What Is A Happy Jar And How Can It Help You Manage Your Depression

What Is A Happy Jar And How Can It Help You Manage Your Depression • Book • Candle • Happy Jar • Stationery

If there’s one thing I’ve struggled with all my life, it’s my depression.

Once it takes hold, no amount of logic can fight it and it can leave me feeling worthless, drained and wanting to give up. 

I’ve tried lots of different techniques over the years, but the one that I’ve found to work best is a Happy Jar – sometimes known as a Memory Jar. 

It’s basically a giant collection of all your happy memories, achievements and just general things that make you smile. 

What Is A Happy Jar And How Can It Help You Manage Your Depression • Book • Candle • Happy Jar • Stationery

Whenever I start to feel worthless or like I’ll never achieve anything (which happens more often than I like to admit), I’ll use my happy jar to look back at everything I’ve already achieved in my life. 

[Related: 5 Things I Do When I’m Struggling With Depression]

Getting a first-class honours degree at uni, the pride on my parents and Chris’s face when they saw me graduate, becoming self-employed and even being featured in newspaper and magazine articles. 

But on top of that, I also include funny stories and happy memories that always make me smile. 

Things like jumping up and down with my dad at a Status Quo concert to Rocking All Over the World, exactly 10 years after he nearly died of a heart attack. Going to my first ever gig (Fall Out Boy in case you’re wondering) and “yes we’ve established that one”, which is a joke that only my friend Abby will understand but that still makes me laugh to this day! 

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It can be really hard to think of things at first, so I tend to scroll back through my photos and memory books and see if that triggers any memories. 

If you’re still stuck after that, try asking people what they think your biggest achievement is or for a funny story/happy memory you both share. 

So How Do You Make A Happy Jar?

They’re super easy to make, all you really need is a jar (or any kind of container/box really), a pen and some paper. 

You can make your jar as fancy or as minimalistic as you like. 

I keep mine quite basic but I saw some incredible ones on Pinterest when I was originally browsing through for inspiration.

So How Do You Make A Happy Jar?

Once you’ve picked (and possibly decorated) your container, you just need to add the memories. These can be one word written on a piece of paper torn from a notebook, or a few paragraphs written on a fancy post-it note. 

It all depends on the size of your container and how much effort you want to put into making it. 

You can also use pictures, ticket stubs and your favourite quotes.

My happy jar is pretty small, so I use a separate memory book (aka an old photo album) to store my photos, tickets, pins and other items; as they wouldn’t fit in my jar. 

Using Your Phone Instead

This is the main way I use my happy jar these days, as its much more convent and you can view it anywhere.

It’s not exactly practical taking a jar and two memory books with me whenever I leave the house! 

[Related: 5 Little Ways You Can Practice Self Care Every Day]

Having a happy jar on your phone is basically the same as having a physical one – you simply add all your happy memories, achievements, photos and quotes to a notes file on your phone. Then whenever you need to use it, you open it up and scroll through everything you’ve saved on there. 

Personally I find this version a lot easier to use and maintain than a physical jar. 

Using Your Phone As Your Happy Jar

You don’t need to get your pictures printed off, you can update and use it no matter where you are and its easier to make it look nice with emojis. 

The only problem is if you could lose your phone or accidentally end up deleting the file, which is why I have mine synced up to the cloud and I make a backup of it every few weeks. 

It’s never happened to me yet, but technology and me don’t get on so never say never! 

Do you use a happy jar? If so, do you find it helpful? 

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What Is A Happy Jar And How Can It Help You Manage Your Depression

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  • This is a great idea! I’ll definitely be starting a jar asap!
    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Kashia says:

    I like to journal or add memories to my Erin Condren planner. If I had the time, I would love to scrapbook.


  • This is a great idea for those with depression or even just for anyone to add a bit of extra positivity to their lives. I actually did this a few years ago (and I mean like, 2014 or something) but I gave up (as I do with most things). I often feel the whole “worthless going nowhere” thing too so it’s always good to look back and see what you’ve achieved!


  • I do this!! I have one, it’s an old coffee jar, and I write on coloured paper, and it’s full of snippets of happiness, treasured memories.

  • Dax Munro says:

    Loved this post. I used to keep a happy jar but stopped. After reading this, I think I’ll definitely need to start one again as it did used to help, so much. 🙂 xoxo

  • Jade Marie says:

    You’re welcome, I’m glad I could help you start a jar of your own! ☺️

  • Jade Marie says:

    Journals are another great way to do this ☺️ scrapbooking does take up a lot of time unfortunately, but it’s also a great way to relax.

  • Jade Marie says:

    Thanks ☺️ I don’t update mine as often as I should, it’s much easier to have it on my phone! But I’m trying to keep it updated this year…let’s see how long that lasts 😂 I’m sorry you struggle with feeling worthless though – you’re definitely not! You’re actually one of my business/blogging inspirations ☺️

  • Jade Marie says:

    Ooo that sounds lovely! I was going to make mine all fancy with colour coded paper and stickers/drawings but I never did 😅

  • Jade Marie says:

    Thank you! ☺️ I hope you can start one up again, especially if you found it helpful ☺️ xx

  • I love the look of yours, just seeing the jar reminds me my life is blessed, even through the darkest days x

  • Sophie says:

    This is a really lovely post. I’ve been struggling a lot recently so I might make one of these myself. When I’m struggling I often look to creative outlets as a way of helping myself feel better, so I think making a happy jar would definitely come to good use.

    Love, Soph x

  • Samantha says:

    This is such a lovely idea. I have a memory box full of all my old memories and it really helps me when I’m having a bad day but I’d love to make one of these, it’s also a great way to get creative 🙌🏼

    Samantha | https://samanthajblogs.co.uk

  • I love this idea. I used to have a happy jar or I called it a memory jar and I kept it going for a whole year and whenever I was feeling down I looked at some of the memories, I also found at the end of the year too it was super fun going through it all!

    Chloe xx

  • That seems like a great idea. It could be good to create the list of accomplishments with a supportive friend. I recently did a training where we were evaluating the qualities we looked for in our ideal job and we had to list four successes in our life. I realized by doing that exercise that I had some “successes” that aren’t really labeled in my brain as things I’m proud of, but it helped to have other people acknowledge that they were absolutely accomplishments.

  • Jasmin says:

    Holy crap I’m going to need one of these! I think we all need to be reminded of happy things at times, and this is perfect for the occasion. Such a lovely idea Jade!

    // overdosedoncaffeine.com

  • This is a really great idea! I love how you put it on your phone too for convonienence!

  • Kim says:

    I haven’t used a happy jar myself but I have heard of them, I did have a happy journal once where my friends contributed by writing me messages. It made me feel loved. I like your idea of having a happy jar on your phone! That seems great as it will always be with you whereas the happy jar could be at home. Depression can hit you anywhere.

  • I started this in 2013, now I use a diary to log my happy days moments that I share on social media each day.
    It really gives me an opportunity to see all the positives in life x

  • I absolutely love this thought! Would it be okay if I mentioned it on my blog and link back to your post? My url is http://reclaimingthesmile.com in case you’d like to check it out!

What are your thoughts? Let me know!

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