Book Review: The Gratitude Diaries


I absolutely loved this book and it has quickly become one of my top favourites. The author, Janice Kaplan, writes about an experimental year where she focuses on gratitude and her findings along the way. It’s a simple read with tons of expert’s opinions and science to back it, which I appreciate. I love how I felt inspired to become more grateful and how easy it is to incorporate into your own life.

The story begins with Janice Kaplan explaining how she had decided to make a New Year’s Resolution that she would actually stick to. She decided to take the year to create more appreciation in her life, but she had no idea just how positive the year would be.

Throughout different sections of the book Janice focuses on being grateful for different things. In the beginning of her journey she decides to focus on appreciating her husband more and their relationship. She acknowledges times that she had gotten upset and makes a valiant effort to flip her headspace to appreciating her husband in those situations, rather than getting frustrated. She gives the example of how sometimes late at night her husband gets called into work, he’s a pediatrician, and how she gets annoyed that he has to leave and doesn’t get to spend the night with her. When she begins this month of gratitude, she explains how in those moments where he has to leave rather than getting upset at him she feels grateful that her husband is able to help others in need. She starts to look at him differently and instead of feeling agitation she begins feeling deep love and admiration. To help with this transition of gratitude for her husband, Janice tells him one thing that she’s grateful for about him and one thing that he did for her recently that she appreciates. Eventually he begins reciprocating and their entire relationship begins to shift and become more positive.

I really liked this concept of appreciating your partner and I actually began doing it myself in my relationship. It’s so simple but from my experience it definitely helped to create a more positive relationship with my partner. I noticed that he generally felt more appreciated and even began doing more. When he reciprocated with positive appreciation it built me up and I wanted to do more for him as well. Suddenly waking up early to make him a healthy breakfast wasn’t a chore but instead it was nice to do something little for him to show him I cared. I know that it sounds so simple but it honestly helped us to feel closer. Anything that helps to create a more positive relationship with your partner is great in my books.

Other things that Janice focused her gratitude on for a month included work, healthy income and her children. She kept a gratitude diary and wrote down the different things that she was grateful for during her journey. Janice explains how, “You can think of gratitude as a form of mental exercise that primes the mind for positivity.” Who doesn’t want more of that?

I also really enjoyed how throughout the book she talked to different specialists about gratitude and their findings.

Here are some of my biggest takeaway’s from the book:

  • If you trade your expectations for appreciation, the world instantly changes.

  • People want to feel valued and will respond with greater creativity, engagement and persistence when they feel like others are grateful for their contributions.

  • Appreciation is the single most sustainable motivator at work.

  • Gratitude lowers stress and less stress means less inflammation. Less inflammation means you are not as susceptible to disease.

Relationship gratitude in three steps:

  1. Find a reason at least once a day to say thank-you.

  2. Focus on the positives instead of the negatives.

  3. Tell your spouse why you appreciate them.

Children gratitude:

  1. To raise grateful kids, be grateful for your kids.

I sincerely enjoyed reading this novel and found it positively impacted myself and my life. I’m always looking for new techniques or tools to positively incorporate in my life or show others. This book definitely gave me more perspective and appreciation for the power of gratitude. Of all the books that I have written about, this is the one that I would recommend that everyone reads.

I thought I would end this book review with a powerful quote by Epicurus, “nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.”

By: Cortnie Dawn

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