The Gift of Gratitude
Do you ever struggle with trying to stay positive and see the good in a situation when things aren’t going your way? For me, it happens more often than I’d like. But, the good news is that it is possible to rise above your circumstances and adapt a brighter perspective no matter what’s going on in your life. It starts with giving thanks, and I’ve found a crafty solution to do that in any situation on any day (not just that one day a year we’re thankful we’re not that poor turkey that ends up in the oven).
I got this great idea from Pinterest, and I think it fits in perfectly with the holiday season. It’s called a “Gratitude Jar”, and here’s how it works: when you’re feeling happy, grateful or sentimental, write down something you’re thankful for on a piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in the jar. Then when you’re feeling down or discouraged, you can reach in the jar and read something uplifting. Just this morning, I reached in and pulled out a paper on which I had previously written: “I am thankful that I am fully equipped to carry out my life’s purpose.” “Whoa”, I thought. I was struck by this timely reminder, as I had just been doubting myself and my abilities the moment before. This reassuring note of gratitude gave me the boost I needed to continue on with a productive, more energized day.
GRATITUDE is the attitude I want to have as I live my life, because it fills my heart with peace, joy, and love. And then from this place of gratitude and contentment I am able to persevere through all of life’s challenges. I want you to feel empowered to do the same. An article titled "In Praise of Gratitude" in the November 2011 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Newsletter reports similar benefits of a grateful attitude: “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” You may not always have a Gratitude Jar around when you want to reach for an uplifting note, but getting into the habit of being thankful will help you live a higher quality, more inspired life.
Some practical places to keep a Gratitude Jar include: your desk at school or work, your locker, your car (for days when traffic is unbearable), or on the table as a small centerpiece, for use as a conversation starter at dinner or a party. After making my own jar, I placed it in the kitchen near the door where people frequently walk by, so that we who live there can be reminded of our blessings multiple times per day. And one of the great things about the Gratitude Jar is that it’s inexpensive to make, so you can make multiples, either to keep for yourself to put in different places, or to be given out as gifts! Perfect for the holidays.
You can purchase a Gratitude Jar online or simply create your own following these instructions:
Remove the top from a mason jar, wrap the jar in a ribbon, give it a label, and voila, you have an inexpensive gift that will keep on giving throughout the whole year (or, if you're more crafty than I am, which is highly probable, you can come up with your own design). Add a loving touch by inserting a few things you’re grateful for about the recipient.