Last Updated on August 25, 2022 by Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley
Interested in harnessing the power of positive habits for a happier and more fulfilling life? Looking to work out your gratitude muscle? The key may lie in a jar, a gratitude jar.
The hustle and bustle of life can leave us weary, drained, and overwhelmed. Without healthy coping mechanisms in place, negative thoughts and feelings can creep in, snuffing out space to accommodate more positive thoughts.
But beyond the curveballs that life hurls at us, we all have things—big and small—that we can be thankful for. Saying ‘thank you’ for all the goodness in our lives may sound frivolous or fluffy, but research shows that building a habit of gratitude impacts us biologically, mentally, and emotionally. The simple act of showing appreciation is a potent force.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
Read on to learn about the benefits of a gratitude jar, gratitude jar ideas to create your own, and more.
So, What is a Gratitude Jar?
A gratitude jar is exactly what it sounds like; a jar that acts as a visual reminder of things we’re thankful for. You jot down things you’re thankful for on a slip of paper and toss it in the designated jar. This is a fun way to record and store all the blessings in our lives—whether it’s a positive development, a kind act, or a person.
Similar to a gratitude journal, a gratitude jar allows us to acknowledge, remember, and savor the goodness in our lives. Over time, it helps foster a positive outlook on life as a whole.
What are the Benefits of a Gratitude Jar?
Why should you create a gratitude jar? Well, simple: To cultivate a habit of gratitude. But why? Why is being thankful so important? Gratitude helps refocus our attention from what we lack to what we have. It draws us back to the present. It makes our lives more fulfilling and wholesome.
Some refer to gratitude as a “gateway emotion”—guiding us towards other positive emotions/feelings. According to research, practicing gratitude can:
- Make us happier
- Boost relationships
- Improve sleep quality
- Increase self-esteem
- Improve physical health
- Promote mental wellbeing
- Help you deal with difficult experiences
Practicing gratitude may feel contrived at first, but the habit grows stronger when cultivated—and we have gratitude jars to help us with this noble cause.
How to Make a Gratitude Jar
Got a few minutes to spare? Create your own gratitude jar and start practicing gratitude today. It’s a low-cost DIY project; making one is easy; it requires minimal commitment, and the outcome is potentially life-changing. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain with a gratitude jar.
What You’ll Need
- Lidded glass jar – bigger is better
- Paper cut into strips
- Something to write with
- Writing prompts to get you started
- Decorations for those of you who feel crafty.
Steps to Make a Gratitude Jar
- Get a jar to hold your gratitude notes. You can repurpose a storage or mason jar. Place the jar in a visible, high-traffic location such as the bathroom vanity or kitchen counter. Clear glass allows you to see the notes you stash every day, which may motivate you to keep the momentum going.
- Personalize and label your gratitude jar with whatever tickles your fancy. The idea is to make the jar stand out for aesthetic and functional purposes.
- With the jar done, it’s time to cut small sheets of paper and have them ready to go. Use whatever is available—whether it’s scrapbook paper, craft paper, or Post-it Notes. Just make sure they’re well-stored and easily accessible to make the everyday process seamless.
- You should now have everything you need to start scribbling down what you’re thankful for. You can wing it by writing whatever comes to mind or use templates/writing prompts to help get the ball rolling.
Gratitude Jar Ideas
Your gratitude jar can be as elaborate or simple as you like. The theme is positive vibes. Feel free to play around with stickers, ribbons, twine, glitter, or even paint. It all comes down to whatever makes you smile. Your imagination is the limit.
Looking to bedazzle your gratitude jar? Here are some gratitude jar ideas to spark your creativity:
- Add Your Favorite Quote: Got a quote or saying that you resonate with? Whether it’s something said by a famous person or a heartfelt piece of advice from a loved one, print it or handwrite it and stick it to your gratitude jar. This may help keep you on track with your goals.
- Mix and Match the Colors: This is an excellent gratitude jar idea to keep things fun and interesting. Cut up a bunch of different-colored papers and slowly toss them in the jar to create a kaleidoscope of ‘thank you’ notes.
- Let it Shine: Gratitude shows us that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. So why not symbolize this by wrapping your gratitude jar with fairy lights? This will not only look charming, but it’ll draw your attention to the jar and help cement a habit of thankfulness.
Gratitude Jar Tips
Habits inform our thinking, our feelings, our approach to life—and by extension, our future. Adopting a positive habit such as practicing gratitude can radically reprogram how we interact with the world.
But building a habit of gratitude is easier said than done. For this reason, we’ll offer some tips to help navigate common obstacles in your path to creating a habit of gratitude.
- Start small and build from there. Don’t approach it as a chore. Keep the activity light-hearted and fun.
- Be intentional about what you’re grateful for. Focus on things that you truly appreciate. Don’t just go through the motions to get it over with.
- A gratitude jar is personal. If you appreciate something—no matter how cheesy it may sound to another—write it down. Be yourself, be vulnerable, be open.
- Have a schedule to help cement the habit.
- Recruit other members of the house. It’ll help create a healthy culture of gratitude within the family.
What Are You Thankful For?
“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
There’s always something to be grateful for and different ways to express the emotion. Celebrate life’s gifts every moment you get.
If you find yourself in a downward spiral of ‘doom and gloom,’ dipping into your gratitude jar can take you on a pleasant trip down memory lane. The tide of love and joy rushes in, flushing out the tide of disappointment.
So, what are you grateful for today?