In Good Morning, I Love You, clinical psychologist Shauna Shapiro proffers a three-month plan for cultivating gratitude and mindfulness through autobiographical writing.
While enduring a messy divorce, Shapiro learned to say “Good morning, I love you” to herself each day. At first it rang false, but before long she found that she meant it. The book’s journaling drills reinforce that mantra by promoting self-compassion and thankfulness. They include morning and evening prompts; a recurring one asks the participant to describe a positive event from their day in as much sensory detail as possible.
Other pages elicit reflections on a quotation, or sketches in reaction to a concept. Write a letter to yourself, Shapiro beckons, sympathizing with a current struggle as if responding to a dear friend; list three people who give off a sense of unconditional love; and “invite a wise being to join you,” summoning a spiritual guru like the Dalai Lama or the Virgin Mary to sit alongside you during the composition process. Gold sun and silver moon motifs on the glittering layouts help to spotlight circadian rhythms.
Engagement with one’s body through meditation and breathing exercises is part of this work. Even activities like meals or showers can be wreathed in joy, Shapiro says. And since “our minds wander 47% of the time,” she advises prioritizing one task at a time to avoid distractions.
Encouraging forgiveness and connecting with others and with nature, the book promises that its methods will help when it comes to mitigating stress. In fact, Shapiro argues for neuroplasticity—the prospect that appreciation and thoughtfulness can “rearchitect the very structure of your brain.” It’s quite a claim, but moving toward happiness with greater deliberation can’t hurt.
Good Morning, I Love You carves a path to peace through daily journaling.
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