Happy moments

Is there happiness with multiple sclerosis?

Time seems to be passing by so fast. The days and years are flying by. I mean, it was only yesterday I was traveling and taking in the sights and sounds of life all around the world…now I do all my traveling from my bed to the couch. It’s still an adventure though. One filled with its own mystery and wonderment.

With the passing of time, I find that it’s easy to forget the good things that happen to us in our everyday life. We seem to have no trouble remembering the tears. Those things get stored in our memory banks and we can pull them out without a problem. But the good? Those seemingly simple happy moments, we tend to forget.

Living with multiple sclerosis, we have enough bad happening in our lives to fill buckets and buckets of sad memories. Because of that, it’s important to take time to remember the happy moments that cause us to smile. That’s why I decided a few years ago to start a HAPPINESS JAR. It’s really a simple thing. So simple in fact that it almost seems absurd.

Every day before I go to bed, I grab a scrap of paper (it doesn’t have to be anything special…the flap of an envelope, the corner of an electric bill, or even part of an old shopping list) and write down the happiest moment that took place that day. I put the date on it, fold it up and place it in my jar. That’s it. Simple, right? Even with my sketchy handwriting it is doable for me.

It only takes thirty seconds for me to jot down a happy moment; a smile that I might need in the days ahead. By writing them down, I am recording precious gems and treasures that would have normally been forgotten. Those memories will bring me comfort when life gets hard and hits me like a ton of bricks. On those days, I pull out my happiness jar and open the memories. In a few weeks I will be dumping out this years moments of happiness and putting them in a book that I can flip through. I have two books like that already and you’d be amazed at the smiles they bring.

My happy moments are pretty simple too. They are hardly earth shattering. With all the pain and trouble MS brings and the struggle it takes to simply get through my day, it’s the quiet and simple moments that bring me comfort. It’s things like watching a bird dancing out on the lawn, playing peek-a-boo with a shy child in the grocery store, hearing the silly laughter of your best friend, getting a hug, enjoying a moment alone in the quiet of the day, and even having a quirky dream. So many things.

Just yesterday I wrote down that even though I spilled my coffee and wore myself out by trying to do too much, I spent the day on the phone with a dear friend and enjoyed the conversation and laughter. Of all the things we talked about, it was the laughter that brought me the most joy. Now that memory is recorded on a little slip of paper in my happiness jar. At some point in the future, I will pull it out and remember the laughs and smile all over again.

That’s what a happiness jar is all about…to bring happiness. And who doesn’t need a little happiness in their life? We all have something in our day that we could write down. If you can’t find anything at first, just look a little deeper. It’s there.

Maybe you have an old mayonnaise or pickle jar laying around. Why not make your own happiness jar this week? You won’t regret it.

11 replies
  1. James Drieu
    James Drieu says:

    Penelope, you are a never-ending source of inspiration! I love the Jar. I should fill one, and when it is full give them away!

  2. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    My “happiness” usually comes from seeing wild life, butterflies or certain plants blooming in spring time Penelope.

    Do not have a “happiness jar” but the memories of that cute hummingbird, beautiful flower, lively flitting butterfly sustain me for a lot longer than one might think.

    I agree that practicing this type of “happiness therapy” is something we can achieve, thanks for sharing!

  3. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope a good idea. We do need happiness in our lives and this applies to everyone as well. Writing down helps you to remember the good times that get lost in this mess.

  4. Jodie Bradfield
    Jodie Bradfield says:

    Oh Penelope I think that is absolutely the best idea!
    I have been feeling down lately and struggling with the black dog trying to make another entrance in my life. I’m determined not to let this happen and I’m forgetting so many things from my past. This will be a wonderful way for me to be grateful everyday and also serve as prompter to spark my brain to hopefully remember more of the good things. I am writing a sticky note now to remind me. 😃 (It’s the middle of the night here in Australia)
    Thank you for continuing to write to us all and by doing so you help so many. Much love ❤️ to you xo

  5. Meeya
    Meeya says:

    I absolutely love your happiness jar! Funny – the equivalent next to my bed: my diary of “little rainbow”-moments.
    At the start, it seemed so hard to find something positive to write down every day… but now I’m getting faster. Which only proves that you can actually practise being happy!! 😊🌈


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