My Happy Box: A Few of My Favorite Things

Dr. Angela Seabright
Kara Middleton

| 3 min read

Close up of woman hands holding red gift box
On occasion, many of us need a reminder to be happy.
My therapist and I sat down and put together a “Happy Box,” – a simple box containing a few of my favorite things. If I was feeling sad or on the verge of a panic attack, I could open my box and it would help me calm down.
I recently decided to make one for a friend who hasn’t been feeling so happy, in hopes this could help her like it did me.
a box with markers coloring on it
The “Happy Box” I made for a friend.
What you need for a “Happy Box” is simple: your favorite things. For my friend’s box, I asked her about her favorite color, scent, candy and tea.
You can choose what you want to put in your own box, but try putting things in the box that will help distract you from a bad mood.
I purchased a birthday box from a department store that was convenient, but you can use any box available to you. I suggest keeping it small as it’s not supposed to be a junk box. The box should be small and light enough to carry from place to place if needed. You can get one from the post office, or use a moving box. It doesn’t necessarily need a lid, whatever you prefer.
Once you have your box, here are a few ideas of what to put in it:
  • Candles: Smelling objects that calm you, like a candle or an essential oil, can help improve mood immediately and reorient your energy. My friend’s favorite scent is vanilla, so I picked that. Remember to always blow out candles before leaving them unattended.
  • Games: I put a game called “Mini Simon Says” in as an interactive fun idea that will help my friend focus. Games can divert our attention away from negative repetitive thoughts that may be affecting our mood.
  • Coloring Books: I put a coloring book in the box so she could have something cute and tangible to take away from the experience. You can rip out pages after each time you visit the box, or just color and keep them together with a date as a nice reminder.
  • Tea: I added green tea because it is her favorite. Green tea can improve moods with its natural release of caffeine. It has a calming element to is as well.
  • Books: “I Can Chew on This” is a small book written “by dogs” that’s full of poems and pictures. I know my friend likes dogs and poetry, so this was a perfect fit.
  • Sweets: I bought a bag of the mini KitKats, which are my friends favorite, and put in a few. I didn’t want to put many since they can go bad, and also everything in moderation, of course. A few pieces of chocolate is nice to help brighten your day.
  • Motivational Quotes/Sayings: I put in a copy of the “Everything is Awful” checklist I usually go through if I’m feeling down. It talks about common causes we tend to overlook when we’re down, like dehydration or sitting too long. This checklist is easy to look at and gives you solutions that may help.
  • Miscellaneous Items: Other ideas of things to include in the box are fuzzy socks, a journal or something similar (like “Wreck this Journal“), crosswords or puzzles, deep breathing instructions, a bottle of water, notes from a loved one, photos you like, squares of soft fabrics, nail polish, music or a playlist of songs that make you happy (listen to music for the mood you want to be in).
You can add or take items away from the box as you cater to your needs. A”Happy Box” is to help develop coping skills, so keep the items 100% happy items. If needed, try to keep your box private so you do not censor yourself.
Photo credit: Kara Middleton (thumbnail), Many Wonderful Artists (Feature)

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