Monday, February 28, 2011

8 Keys to a Healthy Mind & Emotions

We all play an active role in our physical and mental health.  The choices we make every day determine our well-being and our destiny.  I am thankful that there is so much we can do to be our best and enjoy the
qualities and many benefits that come from healthy, hopeful, positive thinking and balanced, stable emotions.

Following are the 8 keys that I have discovered to be essential to a healthy mind and emotions:

1. Get Free from Negativity

A while back I decided that I was going to stay away from as many negative influences as I possibly could. I ended some unhealthy relationships in the process. I realized that being around critical, negative people was not only unpleasant, but it rubbed off on me. Being around more optimistic, hopeful people surrounded me with a positive influence that was energizing and motivating. I can minimize negative influences in my life by making better choices in what I watch and read as well. Good and wholesome, edifying and positive influences help to keep my mind and emotions healthy.

2. Release Worries

Fear, worry, anxiety and depression…They all rob me of inner peace. Whenever I get overwhelmed with stress and its negative effects, I immediately take a time out. I know how discouragement can keep us down if we let it. It leads to self-pity and ultimately to defeat and despair. Years of experience have taught me that bad times don’t last forever. Things that seem so pressing right now are not as important as I make them to be in the big scheme of things. I remind myself: this too shall pass. I slow myself down. I recall the source of my help and the many times I have overcome in the past. I draw on my inner strengths and trust in God to help me. As busyness and distractions subside, I begin to see things from a more realistic and hopeful perspective. I become free of things that once bound me and shook my confidence, threatened my security, and dimmed my hope. I have new courage to take necessary steps for change. I gain wisdom and learn to accept what is not in my control. Peace returns to my mind and heart.

3. Learn From Mistakes

When I make mistakes or say and do things I later regret, I find that I end up with two choices. I can either entertain feelings of guilt, regret, anger, blame, or I can take responsibility, apologize if necessary, and learn from my mistakes and regrets. Beating myself up over something doesn’t really teach me a lesson. It just makes me more upset and frustrated with myself. Realizing this has taught me the importance of forgiving myself and accepting that I am not perfect, no one is. I can extend the same grace to myself as I do to others when they miss it. I don’t want to punish them by constantly reminding them of their mistakes. Nor do I want to reject them for their human weaknesses and imperfections. In the same way, I will not punish myself by holding on to guilt, anger, and regret. I believe we can become better if we will learn from our mistakes and regrets, know when to let them go, and come out better as a result.

4. Value and like yourself

It’s not easy to love others when we do not love ourselves. Once I realized the importance of this simple truth, I decided to stop complaining about the things I didn’t like about who I am. Instead, I started to change the things I could and accept the things I could not change. As a result, I was more able to appreciate myself and my unique God-given gifts and talents. The more I did this, the more I noticed and received the appreciation and love I got from others. My desire to be my best really began to flourish and bring much joy to me. It was simply accepting and liking myself that enabled me to love and bless others with all that I am.

5. Take Control of Your Thoughts

I can choose what I want to think about. Negative thoughts cannot stay if I do not allow them to. It seems the more we focus on something that is bothersome to us, the more if affects our mood and overall outlook. For this reason, I do not spend too much time thinking about life’s disappointments and losses. Instead, I think about how to overcome them and I recall past victories. I have control over my thoughts and I can focus on things that build my faith, make me strong and hopeful, and encourage me. Sometimes I need to remind myself that my thought life is in my control. No one can put thoughts in my mind that I have to receive. I can decide what will stay and what will go. Although I may not be able to control how I feel, I can control what I choose to think and dwell upon and what I choose to do.

6. Forgive and Find Freedom

There is no prison like that of unforgiveness. It keeps us bound to bitterness, resentment, and unhappiness. It hurts us more than it hurts anyone else. For this reason, forgiving is more a benefit to us than it is to the person(s) who hurt us. I have learned that if my willingness to forgive is contingent on apologies or justice, it may never happen. I have to do it for me. It is not easy. Actually, it can be the most difficult thing we ever do for ourselves. Forgiving is a process. It begins with a decision to release whoever or whatever it is we are holding on to. I do this believing that people reap what they sow. You can’t sow thistles and expect to reap daffodils. When people sow deceit, gossip, greediness, selfishness, and so on, they reap its fruit. When I choose to sow forgiveness, I reap peace and freedom. I am thankful that my mind and emotions can heal when I forgive.

7. Know and Experience Love

I believe God is love and when we receive His amazing love, it works miracles in our lives. I once said: The power of love is amazing and never-ending. It can motivate, energize, inspire, and strengthen. Love can do in a person what nothing else can do. Love has the power to revive and change lives, restore relationships, and bring healing. All else may fail, but love never fails. When you think about it, most of the love we know and experience has to do with relationships. That is why I do a great deal of writing on the topic (see The 10 Keys to Happy and Loving Relationships). Love is the foundation of healthy and successful relationships. Love is what we live for. I am thankful for the experience of giving and receiving love.

8. Make True and Lasting Joy a Lifestyle

True and lasting happiness is not something we can pursue as much as it is a lifestyle we live. I have learned that our lives are made up of many habits. Some are good and some are bad. It all shapes who we are and contributes to our well-being and happiness. When we make a deliberate effort to be our best, we find we have to change some things. Since I came to this conclusion, I began to replace some old and bad habits with new and healthy ones. I practiced seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. I practiced patience to keep myself from acting on impulse. I allowed myself to make mistakes rather than be driven by perfection. I learned to relax and be at peace rather than become worried and anxious. It takes determination, self-discipline, and lots of practice to break old habits and establish new ones. Changing and improving our lifestyle is actually shaping our character and becoming our best. I want to fulfill my potential and I realize that the only way to do so is to live a lifestyle of health, happiness, and love. I am thankful that this is possible and I have all the tools I need to be all that I am destined to be. (for more info see The 9 Habits of Happy People)

Far from being exhaustive, the above list is just a start to the many reasons I am thankful for a healthy mind and emotions. In making this list, I am reminded of the very active role I need to take in maintaining good mental health. This list also helped me to identify the many things I can do to keep mentally and emotionally healthy.

Just like the physical body, there are times when we may not be feeling very well. When our bodies are sick, they may need some extra rest, healing, medicine, surgery, or some other attention. When our minds and emotions are going through difficulties, some comfort, support, changes in perception, insight, clarification of distorted thinking, forgiveness, boost in our natural feel good chemicals, counseling, love and unconditional acceptance can really do us some good.

Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;… and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man. – James H. West

Of one thing I am certain, the body is not the measure of healing - peace is the measure. ~George Melton

A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world. ~John Locke

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn. New Day Family & Marriage Counseling Center &

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

New Day Family Counseling provides professional counseling services for individuals, couples, and the entire family. We also offer groups for anger counseling and parenting classes. Go to today for more information or call us at 248-649-8050. We are here to help, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

The One Thing Love Cannot Live Without

We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it. ~John Lennon

A special day is set aside every year to celebrate the gift of love. During this time we show our appreciation and love for that special someone in our life. We may think up some creative, romantic, and fun ways to express our love and show how much we really care. But celebrating the gift of love just one day or so each year is far from enough. Happy and loving relationships take quite a bit of attention and nurturing on a daily basis.

It is the simple things that show how important our relationships are to us and how much we care about them. We can say, “I love you” in so many ways, but do we do it often enough? We can spend more time together and make it a priority, but is it that important to us? We can do nice things for each other, but do we wait for a special occasion? We can show our appreciation and gratitude for the gift of love we are given, but do we quickly forget and begin taking one another for granted?

John Lennon’s quote above is a beautiful analogy and reminder that our relationships are valuable, and we are to take special care of them if they are to survive and prosper. The gift of love is like a precious plant. A precious plant has many needs like proper nourishment and plenty of light. It cannot be watered just once or twice a year. It needs to be watered often to keep it hydrated and healthy. In the same way, our loving relationships are precious. They require lots of special care and attention. They cannot be left to themselves in hopes that they will grow and prosper. Happy and loving relationships don’t just happen. They take plenty of nurturing.*   As we celebrate the gift of love this year, may we remember that it is a precious gift that needs to be looked after every day and all year round. Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved. ~Victor Hugo

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.  To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. ~Kahlil Gibran

Copyright © 2011 Krystal Kuehn. All Rights Reserved.
New Day Family Counseling & Couples Counseling Center &


*For more on how to nurture, improve, and have successful relationships go to: The 10 Keys to Happy and Loving Relationships (or pdf)


Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family marriage counseling and teen child therapy center,, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Krystal is also author of The 10 Keys to Happy and Loving Relationships and several blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems blog & Be Your Best blog.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Empowering Way to Start a New Day!

Words to Live By
The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins. ~Bob Moawad

The Greatest Handicap - Fear
The Best Day - Today
Easiest Thing to Do - Find Fault
Most Useless Asset - Pride
The Greatest Mistake - Giving Up
The Greatest Stumbling Block - Egotism
The Greatest Comfort - Work Well Done
Most Disagreeable Person - The Complainer
Worst Bankruptcy - Loss of Enthusiasm
Best Teacher - One Who Makes You Want to Learn
Greatest Need - Common Sense
Meanest Feeling - Regret at Another's Success
Best Gift - Forgiveness
Greatest Knowledge - God
Greatest Thing in the World - Love
(from Jim Pierce's Big Golden Trumpet Encyclopedia)

I love words of wisdom and inspirational quotes because they are truly motivating and empowering. They can encourage, strengthen and direct us. I had the following words of wisdom in my music binder. On occasion I will stop and read through them. Today was one of those days. And as always, they really inspired me. I started my morning by saying that today is a good day, and I decided I was going to do my part to make it good. And in these words to live by, I was reminded that today is not just another day, it is the best day! Yes, it is the best day because we can choose to believe it is. We can choose to make it good by the way we think, behave, and relate to others and our world. We can choose to give thanks for what we have, what we can learn, and what we can give. We can choose to recognize and appreciate each new day as a gift and give thanks for all that is good. This attitude is truly the very best way to start our day. It empowers us to do our part to live life to the fullest.

I was also reminded that fear is the greatest handicap. It keeps us from maximizing our potential and being our best. It leads us to the greatest mistake of giving up. It can also cause us to become a complainer (the most disagreeable person) if we are not careful. Once we get into complaining, we are out of gratitude. Complaining and gratitude cannot coexist! And if we are not thankful, we will not experience true joy and peace. A lack of joy hampers our enthusiasm for life, for our relationships, work, etc. And a loss of enthusiasm is certainly the worst bankruptcy. The unfortunate thing is that we do it to ourselves.

Another value I thought was especially empowering is the best gift--forgiveness. I was reminded that this is a gift we give to ourselves. Forgiveness is more about us than it is about who or what hurt us or offended us. Not only do we forgive and find freedom, we also receive forgiveness and experience grace and love which are truly life-changing. Yes, forgiveness is the best gift! There is so much more I can say about this and maybe I will in a future article.

The greatest knowledge--I agree 100% is God. I believe there is no greater knowledge, experience, or relationship we can ever have. I couldn't even imagine life without God and for this I am most grateful! His love is the greatest thing in the world, for He is love. To know Him is to know love, an ongoing life experience. His love is like no other--it is so deep, so wonderful, so beautiful, so empowering.

May you be blessed by these words to live by and let them empower you to be your best and give thanks for today and always!

Copyright © 2011 Krystal Kuehn. All Rights Reserved.
New Day Family Counseling Marriage Counseling Center &

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family couples counseling, children counseling and teen counseling center,, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Check out Krystal's other blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems blog and Be Your Best blog!

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