Look for the Good – What is a ‘gratitude jar’ and why do we all need one?
The newsfeed on TV and our social media seem to be filled with disasters on both a large and small scale. We face a constant barrage of awful stories from the most remote corners of the globe.
Gloom and doom seems ever-present each time we power up a device. It seems like we are surrounded by bad news everywhere we look.
I think to be fair, in the past we had less exposure to news items. There was the daily paper or the 6 o’clock news broadcast. Any truly important newsworthy items could be found in one of those two sources.
“The newsfeed on TV and our social media seem to be filled with disasters”
Now that we have a 24 hour a day 7 days a week news-cycle, the content in these feeds need to be constantly added to and updated. Items that in years before were considered local news now find their way into the worldwide news feed.
It has been shown in the research that anxiety and depression is on the rise among all age groups – but particularly in teens. This is a world-wide phenomenon. It isn’t limited to our street, our neighbourhood or our community.
“Anxiety and depression is on the rise…particularly in teens”
This worries me as an individual but it worries me so much more as a mother.
You see, our kids live their lives on their mobile devices – laptops, iPads and the ever-present mobile phones, which means that they see this negative narrative constantly.
“Our kids live their lives on their mobile devices”
I read recently that the greatest weapon we have in our safeguarding our mental health is choosing our thoughts wisely. This resonated with me.
We can choose to look at, and focus on those dark and awful news stories or we can choose to refocus and shine a light on the good and positive things in our lives. I know that sounds like a really big task but it can be as simple as very small daily or weekly ritual or habit.
For years now I have tried to help my kids with looking for joy and light in their day – every night at dinner we each share our “three good things” about our day.
They don’t have to be great achievements or world-changing events. They can be as simple as being grateful for a lovely meal cooked for them or sunshine on their face on the way to school or a kind word from a friend.
All those tiny little good things add up!
So last year we had a tough year. Not massive big disasters, but seemingly many little small scale challenges and hardships that just wore us all down little by little. Wow, were we happy to see the end of 2018!
So over the Christmas break I made a gratitude jar for my desk. My idea was that each time we have cause to celebrate we pull out one of the little tags inside and write down our good thing and drop it in the jar. Once again, I am not talking Nobel Prize winning type occasions.
“Each time we have cause to celebrate we…write down our good thing”
“As simple as a girls lunch or coffee with lovely friends or getting joy from meeting a stranger’s puppy on the beach, finding some lovely sea glass, watching rosellas on our bird feeder whilst we eat brekky, or one of our fabulous kids coming home from university for the weekend!”
“I am not talking Nobel Prize winning type occasions…[it can be] as simple as a girls lunch or coffee”
All good positive events – I bought a fab pen to drop inside and added a bunch of blank cards ready to collect our good moments.
At the end of the year (or hey, before then if we are having a really bad day) we will pull out all the little tags and review our pile of golden sunshine!
My plan is that at the end of the year I will buy a cheap and colourful little notebook and glue the tags in to make a collection of all of our highlights and to clear the jar ready for the year ahead. I can see this jar is going to bring us much joy in the years to come.
So we know that life is full of challenges and celebrations …. moments good and bad.
Life is good, not perfect, right!
Our gratitude jar is not about having no hardship or having a perfect “instagrammable” life but simply about choosing to focus on our blessings.
Our little gratitude jar has now become a favourite gift for friends and family. The kids drop a few tags into the jar before we gift it telling the person some of the things they LOVE and are grateful for about the person
There is no greater gift than the gift of being loved and appreciated.
Our Gratitude jar is enriching not only our own days but the strengthening the relationships we build.
Kathryn is a wife and mother to 4 children. The family have now settled back in Australia after time spent in Hong Kong and The United Kingdom. Her aim was always to have the children raised in an Australian household – even if that was overseas. The challenges faced and blessings enjoyed whilst living in foreign cultures and adjusting and adapting helped to shape her gratitude focus. Kathryn is a medical sonographer and in addition to working in her chosen profession she also works in the family business. She is passionate about photography and enjoys capturing the beauty of the coastline in her local area in her free time. Her passion for photography and travel have also combined to see her published on the topic in online travel publications.