A Jar Full of Gratitude

Jar full of gratitude

Last year was pretty long for me, longer than usual. Though I accept change in my life as a good sign, too many changes usually put me off the track. I was whining, sulking, complaining, and crying; making myself and others around me miserable. I tried to keep a distance from my friends and family to hibernate in solitude, like a panda! Everyone around me was worried about my sanity and I was doing nothing to get a grip on my life.

For a long time, I assumed happiness to be an ever elusive charm; a state of mind that can be attained after eating tons of chocolates and ice-cream. However, that state of mind was short-lived. As soon as the tub of ice-cream was empty, happiness evaporated and I was back to my whining mode. I am not talking about the perils of being pseudo happy- the jiggling layers of fat accumulated on my belly to achieve that short-termed elusive state of mind!

During one such marathon chocolate-eating sessions, I chanced upon an article on Quartz about Chade-Meng Tan, a former engineer at Google, who has come up with an exercise to familiarize the mind with joy. In his book Joy on Demand, he explains that how the ordinary events in our daily life have the capacity to give us a joyful state of mind. “Thin slices of joy occur in life everywhere…and once you start noticing it, something happens, you find it’s always there. Joy becomes something you can count on,” he notes. You can check Talks at Google to know more about his joy-finding exercise.

While Tan talks about building a habit through the “thin-slice” exercise on a day-to-day basis, I have made my own weekly version of this mental exercise. I have started keeping an empty jar on my table. Once in every week, I drop a neon-yellow sticky note in it, mentioning my most happy moment from the week and how grateful I was, for being able to enjoy it. It sounds philosophical and silly but it is fun to look at the jar (and decorate it with butterfly cut-outs!), open those notes at the end of the month, and appreciate my existence. I am planning to make this a daily activity soon. Needless to say, this jar full of gratitude has kept me in a happy state of mind that lasts beyond a tub full of ice-cream.

Note: Excerpts from the article Google’s former happiness guru developed a three-second brain exercise for finding joy published on Quartz.