Gratitude Jar -- An Activity to Focus on Thankfulness

During the past few months, I have come across a few pins on Pinterest for "Gratitude Jars" or "Blessing Jars." I thought this would be a great idea to share now as Thanksgiving approaches. This would be a great activity to try for yourself or could be a therapy homework idea for children or families.

To create a gratitude jar, find any large jar or container. I like a clear container because it allows you to see the jar filling up as more and more slips of paper are added. Each day, try to find one thing that you appreciate or are thankful for, jot it down on a slip of paper, and add it to the jar. Try doing this for at least a few weeks or even for several months.

Increasing awareness of the positive things in one's life can help to shift mindset and combat negative thinking. Jocelyn Scotty shares in an article about using gratitude jars in Montessori education about the work of Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Emmons explains research that shows that cultivating gratitude is one of the biggest contributors to a life with happiness and meaning. As therapists and counselors, this could be a powerful intervention for our clients. Although it can be very beneficial in therapy for clients to have a safe space to share about their problems, challenges, and struggles, it can also be beneficial to help clients recognize positive aspects of their lives.

Using gratitude jars in therapy:

Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT, ATR is a psychotherapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, adolescents, and families.  For more information about individual therapy, child counseling, family therapy, and art therapy services, please visit

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