It was in December 2015 that I first created an “ah ha!” jar as a way of reminding myself of the wonderful aspects of my life and to balance out the impact of the daily serving of “bad news” presented by the media. I have previously posted a blog about this and have decided to post this at the beginning of the new year to remind me of this very valuable mindfulness exercise.
This idea is derived from current neuroscience research that recognises that positive experiences are like Teflon, they slip away…..whereas negative emotions are like Velcro….. they stick around.
Our brains are wired to focus on the negative aspects of life and these are the ones we remember easily. This is our survival mechanism at play and is part of the brain’s protective make-up. In addition, we forget about 40% of everything that happened to us yesterday. (Did you know that squirrels lose up to 50% of the food they hide. It must be genetic!)
On the other hand, celebrating the good things in life, the events, relationships, the wow and ah-ha moments contribute to the joy of living and it is good to train ourselves to hold onto these experiences.
The use of the ah-ha jar was for the purpose of capturing these moments that otherwise may easily have been forgotten.
Now every time I experience a moment of “wow” I post myself a note and placed it in the jar. In this way,I captured the joys of life and I can revisit the joys anytime I please.
This is how my jar looks in December of each year. There are usually over 100 posts.
As I read through them over the last week I was delighted to remember those wonderful ah-ha moments that had slipped away from my awareness.
Consider this for yourself this year. I will be doing this again in 2018.
After posting this Blog I received a lovely email with a variation on the same theme…….
I’ve done a similar thing to your ah-ha jar over the years. When I’ve faced tough times (an operation, a contract job I really didn’t enjoy), I’ve set up a booklet in which I wrote one magic moment every day. Sometimes I’d get three before nine o’clock, sometimes it was a bit harder, and I’d occasionally allow myself a cheat / day off / almost magic moment.
These are such a delight to read after a few years, and it’s true: I’d forgotten most of the moments, but they all come back instantly from my scruffy handwritten notes. There’s the young man who gave me a blue Folded Ticket Frog, endemic to Melbourne public transport. And the long shadows that gravel makes very soon after sunrise. And meeting an old friend in a completely unexpected context on my way into the office. There was something about the small size – no bigger than my palm – that encouraged me to condense and focus and actually immortalise the joyful essence of things.