‘loop’ on the top, looped it over the latch, and then put it back together again.)
I almost always have a pen within three feet of me, but I’ve clipped one onto my bundle of paper slips anyway, just in case.
That’s it. If you don’t have a clip-top to attach your paper to, try a little envelope, or tuck the paper underneath the jar. The aim is to make sure everything you need is right there. If you have to go hunting for things, you’re less likely to use your gratitude jar.
How I Use My Gratitude Jar.
My favourite time of day for gratitude is right before bed. Just before I settle down for the night I take a moment to write down something I’m grateful for today.
Sometimes it’s something big, sometimes it’s tiny, and sometimes it’s really really hard to think of something. On days when it feels impossible to be appreciative, I’ll end up writing that I’m grateful for the water in my taps. It’s all good.
When we bring our attention to the good things in life, we’re training our brains to find even more wonderful things to be grateful for. And, really, having fresh, clean, running water in several rooms of my home is pretty darn wonderful I think.
Doing it like this means that it doesn’t matter if I skip a day. It’s also a very low-pressure kind of gratitude ritual. I’ve seen suggestions to fill a page with gratitudes, or to write ten things every day. If you’re struggling with life in general, that can feel overwhelming, and might make you decide not to even try.
I’m a fan of starting with a tiny habit, and I’m very much in love with this one so far.
I would love for you to try this yourself. If you haven’t got a jar, maybe there’s a box or a biscuit tin that would do instead? Even just slipping a sentence of gratitude into an envelope each day would give you an appreciation bank to read back over when you’re finding it hard to see the sunny side of life.