Tag Archives: happiness jar

All Those Happy Moments

Photo 2015-01-15, 9 51 27 PM

It’s only been eight days since I started keeping a Happiness Jar but it’s already been pretty interesting so far. It turns out keeping a Happiness Jar isn’t just about remembering to write out a happy moment from the day onto a slip of paper to put into your jar.


I’m more likely to notice now when I’m happy. It sounds kind of strange when I put it like that – what, you mean you didn’t used to know when you were happy? – but sometimes I can be having a happy moment and, because my mind is somewhere else, I don’t even realize it. But now that I know I’ll be filling at least one slip of paper at the end of the day – and hopefully several slips of paper, because there’s a lot of room in that jar – I’m far more aware of all the times I’m happy. Mainly, I find myself taking the time to notice.

It’s the small things

I don’t know about you, but when I think about being happy, I think about the big things – you know, winning the lottery, getting “The Call” from a publisher offering me a six figure publishing contract, things like that. What’s been quite amazing to me is how it’s the small things in my life that make me happy. Walking hand in hand with Dylan on our way to his dance class, talking and laughing. Having coffee in bed on a bright sunny winter morning. Getting to the subway platform just as the train pulls in. A barista at the local coffee shop who has such a genuine smile.

These are the things that are filling my Happiness Jar, and they are so beautiful. The kicker is that I never really noticed them before, not the way I do now. And even better? I can have a whole day filled with all these happy little moments, and it’s like this cumulative thing. One after another, they can come non-stop. As if all those happy little moments are catching and contagious somehow.

Which feel just as happy as the big moments

And guess what? The feeling of happiness that shoots through me when something small and sweet happens feels the same as when I get all happy over something big. There’s no difference in the feeling, no matter what the size of the moment, the bigness or littleness of the situation. It’s all the same happy feeling.

More engagement

Not only am I noticing more often now when I’m happy, I’m also finding myself more open to those happy moments. When I walk outside, I’m not always doing it head down, focused only on getting to my destination. Instead, sometimes I remember to look around, see things, listen more – I’m more engaged with my surroundings.

A few nights ago I was taking Dylan to yet another dance class. It was super windy, and as we turned the corner a crushed Coke can came dancing along the pavement. It made an interesting sound – something I don’t think I would have noticed before – and Dylan and I ended up having a wonderful little conversation about it.

I said, “Did you hear the can?” And he said, “It sounds like music. Da da dada da da.” I said, “You’re right!” And he said, “Maybe one day that can will be playing with a symphony orchestra.” Just like that, the whole moment was transformed from some piece of trash getting blown about by the wind into something musical and magical. It was quite amazing, and it only happened because at that moment the can blew by us, I was more engaged.

Looking forward

Like I said, it’s only been eight days since I started putting those little slips of paper into my Happiness Jar. But I’m really liking what I’ve been discovering. Mind you, I’m still not that good at noticing and being more engaged – it’s just that I’m better at it than I used to be. I’m pretty sure I’m still deep in thought more often than not and not seeing the happy moment that just tried to embrace me. I’m hoping though, that this is all part of exercising the happiness muscle, and over time this way of stepping into life will be just that thing that I do.

Happiness Jar

I’d heard about them before. And then around the new year, I saw someone talking somewhere about Elizabeth Gilbert’s post on Facebook about her happiness jar. And I thought, oh, how nice.

And then I forgot about it.

But then yesterday I was on Flipboard and I read this post at Huffington Post by Stephanie Weaver: Lessons from my Gratitude Jar.  And in it, she wrote one thing that leaped out at me.

It’s like re-reading a journal of the previous year while eating fortune cookies.

Most of you who’ve been reading my blog posts will know that journaling is something I keep trying to do consistently.  I didn’t make it one of my 2015 goals (and doesn’t that say something about my relationship with journaling?!) but I’ve found a lovely list method in Lynda Barry’s Syllabus that I’ve been trying to use. She calls it the 4-minute Daily Diary and really, how much easier could it get?

Except I haven’t been doing it. I don’t know why, and yes, it’s on my list of things I really want to do. After all, it only takes FOUR MINUTES A DAY.

But in the meantime …

As soon as I read the post, I said to myself, “I’m going to start a happiness jar!” Actually, I was so excited about it, I tweeted it.

“It’s like re-reading a journal of the previous year while eating fortune cookies.” That’s what I want! I have no shortage of big glass containers around here (I’m using an IKEA vase that we’d repurposed as a candle holder. And now it’s being repurposed as a Happiness Jar), so I grabbed one, washed it, and it’s sitting on my desk waiting for me to fill it with lots of good things.

(I’d take a picture but it just looks like an empty glass vase or rather, since it’s a modern design, a supersized glass tumbler. Plus my desk is on the messy side again because I’m on deadline and it appears messy desk syndrome hits me when I’m on deadline.)

And I had another wonderful idea. Why not use pretty paper to write my happiness slips? I have never scrapbooked, but I’ve also never been able to resist the pretty bundles of scrapbooking paper you see at the craft stores. I keep buying them, but have never found a use for them. Until now! I’m going to be cutting up a batch of these pretty papers to use in my Happiness Jar!

Photo 2015-01-07, 8 53 25 PM

I think this is one type of “journaling” I’ll be able to do consistently. As motivation, I keep thinking of a big jar filled with all my happiness moments at the end of the year …

What about you? Do you have a gratitude jar or a happiness jar?