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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Review: The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan

Today I am grateful that I live and work in Devon. Such a beautiful part of the country that I get to call home.

I'm grateful I have the time to go for a wander in the evening with a gorgeous man by my side making me laugh.

I'm grateful that I was sent this lovely book out of the blue by the good people at Yellow Kite!

The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan follows an autobiographical tale of a year in Janice's life, as she explores gratitude. This book is not the diary itself, although it does contain snippets of it, but rather an enquiry into how a year of living gratefully affects Janice’s life- and the lives of her friends and family.

Divided into four parts, each section homes in on different areas of Janice’s personal life and how gratitude can be applied to and affect each one. These are:

1. Marriage, Love and Family
2. Money, Career and the Stuff We Own
3. Health
4. Coping, Caring and Connecting

As with any personal development or self-help book (or any non-fiction book come to that!) I found that there were certain areas that I connected with and that felt I could use personally, and others that didn’t resonate with me as much (I know I do need to diet- I really can’t bring myself to be grateful though!). But, I have to say that I really enjoyed reading the whole thing. Janice’s personal accounts and examples are liberally sprinkled with interesting snippets of research and the input of experts, as well as anecdotes about the famous people the author has met and spent time with (and the one time I meanly thought to myself “name-dropping!!” I have since come to the conclusion that actually, I was just jealous.)

Janice Kaplan has managed the seemingly impossible, she has written a book that is thoughtful, funny, inspiring, applicable, wise and humorous whilst managing to navigate away from the huge potential for smugness.

Does it work? Well, yes. I’ve spent many an evening drive home from work listing my reasons to be grateful out loud to myself (I've also been given some seriously strange looks by other road users- but that's a whole other story). Here I should mention that I've also spent the usual amount of time grumbling- the book's not a magic bullet- but it does give you something to take your mind into a much healthier setting.

This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to start seeing the brighter side of their every-day existence. It can’t help but change your outlook, and it’s a bloomin’ good read to boot.

Kindle:                        Paperback:

The Blurb:

It's easy to look at others and think how lucky they are, and sometimes finding the positives in our own lives can be hard. Success is often measured in tangible ways, and as we strive to achieve more and get more, we forget that it's often the simple things that can bring us the most joy. After reading about how expressing gratitude for the little things can be incredibly powerful and affect our lives in profound ways, Janice Kaplan decided to spend a year living gratefully and find out whether being grateful really does offer a new path to happiness.

Her experiences of living gratefully will be anchored by intriguing research findings, as well as in-depth interviews with real people, those in public life, and neuroscientists and experts in the field, including Dr Martin Seligman and Dr Robert Emmons, the world's leading scientific expert on gratitude.

Recounted with warmth and humour, this story-filled memoir will inspire readers to reflect on the true meaning of gratitude, and provide them with a structure and context for making significant changes in every aspect of their lives. For not only can gratitude make you more honest, courageous and generous; research has shown that it can also improve overall health and reduce stress and depression.

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