How a Year Looking on the Bring Side Can Transform Your Life

By: Janice Kaplan

Published: August 18, 2015

Publisher: Dutton


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.

Janice Kaplan – source

Janice Kaplan was the Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, the most widely read publication in America. Widely known for her achievements as a writer, television producer, and magazine editor, she was deputy editor of TV Guide magazine and executive producer of the TV Guide Television Group, where she created and produced television specials that aired primetime on ABC, FOX, VH1 and other networks. After graduating Yale, she began her career as an on-air sports reporter for CBS Radio and went on to be a producer at ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, where she won awards for investigative reporting. 

A former columnist for Seventeen magazine, Kaplan was a contributing editor at Vogue and has written hundreds of articles for national magazines. She is the author and co-author of twelve books. For more on Kaplan, you can check out her website, HERE

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Thanks to and the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting 
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1 Comment

  1. Kate Unger on March 16, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Sounds good. Similar to The Happiness Project which I loved. I'm adding it to my list! Great review.

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