Monday, September 28, 2015

The Gratitude Diaries - Janice Kaplan

My review of The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Transformed My Life by Janice Kaplan first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission. This book was so motivating. I see the world in a different light these days. I can't imagine reading this one and NOT looking at things differently. Hope you enjoy!

First line: "Given that I am working on a new project about gratitude, I should have woken up on this late March morning to sunny skies, singing birds, and friends gathered in my living room singing Kumbaya."

Feeling little excitement at a New Year's Eve party, journalist Janice Kaplan (A Job to Kill For) wondered if there was something that could bolster her level of happiness. Nothing was wrong with her life, but everything just felt merely okay. Her recent work with a national survey on gratitude taught her, "It wasn't the circumstances that mattered but how [she] responded to them. [She] could passively wait for the wonderful to occur--and still find something wrong. Or [she] could accept whatever events did come [her] way and try to appreciate them a little more."  These two realizations spark her resolution to spend the following year focusing on gratefulness. The Gratitude Diaries is the uplifting journal of her efforts as well as a plethora of fascinating research on the mental, physical and psychological benefits of gratitude.

Kaplan chooses a focus for each month in order to isolate and evaluate how re-framing her perspective toward that specific element alters her feelings. She begins with her husband and their marriage then works her way through the year with aspects of her life such as money, career, material possessions and health. Each experience Kaplan has is supplemented with insights from professionals studying gratitude or people living it in extraordinary ways.

Kaplan made a pointed effort to see the positive. By sharing her efforts, readers experiencing The Gratitude Diaries will likely find themselves noticing their own favorable outcomes more intuitively, and who couldn't stand a little more happiness in their lives?

The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Transformed My Life is available in hardcover from Dutton (9780525955061) and as an unabridged audio (9781501231315), narrated by Janice Kaplan, from Penguin Audio.

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