Taking time to notice something positive helps to remind us that even in our lowest moments there are still pockets of happiness to be found, and much to be grateful for. Gratitude is a positive emotion, and people who regularly acknowledge the things they are thankful for tend to express good energy, feel more alive in the moment, and feel more contented, all great contributors to our emotional wellbeing.
Consciously valuing those special times and precious people in our lives brings levity to our day, creating a more optimistic mindset for ourselves. By noting those sparks of joy, we can make a healthy habit out of thinking in this way, paying more attention to the good things in our lives.
A Smile Jar is a tool you can use to help you practice gratitude. You don’t need anything fancy, just repurpose an old Kilner jar and start to fill it up with magic moments, writing them down on a post-it or scrap of paper and pop it in your jar. This could be a compliment; an act of kindness toward you or towards someone else; nice feedback from a resident’s relative; or being thankful for someone in your life. It can be anything – the only condition being that it made you smile or feel glad. Note it, and build a jar full of smiles!
How you can use your Smile Jar
There are plenty of ways you can use the jar to share out positivity in your work or home environment.
You can use the jar to help residents think about the things throughout their lives that sparked joy for them. Asking them for a few words on what family means to them, or a garden, or pet, for example. You can then share this jar full of memories with everyone.
Visitors can write down a sparkling moment about their time spent with their loved one and leave it in the jar on reception.
Use the technique with children to help them reflect on their day, writing down their favourite part of it as a ritual to help them build up a personal value of gratitude. As a family, you can make notes of all you’ve had to be thankful for this year, talking over them together. As the year draws to a close this is a wonderful thing to do, with it being a time for reminiscence and reflection.
Having an attitude of appreciation can instantly change your energy from one of lack, want and dissatisfaction to abundance, gratitude and feeling blessed. Every day spent paying attention to what brings you joy will help you to live a far richer, more contented life. If ever you’re having a bad day or maybe feeling a bit flat, you can dip into your jar to remind you just how precious life really is. The small things in life really are the best things. The fabric of happiness is woven from lots of small, special moments that we’re able to re-connect with using this method.