How To Make A Gratitude Jar

Published December 28, 2020 by Sheila Anne Murray

I held in my hands a little glass jar filled to the brim with colorful, folded post-it notes. Along a few of the more messily-folded notes I could even see where the pen had touched paper - etching a memory from the day. It was New Year’s Eve of 2014 and this jar contained 364 notes of gratitude I had written through the year. Some notes were just a simple word, while others told of dancing at a concert with friends and sipping tea after a rainstorm.

This jar had traveled many miles that year - Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Canada, and various places around the East Coast. Among the colorful post-its were also a few bits of receipts or scraps of paper - the result of times that I had felt inspired to jot down a golden moment and didn’t have the post-its on hand. This little jar and these little notes signified a life bursting with gratitude, love, and golden moments. I noticed that just as the pile of notes in the jar had grown, I too had grown. Though 2014 had moments of darkness and loss like I had never experienced before, my commitment to finding the light had increased my resilience as much as it did my joy.

That was the year that I learned the importance and power of gratitude. Though it was six years ago now, it was the launching off point into practices around joy and positivity. Now I’m excited to pass this gratitude tool on to you.

Let’s make a gratitude jar!

Gratitude jar to increase happiness and presence

Why make a gratitude jar

  • Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness
  • Gratitude improves physical & emotional health
  • Gratitude makes you magnetic to more good things
  • Writing notes each day will help you stay present
  • It’s a very simple and quick process
  • You can physically see the gratitude compiling over the course of the days, weeks, months
  • Your jar is portable (I carried it across many borders!)
  • You can reflect on it through the year and at the end
  • You can use it as a tool when you are feeling down - reach in and pull out a note!

How to make a gratitude jar

  1. Find a jar, container, box, whatever you’d like to use to hold your notes.
  2. Purchase post-its or cut up whatever paper you have for your gratitude notes. You don’t need to have all 365 on hand of course, you can also cut / buy as you go.

THAT’S IT! I recommend you start on January 1 but, as I believe with all habits, it’s really best to start when and wherever you are - even mid month, just get started!

Photo of a jar

Scissors and post-it notes to put in gratitude jar

How to use your gratitude jar

  • Each day write down one thing you’re grateful for and put it in the gratitude jar. Don’t be afraid to get creative or keep it short and sweet. In 2014 I made a new friend in Costa Rica and I had her write her name and put it in the jar, which was actually so special to see later on in the year.
  • Take it with you everywhere and even on hard days commit to at least one simple word.
  • Watch the jar fill up over time.
  • Feel how you change and grow over the year, alongside your jar.

This is a really special practice that yields powerful results, similar to the affirmations in the Positivity Pack. The very commitment of placing a note in the jar each day may make you feel more accountable, confident, and aware of your growth. I’d love to hear if you decide to create a gratitude jar, or if there is perhaps another practice you use to inspire joy, positivity, present, and well-being.  Drop me a note or continue the conversation in the DMs on Instagram.


Sheila Anne