The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha is a compilation of little events and things in life that are positive but we often take for granted, forget, or ignore. Taking a moment to focus on an instant of awesomeness helps us to shift our mindset and we start to see more awesome things around us. Neil started this as a blog where he made a goal to write one awesome thing per day for 1000 days as a way to help him get out of his depression. His blog ended up winning blog of the year award and was then turned into this book. Neil also wrote The Happiness Equation which focuses more on creating the happiness in your life rather than waiting for it to happen.
Positive Psychology has been recommending this approach to mental wellbeing and positive shift in thinking for ages. Many therapies will recommend that you write out 3 things you are grateful for each day, or one thing you’re looking forward to each day, or do 2 nice things for yourself or someone else daily. Regardless of your approach, focusing on one positive thing each day helps you shift your thinking; and shifting your thinking helps you shift your mood!
When we are depressed or anxious it is common to focus on the negative, discount the positive, or assume the worst (mental filter, exaggerating, minimizing, jumping to conclusions, these are all unhelpful patterns of thinking that keep us stuck in depression or anxiety). What Neil did was alert his brain to the positive things around him by writing one awesome thing per day. The wonderful thing is, the more we do this, the more we start to see and find awesome things around us. It’s selective attention and the way our brain works. For example, before you bought your new car, you never noticed it on the road before, but now that you just got it, you notice it everywhere! It seems everyone also has your same make and model. Selective attention. Your brain wasn’t paying attention to the car before, but now that you just dropped a lot of hard earned money on your new car, your brain is paying attention and is noticing the car everywhere else. We can train our brain to do this with positive things in life. It’s a shift in perspective.
If you’re having a hard time identifying the awesome things in life, perhaps due to your own depression, give this book a try. It might help you begin to look for and generate your own moments of awesomeness. As a general read, this book is best approached a little bit each day. It is not the type of sit down story book that will keep you engaged. There will be several chapters where you are thinking “meh” or perhaps rolling your eyes. But every once in awhile Neil reminds you of an awesome moment you totally relate too and for a brief second you feel that surge of positive energy as you smile and turn the page. But as a daily read at breakfast or on your break it is a cute reminder for the many things in life we have to be grateful for.
I encourage you to check out the book from your local library! In fact many libraries even have the books available as ebooks for download! All of the books I have reviewed here I borrowed from my local city and county libraries.