A Spoonful of Gratitude: Tips to Reduce Stress and Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Najma Khorrami, MPH

Publisher: Mascot Books Pages: 320 Price: (paperback) $19.95 ISBN: 9781637550007 Reviewed: February, 2022 Author Website: Visit »

While her title might suggest otherwise, author Najma Khorrami exhorts that gratitude is not a commodity. You can’t hold it, taste it, smell it or even sell it. It’s an acquired skill that offers many rewards, should the believer be willing to practice it often.

A Spoonful of Gratitude begins by helping readers understand the emotional and physical benefits of practicing gratitude. Khorrami notes that remembering daily as little as three reasons to be grateful (such as appreciating the gift of friends in one’s life) can easily elevate one’s mood and turn down the volume on troubling emotions. What’s more, the very act of expressing gratitude changes the body’s chemistry by storing and building positive memories, which help regulate the amygdala, the region of the brain that processes emotions.

Subsequent chapters are largely devoted to self-improvement tips and techniques, such as ways to create emotional strength (look for opportunities to grow within difficult situations), build emotional resilience (leverage criticism from others), generate optimism (exercise routinely) and conquer fear (remember, you are not alone!).

Khorrami’s chapter on Covid-19 is especially timely and useful. A trained public health practitioner, Khorrami reminds us that focusing on the healing power of human interactions, even when severely constrained due to quarantines and other restrictions, can help alleviate one of Covid’s greatest debilitating effects: the feeling of isolation.

In fact, A Spoonful of Gratitude’s greatest strength may be the way that Khorrami frames all the challenges wrought by the pandemic: death, lifestyle disruption and the ongoing uncertainties of its evolving nature. Maintaining a positive attitude, she notes, is essentially the same choice we had pre-pandemic whenever life threw us a fast curve. It’s a “cup half-full” perspective that should resonate with anyone looking for ways to lift their spirits during this challenging time—and beyond.

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