The Happy Jar

Over the past few years, I have slowly become more comfortable with reflecting on my emotions. A younger me spent a lot of time hyper-focusing on the negatives of life – whether it be the nuance of heartbreak, a disagreement with others, or simply not being in tune with myself. I would dwell on these negatives, resulting in feelings of helplessness and sadness. One day, while browsing Pinterest, I came across the idea of “The Happy Jar,” which is essentially a DIY art project that you can follow through with as you please. For the past four years, I have been actively engaging in this small yet powerful project.

I used an old a mason jar, added my own artistic flair and decided that throughout the year I was going to choose to focus on the positives of my life. Month by month, I scribbled down things that made me happy and added them into the jar. From January to December, the jar filled with yellow ripped pieces of paper of moments that were personal to me. As each year ends and I welcome the new years to come – I always find time to sit down and empty the contents of memories in front of me.

Being able to sit with memories, moments, and feelings of happiness – whether they dissipated in my mind or changed over time is such a powerful thing to do. I have sat with a past me, happy over things that no longer have significance in my life as well as things that have gained more importance since writing them down. Reflections of happiness are unlike any other emotion. I personally believe that it’s of utmost importance to one’s mental health. As humans, we often tend to focus on negatives – which pile on top of one another, causing our outlook on life to dwindle.

When we force ourselves to focus on the positives, we realize that the little things sometimes mean the most to us. As for me, I have found this project to be beneficial to my day to day outlook on things. Some days seem like everything is going wrong yet being able to implement this mindset of shifting my focus toward the good of the day has helped me realize that things aren’t as terrible as our minds make them believe. This happy jar project might not be for everyone, but it has been an opportunity for me to focus my mental health on the happier things, resulting in a bittersweet recognition of emotions each and every year.

- Harmony B.

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