Redeemer Counseling Newsletter

The Power of Gratitude in Grieving

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7

Scripture exhorts us to be thankful in all things and science has caught up. There is a broad base of research showing that the practice of gratitude has tremendous benefit across significant domains. Everything from mental and physical health to relationships and faith. 

Thanksgiving season can be a time of connection, peace, and joy for many. It is also a time of isolation, discord, and pain for others. As caregivers, it can be difficult to sit with someone experiencing the latter because we recognize the power of gratitude and long to help them move beyond the pain. Sometimes this recognition and our own longing causes us to skip or rush grief and lament.

Gratitude and grief can seem like opposites, but they are both inextricably tied to the human condition. So how can we encourage deeply unhappy people to practice gratitude without invalidating or feeding their pain? It starts with us modeling these practices. It’s about our own willingness to face and bear the nuanced fullness of life.

This month's tool provides guidance on both acknowledging grief and pain, as well as cultivating gratitude through prayer and mindful meditation outlined in the evidence-based therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5



Sharon Richards, LCSW