The idea behind the Happy Jar game is simple – write your happy feelings and revisit them from time to time. A lot of people have a tendency to focus on negative aspects of life rather than the positives. This was originally a defense mechanism, designed to keep us safe and alive. Although this is an innate habit, it is possible to change it. If you want you and your children to feel happier every day, the Happy Jar game is a powerful tool to rewire your mind to recognise and appreciate the positives before negatives.
1. Choose a large jar (or bowl), ideally clear one so that you can see your notes.
2. Keep your jar, paper and pens somewhere easily accessible. With your kids, write something – big or small – that made you happy in the day on a small piece of paper. The notes should be short. Fold the paper and place it in your Happy Jar.
3. If and when you have difficult time, reach into your Happy Jar and read one or more notes that will lift you up.
The Happy Jar habit encourages you to seek positivity and keeps your mind focused on the positive aspects of life. The practice of writing down positive takeaways each day is a form of ‘gratitude journaling’, and accumulating studies show its positive benefits to mental health such as, better sleep, less stress, higher positivity and self-esteem enhancement. These are core elements for a resilient mindset. If we look for more happiness in our life, more happiness comes into our life.
Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and other works says about it: “It’s a wonderful gratitude exercise. It’s a remarkable thing for me to go back and pull out of that jar evidence of those happy moments. I marvel at how I would have forgotten these. They’re never major moments, never the rock star moments in life. Instead they’re the quiet moments that filled me with an unexpected sense of pleasure. They’re so easily overlooked and I love that I have them recorded for myself.”