Happiness in a Jar

By Jannani Krishnan, DPM ’23, SMU Student Voices

Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections – Stephen Leslie France

During the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to introduce the idea of the “Happiness Jar” to the college of podiatric medicine and SMU to shine light and hope, and to spread positivity and encourage mindfulness within our community. To me, long-term happiness is something that can be achieved with “inner work” and change in mindset. Conscious and wholehearted living is something I am passionate about and I’m learning about more each day.

How it began

My Happiness Jar started in January 2017, as a project to bring more happiness into my life. I was at the lowest point in my life, recovering from depression and anxiety. I wanted to find a way out of the darkness and not let it take over my life. Every night, I reflected on the highlight of my day and wrote it down on Post-it Notes. I bought a colorful pack of Post-it Notes, a new blue pen, and a brand-new mason jar from my local craft store to get excited about to starting this journey.

Later that year, I was involved with the pilot group of the Happiness Project, a peer support group, which was created based on a book (Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin). As project manager, I planned workshops and organized projects based on weekly themes connected to each chapter. One of the projects I introduced to the group was the “Happiness Jar.” The purpose was to remind members of happy thoughts when undergoing difficult times to help remind one to appreciate the happy moments.

What I learned

I noticed a lot and learned more about myself. It brought a warm feeling of joy knowing that something good is happening every day. Occasionally, when I feel down or just feel reflective, I look inside my Happiness Jar and see those memories I cherish. It helps me stay positive and stay focused. As I read the notes, I vividly recall that memory because it had bought joy to me. I am almost “reliving” it and able to prolong that specific happy moment. I realized it does not have to be big nor valuable to be remembered. As long as you give thanks and cherish the little things in life, that is what matters.

Interested? Here’s how to get started

A Happiness Jar is a jar that you can use to collect your happy memories and thoughts every day. It is a tool to cultivate a more positive and happy life.

  • Jar
  • Decorations: stickers, ribbons, sequins
  • Paper (Post-it Notes) to write down memories
  • Pen/pencil
  • Construction/scrapbook paper
  • Decorate your jar however you like. You can also label it as “Happiness Jar.”
  • Each day, write something that made you happy or a memory that was the highlight of your day.
  • Place your jar somewhere you can see it every day with paper and pen/pencil next to it.

When to open your Happiness Jar

You can open your jar anytime you want to reflect and relive the moment, or when you need a pick-me-up to remind you of the wonderful moments you have had.

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