Happiness Jar

This is a tool that I learned about on a Facebook post late last year written by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author who wrote “Eat Pray Love”.  I’ve been consistently using this tool since January 1, 2015 and am grateful to have come across it! This tool helps anyone, and can potentially be very beneficial to those of us diagnosed with bipolar disorder. 

What is a happiness jar? 

It is a way to have a visual reminder of happy moments in your daily life…no matter how big or small. 

How do I keep a happiness jar? 

1. Find a large jar or bowl in your home, ideally something that is clear so that you can see your notes.  If you don’t have one get shopping!  Place it somewhere in your home in which you’ll see it daily.

2. At some point in your day think about something that made you happy; personally I do this at the end of my day.  It can be anything…from a thought you had, to someone who smiled at you, to a kind word said to you, to something beautiful you saw.  

3. Write down this thought on a small piece of paper.  Fold it and place it in your Happiness Jar.  Personally I have a stack of colourful sticky notes that I use for Happiness Jar notes.

4. If and when needed, reach into your Happiness Jar and read one or more notes as a pick me up.

Common concerns/questions 

1. What about if I miss a day?  That is totally fine.  I’ve missed the odd day here and there.

2. What about if I’m away from home?  You can either put a note in your phone and transcribe them onto paper once you get home, or you can take the small pieces of paper with you and write them when you’re away.  

3. What if I can’t come up with anything happy from my day?  It could be something as elementary as being able to breathe, getting up, or being alive.

4. What do I do when my jar fills up with notes?  You could transfer them to a bigger jar, put them into a scrapbook, transcribe them into a digital file, or do a “releasing” ceremony by burning them.

My experience 

I have truly enjoyed using this tool despite missing the odd day here and there.  Simply looking at my Happiness Jar makes me feel good!  When I was away for two weeks in January, I took some sticky notes along and wrote a daily note.  Once I got home I folded them up and put them into my Happiness Jar.  In my experience, when I look for more happiness in my life, more happiness comes into my life.  I have the intention to go through my notes at the end of the year.  This is a tool that I see myself using indefinitely well into the future. 

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