This book created a pile of sticky notes on my desk. I normally take a few notes throughout the books I read, but nothing like this. I highly recommend The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan.
As a holistic health coach, I’m always looking for books that will impact my clients. This book was definitely one whose wisdom and advice will help my clients transform their overall health.
One New Year’s Eve, Janice Kaplan decided to become happier. “I knew that how I felt about the twelve months ahead would probably have less to do with what actually happened than with the mood, spirit, and attitude I brought to each day.”
This book is very conversational; it reads almost like a diary but also contains a collection of interviews. As she journeys through the year, the author explores how gratitude can change everything from marriage and family to money and health.
Throughout the book, I kept noticing one theme: Gratitude cannot happen if we take for granted the life we are living. For example, two groups of children were observed after receiving a gift. Those who believe they deserved the gift, did not feel any gratitude. However, those who accepted the gift with gratitude turned around and shared that toy with other kids!
How familiar this is in life! I do not appreciate my two good feet until one of them is injured and it hurts to walk. I do not appreciate a normal bowel movement unless I’ve recently had diarrhea/constipation. (Most of us are not that aware, much less thankful, of our poop!) When we are living without paying attention, we cannot be grateful.
Marcus Aurelius said, “when you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
Clients come to me primarily concerned about their health. Every single one of my clients can benefit from a higher sense of well-being. One interview was with Dr. Martin Seligman. He told her, “people who are highest in gratitude are also highest in well-being.” It seems almost too easy to be true, but it plays out in study after study and experience after experience. Be grateful = live better.
As the various experts in the books chimed in about gratitude and its effect on every aspect of our lives each one affirmed the practice of a nightly gratitude journal habit. Taking a few minutes before bed to write down a couple things from the day that you are grateful for impacts everything from sleep to mood to overall well-being and even your career!
But it’s not just the practice of keeping a journal beside your bed. Expressing gratitude before you eat has a big effect on that meal. I did not expect to read that just expressing gratitude would lead to eating more fruits and vegetables and 10% fewer calories. It makes sense though. When I feel grateful for something I am focused on it. When we eat without paying attention, we eat more and we eat lesser quality. That was one of the keys I wrote about to help you avoid overeating.
Do you keep a gratitude journal? It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be a part of your daily planner. It can be a separate journal. However, the act of writing something down is more impactful than just thinking grateful thoughts.
I have only shared a few of my favorite points from the book. This is one book I highly recommend checking out for yourself. After all, increasing the quality of your marriage, family, career, money, health, and happiness with one simple practice of gratitude is totally worth it.
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