YOUR GRATITUDE JAR

Lisa-Michelle Kucharz


Many people keep a gratitude journal, recognizing the benefits of writing down things for which they're grateful. I recommend keeping a gratitude jar, which has the same benefits of the journal plus the opportunity to watch the contents grow and to increase happiness by noticing it every day.

Keeping a gratitude jar should be made simple. First, you'll need a glass jar and paper. Then, write down one to five things for which you're grateful daily, a few times a week, or even just once a week. Sure, you can write more than five, but don't pressure yourself. For each item, you can write a sentence or just a word, whatever is meaningful for you. As you write, think intently on what you're writing and try to feel the positive emotions associated with the people, places, and things.

Make your gratitude practice a routine, at whatever time a day works best for you.

Place your jar somewhere you can appreciate it, whether it's near items in your bedroom you need each morning, on your desk, or wherever you will see it regularly.

To reap the benefits of a gratitude practice, you do not need to reread what you previously wrote, although some people add this step annually, quarterly, or even monthly.

According to research by the world's leading expert on gratitude, Robert Emmons, Ph.D., University of California professor of psychology and founding editor-in-chief of "The Journal of Positive Psychology," following a gratitude practice can help people reduce stress, sleep better, make progress toward achieving goals, be more alert, have more energy, feel better about their lives, and improve health and overall wellbeing.

Discovering a gratitude practice that works for you is worth it.