Many of us have gotten comfortable in a society filled with constant negativity. A stream of complaining and griping is present as we focus on the negatives within our lives instead of the pleasures.
Realizing this at a New Year’s Eve party, acclaimed journalist, Janice Kaplan decided to embark on a positive gratitude journey, for twelve months, through extensive research and personal experiences. After conducting a national gratitude study, she discovered that most Americans see gratitude as an essential to a happy life but less remember to be grateful.
The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life, is a memoir of Kaplan’s transformative year exploring how gratitude can transform every aspect of life. It encourages you to be more grateful in your day-to-day life. From recounting a bad car accident she was involved in while pregnant, to making career changing moves, to using gratitude for weight loss, Kaplan’s retelling of her life thus far is enough to empower you to think and live more positively.
As a millennial career woman finding gratitude in tough situations can be difficult. Here are three ways you can start incorporating gratitude in everyday life:
1. Be appreciative of the now.
At times, we fall into the habit of things as we know them and as we get comfortable we often forget what made it special to us. Whether it be your employment, your hustle, your spouse, or anything else, take a moment often to appreciate it and look at it in a different perspective. What once thrilled you about this thing can be rediscovered, and positivity can be reignited through a shift in focus.
2. Encourage yourself and others to scale back on negativity.
Have you ever been asked how you are doing, and you respond with a complaint? Most people do it out of habit. Recounting the experience and identifying this habit through a personal relationship after beginning her positive lifestyle change, Kaplan encourages her readers to start small in showing gratitude by writing one or two things that you are grateful for at the end of the night. Whether it be in the workplace by highlighting to yourself the positives throughout negative situations or distancing yourself from negative personalities when encouraging others does not work, keeping record allows you to look back over your gratitude and be more appreciative.
3. Change how you view a bad time.
We’ve all been in a position where we are eager for a job, only to be declined or passed on an offer; or maybe given a bill of not so positive health. Kaplan quotes philosopher Christopher Epictetus saying, “We must make the best use that we can of the things which are in our power and use the rest according to nature.” Instead of feeling down about not receiving the news you are expecting, look at it as a redirection of your energy to something that may be more suitable for you elsewhere.
While these are just three ways you can apply gratitude in your life, designating time in your day to reflect on positive moments can begin the shift in your thinking. Whether you start slow or dive head first into the gratitude challenge, everyone can benefit from a little more positive thinking.
The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life will be available August 18, 2015.