"Working Our Way Toward a Full-Heart" Part 1

Because I was an agoraphobic for several years and now travel almost weekly encouraging others, many people contact me to help them deal with their tangles of emotions. Here are a few things I share with them. They will seem too simple but trust me they work.

If what you are doing in your life isn’t working, today is a good day to Stop It and try something else. To get in the habit of ineffective behavior is to help yourself stay stuck. So let’s deliberately move on.

Don’t indulge self-pity, which can be our tendency when sad feelings show up at our doorstep. “Why me?” “Why this?” “Why now?” While these are knee-jerk questions we ask ourselves they are not beneficial to dwell on, because they fan the flame of our anger, which fuels sadness.

Instead let’s ask “What have I done in the past that has helped me and what new strategies might I employ to deal with these feelings?” Remember emotions don’t have reasoning skills, they weren’t meant to do our thinking for us. So let’s engage our minds and our will…and here’s one way to begin.

Make a list of three things that you will try-out TODAY to improve the quality of your existence. For instance:

1. Move
Sadness usually sits, so move. You can command your muscles to obey even if your emotions are trying to drag you to yonder chair. Purpose to stay busy in meaningful ways, but don’t try to outrun your stress or you will generate more anxiety. Extremes complicate our plight for balance. Set a sane pace.

2. Love
Do something sweet for someone (keep it simple) with no expectation of recompense. It is good when we get stuck in the muck of ourselves to think of ways to love others…unless you are a incessant people-pleaser then its usually best to reassess your own needs and address them–spread the love to include yourself. You may have spent your energy-wad and instead of sad you are just plain exhausted…in that case, incorporate a nap in your schedule and go to bed earlier.

3. Celebrate
Make a gratitude list & post it where you can see it daily. Gratitude builds internal well-being, aids good mental health, and improves the quality of our inter-action with others. It’s a simple task with great dividends. I post some of my list on a blackboard in my kitchen so I see it many times a day. Here are a few things I celebrate: bird songs, church bells, children’s laughter, sunshine dancing across my wooden floors, breezes that gently rustle the trees, and the voice of a friend.

Hope these help rev up your life-engine this week. There’s nothing like moving forward to revive a droopy spirit. On Wednesday I will consider a few more ways we can add to our cheer and carry on.


  1. Renee on April 25, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Thank you for the reminder. God has been carrying our family through a crisis and some days are just more than we can bear. That’s when He sends a little something like this to focus my eyes back on Him and the reality of life. We must get up and go on, for us, for each other and for Him. It’s no good having an empty heart! Thank you Patsy for your love for Christ and others.

  2. Candace on April 25, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Rev-up wisdom! Thx so much Patsy!!

  3. judy ward on April 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

    This is so helpful. I have been trying to encourage my daughter to trust God in everything. She has been living with an aunt for over 10 years and has decided that she wants to move home with me. I think she feels like she needs to watch over me now that I am widowed and have some health issues. Ah, I’ve given those to the Lord…I still have issues (anemia, arthritis) but He’s walking with me through them. Anyway, she feels like she’s being scrutinized for moving and she is definitely in a slump. I am going to pass this blog on to her. I like the idea of putting up a gratitude list where you can see it. She is a nurse aide and has been one for over 25 years. She loves her patients and they request her. She works with cancer patients. Doesn’t that make my heart swell!? Her aunt will be okay and has family of her own. I’m thankful that she doesn’t want to hurt the aunt and I’ve told her that she doesn’t have to do this. But she’s says she feels like she need to.

  4. Danya on April 25, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I was just thinking of something “sweet” to do for our youngest son who really REALLY didn’t want to go to school today. Hmmmm

  5. Debra Morecraft on April 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Thank you so much for posting these ideas. My family is really going through some emotionally rough times. My husband has a brain tumor but on the positive side the cancer is officially inactive at this time. Now I am having some health problems. I have been exhausted physically due to severe defiencey of vitamin B12 and I have developed osteoarthritis in my thumbs. I already have a mild case of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    It really seems to pile up and makes my depression and bi-polar worse. Your encouraging words touched my heart deeply. I even put make up on today to help improve my outlook on life. I am thankful for the sunshine today as well. I live an hour east of St. Louis and the weather has been terrible. We have had very little sunshine for 7 days now. I am trying not to dwell on the predicted storms for late this afternoon and night.

    The Lord is mighty and He is with us in all our experiences. I will not forget that.

    • Paula on April 26, 2011 at 10:33 am

      Hey, St. Louis! I’m an hour west of St. Louis. Crazy weather, I know, but I am so glad everyone survived and no one was seriously injured!

      If you are old enough to not worry about having any more babies, you might consider trying some Evening Primrose Oil and Vitamin E for your arthritis.

      It can be difficult this time of year in this part of the country, to get out from under the grayness that seems to permeate everything. I will pray for your situation and the He will put a new song on your lips (Psalm 144:9).

  6. Deb on April 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Powerful stuff, Patsy! Thank you so very much.

  7. Ken on April 26, 2011 at 11:57 am

    “Sadness usually sits, so move.” Profound! what a great post! I just rescued to little red birds. That’s a good start.

  8. Coffespaz on April 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I love those ideas, and so very true. Thank you for inspiring a post on my own blog – The Caffeinated Runner. While not experiencing nearly what you did, I’m struggling through some issues of my own. My blog is designed to journal my travels down the path as I learn to run and take care of myself again, and help others do the same. I’d love for you to pop by and check it out.

    http://coffespaz.blogspot.com – “The Caffeinated Runner”

  9. Barbara Thayer on April 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Patsy…such good words of wisdom. I have had my own bout with depression and panic attacks. I found that the very same activities that you mention in this post really do help as we work through our problems. Thank you for being so candid and such a blessing. The Body of Christ needs more real people to open up and share how they have worked through areas of difficulty in their lives. It encourages us to much! Blessings!

  10. Anita on May 1, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I love you Patsy! You always seem to remind me at the right time, you help me so much! One day I will travel even further!

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