Review by Darcie Czajkowski
When was the last time you stopped to smell a rose?
When was the last time you expressed gratitude to your spouse for taking out the trash or making dinner?
When was the last time you gave thanks for the good things in your life when everything around you was falling apart?
When was the last time you were grateful that you are healthy and can walk or run a mile?
When was the last time you took a minute to think about what you were about to eat instead of devouring three slices of pizza in less than five minutes?
In the Gratitude Diaries, journalist Janice Kaplan spends a year living gratefully. Instead of feeling upset or annoyed when things don’t go her way, she makes a conscious effort to put that incident in perspective. The particulars of the events don’t change, but her attitude does.
Utilizing progressive research from doctors, psychologists, philosophers, and academics, Kaplan uses gratitude to transform her entire life, including her marriage, children, health, finances, career, and fitness. When she focuses on the good things and expressing gratitude for the positive aspects of her life, she finds that she is consistently happier, healthier, no longer plagued by migraines, and feels improvements in her relationships with her husband, children, and friends.
This book was indubitably the best book I’ve read this year. It’s truly a book for everyone. What if bad days could become okay days, and okay days could become good days? What if we got along better with our significant other and felt more connected to him or her just by showing a little appreciation? Would you do it?
Challenge yourself to make today the day that you start living gratefully. Be kind to others. Send a card to a friend who’s going through a hard time. Thank your parents for taking you on adventures when you were a kid. Send an email to a friend overseas. It doesn’t take much to thank others for the impact they make on our lives. You don’t know if today will be your last, so why would you want to spend it being negative or focusing on the things that didn’t go right?
As Kaplan wrote, “I’d learned this year that gratitude didn’t depend on the right events or even the right decisions, but how I processed them. Gratitude gave you back control. I didn’t have to pick the perfect restaurant (or hotel or flight home) to appreciate the vacation and be grateful I was here.”
Life isn’t going to be perfect. It’s wrought with difficult times, bad news, hard choices, and tragic moments. But it’s also filled with love, joy, friendship, and family. Everyone has something to be grateful for, and we all have a minute (or more) each day to reflect on what made that day special. Even on the bad days, look for it, something good is there. It can be as simple as being thankful to be alive, because really, in the end, being alive means that tomorrow is a new day. And that is something to be grateful for.
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About the Author:
Janice Kaplan is widely known for her achievements as a writer, television producer and magazine editor. As the Editor-in-Chief of Parade, the most widely read publication in America, she brought new energy and excitement to the magazine, increasing readership to over 74 million every Sunday. She attracted some of America’s best writers and biggest-name celebrities.
Author and co-author of eleven books, her bestselling novels include The Botox Diaries, Mine Are Spectacular! and The Men I Didn’t Marry. Her popular Lacy Fields mysteries include Looks To Die For and A Job To Kill For, and her books have been translated and published in more than a dozen countries. A former columnist at Seventeen magazine, she was a contributing editor at Vogue and has written hundreds of articles for national magazines.
Janice appears frequently on television shows including Today, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight and CBS Early Show, and is a popular speaker around the country. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and won Yale’s Murray Fellowship for writing. Kaplan lives in New York City and Kent, Connecticut with her husband and has two wonderful sons who graduated Yale.
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