Since 2013, my husband and I have had the tradition of keeping what we call a “Good Things Jar.” In January, we pick out a new jar and decorate it with the year. Of course you can create your jar any time of the year. Throughout the year, we use note cards to keep track of good things that happen. We write them down, fold them up, and place them in the jar. Finally, on December 31st, we grab a growler of our favorite beer, start a fire, make a pallet, and pour out our jar. We take turns grabbing a note card and reading it. It is one of the most exciting things we do all year! We laugh, cry, and just reminisce on the wonderful year we had together. The best part is when we pull out a card that we forgot happened.
Before we get to December 31st, it can feel like the year has been a major downer. Personally, 2017 was ridiculous. It felt like the year was out to get me… and that was all before we even had Hurricane Harvey! After the hurricane, it’s been a constant game of catch up on top of the daily crises that seem to arise from family, work, church, and friends. It’s so easy to lose track of my countless blessings. I forget to be thankful and I begin to go into a negative slump.
Here’s where gratitude comes into play. When we practice gratitude, we begin to lift ourselves out of the fog and refocus our energy towards the positive things in our life. Living a life of gratitude improves our relationships, reduces our stress, and makes us just plain happier. It allows us to see what we have and be content, rather than what we don’t and be jealous.
Let me give you some quick tips on how to practice gratitude daily:
- Notice your daily life. Find something worth celebrating in each day, even if it’s small.
- Keep a journal and write it in frequently. The entries don’t have to be long, just enough to remind you why that thing made you happy.
- When you find yourself in a not so great situation, ask yourself what you can learn from it. How can you make things better in the future? Not every situation is going to be a positive experience, but you don’t have to let the negativity take control of how you remember it.
- Try to keep yourself from complaining or criticizing for a whole day. Then push it to three days. Then a week! Use the energy you were giving to the negative thoughts for something more productive.
- Compliment someone. If you notice your coworker’s hair looks great or you like someone’s outfit: spread the joy! Enhancing other people’s day is a wonderful way to also enhance yours!
- Say thank you.
Finally, as you begin to practice daily gratitude, maybe do what I do and also keep a yearly tradition of a Good Things Jar. You will totally be surprised that although the year seems to have gotten the best of you, your jar is still stuffed to the brim with gratitude. I know I always am!
Sometimes when challenges arise in our life it can be a struggle to with the negative feelings we experience. Counseling can be so helpful in redirecting and finding a more positive path. We love helping our clients find a positive path. You can contact us here or call 832-421-8714.
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