Expressing gratitude in your everyday life is one of the best favors you can do for yourself. This isn’t a vague claim. Along with anecdotal evidence from those who have embarked on “gratitude projects,” there is a growing amount of research which concludes that embracing feelings of gratitude can improve both your happiness and your health.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Gratitude Jar Decoration or Theme Ideas
- Gratitude Jar Decoration or Theme Ideas for Students or a Classroom
- Gratitude Jar Message Ideas
There are many ways you can start practicing gratitude more regularly. One is to create a gratitude jar. As the name implies, this is simply a jar that you decorate with images representing anything you may be grateful for. You can also fill the jar with messages about the people, places, and experiences in your life for which you feel thankful.
Do you like the idea of creating a gratitude jar but are unsure how to get started? Keep reading, if so. This guide will offer a range of gratitude jar ideas that may serve as inspiration.
Gratitude Jar Decoration or Theme Ideas
By decorating it and basing it around a specific theme, you can ensure your gratitude jar feels like a more personal and meaningful item than any other random jar in your home. Ideas for your gratitude jar’s decorations and theme include:
1. ‘Today I am grateful for…’
Many who create gratitude jars often fill them with daily written messages quickly summarizing something they are grateful for each day. You could easily and simply decorate a jar with this particular theme by painting the words “Today I am grateful for…” across the front.
2. An important person or people
You don’t have to create just one gratitude jar. If you have several gratitude jar ideas, you might want to create multiple jars. You can dedicate each one to a specific aspect of your life for which you feel grateful.
For example, you might create one jar that focuses on a single person or group of people (such as a partner or your family). You could decorate the jar with pictures of these people, as well as any mementos that remind you of them.
3. The workplace
Emphasizing gratitude in the workplace can boost employee engagement, improve the overall company culture, and even translate to measurable financial gains and growth.
Thus, managers may want to create collaborative gratitude jars for their teams or offices. They could decorate these jars with images that celebrate the team’s achievements and encourage all team members to regularly contribute messages expressing their appreciation for the way the others have helped the company succeed.
This practice can help team members work together with a sense of shared respect. When coworkers spend more time considering how they all play important roles instead of focusing on their team members' weaknesses or occasional mistakes, they often find that working together successfully is less of a struggle and more of something that comes naturally. This practice could even help new team members feel comfortable and welcomed faster than they otherwise might.
4. Specific experiences
This theme is similar to creating individual gratitude jars for specific people whose presence in your life you feel grateful for. In preparation for experiences you anticipate enjoying, such as a vacation, you could set aside generic gratitude jars that you’ll later decorate with pictures that relate to those individual experiences. You will, of course, also fill this type of gratitude jar with messages and reflections on various aspects of that experience for which you’re thankful.
Keeping this type of gratitude jar will serve multiple purposes. It will help you cultivate a stronger sense of gratitude in general, allow you to more thoroughly savor an experience, and revisit the pleasures of an experience in the future once that experience has ended.
Gratitude Jar Decoration or Theme Ideas for Students or a Classroom
Embracing gratitude in the classroom can positively impact both teachers and students. If you’re an educator who wishes to encourage your students to express more gratitude, these gratitude jar ideas for the classroom could help you plan a class project to achieve this goal:
(Tip: Assigning books about gratitude for students to read is another way to help bring more expressions of gratitude into the school setting.)
5. An emphasis on education’s value
Students who lack interest in their schooling often change their attitudes when they appreciate the valuable role education will play in their lives. Thus, the ideal theme for a gratitude jar in the classroom might emphasize why students are grateful for having access to education. If you’re a teacher, you might find this strategy helps students respect you more, as they realize that your work will help them thrive later.
The simplest gratitude jar ideas are often the best. If you want your students’ gratitude jars to reflect their personal experiences and identities, you could have them cut or print out pictures that reflect things they’re grateful for in their own lives. You can let them glue the pictures on their gratitude jars however they see fit.
7. A collaborative gratitude jar project
This gratitude jar idea is less about themes or decorations and more about getting your students involved in a gratitude jar assignment.
An in-class project you may assign could involve breaking your students up into groups of about four to six members and tasking them with creating a gratitude jar collaboratively. Once the jar is complete, your students can write messages for the jar explaining why they are grateful for the contributions of each member of the group. This may be an effective way of introducing students to the value of a gratitude jar if they are initially reluctant to make one on their own.
Gratitude Jar Message Ideas
Once you’ve finished decorating a gratitude jar, you can start filling it with messages. Gratitude jar message ideas to consider include:
8. Daily gratitude messages
Again, it’s not uncommon for gratitude jars to be receptacles for daily messages about one specific aspect of one’s day they are grateful for. Along with keeping a gratitude journal, filling your jar with daily messages can be a helpful way to encourage you to begin embracing gratitude-based practices consistently.
Some have found that expressing gratitude over the various hardships they face in life allows them to more easily overcome said difficulties by reframing them in a more positive light. For example, someone struggling to cope with the end of a relationship could decide to look at that breakup as an experience that will help them develop greater emotional strength in the long run.
Consider filling your gratitude jar with messages about the long-term value you can derive from a struggle you may be facing. Every time a new challenge or unwanted experience arises, write a short message about a genuine reason you may have to be grateful for that experience in the long run, and add the message to your gratitude jar.
10. Relationship-centric messages
Expressing gratitude can foster positive changes in many areas of our lives. Our relationships are a prime example.
For instance, you could devote an entire gratitude jar’s theme to your romantic relationship with a current partner. Every day, add a message about why you are grateful to have this person in your life. Over time, you may find that doing so helps you focus more on your partner’s positive qualities instead of dwelling on their minor negative traits, resulting in greater overall harmony between you.
(Of course, there are instances when partners do treat their significant others unfairly or improperly. Don’t let your gratitude jar exercise keep you stuck in a relationship that’s not healthy!)
11. Messages to yourself
Expressing gratitude towards others can undoubtedly improve your relationships with them. However, it’s worth noting that expressing gratitude for your strengths and positive life choices can also improve your self-image.
Many of us are so hard on ourselves that we overlook our best qualities. That doesn’t need to be the case. Every day, write a quick message for your gratitude jar highlighting an aspect of yourself or a choice you made for which you feel thankful.
These messages also don’t always have to be profound. Maybe on a given day, you chose to exercise or eat healthy despite not feeling like you wanted to. If so, you could write a message about that for your gratitude jar, thanking yourself for making a choice you may not have wanted to make but knew best for your health. The main goal is to recognize your qualities that deserve appreciation consistently.
12. Gratitude quotes
This gratitude jar idea will allow you to remember the wisdom others have shared about gratitude so that you don’t forget to apply that wisdom to your own life. You can paint your favorite quotes about gratitude on the front of the jar, then regularly fill them with other quotes about gratitude that you come across. Even better, you can look for new quotes about gratitude to add to the jar every day.
Gratitude Jar Ideas to Improve Your Life
Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude to change your life for the better! These are just a few gratitude jar ideas that can make harnessing that power easier.