Instilling a positive new habit usually requires hard work and lots of time – but not if you want to practice gratitude. By creating a gratitude jar, you can launch into the new year with a new habit of thankfulness that is easy to set up, requires seconds a day, and is practically free!
Writing down what you are thankful for is more powerful than just thinking about it – and seeing the slips of paper in your jar grow is a concrete reminder of just how good life really is.
Harness the Power of Positive Habits
We all know that bad habits are hard to break. That's because habits alter the basic components of who you are on a very deep level. Habits structure how you think, what you feel, and how you see things. A positive new habit like practicing gratitude can reprogram you to interact with the world in a different way, affecting not just your emotions but your behavior as well.
Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
Practicing gratitude has numerous psychological benefits that help people feel happier and less stressed. Counting your blessings balances the effects of negative emotions like jealousy, resentment, disappointment, and grief. It’s often prescribed as part of cognitive behavioral therapy to treat anxiety and depression.
Feeling thankful also improves your physical health, according to a 2013 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. People who practice gratitude feel healthier and have fewer aches and pains. They’re also more likely to take care of themselves with regular exercise and medical check-ups.
Why Gratitude Jars Work: They Are Easy, Fast, and Free
- They’re basically free! You probably already have all the basic components, and if not – you can buy them for under $5.
- Gratitude jars are a visual, tangible reminder to help you press pause and give thanks.
- They require a minimal time commitment. It takes just a few minutes to set up a gratitude jar, and only seconds to scribble down something that you are thankful for every day!
Got Five Minutes? Set Up Your Gratitude Jar Right Now!
Begin by gathering these items from around your home. Don’t worry about the jar size or paper color or type of pen – for now, just grab what’s handy and go. You can always upgrade later!
- One lidded glass jar with the label removed
- One pen, pencil, or marker
- Plenty of slips of paper
Put everything in a highly visible location that you frequent often, like your kitchen counter, bathroom vanity, or laundry room. If your jar has a metal lid, you may want to cut a slot in it for easier access to the jar. Just be careful with that knife. P.S. – Aren’t you thankful for knives? And jars? And pens?!?!
Write Down One Specific Thing You Are Grateful For
Start small: set a goal of writing down one thing that you are thankful for each day and adding the slip to your gratitude jar. Be as specific as possible. You can add to your gratitude jar first thing in the morning, right before you go to bed, or anytime in between. Just remember: the days when you feel the busiest are the most important days to stop and give thanks. Take a deep breath while you’re at it!
Encourage other members of the household and visiting guests to write down what they are thankful for and add it to the jar. Kids can get in on the act, too. It’s the easiest habit ever to pick up, but it can truly change your whole outlook.
And finally, on those inevitable days when you feel down in the dumps, overwhelmed by life, or just plain pissed off – reach into the jar and read a handful of slips. Seeing physical proof of your wonderful life is a powerful, soul-soothing balm.
Thank you for reading!
Related on Organic Authority