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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1 comment:

KrishaLiva said...

Thanks for sharing those keys to better mental health. This is really informative as well as an interesting post to read that everyone should keep in mind.
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