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The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on…

The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform…

by Janice Kaplan

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The Gratitude Diaries is an inspirational book about making a difference in relationships, work, and health. Janice Kaplan has given us a memoir with valid research, humor, and a touch of celebrity (Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, Clint Eastwood...) to bring home the point that gratitude can change your outlook, your life, and your world. I came away with some clear cut ideas of how to incorporate gratitude into my life (letter of thanks, ethical will, thanking someone months later after the fact).

The subject of gratitude is investigated from all sides like the concept of "untargeted gratitude - that sense of being connected to the cosmos and happy with the lottery of life", and "Gratitude at it's best is an action".

A couple take away mantras:
Forget the bad stuff, I'm here now!
Two arms, two legs, I'm breathing.

I highly recommend this book. It's going to be my gift to others for all occasions this year! ( )
  standhenry | Mar 17, 2016 |
Can choosing gratitude really change how you live your life? Janice Kaplan thinks so. Over the course of a year, Kaplan decided to change her thinking and rather than choosing negativity or looking for the problems in any situation, she chose to be grateful in ALL situations. By looking at her life and tackling her negative thinking, she chose gratitude in her marriage, with her children, and in her job. Her results not only changed her year, it changed her whole outlook on life.

It isn't that Kaplan was a "Negative Nelly", but she found herself focusing on the negatives in situations rather than finding the pleasures. She wanted to feel happier in her normal, everyday life without a huge event happening to make that change. She knew the year ahead would be full of good things and bad things, but she wanted to find a way to have a positive attitude through it all. When she decided to choose gratitude, she knew that it was more than just being happy, but a deeper, longer-lasting type of emotional involvement. You can't just be grateful, you have to feel it, and savor it. One way to do this is by keeping a gratitude journal. This is something I've done off and on over the years. But, keeping it daily was too overwhelming and I often failed at that daily commitment and would eventually put it aside. Kaplan stresses that a gratitude journal doesn't have to be kept daily, instead it can be something you do a couple days a week or even just once a week. It can be written down in a notebook or pretty journal or just be notes that you keep on your smart phone. The point is to regularly, write down, at least, one part of your day/week that you are grateful for. It can be something as simple as being grateful for the sunshine to a more specific occurrence of your husband bringing home dinner after a long day. The point is to acknowledge it. By doing that you are helping to change the way your brain reacts to situations you would have previously focused on the negatives. For example, rather than being stressed about your long day, the pile of dishes on the counter and the laundry that still needs to be done, instead focus on truly being grateful to your husband taking one task off your list by bringing supper home. Enjoy the moment of sitting down to eat with your family, and most importantly, expressing that gratitude to change your attitude.

Kaplan breaks down the book by how she addressed gratitude during her year-long experiment. She tackled different parts of her life each month starting with choosing gratitude in her marriage, then with her children, her friends, and eventually her career. As she tackled negativity in each piece of her life, she found that she was much more aware of negativity around her and that it became easier to be grateful. In fact, losing her job during this year of being grateful led her to realize this year of being grateful could become her next career, writing THE GRATITUDE DIARIES. Without that change of thinking, she may have only focused on the negatives of losing her job.

Overall, I found Kaplan's experiences to be inspiring. It isn't always easy to be grateful and to find the positive in all situations, but if you begin by looking at gratitude in just one piece of your life, eventually, the gratitude will flow out of your heart and change what comes out of your mouth. ( )
1 vote Staciele | Mar 16, 2016 |
GRATITUDE like MEDITATION is getting a lot of press these days and who can find fault!

I have been reading lots about this particular book The Gratitude Diaries so I thought I would give it a whirl. Kaplan is a a journalist married to an Internist (who adores her).....and she writes about gratitude in the context of marriage (fall in love again), children (really ??? teenagers???), jobs, health, sibling relationships (healing), personal struggles (alcohol), personal tragedies (tough ones) and personal goal setting (dieting). She tours the U.S. and interviews gurus in these areas that have got "gratitude" figured out. She quotes lots of research studies. I knew before I started this book that it is always better to view the glass half full, rather than half empty and to count our blessings.

I have always been intrigued when people return from third world countries and say how they found people with no worldly goods to be happy and willing to share while (we the fat cats) struggle with our moods and entitlements and affluence to keep a smile on our faces. Just saying.......

Okay so where is my struggle with this book? There just is too much ego and self reflection and self congratulations for me to celebrate this book. I will take a slice away from it and try my best to see the good and be grateful. It has inspired but with a dose of discomfort.
2 vote mdoris | Feb 21, 2016 |
The author takes on her 12 month exploration and journey investigating gratitude and attitude in all aspects of life. I enjoyed that it was so readable, like a diary, with interviews and examples from her life and from other's in the public eye. This would be a great recommendation for anyone from high school age and and older in any situation. There is something for everyone. I cannot think of who should not read this. If I could give it more stars, I would. ( )
  LivelyLady | Jan 6, 2016 |
Really interesting and thought provoking. Ms Kaplan has put together a good mix of storytelling and research studies. I felt it was a little heavy on the name dropping, but I still enjoyed it. I had fun trying some of her ideas and fell in love with my husband all over again. I think this is one of the better books on gratitude that I have read. I would have liked there to be a bibliography to some of the sources she used, but you can't have everything. ( )
  njcur | Dec 2, 2015 |
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Given that I am working on a new project about gratitude, I should have woken up on this early April morning to sunny skies, singing birds, and friends gathered in my living room singing "Kumbaya."
If you can change something that's making you unhappy, go ahead and change it. But if it's done, gone, or inevitable, what greater gift can you give yourself than gratitude for whatever life did bring?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525955062, Hardcover)

In this inspiring memoir backed by pioneering research, Janice Kaplan spends a year living gratefully and gains a fresh outlook that transforms her marriage, family life, work, health, and every day experience.  

On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade editor in chief Janice Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the bright side of whatever happens. She realizes that how she feels over the next months will have less to do with the events that occur than her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have.

Relying on both amusing personal experiences and extensive research, Kaplan explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including marriage and friendship, money and ambition, and health and fitness. She learns how appreciating your spouse changes the neurons of your brain and why saying thanks helps CEOs succeed. Through extensive interviews with experts and lively conversations with real people including celebrities like Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, and Jerry Seinfeld, Kaplan discovers the role of gratitude in everything from our sense of fulfillment to our children’s happiness.
With warmth, humor, and appealing insight, Janice’s journey will empower readers to think positively and start living their own best year ever.  

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 09 Jul 2015 04:01:05 -0400)

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