Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gratitude: More Than Words

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. - John F. Kennedy

How trustworthy are our words if there is no action behind them? We can tell our kids not to smoke, but if they see us doing it, can we realistically expect them to listen? We can say we care about our health, but do our eating habits confirm that we do? The old adage rings true: Actions speak louder than words.

It is not just the words we say that reveal the condition of our hearts. People watch what we do more than what we say. Our actions are the best indicators of who we really are. Actions can speak so loud that we may not even need words at all sometimes. If you see a man treating his wife with love and respect, speaking well of her, supporting and acknowledging her, you don’t need him or anyone to tell you that he loves her. If you know someone who gives of their time and resources to help people in need, you do not need to be told that he or she cares or that he or she is a giving person. Observing the actions of others lead us to come to our own conclusions.

When our hearts are truly thankful, it will come out and be evident in our words. With a thankful heart we will not find fault, but rather, we will find something to praise. We will not complain, but instead, we will rejoice. With a thankful heart, we will not focus on what is lacking, we will be filled with all that is good. We will not be resentful because we feel cheated; we will cherish and acknowledge the many ways in which we are blessed. The way we live, our attitude, and our perspective is communicating something to someone at all times.

We can be assured that our gratitude and appreciation is being heard when our life becomes a song of praise—realizing our many blessings are undeserved, our life is a gift, the love we share with others is priceless, and the beauty and wonder we see and experience in creation is a privilege.

Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn, co-founder of and New Day Counseling Services

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gratitude - More Than A Positive Perspective

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melodie Beattie

Do you believe gratitude unlocks the fullness of life? If so, it is because gratitude affects our perspective. Lack becomes "enough" because we are thankful for what we do have. We see the glass half full rather than half empty. Problems turn to gifts when we are grateful because we can see opportunity in them. The unexpected becomes perfect timing when we have a grateful heart, because we believe some things happen for good reason. We make the best of things although they don't always work out as we had hoped or planned. With a grateful heart, we are open and willing to learn and grow from mistakes rather than give in to defeat or anger. A grateful heart is truly a merry heart!

Something to think about:
How can gratitude change your perspective and help you to have a better attitude and day today?

Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Krystal Kuehn.
Krystal is co-founder of New Day Counseling, where marriage family counseling is provided to individuals, couples, and families.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stress Management: No Worry, Know Peace

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy ~Leo Buscaglia

What is worry? Worry is negative meditation. To meditate is to be occupied in thought, to ponder and reflect. So when we worry, our thoughts are occupied with things that cause us distress, fear, or dread. Worry puts stress on our minds and bodies. It can literally make us sick. Studies have found links between stress and illness. Stress weakens our immune system, making us more vulnerable to viruses and other illnesses. Worry clouds our perception. Decision-making is impaired. Clearly, our minds and bodies cannot function at their best when we worry.

Why do we worry? We worry because we do not have inner peace. We focus on what can go wrong instead of what can go right. We look at the problem and how things can get worse rather than the solution and how things can get better. We look at faults, mistakes, and failures instead of victories and successes. We fix our eyes on the mountain instead of seeing ourselves on the other side. We try to control what we can only accept instead of changing what is within our power—namely, our attitudes. We focus on ourselves instead of trusting God. We get to the end of the road, and are ready to quit. We travel down a long, dark path and don’t realize there is light at the end of the tunnel. We get weakened by the drought and lose our strength. We are in over our heads and think we will surely drown. Is it any wonder we stress ourselves out?

How do we stop worrying? The apostle Paul admonishes us to not worry about anything, but rather, to pray about everything. He said that we can bring all of our cares to God and He will give us peace. He will direct our paths. He will comfort us and help us. We are not only admonished to trust Him, but we are instructed to meditate on positive, hopeful things. How we occupy our minds affects our faith and attitude. When we focus on possibilities our hope increases, our faith is strengthened, and our worries fade. When we see ourselves as winners in life and overcomers of obstacles, our success is within reach. When we choose to focus on the good and not the bad, good comes our way. When we ask, we receive. When we seek, we find. When we knock, doors open for us.

I wrote a song called "What If" some time ago. Worry thoughts often begin with “What if…” In the song, I ask, “What if I trust You more? What if I leave it in Your hands? What would happen if I would, knowing that You’re always good. What if I trust You more? Then I would let doubt go. My life is in Your hands. You are the Great I am.” Since that time, I have had countless opportunities to ask in fear and worry, “What if…?” I am always reminded of these words. And I always remind myself that we can choose to believe for the best, not the worst. We can choose to believe things will work out, and that God will make a way when there seems to be no way. We choose to believe the promise that God is always with us. And when we leave it in His hands, we can know that things will work out because He is good.

Worry and stress are harmful to our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Negative meditation (worry) or positive meditation (prayer) can significantly impact our lives for the better or worse. We can practice either one, and it will become a habit. It is up to us. I encourage you to choose today to be free from worry and experience inner peace!

Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it. ~Brian Tracy

Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved
Written by Krystal Kuehn,
(Part of the Stress Management Counseling Series)