Emotional First Aid Kit

Responding to negative emotions (fear, anger, sorrow):

Pray, emphasizing love of and trust in God,
expressing that choice externally as well as internally:
kiss the crucifix, clasp it to my heart, raise my eyes to Heaven,
cry out in loving, trustful aspirations (i.e., “one-liner” prayers):
“Jesus, I trust in You”, “My Jesus, mercy”, etc.

Praise God. Choose. He is still worthy of praise.
Choose gratitude & express it

Let God delight in you just the way you are, for your own sake;
for exactly who you are

Receive Holy Communion often

Humbly reveal the state of my heart to my confessor or spiritual director (go to Confession)

Fight temptation toward cynicism by blessing;
actively seeking the joys of eternal life for the other person,
starting now

Be a fountain of blessing, washing evil away
(keep it from going “upstream” against the flow),
not a force field blocking it out.

Overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21)

Evil has no reality of its own–it’s a distortion or lack of the good.
God, please help me untwist evil & find the good.


In God’s hands, failure is often more useful for the good of souls
than what we see as “success”

It doesn’t belong to me.
It’s God’s, and He has every right to ask me,
“May I make a gift to this person through you?”

Jesus said, “You are the ones who have stood by Me in My trials.”
(Luke 22:28)
Since He bore our sufferings (Matthew 8:17),
they have become His sufferings.
So when I suffer, I can consider it His trial
and stand by Him (takes much of the burden off of me).

Keep my heart open; turn it to the needs of others
(when I feel like a bottomless pit, I need to turn that pit sideways
so it becomes a pipeline of grace for others–
better yet, let God turn it into an overflowing pool)

Draw on the supernatural power of Baptism (new life)
& Confirmation (forever sealed as a soldier for Christ)

“Beatitude of yes”; this is what it takes to get me & others to Heaven
(God wouldn’t allow it otherwise),
so let’s do it

It can’t hurt me where it really counts (eternity/Heaven/sin)
unless I let it.
This is actually the best thing for me

When I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Trust God to deliver me when it’s best for my soul

Seek the company of spiritual people
(at least the saints–learn about them to learn from them; beg them to intercede for me)

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

Freedom is in following God,
not in following my passions, desires or fears

Practise moderate bodily discipline (to get my mind off of myself)

Offer my suffering to God
for the spiritual welfare of the person who hurt me;
embrace the suffering–it’s priceless.

Offer it as a flower or jewel for my Divine Bridegroom
(“Jesus, this is for You, because I love You”)

Spiritual treasure hunt
(watch for the good that God will bring out of this);

“This is for my benefit” (Romans 8:28-39)

Activate a sense of adventure/sense of play;
holy mischief (prepare pleasant, thoughtful little surprises for others)

Let God take over; think in light of eternity.
Be His servant, His little child, not His manager or even co-worker

Poverty of spirit (trusting).
The outcome is up to God, not me, if I’ve done what He asked.

Lean on God–put all my weight on Him so I can’t run away

Lean on the prayers of people who pray for me regularly

Lean on my guardian angel–picture the invisible heavenly hosts
who are defending me

Lean on the saints, who are closer than we realize,
especially my patron(s).
Learn how they handled suffering

Hide under Mary’s mantle

Stick to my own vocation (I’m not equipped for any other).

God’s given me enough time for what He wants me to do
(not for anything else!).

Do something constructive where possible,
especially something that occupies the mind (distraction helps)

Get plenty of sleep.
If my thoughts keep me awake,
occupy them with the Divine Mercy chaplet and/or rosary.

Pray for holy, healthy emotions:
repelled only by what draws me away from God,
attracted only by what leads to Him.

Put on the armor (Ephesians 6:10-17)

Superimpose the crucifix (Jesus took on all evil on the cross)

Thorns are fuel for the fire of divine Love

Offer his/her merits to God (you don’t have to know what they are!)

Lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6)

When negative emotions knock, let God “answer the door”

Avoid cynicism, contempt and complaining
(and be very careful with criticism)

Depression is not of God–I want no part of it!

What would a princess do? A saint?

Put on music & dance; play an instrument
and/or sing songs of praise & trust in God

Go for a walk


Journal (write) about it

Is it worth making myself sick over?

Ask for kinesthetic input
(comforting touch/holding from someone trustworthy)
or whatever most helps me feel loved

Ask for help, prayer and/or protection from spouse/parents/friends
(someone spiritually trustworthy)

Consider reducing overall stress with structure
(maybe clear clutter somewhere)

Read A Right to be Merry), by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., He And I, by Gabrielle Bossis, This Tremendous Lover, Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit (author–individual poems can be found here and here), Your Hour, by M. Raymond, O.C.S.O. (out of print–check inter-library loan or second-hand) or Caryll Houselander (author), Archbishop William Ullathorne: The Endowments of Man, The Groundwork of Christian Virtue, Christian Patience, The Strength & Discipline of the Soul.

Avoid vicarious fear & anger
(“second-hand stress”–news reports, stories of traumas, etc.)

Accept sorrow in reparation (i.e., to make up for) for idle mirth,
but vigorously resist all tendencies to melancholy (advice from St. Francis de Sales).

A River.
James 3:13-18 contrasts earthly with heavenly wisdom
& the latter seems to me smooth, unbroken, unhindered,
like a stream.
Water doesn’t get hung up on rocks & debris.
It just flows through another channel & goes its way singing.
It’s the leaves & twigs & other solid things
that get hung up on the rocks.
Earthly wisdom gets stuck whenever it can’t get its own way.
Heavenly wisdom recognizes that if it can’t get its own way,
God must have another way and it flows merrily on

God will make a way
where there seems to be no way.
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my Guide
hold me closely to His side.
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way.

One Comment on “Emotional First Aid Kit”

  1. […] accumulated a number of tools for handling such things over the years (I’ve been at this for decades!) and recently added a new […]

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