Monday, March 22, 2010

Reflections on Health, Happiness & Wealth

If you have health, you will probably be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want. 
~Elbert Hubbard

As I reflected on the quote above, I was reminded of several things.  For one, health is not only a gift; it is a responsiblity.  We make choices every day that affect our overall physical, emotional and spiritual health.  What we put into our bodies and minds has immediate and/or long-term influence in our lives.  Something as simple as complaining about a frustrated goal or dreaded appointment can keep us from feeling gratitude and hope.  Something seemingly innocuous as snacking on sweets can spoil our appetite for healthy foods and contribute to our feelings of guilt and lack of self-control. Taking good care of ourselves is an ongoing process and challenge that can become an established way of life with commitment, discipline and practice.  The more we practice healthy habits of body and mind, the more likely they will come naturally to us.  With practice, we can feed our minds and bodies with what is good for them, and we can have better health. 

Now if we have health, that is, if our minds and bodies are well taken care of, we will most likely be happy as it stands to reason.  In that case, happiness is actually a byproduct of a healthy body, soul, and spirit.  And furthermore, if we have both health and happiness, we are wealthy indeed.  Now the last part of the quote is what I spent a little more time thinking about.  It states that with health and happiness we have all the wealth we need.  Yet, despite having this wealth, it may not be all we want. 

Does this imply that we can still be happy and not have what we want?  We may have what we need, but is it enough?  Does not having what we want justify unhappiness?  To some of us it does.  We are not happy unless we have what we want.  But to be happy in the midst of not having what we want suggests a way of being that leaves our inner joy intact.  Is it hope that keeps us believing? Is it gratitude that keeps us fulfilled?  Is it patience that helps us to appreciate and live in the now?  Is it peace that keeps us secure?  Is it love that satisfies our deepest longings?

The next time not having what we want tempts to rob us of true inner joy and peace, maybe we ought to ask ourselves how much our health is worth.  Are we not wealthy when we see the good, hope and believe the best, release doubts, fears, and anger, receive and give love and thanks?  And are we not wealthy when we awaken to a new day with strength and vitality, seeing the light, breathing fresh air, and ready to fulfill our day's purpose and enjoy life's simple blessings?  

Health, happiness, and wealth.... suddenly they all seem to come together.

Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.  - Henry Ford

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved., Written by Krystal Kuehn

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher and musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling Services, a marriage counseling and family therapy center and, an award-winning, self-help and personal growth site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights and inspiration.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

PETS – How They Enrich Our Lives & Improve Our Health

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown

Anyone who loves and owns a pet knows the joy of companionship and love they provide. Pets are our devoted friends. Following are just some of the many benefits that having a pet can bring:

Love & Affection

Pets offer humanity one thing that we all need and seek, that is, the miracle-working power of unconditional love. People with pets experience that love because they know they don’t have to earn it. Their pets love them just the way they are. When they are irritable or moody, their pet is forgiving and accepting. When they are apart, they know they are missed and will be greeted with excitement and an affectionate welcome. It can make them feel like the most important person in the world, and they actually are to their pet.

Pets express affection to their owners and this loving act reminds them that they are loved. Pet behavior is actually more consistent when compared to human behavior, which can be unstable and unpredictable at times. Therefore, pet owners can be secure in knowing that their pet’s love and affection will not be withdrawn unexpectedly. Emotionally, they can experience a love that is accepting and does not have to be earned from their pets. This experience of unconditional love can be very therapeutic as it is a constant reminder that they are valuable, special, and worthy of love and respect.


Pets keep us company. They can help ward off feelings of loneliness and isolation. The very presence of a pet reminds us that we are not physically alone. Pets provide a unique bond and companionship that also helps in warding off feelings of disconnection from others. Caring for pets requires verbal and/or nonverbal communication with them. In turn, pets respond and follow. They provide a listening ear to our troubles as well. Talking to them or showing and receiving affection are healthy ways to feel more connected with our loving companions.

Relaxation & Comfort

Research studies consistently show that pets help us relax. Simply stroking a pet lowers blood pressure and calms us. Pets provide comfort and affection that help to reduce stress. They help to divert attention away from problems. Pets also provide enjoyment and make us laugh, releasing the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Pets are good for our emotional as well as physical health.

A Rewarding Relationship

We all need to have a sense of purpose in our lives, something to do and look forward to every day. Aside from our work and other responsibilities, we need meaningful and rewarding ways to give out and enjoy life. Having a pet provides us with an important responsibility and a chance to give our time and attention to a rewarding relationship. Pet owners know that they are counted on every single day to care for their pet’s many needs—feeding, bathing, exercise, grooming, and affection. Having a pet to take care of gives us the sense that we are needed and responsible for our companion who counts on us. This can be healthy for our self-esteem as it keeps us actively involved in caring for something other than ourselves. And in that there is great reward and fulfillment.

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn,

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. ~ Josh Billings

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher and musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling Services, a marriage counseling and family therapy center and, an award-winning, self-help and personal growth site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights and inspiration.