{Breathe} Pause to be Thankful + DIY Gratitude Jar

IMG_3002“It’s not the happy people who are thankful, It’s the thankful people that are happy”

Life can be fast paced and full of challenges which is all the more reason to make time from daily gratitude. Happiness is a choice. I continue to learn this lesson over and over again and remind myself of this point regulary when things get nutty. We can choose to find joy in the most difficult of times. We can be grateful for the simply fact that we are experiencing emotion–because the ability to experience emotion is a benefit of living. The now famous quote from Stephen Hawking “However bad life may seem, where there is life, there is hope”, seems to sum this up as there is inherent gratitude in simply being alive!

So…a few months back–life was feeling like a runaway train. I was overwhelmed and found myself watering the negative seeds which only made the big picture look dark and gloomy. Instead of stewing in that place I decided to focus on all that was good—because there was so much! As a family, we decided to banish a few words from our vocabulary as they simply added to the negativity and were becoming a constant in our daily conversation. Instead of “busy” we chose to say our lives were “full” and instead of complaining about how tired I was I decided to take better care of myself and actually change my reality. These were great first steps and though small, they made a big difference.

We put effort into focusing on the little things that made our lives so “full” and joyful  and to make it more tangible (and fun) we committed to a “Gratitude Jar”. We found a really big jar and grabbed some colorful paper and plopped the “gratitude” jar on our kitchen table. This simple project has produced amazing outcomes. Each day we try to write down something we are grateful for. Hudson, our 4 year old loves to participate as well. Adding to the jar brings instant joy as does each glance at the jar as I enter the kitchen.  It is a constant reminder of all the wonderful things that surround me. Even better–if we have a bad day, we sink our paws into the jar and pull out a few notes to read. I love the surprises I find when I read the joys that someone else has contributed and smile as i relive my own entries.

Choose joy!

Set simple intentions like reminding yourself to smile in a moment of strife or starting and ending the day by counting your blessings. You can start a gratitude jar or simply verbalize or transcribe the things that bring you joy.

How do you find happiness in the midst of grief?

With gratitude,






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