I recently made a calming jar and use it several times a week. What is a calming jar? It’s essentially a mason jar filled with water, a little glitter glue, and a very large amount of loose glitter. The purpose of said jar is for relaxation when negative emotions are taking over. It’s designed to be given to a child when they are upset or overwhelmed. They shake it, hold it still, then watch the glitter slowly fall back to the bottom leaving them calmer and feeling better. Great idea.
I didn’t make this jar for home. My kids are a bit older and my middle child wanted to call it a dammit jar. Not happening. Although, tempting.
This jar resides in my office. If you are one of my clients, you will encounter this jar as some point in our work together. It works beautifully as a calming jar for children AND adults. I actually think adults like it better than the children. Good for you!
In making this jar and in thinking about its uses, I remembered something someone told me not long ago about emotions. Emotions, negative or positive, last about 90 seconds. This is about the same time it takes for the glitter to fall back to the bottom of my jar. Yes, I timed it.
So many of us fight against negative emotions which only strengthens their power over us. I use this jar to teach acceptance and what I and many others call “leaning into your emotions.” This same person mentioned above also taught me that our emotions + our resistance to them = our amount of suffering. Let me say that again:
Our emotions + our resistance to the emotion = our amount of suffering
This concept is ever present when we are working to rewire our nervous system and reduce our automatic responses when triggered by others. If you stop and experience the emotion without fighting it, judging it, or wishing it to disappear, it will go away. In 90 seconds. You end up feeling empowered, in control, and able see a clearer path to solving your problems. Watch the glitter, people. Watch the glitter.
-Stephanie Martin, MA, LMFT, Therapist Extraordinaire
Instructions on how to make calming jars are all over Pinterest. See our Parenting and Couples boards for other great relationship tools!