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This is the time of year when we think about the things that are important in our lives. We offer gratitude and thanks for what is good.

We learn to express thanks and gratitude at an early age. When I was teaching in primary school, every year I would put up a turkey on the bulletin board and each student would cut out a large feather for that turkey and write one thing they were thankful for. Everyone got to talk about why they picked their word. I loved this exercise.

Many people keep a gratitude journal but let’s go deeper than just a list of what we feel gratitude for.

When I look back into my gratitude journal, I see over and over again that I am grateful for my home. My home is my refuge. I need to remember everyday why I am so grateful that I have this home. Every morning I walk through the living room, kitchen, and my office and reorganize anything that is out of order. The tidy and organized space gives me peace. I can then settle back with my cup of coffee and enjoy the sacredness of my home. Taking care of my home is one way I show my gratitude.

I am grateful for the time I have to spend with my friends. Life can get so busy that it is easy to not schedule special time for friendship. I organize and set up my calendar so that I can hold some space for connecting with friends. I show my gratitude for my friends by reaching out to them through calls and visits over coffee or lunch. It is important to let them know just how much I value their friendship. Verbally expressing my gratitude is important. I let them know that I appreciate their finding time to visit and share with me.

I am grateful for my work with my clients. Every client is unique, and I cherish the connections we make as we work together. I love reminding them of all the great things that they are accomplishing. I show my gratitude by following up on their progress even beyond the project we just completed.

Expressing gratitude gives us joy and happiness in return. According to Chopra, when we express gratitude, we release dopamine and serotonin. These neurochemicals are associated with pleasure and happiness. Gratitude can also improve your physical health.  Gratitude can even improve your mental health. All are good reasons to keep up the gratitude practice long past this holiday season.

And let us not forget to be open to the gratitude of others. Acknowledge that their gratitude means a lot to you and will reinforce your relationship. Let them also reap the benefits of gratitude.

With all of the stresses coming up with the holiday season let us show gratitude even more than we usually would. Gratitude will help us remain positive and enjoy our holiday time.

If you are ready to make your home a refuge or would like to tame your calendar, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space For You clutter support group. The group will offer ideas, support, or accountability in working or developing plan or project,

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.



  • I love the exercise you did with your students (and I didn’t know you used to be a teacher)!

    I’ve been expressing gratitude in my life for a few years now, and have more recently made the point of telling others I’m grateful for their friendship, business, or whatever. I would hate for them not to know how much they mean to me!

  • I feel grateful to read your post. It’s a reminder of how to regularly appreciate the people, places, and things that improve your life. It’s so easy to get distracted by the busyness of life and NOT stop to acknowledge those things that give you comfort, energy, and joy. While this time of year is a great season to express gratitude, you remind us of the value of making it a regular practice.

    I also appreciated the cyclical nature of gratitude you mentioned. You can acknowledge to yourself what you are grateful for, express gratitude in verbal or concrete ways, and accept gratitude extended to you by others. The more we say, acknowledge, and accept it, the more gratitude grows.

  • I’m with you about feeling grateful for my home, family/friends, and many other things. Being thankful during November is important, but practicing gratitude all year is essential, especially when you feel down or sad.

  • Seana Turner says:

    The one thing I come back to over and over is every day that I have good health. I have so many dear ones facing difficult struggles, so I truly do value a healthy day.

    I also am so grateful for my home. It is doing “double duty” at the moment, with one of my daughters and her husband living with us. The housing market is tough, and I am so thankful to have space to share. Truly.

    I’m also thankful for my network of digital connections. I never knew that starting a business and blogging would open up this world of friends.

    Beautiful post for this time of year! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Thank you for sharing your story and your gratitude. It is the time of year where we get family and friends together and are grateful for everything around us. Thank you for this post.

  • Julie+Bestry says:

    These are such important points. I admit, I’m terrible at sticking with any kind of formal gratitude ritual, especially gratitude journals. I think I’m fairly aware in the moment and verbalize when I’m thankful for something or someone, and that feeling of gratitude sticks with me. But when I try to journal or discuss things, I tend to lean toward being thankful that I don’t have what don’t want, which can make me anxious that I’ll some how manifest exactly what I want to avoid. (Brains are weird.) I think I have to figure out how to keep the neurochemicals focused on gratitude for what I do have and not fear that I will lose those things!

    I’m thankful for your post!

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