‘Tis the Season for an Attitude of Gratitude
Can you feel it in the air? The crispness of fall and the warmth that comes with the upcoming holiday season? Now is the time to be grateful—for our families, our friends, our safety, the homes we live in, and our health!
This year especially, we are even more aware of just how valuable these things are to us. November is National Gratitude Month, and I want to express my gratitude and to share with you why this value is important to me. My hope is that you will reflect more deeply on the things that matter in your own life, on this Thanksgiving Day and beyond.
Many people ask where the gratitude comes from within me. I’ve been called Pollyanna, Susie Sunshine, and the Woman of Good Cheer. My answer is multifaceted, as I am a woman who truly does have a grateful heart by nature—but moreover, it’s something that I intentionally practice on a daily basis.
I’ve taught my children to always say Thank You and to express gratitude even when people can’t hear them saying it. There is a certain power in speaking our thanks out loud and releasing it into the universe. When we actively engage in gratitude, it also benefits our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.
A funny example of this is when I’m out in the car with my teenagers, and another driver allows us to cross in front of them. I always wave my hand and verbally say out loud, ”Thank you!” My kids laugh and make fun of me for doing this because they say the other driver can’t hear me. But the reality is, I can hear me, my kids can hear me, and the universe can hear me—so goodness and positivity are shared.
Having a grateful heart even during hard times allows us over and over again to build a strong foundation rooted in positivity. Numerous studies conducted over the last decade demonstrate that positive reinforcement, gratitude, and a thankful heart benefit our physical and mental health.
A post by Harvard Medical School points out that managers who say “Thank you” to the people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder. At Jennasis & Associates, a heart of gratitude is very evident among the team. I work hard at acknowledging and showing appreciation to team members for their work, their insight, their wins, and their willingness to rise to challenges. Every Friday, we practice #JAShoutOuts, a forum for team members to acknowledge and thank their coworkers for accomplishments during that week. It’s a great way to demonstrate gratitude on a regular basis.
According to PositivePsychology.com, writing in a personal journal for five minutes a day about what we are grateful for can enhance our long-term happiness by over 10%. And regular gratitude journaling has been shown to result in 5% to 15% increases in optimism. For those like me, starting with a blank piece of paper seems daunting—so we’ve just published our Wellness Workbook (digital and physical copies), which is filled with exercises and prompts to help initiate your creative juices. Stay tuned to learn more in the coming days!
Positive Psychology also shares that, based on certain evidence, the more grateful a person is, the more likely he or she is to enjoy better physical and psychological health. Over the past year, I have come to realize that my physical wellness often gets pushed down on the daily list of priorities, and I’ve allowed work, family, friends, and my home to take precedence over my health. To help rectify this, I have not only reincorporated my daily walks with my husband and pup (sometimes multiple times a day), but I’ve also hired a personal trainer to help hold me accountable. I realize that focusing on my work and my family come naturally to me, but self-care, rest, and working out—not so much. Having someone to encourage me, challenge me, and hold me accountable in these areas is essential. My hope for each of you is to identify the areas in which you are not naturally strong and to seek support there.
During 2020, I’ve adopted the phrase “COVID Keeps.” This means there are valuable and positive things I’ve experienced or changed in my life due to COVID. Take a moment and think about some of the light and joy that have come to you during this year. For me, these moments include having planned game nights or playing cards with my family, not having to rush through dinner to jump in the car and head somewhere for the evening, and seeing parts of Ohio that I had never experienced before. Yes, I am fully aware of all that was disrupted or taken from me and my family during this season as well. I am not negating any of those things. But finding the joy in the darkness and cherishing the experiences I’ve had is something I don’t want to lose sight of either.
One of the greatest gifts that I experienced this year was the rebirth of Jennasis Speaks and the women’s movement that have been in my heart for over a decade. After finishing my MBA in May and having some additional time on my hands, I was able to dig deep and launch this movement!
The joy, the excitement, and the beginning of a dream come true are things to really be grateful for! My desire is to spread the message of having courage, healing together through collective vulnerability, and establishing a community that empowers and encourages women.
As I have stepped into this healing arena, I have become fully aware of the Jennasis Speaks champions who are rising around me—women who also have a fire in their bellies to encourage, equip, and walk alongside other women to help facilitate freedom, joy, and healing. These women fan the flames in my heart to go deeper, to heal further, and to dream bigger. And for that I am thankful!
I want to take a moment to thank a few women whose courage, strength and voices humbled me on this journey. Laura Steinbrink and Amy Stack both shared publicly for the first time their journeys of healing and overcoming childhood sexual abuse. Mary Ann Stropkay talked about losing her husband in the blink of an eye and how she dealt with her grief while raising their teenage children alone. Joni Marra shared techniques on how hypnotherapy and breath therapy can help individuals overcome triggers and trauma to enhance healing and balance. Rebekah Chilcote openly shared her lifelong battle of coming to terms with her sexuality and her faith. These stories, along with the others of our first season, make me appreciate the strong women who have crossed my path and have shown their bravery and courage through their voices.
I encourage you to join me in my daily efforts to continue this “attitude of gratitude.” Jennasis Speaks Inner Circle, a women-run and women-powered group, is the latest brainchild in my plan to continue spreading good cheer. The group’s mission is to empower women everywhere through collective vulnerability—inspiring one another to walk in wholeness, courage, and healing. (Read this Inner Circle blog to learn more.)
- Access to our exclusive members-only Facebook group
- Weekly group Zoom calls with Jennifer and other female leaders to encourage healing, vulnerability, overcoming our pasts, and empowering our futures
- Weekly motivations around a specific topic designed to set up your week for success
- Weekly Facebook Live sessions to facilitate community, collective vulnerability, and healing
- Weekly Facebook Live Q&A sessions with Jennifer to answer and address your questions/comments
- Access to The Jennasis Speaks Inner Circle Vault, which contains a library of motivational sessions
- Regular thought prompts and exercises facilitated in our Facebook group
As you take the next step on your gratitude journey, I hope you are able to embrace it with an open mind and with the love and support of those around you. May you have a Happy Thanksgiving filled with joy and appreciation for all of the blessings life has given you!
Jennasis Speaks is a platform that empowers women to safely share their stories, promoting healing and growth through the power of collective vulnerability and acceptance. Believing that “Every woman has a story… and every story matters,” founder Jennifer Malcolm hosts a new guest each week to tell her story on the Jennasis Speaks podcast—and invites listeners to connect to help find their own paths to passion and purpose.