Friday, November 25, 2011

Understanding Only Comes from Doing

To understand is to be thoroughly familiar with, to comprehend clearly the subtleties of, and grasp the significance, implications, or importance of something.  Using this definition, it becomes difficult to acknowledge that we truly understand much.

To do is to accomplish - and to accomplish is to carry out, bring to conclusion, to perfect.

Therefore, it is in the accomplishment, the ability to bring to conclusion, that allows us the opportunity to actually understand.  The adage that we need to walk a mile in someone’s shoes before we know applies.  The intellectual awareness combined with the “knowing” that comes from doing brings understanding.  And once we understand, we change.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wisdom is Understanding that Judgment is Not Possible, Nor Necessary

Wisdom is knowledge of what is true, coupled with insight.  Judgment is a verdict or conclusion.  Whenever we participate in assessing someone else or a situation, we are, by default, never going to fully know every facet of this person or the situation and so we are going to be functioning without full information. 

As a result, we are not in the position to come to an accurate conclusion.  Therefore, judgment is not possible.  And once there is a verdict, there is no more discussion; no opportunity for acquiring additional insight and no possibility for forward movement or growth.  Therefore, everything about the person or situation is permanent.

Since everything is always in flux, is always being provided the opportunity for change, judgment, with its immediate outcome of permanence, is not a reasonable aspect of living.  So, when someone is wise, they know that change and growth are inherent in living.  Therefore, judgment is not possible and it certainly is not necessary.   

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We Cause Most of Our Own Problems

Life evolves – reality is new every half-second – one event occurs after another.  This relentless pattern never stops.  The only influence we have is our attitude that results in action.

The existence of problems is due to many factors that all converge to the concept of expectation.  It is our perceived need to influence others and outcomes that give us problems (doubts, uncertainties, difficulties).  We continue to strive to have life look the way we desire, having come to these conclusions restricted by our history and perceptions.

So, to limit the number of problems in your life, focus within yourself – use your energy to attend to your attitudes and actions.  Be true to yourself, always work toward being the best version of yourself, and let everyone else do the same.

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Action Turns Knowledge Into Wisdom

When we know something intellectually, we have an idea of what it is.  We are able to speak of it in theory and we believe we know of what we speak.  However, we do not completely understand it because we have not experienced it. 

Of course, there is always some of what we know that cannot be experienced so we must remain limited in our perception.  But, if we are able to experience our knowledge it is a good choice to do this because it is only by actually living the knowledge that we are able to fully comprehend what it means because the sensing and understanding experiencing brings allows for wisdom

So, be sure to choose to experience knowledge whenever possible.  It will bring the wisdom you desire.

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

15% Discount on First One-Hour Counseling Session!

15% Discount on First One-hour Session during October

Schedule your telephone or Skype counseling with Dr. Lynn Brown to start during October and receive a 15% discount on the first one-hour session.

For complete information, please visit: 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Unexpressed Emotion is Stored As Tension

As we go through each day, we experience emotions; some we welcome and others we don’t.  These feelings arise from our interpretation of external events as well as our thoughts.  And we have all been taught to forego, to suppress, the expression of at least some of our emotions in order to conform to society and a perceived need to keep order. 

The problem arises when we do not express our emotions for fear of causing disruption.  As a result, we store the emotions and, unfortunately, after a time, they erupt, usually inappropriately, because the tension built to the breaking point.  So, it is more efficient and healthier to find ways to express emotions appropriately, remembering that it is not the emotion that is wrong; that the only issue is expressing it inappropriately.

So, take time to practice becoming comfortable expressing your emotions, doing so openly and with respect for yourself as well as others.  To have feelings is human.  To express them allows compassion, bonding, and sharing; experiences that add so much to living.  

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Monday, September 19, 2011

Difficulties are Disguised Opportunities

We truly desire that each day will go as we planned and assume that our ideas about this are correct so they are all we need.  However, as we all know, this doesn't happen.  Before we know it, our well-laid plans go awry.  And usually we view the detours as difficulties.

It is important to remember that you are viewing your life from a limited perspective – from a vantage point that automatically excludes anything outside your realm of reality.  This means you are aware of only a fraction of what is possible and only some of what is necessary.  Therefore, what is viewed as a difficulty is usually just an opportunity in disguise.  It is the detours that promote an expanded view of life and growth.

So, when your day takes a detour, remember to view it with curiosity and move toward it with a sense of adventure and possibility.  You will discover there is more to living than you have imagined.

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Two People Experience the Same Reality

Constantly, events are occurring in our environment and we notice some of them.  We respond, even if only internally.  And we assume that everyone else noticed what did and saw what we saw. But, this is not so.

Whenever something happens in our environment, our filtering system determines what we ultimately experience.  Our filtering system is our genetics, experiences, values, norms, current emotional state, current physical state, etc.  There are many factors that come into play that decide what we experience whenever something occurs in our environment.

Therefore, it is important to be aware that just because another person was in the same place as you when something happened, their experience of it may, and probably will be, different from yours.  By knowing this, you are able to become an inquisitive person who is nonjudgmental because you know that their perceived reality is not yours.   

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Monday, September 5, 2011

Now is All There Is

Planning, reminiscing, worrying, longing………  There are so many words we use to describe how we are living at any given moment.  Unfortunately, so often these words refer either to the past or the future.  And while it is important to heal from our past and to plan for the future, it is also vital that we spend time in the present.

It is “now” that offers living fully; spending time experiencing what is happening.  Sometimes “now” is painful.  But by allowing yourself to actually feel it, you are able to attend to it and heal.  There are times that “now” is exciting and since this doesn’t happen often, it is wonderful to fully feel it.  And, usually “now” is benign and it is also important to enjoy the ease of this and remember to be grateful.

Most of us live our lives having never been there.  Be sure that you are not one of them.  Be fully present in the “now” because the past is gone and the future depends upon the “now”.  And it is the ”now” that provides peace, joy, and the opportunity to heal. 

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, August 27, 2011

One Benefit to Self-Acceptance is the Freedom to Make Faulty Choices

What is self-acceptance?  It is satisfaction with self; a realistic awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses that results in a feeling of inherent worth.  Self-acceptance allows for the freedom to heal, learn, and grow.  Without realizing inherent worth, one feels unworthy of the gift of achieving in life.

When self-acceptance reigns, there is peace of mind, a calmness that comes from non-judgment that offers opportunities to risk.  The freedom to experiment, to learn, to grow, provides time for successes as well as failures that are acceptable because they are not deemed to represent self-worth.

So, self-acceptance allows you to try what is new, unfamiliar – to take the risks that make life worth living.

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thinking is Always Based in the Past or the Future

We spend our days thinking.  But rarely do we realize that this activity always relates either to the past or the future, even if it is the immediate past or the immediate future.  To ponder this idea feels strange to most of us.  However, it is accurate.  And, all stress comes from thinking because this action makes us aware of the discrepancy between what we expect and what is. 

The reason for contemplating the concept that we spend most of our time in the past and the future is that by doing so we can become aware that we almost never spend time in the present.  And, it is the present that is important; it is what we claim to value to get the most from living.  We want to enjoy our life but if we are never present, how is this accomplished?

The answer is mindfulness; the intentional choice to be aware of the present moment without judgment or evaluation.  

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Each Problem or Change Is An Opportunity to Learn

We are continually faced with changes that we often view as problems; sometimes because they actually are issues that have arisen.  But often we define changes as problems just because they are changes and we don’t like change.

When faced with either an actual problem or just a change, usually our first response is to ignore it, hoping it will disappear.  However, it is important to accept that these situations are commonplace, are to be expected.  Therefore, we should accept them as a routine part of our lives.  By doing so, we are able to see the problem or change as an opportunity to expand our world; to view life from a slightly different angle, to alter our perceptions – in general, to learn. 

So, use each change or problem as an expected experience that you use to your best advantage by acknowledging it and using it as an opportunity to learn.

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mindful Choices Are Always Simple

When living as your True Self, you become Mindful.  Mindfulness is the state of being aware, acknowledging, and accepting of what the True Self is experiencing.  It is allowing what needs to be heard and lived from without ignoring what you may not what to hear and acknowledge.  It is the staying in the moment despite how it makes you feel.  Mindfulness is living the True Self.

When making choices, it is incredibly easy and tempting to look outward for answers.  And while I am an advocate of utilizing all available, appropriate resources, ultimately we each must listen to ourselves.  However, even then we must be aware that we may be hearing our ego, which tends to be loud and invasive due to overuse.

So, keep your life, and your decision-making, simple by listening for, acknowledging, and trusting that wise, unaffected mindful choice that is clear, simple, and always available.   

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, July 30, 2011

When Choices Reflect Your True Self, They Flow From You

Although we rarely think of it, we spend our lives making choices.  Each moment of every day we are choosing.  The question becomes, how do we know what choices are best?  The answer is that all our choices are a reflection of whom we are – our norms and values.

Our True Self, the person we know we are when we are uninfluenced by others or our ego, knows the answers to questions because this self is the one we hear when we listen without distraction.  It is the self that responds from what we call the “gut” instinct.  It is the deeply human part of us that knows what is right and wrong,  good and evil; that is unaffected by the current social mores or any other external forces.

So, when presented with a dilemma, question, or situation, all you need to do is go within yourself, becoming deaf to distractions, and listen to what your inner self, your True Self, is telling you.  By doing this, your choice will freely flow from you.

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Change Is Inherent in Life

Each morning, most of us start out with a plan for how we want, expect, our day to evolve.  However, fairly quickly we discover that our idea of how life should be is not as it turns out to be.  And then, we feel powerless.

It is important to remember that everything in life is always evolving, shifting, moving.  We expect what we like to remain and what we don't like to stop.  However, neither of these is true.  Change is what allows the future to exist.

So, keep in mind that because we are always in flux we should look for the changes, seek them out, and embrace them as opportunities.  Change is life, life is change.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Mind Cannot Tell The Difference Between a Strongly-Held Belief and Reality

As we go through our day, we usually don't think too much about what reality is.  We just move from one experience to the other assuming we are viewing and dealing with the world as others do.

However, it is important to remember that our beliefs about life greatly influence how we see and respond to what happens in our world.  Our strongly-held beliefs make our reality what it is to each of us.  There is no one true reality, only what each of us creates by what we have decided is accurate, true, and what our beliefs cause us to see.

So, as you go through your day, be sure to identify for yourself what your strongly-held beliefs are so you can decide if you want to keep them or change them to alter your reality. 

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Life Is a Process - An Outcome is Merely Another Beginning

It seems there is always something more to do - that the "to do" list is endless.  We can't ever run out of stuff to do.  And usually this is viewed as a negative because we wish that at some point we would be finished.  But, actually it is wonderful that we never get done - that we always have more on our list - because the next thing to do gives us an opportunity to start again; to have another chance at getting it right or doing it better.
When viewed as a process, life feels less like a test and more like so many opportunties to try again to risk, to learn, and to grow.  Our life experiences are not isolated, they flow one to another, allowing for wisdom, for rejuvenation, and for another beginning.

So, remember that you are never finished and that this is a good thing:  than an outcome, a perceived end, is only the start of something that is either a continuation or a chance to learn and improve.  What a relief to know that an outcome is merely another beginning so we are okay.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Every Thought Takes You Down a Path Toward Somewhere

Because our minds are always working, we have thousands of thoughts each day.  And while we don't usually think about it, our thoughts are powerful.  This power comes from the fact that each thought is a step that gets laid down in front of us that makes a path taking us somewhere.

Although we live in a world that stimulates us, our reality comes from our thoughts that are the result of our values and norms and from the interpretation of the external stimuli.  We deal with the world based upon our thoughts and, therefore, are limited in our reality.

So, become aware of your thoughts, whether they are the result of habit or you are responding to something outside yourslef.  There is no downtime in your life - each one has an impact upon your life.  Even the most fleeting of these thoughts matters because it leads you toward your future.

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Now is All There Is

We spend much of our lives planning for the future and thinking about our past.  And while I am certainly an advocate of preparing for the future and learning from the past, I believe too many hours are used in this manner.

Emotional discomfort exists when we think about the future and the past.  Inner peace comes from remembering that when we remain in the "here and now", in the moment, we are healthier.  After all, there is nothing we can do to change the past and we are limited to preparing for the future.  Therefore, at any moment in time, all you are required to handle is that exact experience and nothing more.

So, when you notice yourself getting stressed - when you are spending time ruminating about the past or behaving as though you should have a crystal ball to see the future - remember that now is all there is and if you will find yourself able to return to the present and, as a result, find peace.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Becoming an Assertive Person

To be assertive is to assert oneself.  Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines this as, “to insist on one’s rights, or on being recognized.”  To be assertive is to “own” what you need.  This includes your emotions.  An assertive individual places responsibility for that ownership on him/herself.  This person communicates in such as way that people listen and are not offended, giving them the opportunity to respond in turn.  To be assertive is to act, and react, in an appropriately honest manner that is direct, self-respecting, self-expressing, and straightforward.  This type of behavior instills self-confidence that is goal-oriented and is defined by aboveboard negotiation where rights are respected.  Assertion is, however, a manner of behaving that needs to be practiced.  Few of us are raised to be assertive.  Part of this practicing is recognizing that assertiveness has two opposing behavior styles.  These are:  passiveness and aggressiveness.  Let’s clarify these by defining them.

Passiveness.  Passiveness is allowing others to choose for you.  It is being emotionally dishonest, indirect, and self-denying.  It is saying that “everything is fine” when it isn’t.  This type of behavior often leads to anger as a result of keeping score while denying things to others.  This concealed anger erupts unexpectedly at the slightest provocation.  A passive person believes that concealing anger is a way of controlling it.  But, it is really controlling the person.  The eruption is usually out of proportion to the event due to having been held down.  Passive people are usually burdened with myths about needing to be the perfect spouse, parent, provider, etc.  And part of this myth is they must never become angry.  There are times when each of us chooses to be passive.  And this is healthy.  However, for the most part, being passive will not get your needs met and it confuses other people.  The passive person believes s/he should never make anyone uncomfortable or displeased, except for themselves.  Dealing with passive people is difficult because they aren’t straightforward and they are known for the “surprise attack”.

Aggressiveness.  An aggressive person wants to have an inordinate amount of control over him/herself and everyone and everything else.  This person feels a need to choose for others and is “honest” to the point of being tactless and rude.  This person is constantly working toward self-enhancement, with no thought to the other individual.  The aggressive person sets up situations so they will be sure to win and they achieve their goals at the expense of others.

Passive and aggressive behaviors are both the result of low self-esteem.  And both patterns are based upon fear.  The passive person manifests this fear by being quiet and compliant while the aggressive person is loud and pushy.  

Assertiveness.  The opposite of these two is assertiveness, which is based on rights, self-esteem, and getting one’s needs met without infringing on the rights of others.  The assertive person may, at times, choose to behave passively.  But the difference between behaving passively by choice and feeling the need to be passive is the word “choice”.  The assertive person has options.  The passive person does not.

Practice becoming assertive by using the following assertiveness training exercises to communicate clearly and specifically to anyone with whom you have contact.  When dealing with others:

Describe the other person’s behavior in non-judgmental terms.  It is not your place to determine what is right or wrong for someone else.  Your values are not necessarily those of someone else.  By assuming your viewpoint is the correct one, you are closing off any opportunity for open communication.

Voice your feelings using “I” statements.  No one can make you feel anything.  Your responses to others are your responsibility.  Placing the burden on someone else often leads to resentment.

State your needs clearly and specifically.  Generalized requests lead to generalized responses.  And these are usually disappointing.

An assertive person takes care of him/herself, which results in having needs met and being free to work toward goals.  Take time to become an assertive person.  You’re worth it!

Copyright 2011 Lynn Brown

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Becoming a Positive Person, Part 2

How Can You Go About Changing Your Negative Thoughts and Put Your Life and Problems Into a Realistic Perspective?

You need to apply the principles of science to your own thought process.  The first step is awareness.  The second step is answering negative thoughts.  The third step is taking action.  Let’s cover these one at a time.

Step One:  Awareness.  Bring the unfocused, negative thoughts to the surface, to your awareness.  This may require some effort because these thoughts tend to be well-disguised.  Try using instant replay.  As soon as you find yourself responding in a negative way, think back to what just crossed your mind, what you just said to yourself.  This will take practice.  But it is worth it.

Step Two:  Answering Negative Thoughts.  Now that you have identified and clarified the negative thought patterns, you can answer them.  Do this by asking yourself good questions.  Become thorough, concise, and specific in your questions.  Ask yourself for evidence, identify the facts, and find the distortions.   Look at your thoughts through a microscope.

Step Three:  Taking Action.  After probing and answering your negative thoughts, you must act on the new thoughts and beliefs.  Test them to see if they are really true.  This will take time, but you are worth it.

Complete the BECOMING A POSITIVE PERSON exercise.
Start by identifying twelve negative thoughts.  For each thought, determine which distortion is represented, decide on an alternative thought, and find an action you will use to test it.  If you find you have more than twelve, use the same format.

Negative thought:______________________________________

Which distortion does it represent?_________________________

Alternative thought:_____________________________________

Action I will use to test it:_________________________________

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Becoming a Positive Person, Part 1

The thoughts we have not only affect our emotional health, but also our physical health.  When we think negatively, our body responds as if it is a tension-filled situation.  The fight-flight response is called into action:  your adrenalin flows, your pulse quickens, and you exhaust yourself.

Our thinking patterns are learned or automatic responses developed by years of experiences.  These responses are habits we form as a result of watching those around us:  parents, teachers, peers, etc.  Without being aware of what is happening, messages are being decoded in our minds, minute after minute, day after day, week after week, and year after year.  We interpret situations, make judgments, and carry on conversations with ourselves all the time.  The nature of this self-talk can result in self-doubt and self-criticism or in a continual reinforcement of positive messages.

Cognitive therapy, originally developed by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck at the University of Pennsylvania, can turn the negative thinker into a positive one.  It has been found to be more effective than antidepressant drugs.  While it works well for depression, it can also help the person who wants to change that internal critic, that nagging inner voice whose dialogue leads to low-grade depression each time you make a mistake or face a challenging situation.  Cognitive therapists have discovered that negative thoughts almost always involve gross distortions.  And by recognizing the distorted thoughts process, you can then work on eliminating them.

Here are the six most common distortions:

Exaggerating.  Along with grossly overestimating the size of the problem, you underestimate your ability to deal with it.  You tend to jump to conclusions without enough evidence and believe your conclusions are correct.  Example:  I can’t do my job!

Over-generalizing.  You reach a general conclusion based on particular instances.  Example:  Nothing ever turns out right!

Jumping to conclusions.  This distortion has two parts:  mind-reading and fortune telling.  Mind-reading example:  He is ignoring me.  It must be something I’ve done.  Fortune telling example:  I haven’t heard from her.  She must not like me.

Either/Or thinking.  You are making everything black and white, with no gray.  Example:  Either I lose 80 pounds or I’m a failure.

Ignoring the positive.  You tend to remember only the negatives and view the positives from a negative viewpoint.  This helps you retain your negative self-image.

Personalizing.  You tend to believe that everything revolves around you.  This is, of course, a distortion of the facts.

After a time, negative thoughts all sound alike.  This is because they are.  A chief characteristic of negative thoughts is that they are usually wrong.  They are an exaggeration, a distortion, of the truth.  Negative thoughts are usually automatic.  They leap into your mind.  They are not conclusions you have reached through logic and reason.

Next week, we’ll discuss how you can go about changing your negative thoughts and put your life and problems into a realistic pespective.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Building positive self-esteem is a good way to work toward self-growth.  This is done by placing an increased emphasis on your attributes and a decreased emphasis on your weaknesses.

We are much too quick to notice our faults and too slow to give ourselves credit for, and acknowledge, our strengths.  By doing so we begin convincing ourselves we are not worthy of the time and effort it takes to make the new habits and attitudes a permanent part of our lives.  Now is the time to reverse this and start growing and loving yourself as you should.  It will take daily practice.  This is because of our tendency to have made negativism a habit.  Begin making your strengths what you always notice about yourself.  Doing so will help you believe you are worthy of continuing working toward the new habit and attitude goals you have set for yourself.

Complete the exercise shown below.

Building My Positive Self-Esteem

Write down at least seven things that are good about you.

 For the next seven days, follow the instructions for the following section of the exercise.  Then continue doing it on your own.  It will help you get in the habit of noticing your attributes and can lead you to feeling better about yourself.


This is a positive statement about myself:

This is where I will post it so I will see it several times each day:

This is my initial reaction to the positive statement:

This is my assertive response that will help me feel better about myself:

Then, take the next step:

Start reversing your negative self-concept by practicing a principle used in advertising and propaganda campaigns.  Repetition. 

Repetition of a message drives it home unconsciously so it becomes a subjective truth of your belief system.  To reverse negative self-statements, repeat and rehearse the opposites of your negative sentences.  Reverse at least twelve negative statements.

Negative statement:_____________________________________

Positive statement:_____________________________________

Practice these positive alternatives as often as possible.  Repetition builds strength!

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, May 21, 2011


You have three selves:  public, actual, and ideal.  All of these interact to help you make decisions, with any one of the selves taking priority during different situations.  Problems arise when the discrepancy between any of the selves is too great.  It is difficult to know “who” you are if the selves aren’t at least somewhat compatible.  So, to get to know yourself better you will be describing each self (public, actual, and ideal), determining how they are different from each other and the stress that causes and then deciding how you can go about bringing these selves together.  By doing this, you will understand why you have, at times, had inner conflicts regarding decisions, perceptions, and behaviors.  And with this knowledge, you can begin working toward being one self that is at peace with him/herself. 

Complete the following SELF-AWARENESS exercise.

My Selves

List 10 to 12 words or phrases that describe your public self (the “you” others see).

List 10 to 12 words or phrases that describe your actual self (your personal opinion).

In what ways do your public and actual selves differ?

In what ways does this cause you stress?

List 10 to 12 words or phrases that describe your ideal self (who you would like to be).

In what ways do your actual and ideal selves differ?

In what ways does this cause you stress?
After answering these questions, take some time to think about how you could go about bringing these selves together and write down your answer.

Now, how will you go about bringing your selves together?  (Changing some of your self-imposed demands, unrealistic expectations, irrational beliefs, becoming more assertive, etc.)

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Achieving Psychological Wellness, Part 3

Here are the last six factors that can increase psychological wellness.

Touch.  Touch people. Touch animals.  The only way to be sure someone or something exists is to touch it.  Research has shown that infants who do not get held have a higher mortality rate than those who get touched.  And this need never ends.  Just because you no longer are a baby doesn’t mean your need for touching has diminished.  Studies have also shown that when we pet dogs and cats, our blood pressure goes down.  Touching is imperative for wellness.  So, give and/or get three hugs a day.  And don’t hesitate to lightly touch someone’s shoulder when conversing.

Develop an intimate relationship with another person or at least be open to the option.  Caring for someone and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with the person brings more facets of who you are to the surface and more joy than can be described.

Have access to someone who will listen and not try to give advice.  We each need someone who will let us talk and talk and ramble until we come to terms with what is happening and then begin to work through it.

Spend time with people who enhance you, who bring out all that is good in you.  Don’t waste your time with those who drain and deplete you.  You are influenced by those with whom you spend time and listen to.  There are enough people in the world for you to find a few who are good for you.  You do take on the attitude of those with whom you spend time.

Take time for recreation.  Recreation involves re-creating, recharging.  When you relax and engage in activities you enjoy, you are not wasting time.  You need a balance of work and recreation for stability and mental wellness.

Free yourself from all addictions.  Stop smoking.  Don’t take recreational drugs.  Cut down on refined sugar, milk chocolate, salt, etc.  Addictions limit your freedom of choice.  And to be at peace with yourself, you must be a free agent.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Monday, May 9, 2011

Achieving Psychological Wellness, Part 2

Here are six more factors that can increase psychological wellness.

Make time daily when no one demands anything of you.  Make room for time when no one needs or pulls at you.  It is important to begin feeling comfortable with being alone.  Most of us are not accustomed to silence and believe that being alone means being lonely.  But actually, we need time alone to listen to ourselves.  Sometimes it takes silence for our inner voice to be heard.  Time to ourselves helps us sort out the maze that living causes.  Alone time is imperative for mental wellness.

Learn time management.  There never seems to be enough time to do what needs to be accomplished.  So, the answer is to prioritize.  Make a list every night or every morning of what needs to be done.  Determine the three or four that absolutely must get accomplished.  That way at least the necessities will get done.  If time allows, you can do some of the other things too.  Accept the fact there will always be too much to do.  It will help you achieve inner peace.

Eat a nutritionally balanced diet.  You are what you eat and it affects how you feel, how you deal with stress, and how much you are able to enjoy living.  Treat your body with kindness.

Exercise.  Your body requires exercise in order to be able to function as it was intended.  Exercise helps relieve physical tension, anxiety, and promotes psychological wellness.

Work at something that reminds you that you are more than a spouse, parent, sibling, etc.  We all want to be appreciated for who we are as a person, without any labels.  Work gives us that opportunity.  It allows us to be judged by and valued for our skills and abilities, not by and for whom we married, gave birth to, or happened to be in the same family with.  That sense of individuality is necessary for our well-being.  If you don’t need to earn money, volunteer your time.

Improve your self-esteem.  Most people need to enhance their self-image.  You can do this by having a sense of connectedness.  We need to belong to something, someone, or somewhere.  It can be a social group, cause, place, family, etc.  You cannot have a positive self-image by yourself on an island.  What we believe about ourselves is in part determined by the reflections we see and get from others.  Where we are, who we are with, and why we are there influences how we feel about ourselves.  But, be sure to keep your uniqueness alive.  Don’t ever give up your uniqueness to belong.  There is no one on this earth who is identical to you and you should feel pride and joy in this.  There never has been, nor will there ever be, anyone who can contribute in the exact manner you can.  Revel in this fact and be sure to live it.  Make good choices for yourself.  Remember that your choices help determine your future.  Have models.  We all need models of people who are doing more than we are, who have excelled beyond where we are, and who represent where we want to be someday.  You don’t want to be those people, just what they have accomplished or who they are.  We need a vision of what can be.

Next week I‘ll give you the last six factors that can enhance psychological wellness.

Copyright 2011  Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Achieving Psychological Wellness, Part 1

Psychological wellness allows you the freedom to live your life as free of self-imposed barriers as possible.  There are 14 factors that promote the type of wellness that helps us not only make habit and attitude changes but also give us the unencumbered feeling we all strive to have.  The closer you come to fulfilling these, the less difficult it will be to keep striving for your goals.

The most important factor is risk-takingTake intellectual risks.  Expand your mind by exposing yourself to new ideas.  The saying, “A mind expanded by a new idea never returns to its original size” is appropriate.  The result of learning is growth and an improved self-esteem.  Take spiritual risks.  If you are not at peace spiritually, find it through yoga, meditation, changing religions, etc.  Being at peace with oneself makes everything else easier.  Take physical risks by engaging in a sport where mind and body must work together, where concentration is mandatory.  By participating in a sport that involves some risk, you’ll get in touch with your body.  Take emotional risks.  Risk allowing intimacy into your life.  It is not unusual to close emotional doors after being hurt by someone.  But doing so will inhibit your ability to be happy.  By risking getting close to others you’ll find that although humans are flawed, do not always show caring the way we’d like, and cannot fulfill all our needs, they certainly are a wonderful addition to our lives.

Build a support group.  Find others who are experiencing what you are or who have similar interests.  It is always comforting to know there are those who have “lived to tell.”  When you are with people who are going through the same thing you are and those who have already gone through it, you discover you aren’t alone, you aren’t different, and that you will make it.

Next week we’ll continue with more factors that can enhance psychological wellness.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stress, Part 3

Hope you chose to incorporate at least a few of the ideas represented last week to avoid stress in your life.

Now, let’s discuss reducing stress.  How can you reduce stress in your life?  Here are 14 important concepts that I hope you decide to think about and act on:

1.        Learn to accept what you cannot change.  Don’t waste your energy.
2.      Take one thing at a time.  That’s all you can do anyway.
3.      Be prepared to wait.  Bring something to read, play a game on your cell phone, close your eyes and relax, or people-watch (always an interesting experience).
4.      Relax your standards.  Everything doesn’t have to be perfect (feel free to refer to earlier postings on this subject).
5.      Get enough rest and sleep.  Lack of sleep lessens your ability to deal with stress.
6.      Balance work and play.  Schedule time for relaxation.  After all, the word “recreation” comes from re-create.
7.      Talk out your worries. Share them with someone you respect and trust.  Another person may help you see a different side to your problem and, therefore, a solution.
8.     Avoid self-medication.  Alcohol and food only mask symptoms of stress.
9.      Establish a serene place of your own.  Use it to have time when there are no demands placed on you.
10.  Blow off steam, physically.  Physical activity helps to reduce the tension your body absorbs.
11.   Do something for someone else.  Get your mind off yourself for a while.  It will change your perspective.
12.  Find humor in the situation.
13.  Get help with the jobs you hate.
14.  Give in one in a while.  It’s a good way to start the give-and-take process.

For an informal assessment of your stress level, go to my website ( to take the “How Stress-Prone Are You” quiz.  You’ll find the link on the left side of the homepage.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stress, Part 2

Hope this last week wasn't too stressful for you!  However, if it was, let’s talk about how you can avoid stress in your life.

Here is a list of 15 practical ideas to help you avoid being stressed in our fast-paced world:

Get up fifteen minutes earlier than you usually do.

Prepare for morning the night before by laying out your clothes, getting the coffee ready to brew, taking a shower, making your list of things to do the next day, etc.

Never wear ill-fitting clothing.  Wearing clothes that are too small don’t make you appear thinner.  Always dress neatly and comfortably.

Set appointments ahead of time.  Schedule regular appointments by setting up the next one while still at the current one.  This way you’ll never have to remember to call to make the next appointment.

Don’t rely on your memory.  Write down everything you need to remember and use the “notepad” function on your cell phone.

Practice preventive maintenance on yourself and your possessions.  This will reduce the amount of time and money spent on repairs.

Make duplicates of all keys.

Rearrange your work hours.

Practice in front of a mirror if necessary.

Use off hours for shopping and banking and do more of both online.

Rearrange mealtimes.

Keep an emergency supply of all necessities.

Make copies of all important documents and keep originals in a safe place.

Don’t tolerate anything that doesn’t work properly.

Allow extra time for everything.

This week, incorporate as many of these ideas as possible into your life.  You’ll find your stress level diminishing.

Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown