A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness

revised and expanded edition

By Gregg Krech

Buy Now This link will direct you to the ToDo Institute online bookstore.

If you are looking for wise and practical guidance about living well, you won’t find a finer resource than A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness.   This powerful little book overflows with the kind of information that can make an immediate difference in your day to day life. 

Using a skill-based approach to mental health, you will have an opportunity to evaluate your own mental health skills and to strengthen those areas that are creating problems or limitations in your life.  The material presented is empowering, and will enable you to coexist more fully with your internal experience rather than simply reacting to it.  It will help you to develop acceptance for that which is beyond your control and appreciation for the support you receive each day.  And it will help you to cultivate the skill of paying attention, to awaken your senses and to bring a sense of presence into the moments of your life. 

The approach outlined in this book is based on two forms of Japanese Psychology, Morita Therapy and Naikan and, as such, offers an alternative approach to mental health.  The psychological and spiritual principles included are translated into exercises and practices that can help you to appreciate life and find meaning during your “thirty thousand days”. 



Gregg Krech is a leading expert in the field of Japanese Psychology and is the author of several books including, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-reflection (StoneBridge Press). He is a sought out speaker presenting at venues such as the FACES conference on Mindfulness and the Art of Counseling in La Jolla, CA and the New Directions in Buddhist Psychology Conference in Berkeley. Gregg's work has been featured in The Sun, Counseling Today, Utne Reader, Cosmopolitan, Yoga Journal and Experience Life magazines and on National Public Radio.

Read reviews for this book.


Essential Skills






Coexisting with Unpleasant Feelings









The Body's Influence on the Mind



Moving Bodies



Food and Your Mind



Living On Purpose



Ten Myths about Mental Health




A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness Book

Buy Your Copy of: A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness. Only $10.00 plus shipping. ToDo Institute members are entitled to receive their membership discount on this book.


Gregg Krech's "A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness," is a book I want to give every client when I start working with them. In 135 pages, Gregg touches on the central tenets of not just Japanese therapy but of living a more meaningful life. Understanding that acceptance, coexisting with unpleasant feelings, attention, and self reflection, are practices that anyone can learn and then bring to the challenges life presents is wisdom. For most people, feelings such as depression and anxiety are brought on by a complex mix of internal and external factors. While medication may help some people lessen the intensity of their internal sensations, medication alone is never a cure. Only by re-learning how to handle life stressors is true growth possible, and this book provides the key to that education. In the end though, "A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness" is not just for those who are suffering, but for anyone who wants to realize their best self.  -- Wylie Goodman, Psy.D., East-West Psychotherapy.com

"I've read Gregg Krech's little book of big wisdom, and I recommend it. Today the field of psychology is dominated by either talk therapy or medication. If you're looking for an alternative, you must read this book. It draws on methods of Japanese Psychology (rooted in Zen) and incorporates critical elements of nutrition and exercise as they relate to mental health. Finally, the author discusses the importance of having a meaningful purpose in life as an essential ingredient in the mental health equation. The value of this book is further enhanced by its focus on mental wellness as something which is a skill and learnable, like playing the piano or learning to drive. Four key skills are identifiable; coexisting with unpleasant feelings, paying attention, and self-reflection and acceptance.  For each skill area exercises are given and additional resources are identified so the reader can follow up. If you're looking for an alternative to the traditional approach to western psychotherapy, this book is for you." -- Dan Millman (Author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior)

I've been teaching the Japanese therapies, Morita and Naikan, to my counseling students in private and classroom settings for the past 22 years. My favorite text has been A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness by Gregg Krech, now in a new, expanded edition. It is a gem of a book that concisely yet comprehensively presents the principles of these Eastern strategies, enhanced with meaningful stories and useful exercises. This special book has enabled many of my clients to use this material and to live a meaningful life. -- Barbara Sarah, LCSW, Founder, Oncology Support Program, Benedictine Hospital, Kingston, NY

A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness is a wonderfully concise book that challenges some of the very basic assumptions made in the West about mental health.  Based on methods of Japanese Psychology such as Morita Therapy and Naikan, this book first outlines four essential skills required for mental wellness, and then goes on to describe how movement and food influence our mind states.  Finally there are essays on living a life on purpose and a description of common myths of mental health.  Most importantly, Gregg Krech, one of the leading authorities on Japanese Psychology in the United States, actually provides readers with concrete exercises that are essentially a road map to learning how to become mentally healthy.  Without a doubt these exercises have already been quite meaningful in my own life and in the life of some of my patients.  This is not a book to merely read, but rather a book to be implemented in daily life. -- Henry McCann, DAOM, Lac

What a gem!  I intend to hand out copies of Gregg Krech's A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness to members of my congregation and put a copy in the church library!  The majority of clergy in this country were trained in Pastoral Care and Counseling based on traditional western therapeutic assumptions -- talk therapy, referral for medication, and a focus on "problems".  More often than not it has been my experience that this approach has left those seeking my counsel--surprise, surprise!--more focused on their problems.

Enter in Krech's book, based on Japanese Psychology and brimming with practices and key skill-building exercises (mental wellness is, refreshingly, described as a set of skills one can learn, like any other sets of skills, in this approach).  These skills, when woven into daily life, will enhance your spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being.  I'd highly recommend A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness to folks from a variety of walks of life and spiritual persuasions.  I intend to use it with those who walk into "The Pastor's Study" seeking spiritual guidance and practical tools for change.  Thank you, Gregg!  You've given me a marvelous resource to use as I walk beside others in their healing and soul care. -- The Rev. Denise Mosher, Salem, OR

"A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness" is another example of the fine and important work being accomplished at the ToDo Institute. This seemingly small book is full of words of ancient wisdom that have been masterfully communicated to the modern world. This book is timely in that our health system is within the context of a paradigm shift. The astute health care provider will recognize that prevention and wellness are the preferred approach to healthcare. And the lay reader is given solid examples of how to take responsibility for their own well-being. If people can follow these simple, yet powerful recommendations, then the cost of medical care may be lowered and the care accomplished might occur in a more person centered manner. I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone interested in wellness of the mind, body and spirit   -- Robert C. Strayhan, MD Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

As I read this book one major thought came to the fore: we often create the suffering in our lives. Life does not unfold as we wish or plan and our response to the inevitable or the unplanned is often one of complaining, anger, a refusal to accept reality, or frustration. This gem by Gregg Krech addresses this kind of issue as well as many more. We may not be aware of our attempts to control life, which ultimately leads to failure, but in so doing, often makes life quite miserable for ourselves and for others. With the development of the skills he suggests, we can act when we don’t feel like doing anything and act in a way that we do not feel like doing. “We no longer are slaves to our feelings.” Another area struck me as particularly important: pay attention to our bodies. We are not walking heads but hopefully, integrated beings. This emphasis still tends to be limited in contemporary psychological teaching. Finally, his emphasis on the importance of living a life of gratitude is one that is based on the lives and teachings of the spiritual leaders throughout history. I strongly recommend this book. -- James A. Schmeiser, PH.D., Professor Emeritus, King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario.

This courageous book takes on the establishment norms of talk therapy and pharmacology and offers a simple, natural and clear alternative to achieving good Mental Health. Instead of the old worn paths of focusing on our problems, Gregg Krech talks about the 4 skills of Acceptance, Co-existence with unpleasant feelings, Attention and Self Reflection.  This book is packed full of wisdom.  I enjoyed how he describes developing a 'habit of attention' away from our frequent focus on problems and ruminations about what happened in the past or anticipated future difficulties, but rather towards what we often fail to notice - things that support our existence such as our health, our friends and family. Not only does this book provide new solutions for readers that have treaded the well worn path of medication and discussions of childhood issues in hopes of improving their lives, but I also recommend their book to anyone who is interested in taking their mental (and physical) health to a new level. In the interests of full disclosure I should note that I have done several of the ToDo Institutes courses and I have been certified by the ToDo Institute in methods of Japanese Psychology. However, I still highly recommend this book as a simple path to Mental Wellness and a nice introduction to Morita therapy and Naikan. -- Bridget Lambert, Certified Life Coach

Amazon, you need to stock and advertise this book. This is a rare and breakthrough gem that deserves wide coverage. I will keep this book readily accessible for living more fully. I experienced great solace and comfort in reading this book. It is concise and practical, with action practices for application. I want all my children, grandchildren and friends to have this book. Thank you. Gregg Krech for writing this major contributing book! -- Rosalie Syms Trophy Club, TX

Buy Now This link will direct you to the ToDo Institute online bookstore.