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From The Counseling Center: Gratitude Can Reframe a Situation, Lighten a Load, and Make Others Feel Valued

By Natalie Ryder Redcross, Ph.D., MFT-I

June 5, 2024: The beginning of summer, when for many the pace of life shifts into a slower or at least altered mode, can be a good time to pause and consider where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we would like to be.  It can also be a time to cultivate gratitude--for the people and circumstances that make our lives rich and challenging and filled with hope, even joy.

Gratitude That Flows Freely: Sometimes, once we stop to take stock, an appreciation of the many positive aspects of our lives fills us with gratitude.  We might be grateful for a teacher or colleague who helped us reach a new goal, a spouse or child who gave us joy and new insight.  We might acknowledge a challenging situation that seemed to bring nothing but trouble and ended by taking us to new and welcome places of achievement or awareness.  Feeling gratitude can be humbling and uplifting both at once.

Gratitude that Reframes a Situation: Other times, we find ourselves in difficult situations. Taking a moment to identify positive elements within it, and being grateful for them, can help us reframe a situation that filled us with despair into one that offers glimmers of hope.  By identifying and giving weight to the good aspects of our circumstances, we are sometimes able to perceive that the bad aspects don’t necessarily need to weigh so heavily upon us.  Gratitude can show a way forward.

Gratitude that Lightens a Load: Even if the sources of gratitude aren’t strong or specific enough to reframe the situation, sometimes gratitude can lighten the load we carry so that we’re able to travel further down the path to a better place. A boss is making our daily work life miserable, but we’re grateful that the job pays the bills and offers a chance to pay for a son’s further education.  A medical diagnosis has left us reeling, but the support of family and friends offers assurance that we can manage the tough road ahead.

Gratitude Expressed Through Action: In busy lives, gratitude is often felt, and less often expressed. And yet, it is sometimes the thing we most crave from one another—to feel valued. v erbal expressions of “thank you,” and “I appreciate that,” can be the easiest and simplest ways to express a sense of value to loved ones and strangers.  Deeply meaningful, true gratitude, however, often takes the form of intentional action.

When we want an important person—a friend, colleague, child, parent, relative, partner, spouse, neighbor or the like—to deeply feel and know our gratitude, these acts are examples of ways to reach beyond words: 

-When you say, “No thanks, I can do it alone,” we show up and help anyway.

-We commit to do a chore we know you dislike—without requests or reminders!

-We practice patience in moments of irritation or discord.

-We come through—we’re reliable and dependable.

-We watch, listen and are observant.

-We learn to anticipate what you’d like, want, or need.

-We truly hear you by putting down the phone or turning off the music/TV; we show that you have our full attention.

Gratitude can be our not-so-secret power as we navigate through life. All it requires is taking time to identify and acknowledge it, and then deciding what to do with it: record it in a journal, pick up the phone, or just savor the feeling.

The Counseling Center in Bronxville, a nonprofit organization, offers therapy for individuals, couples, and families, through video platforms, telephonically, and in person.  Please feel free to reach out if we can help, by calling Dr. Jennifer Klein, 914 793 3388. 

To keep abreast of ongoing information and activities at The Counseling Center, or to make a donation, please visit our website at https://counselingcenter.org/.



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The Maxwell Institute of St. Vincent's Westchester offers outpatient chemical dependency treatment and education services for adults, adolescents and their families. Treatment includes individual and group psychotherapy, couples counseling, and psychiatric evaluation and medication management when indicated. The Institute welcomes individuals and family members who are experiencing marital and/or work-related distress as a result of alcoholism and other forms of chemical dependency.

The Maxwell Institute also offers community education services through its programs in drug and alcohol prevention in the schools. For persons wishing to become credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselors (CASACS) in New York State, the "Maxtrain" program provides the 350 classroom education hours that are an important part of the credentialing requirements.

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Since 1994, Dr. Kanganis and Dr. Minoli of Bronxville Dental Care have been leaders in the dental community, providing exceptional dentistry to generations of Bronxville families. They have a long history of excellence and have earned a reputation built on trust, compassion, and dedication. Drs. Kanganis and Minoli believe in a conservative, holistic, and minimally invasive approach to dentistry. Bronxville Dental Care welcomes patients of all ages and offers a comprehensive range of services, including cosmetic and restorative dentistry, implants, and pediatric dentistry. Dr. Kanganis especially loves treating children. As a mother herself of two recent Bronxville High School grads, she understands the importance of helping children to feel comfortable during their visits, while earning their trust and teaching them to become active participants in their oral health.

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In July 2014, Lawrence Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital established a new relationship aimed at enhancing care, improving access and lowering health care costs for residents of Bronxville and surrounding communities in Westchester County. Lawrence was renamed NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital.

Lawrence Hospital Center was founded in 1909 and is a 291-bed acute care facility with over 1100 employees and 400 physicians. It provides emergency care to approximately 35,000 individuals every year.   It became a designated New York State Stroke Center in 2006.  Its physicians provide expertise in virtually every area of medical specialty and include over 100 primary care physicians. And, Lawrence delivers about 2000 babies every year in the home-like setting of newly designed Labor and Delivery recovery rooms.

Outpatient services include diagnostic testing and laboratory services, ambulatory surgery options, and rehabilitation and sports medicine services. The Hospital has a Women`s Imaging Center where female patients receive diagnostic services in a private setting. Outpatient physical therapy, lymphedema therapy, speech and occupational therapy services are provided both on-site at the Hospital and at Lawrence`s satellite center, The Center for Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, in Scarsdale.

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