Jennifer Garman is on a mission to inspire others to practice gratitude in an effort to improve mental wellness, elevate happiness, and build resilience. Her entire life revolves around this concept. Formerly a software engineer for Hewlett-Packard and later a marketing advisor in the medical sector, Garman found the practice of gratitude so transformative when studying for her life coaching certification that she decided to make it her life’s purpose. Garman is the founder and CEO of GratitudeMission.org, where families can purchase the Growing Gratitude Tree—a product that teaches children how to cultivate gratitude. This award-winning product has been featured in multiple magazines and on live TV via HSN. Garman lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and their three children.
Nine years ago my health fell off a cliff. The craziest thing was that it happened literally overnight. At that time, my twins were three and we had just celebrated my youngest daughter’s first birthday. Life was chaotic but fulfilling. Each night, I would get awoken time after time for this or that, but fall right back to sleep, somehow getting a full night’s rest—then do it all over again without skipping a beat. I felt energetic during the day and rested enough when I woke, until one night I just couldn’t fall asleep.
It wasn’t due to anything in particular, and as I lay there I remember thinking how odd it was that I was so peaceful yet I just couldn’t fall asleep! Annoying as it was, I functioned the best I could the next day, knowing I would get a great night’s sleep the following evening. But that night the same thing happened, and the next night, and the next. Survival mode fully kicked in, and I was a mess by the time I got to the doctor. He chalked everything up to the stress of raising three young kids and sent me home with a sleep prescription.
Never being one to turn to medication, I remember how uneasy I felt taking the pills to cover up an unknown underlying problem that was brushed under the rug. It took several nights, but the medication finally began working and I got a bit of sleep. I wasn’t able to get to sleep again without some sort of support for over 7 years. And even though I was getting some sleep, it wasn’t nearly to the point I had gotten prior to the onset of this condition.
It wasn’t just my sleep though—my health as a whole deteriorated along with it. Allergies developed out of nowhere to foods and environmental factors. I went from doctor to doctor who ordered test after test. When all the testing came back without answers, I started on protocols based on a hunch here or there. Everyone seemed most concerned about the symptoms and treated those individually which infuriated me more and more each day.
It was during one of my higher functioning periods of time that I decided to get my life coaching certification. During my studies, the subject of happiness came to the forefront. As mentioned in the intro, I became obsessed with happiness as I thought this was my new health reality. I needed to make the most of it, and heck, I had it so good compared to so many others and so much to be thankful for after all!
The reality began to set in that happiness is so elusive for so many, mostly because they were looking back at the past or projecting to some time in the future when they either were happy or were waiting to get to goal that they believed would make them happy. I was in this boat as well, thinking all too often that I would be happy when I got my health back, yet the days and years passed by at an alarming rate while I “waited.”
My studies of happiness would always encompass gratitude and would tie it so strongly together that it could not be ignored. Every study would either allude to or conclude that grateful people are more happy people, so I began to practice and incorporate gratitude into my own life.
My realization that I had the power to transform my life was an epiphany. The incorporation of gratitude was life-altering, but when I tied it in with neuroplasticity techniques, things really took off. We are just starting to scratch the surface of understanding how complex and powerful an organ the brain is. My practice in just the course of a few weeks was healing me more than any other modality I had tried up until that time. The health I was enjoying was magnified by the grateful life I was living, and I was more happy than I had been in years.
In the last few years with my newfound health, I have started my own company, took a product I designed from concept to market, appeared in numerous publications and on national TV, and now wrote this book. To say I was on fire is an understatement; I have more energy and better health than ever before in my life, and I knew I needed to share what I had learned with others. What I have for you is not some magical formula. It’s not New Age or transcendentalist talk. It is both scripturally and scientifically based and it takes work if you’re ready to put forth some effort. However, I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s transformational. Are you ready?