My family is trying out a new idea for Thanksgiving that could benefit any family or work team. It’s called the Gratitude Jar, and it’s a simple and powerful way to create an incredible positive energy source and make it more real to everyone. This is how it works.
Start with an Old Jar and Paper
The Gratitude Jar can be a recycled glass jar with a lid or something like a fishbowl. You can use a box, but I like glass because seeing the contents is important.
Near your jar, keep a pad of paper or notecards. Anyone can jot down a note of thanks and put it in the jar. As the jar fills, you know the expressions of gratitude are increasing.
If you want to get fancy, you can put a ribbon or decoration on your jar, but that’s not necessary. The jar works from the inside out.
How the Jar Works
A family that I know made a Gratitude Jar that really inspired me as I saw how much they enjoyed it and how it connected them.
On their notes, they celebrated the special moments and people in their daily lives: a Sweet 16 celebration, a baby taking the first step, the dad’s super yummy babyback ribs, a caring teacher at their school, the special talks when they all sit on their comfy red couch.
Intentionality is so important. Those little notes showed that each family member took time out of their busy days to reflect and appreciate their blessings.
The Gratitude Jar reminded me of the words Sheryl Crow uses in “Soak Up the Sun”: It’s not having what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got.
I like the jar idea because it builds on what this holiday is all about for my family. We always go around the table to share what we are thankful for on Thanksgiving, and I am always filled with such gratitude during those moments, especially when I listen to my young daughters share what they are thankful for and watch them soak it all in.
Many people make the Gratitude Jar a new Thanksgiving tradition. Each Thanksgiving, empty the jar and share the notes inside. You’ll be amazed how powerful this activity is. The jar we start this year may become our way of bottling that moment and making gratitude more intentional before we get to the table and long after we leave.
Why Gratitude Helps Us
Gratitude has been so powerful on a personal level and I have seen it transform others. If you struggle with the scarcity mindset (that you never have enough or are never good enough), gratitude can help you do a 180. It is claiming the measurement of your life and environment as your own; you’re not comparing what you can do, be or have with anyone else.
Gratitude shifts the way you see life and helps us all connect to what is here and what matters. This is vital to remember when unexpected events, crises and loss inevitably come up. The Gratitude Jar can be a tool in helping build your resiliency and create greater fearlessness. No matter what happens, you know that you will find something for which to be thankful.
So much of neuroscientific research around happiness and fulfillment mentions the power of gratitude. It’s worth noting that the simple act of looking for gratitude can boost your mood.
To amp up the effect of gratitude’s positive effects, make your Gratitude Jar notes specific and personal. The more you connect with what is most precious to you and how that is revealed in the world around you, the more you will connect with others. With every note in the Gratitude Jar, you reinforce your why.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Inspire your family or work team to create a Gratitude Jar this season as a way of demonstrating our shared value of appreciating what we have. If we don’t have time to think, write and drop a note in the Gratitude Jar, that also reflects our mindset. As your Gratitude Jar filling up, how is it changing your outlook?
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating, so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.