I saw this really lovely idea on the Power of Positivity website this week and just in case you haven’t seen it yet, I thought I would share it with you.
Not only is it a great idea, but if like me you like to give something a little more homespun in your Christmas gifts, it makes a great gift, for the right person.
It’s very simple. The idea is that you take a large jam jar and from the 1st of January every time something nice happens in your life you write a description of the event on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in the jar. On New Year’s Eve you pour your accumulated year’s worth of joy out onto the table and read through what a wonderful year you’ve had. How fantastic is that?
But it gets even better! Recently I saw a video online about happiness, from the happiness researcher and expert in positive psychology, Shawn Achor. In this video, Shawn explained how we can double our happiness quotient from any event by writing it down and describing it in great detail. Who you were with, what you ate, what you were wearing, what the weather was like, how you felt at that time – you write it all down and the very act of doing this increases your experience of happiness. He says you can then throw the paper away, but how about storing this great experience in your Jam Jar of Joy instead and having another blast of happiness at the end of the year when you look at all those lovely things that have happened in the last 12 months? That could be really amazing!
I’ve bought some lovely big jam jars and some lovely handmade coloured paper and I’m going to be giving my Jam Jars of Joy to friends and family this Christmas. I’m also looking forward to starting my own. The years pass by so quickly and it’s very easy to forget all the lovely moments you experience. It will be like a joyful diary in a jar and at the same time make me conscious of all the things I have to be grateful for.
By the way, that was another one of Shawn Achor’s techniques for increasing happiness. He spoke of a programme he introduced to some very stressed executives in a very frazzled business sector. Very simply, every day for 21 days they had to start the day by thinking of 3 things that they were grateful for. Three new things every day and by the end of the 3 weeks the happiness levels were hugely improved for these people.
So stopping to acknowledge the good things that happen to us and looking back at our joys at the end of the year sounds like a great way of starting the New Year too. I hope your Jam Jars of Joy overflow with positivity next year.