Jenna Monaco: How We Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness
Grounding is grounding. One of the biggest ways that I bring gratitude into my life to improve my health is to FEEL the gratitude in my body so it can anchor my emotions and energy. Oftentimes, when I’ve had a particularly difficult day, I like to sit and think about all the things I’m grateful for to ground my energy and quiet the chaotic chatter in my mind. When I’m done with the practice I feel more well equipped to handle whatever situation I’m facing with a fresh pair of eyes.
As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.
What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?
One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jenna Monaco.
Jenna is an intuitive and medium, modern mystic, writer and host of the Spark Intention Podcast. She’s been certified as a stress coach, meditation and mindfulness teacher, breathwork and embodiment facilitator and uses this knowledge as the foundation for her work. Now she has dedicated her life to working with womxn who hear the calling to embody their intuition and take their sacred life to the next level.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?
Thank you for having me! My backstory is a windy road, but to summarize, I struggled with anxiety my entire life and when my father passed away from addiction, I committed to finding a way to heal. I started my podcast, Spark Intention, in 2018 to share with others the tools and takeaways I’ve learned along my mental health journey. It was at that point that I could no longer ignore a spiritual side of me that was coming as a side effect of the healing work I’d done. I’d never been much for religion or spirituality so I felt a little blindsided, but it truly was a natural progression. The irony is not lost on me that I am now a Modern Mystic, but I am most passionate about using ancient wisdom and modern science to help my clients find the clarity they seek so they can experience deeper healing, peace, and prosperity in their lives.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I think the most interesting thing that happened was the switch from Stress Coach to Modern Mystic. I am an exceedingly skeptical person when it comes to spirituality. I need to see and experience it to believe. The consistency in which I experience things I cannot otherwise explain within myself and my clients always stops me in my tracks. It’s truly amazing.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is one that I developed, and I live and teach by: “Everything doesn’t happen for a reason, but I can find purpose in everything that happens.” Too often we blindly accept common phrases. In actuality, these sayings can be quite disempowering and frankly cannot be proven true. There wasn’t some outside influence that caused my dad to experience abuse that he in turn imparted onto me. There was only choice, action, and consequence. To say, everything happens for a reason puts our power in the hands of an unknown factor, and becomes a bypass for those who have inflicted pain or done harm. Everything happens for a reason, puts us in the seat of the victim instead of the weaver; leaving us feeling like we are choiceless, powerless, and out of control. A simple reframe brings the power and choice back into the equation and holds us accountable for our actions. From this place, we are able to become more resilient and thrive rather than just survive.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?
If I had to choose one, I’d say Ainslie MacLeod’s books. I read The Instruction early on in my journey and it piqued my interest. I resonated with Ainslie’s story about being a skeptic turned Past Life Regressionist. I’d listened to his interview on Oprah, and everything he said just clicked. His book was where I began meditations to connect with my guides. I’d recommend his work for anyone looking to strengthen their intuition and experience more fulfillment.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I am currently working on two non-fiction books, one is on grief, and the other on financial wealth but that’s all I can say at the moment. Stay tuned for fall 2021.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Agreed. While I don’t give my dad credit for my work and success as that was my choice to do something with it, I will say that he was my greatest teacher. Without my story, I wouldn’t be who I am today, helping who I am helping today, and for that I’m incredibly humbled and grateful.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?
Gratitude is a full-body experience that then shifts our mental and emotional state of being. That’s why it works so well to elevate our mood. Just like if you’re looking to buy a red mustang and then you suddenly see red mustangs everywhere, this is called a frequency bias commonly referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Meaning, once you bring something into your conscious awareness, your brain will be on high alert for more of it, especially if it evoked a “yum” response in the body. In short, the more you practice gratitude, the more you’ll look for things to be grateful for, the better you’ll feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?
Fear. Simple answer. Longer answer, fear and societal conditioning to always be striving for more because what we have is “never enough”. Let’s go back to fear for a second.. Often times we are afraid of humiliation, looking stupid, or getting disappointing so we don’t allow ourselves to focus on the good for fear of it being taken away. It’s a trauma response, and a way of trying to protect ourselves from feeling“bad” by constantly enduring “bad”. If you live at rock bottom, you have nowhere to fall. Truth is, the more we let in the “good” the easier it becomes to cope with the “bad”.
This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?
Absolutely. It wasn’t intuitive to me at first, it’s been a practice. First, practicing gratitude will help you move through your fears of experiencing joy to its fullest which in turn can be extremely liberating. Gratitude practice allows us to expand our ability to receive and experience more joy, pleasure, and abundance by reprogramming our limiting beliefs from, I’m unworthy to receive to, I am worthy to appreciate and experience the abundance around me.
Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?
Gratitude has helped me become more mentally and emotionally resilient. Oftentimes as we go about our day, it’s easy to focus on what’s hard or going wrong. Gratitude practice allows us to even the playing field. While yes, we might be facing challenges, gratitude practice becomes a supportive foundation to lean on while we navigate through life’s trials and tribulations.
Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Grounding is grounding. One of the biggest ways that I bring gratitude into my life to improve my health is to FEEL the gratitude in my body so it can anchor my emotions and energy. Oftentimes, when I’ve had a particularly difficult day, I like to sit and think about all the things I’m grateful for to ground my energy and quiet the chaotic chatter in my mind. When I’m done with the practice I feel more well equipped to handle whatever situation I’m facing with a fresh pair of eyes.
- Gratitude will help you stay informed with overwhelm or burnout. The news can be so disheartening, but it’s easier to digest when you see the bigger picture — that there’s much to be grateful for AND much to change, and they can exist together, and it’s not as bleak as they make it seem.
- Gratitude will help you experience more of what you want in life. It feels like magic, but it’s not. You see more of what you focus on. Some call this manifestation or the law of attraction. Whatever your language is, know that gratitude has the power to shift your reality! Just like when you start to focus on that new car you want to buy and you start to see it everywhere; when we focus our attention on what we like and what we have, we will naturally see more of the abundance currently in our lives.
- Gratitude will help you be more present in your life. When we start to pay attention to all the things currently in our lives, we begin to see how much we actually have and how rich our lives truly are. I used to write one page of gratitude each night and at first it was hard, but now, I say my gratitude aloud with my husband and sometimes he falls asleep before I’m finished because it takes so long!
- Gratitude is a love letter. When we write our gratitude down, we are moving that feeling through our body and out onto a page. This means that the feeling of gratitude is physically moving through our bodies as we write and filling us up with love and appreciation. You’re not just writing out what you’re thankful for, you’re embodying it, and that simple love letter becomes a supportive tool for our health and wellbeing.
Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?
Absolutely. I would say fill one journal page a night with your gratitudes and write thank you three times after each gratitude. I did this when I was at my lowest point in my life and it pulled me out of a very dark place. It took me a long time to truly FEEL grateful, but over time, the feeling came back and the gratitude list became longer and longer.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?
Gratitude by Oliver Sacks, Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan, The Psychology of Gratitude by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough.. There’s a lot of mention of gratitude in Jen Sincero’s book, You Are A Badass, which I particularly enjoyed as well.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I love that question. If I could start a movement, it would be the movement to face and heal your emotional wounds. Healed people bring healing to all the spaces they enter by simply being themselves. We often look outside of ourselves at how we can help when the truth is, one of the best ways we can help is by healing ourselves. It’s not cute or easy work, but it is how we make profound shifts in our life and the lives of others.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Thank you, wishing you and all your readers the best.