All posts by Joan Y Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards is author/illustrator of folktale Flip Flap Floodle, a happy little duck who never gives up on his song even in the Mr. Fox's belly. She is author of 4RV Publishing's Joan's Elder Care Guide. It is full of practical hints and resources to promote healing and make caregiving easier. She has published 80 Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzles for Year A, B, and C. She has a Master of Education. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Charlotte Writers Club. She enjoys watching humorous mysteries, like Columbo and Monk. Time at home, beach and mountain with family and friends energizes her..

How to Be a Good Listener and Stay Healthy

Thank you to Trung-Thanh and Unsplash for allowing me to use this image.
Thank you to Trung-Thanh and Unsplash for allowing me to use this image.

“How to Be a Good Listener and Stay Healthy” by Joan Y. Edwards

You pride yourself in being a good listener. You care deeply about your friends and family who share with you their hopes and dreams, their ups and downs in life. Have you ever gotten down with sadness or become angry after listening to a friend or family member confide in you? Sometimes I get overwhelmed. It seems like that’s happened more since my husband, Carl died. But it seems heavier than that. I thought is it only me that’s experiencing this overload. Maybe not. Entering the scene before Carl died and after Carl died…COVID.

March 10, 2023 marked three years that Covid went around. You may be like the rest of the world and be on emotional overload. You may have retained and held onto an enormous bit of anxiety, and fear because you and many of your close friends and family as well as strangers in your community and strangers all over the world became sick and even some people you know may have died from COVID.

Perhaps you are carrying around all this extra sadness and sorrow. When you listen to the news or to a friend or spouse, be kind to yourself. Perhaps you need an alarm to go off when your body and mind is on overload. Or maybe you need a cushion or an extra layer of protection for your inner self:  Lean more on God than on your own resources. Ask him to make you stronger, more resilient, happier, looking at the bright side of possibilities. Yes, there are always two ways to look at something – a negative way and a positive way. Try to choose the positive way. Some days that is a real challenge in itself, but it can be done.

  1. To Be a Good Listener, take care of yourself.

Take care of yourself. It’s okay to be sad sometimes about another person’s difficulties. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break. “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” It’s interesting that according to Jamie Elmer – happy moods, sad moods, and behaviors can be transferred from one person to another; even from listening to the news that focuses on the negative can alter the moods of those watching it. Be aware of too many negatives filling your spirit. Install an alarm to let you know when you’re holding too much in. When you have an overload…when you step on the scales – a sign jumps out and says “overload of sadness” “overload of fear” overload of anxiety.” Once you’ve named it, you can do something about it.

  • Protect yourself from listener overload.
    1. Get adequate rest. Take short walks and long walks. Eat protein snacks. Don’t eat too many high carb foods. High carb foods give you lots of energy right away and then Ka-plooey. Your energy level drops. Eating protein snacks will level out your energy and help your energy last longer.
    2. Do three(3) fun things to recharge yourself to lighten your load. Fun things are things that refill your spirit…make you smile…give you energy…fill you with positive vibes.  Fun gives your body and mind endorphins(good feelings) that remove the strain of too much sadness fear, anxiety or too much of any unwanted thing. Fun things don’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Look for them. Embrace them.

Now that you’ve taken good care of yourself, you can be a good listener and stay healthy. Here are things to note before you listen:

    1. Don’t try to fix their problems. It’s not your job to solve problems for others. Realizing that helps to put you in a healthier way to listen. God and the person who shares a situation with you will be able to fix their problems. They need someone to listen to them. Many times, by telling about their situation with another person, troubled people figure out what they need to do or want to do without anyone saying anything. Listen and offer your support. You can say things like, “I’m here for you,” or “I can help you find resources if you need them.”
    2. Don’t Do Everything for them. Here is the tricky part. If they ask you to do something…make certain it is something they cannot do for themselves. Don’t agree to do the whole thing. Make sure they must do part of it themselves. Empower them. Encourage them to do what they can on their own. It will help them not to feel so helpless or powerless in the face of their difficulties. If they need the help of a professional, share resources you believe might help them.
    3. If someone asks you for suggestions, offer ideas for solutions – ideas that worked for you or someone you know. If they don’t use your idea, don’t take it personally. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good ideas or that they don’t like you. One idea leads people to think of more ideas. It links to different memories or ideas in their minds and leads them to possible solutions. There are no bad ideas in brainstorming sessions. All ideas lead to possible solutions. The solution a person chooses may work great for them and not for you. It is wise to remember that each person has a choice and to honor that…even if you do not agree with it.
    4. Create a safe space. Give the person in front of you or on the other end of the phone your undivided attention. If they are in panic or emergency mode, take the phone call now. If it’s an emergency, see if you need to call 911. If it’s not an emergency and it’s not a good time to talk, ask them if you could call them back in 10 minutes. Respect the speaker’s privacy. Don’t share what the speaker has told you with anyone else without their permission.
    5. Give speaker your undivided attention. If someone shares with you in person, turn off distracting TV, loud music, or cell phones. Look them in the eye. Get away from others who might overhear the conversation.
    6. You are not the judge. Do not Judge. Let the person know that they can talk to you without judgment. Avoid passing judgment on what they did or what others did. Remember God is the Judge and he is compassionate. This is not the time to say, “I told you so” or “You shouldn’t have done that.”
    7. Pay attention to the speaker’s body language. Non-verbal cues can tell you a lot about how someone is feeling. The way someone talks gives you clues as to their feelings and stress levels. The way they breathe and the words they choose and how they say them also give you ideas on how high their stress levels are.

Now that you know what is expected of you, Choose the appropriate mode for this situation for someone to share their difficulties and emotions with you:

Listening Mode means you are listening and let the other person say whatever it is they need to say without interrupting. In Listening Mode you listen to them tell all the details. Be patient. There may be pauses. It may take time for the speaker to find the words to express what happened or what they are feeling. When they are finished talking, that’s when they want a response from you. This is when you can summarize what they said and ask questions. This helps to ensure that you’re on the same page as the speaker and that you’ve understood them correctly.

Conversation Mode means they will say something and then you can say something. In conversation mode, the words flow back and forth between two people. After someone tells you something, ask questions and give them time to respond. After they finish sharing, you can summarize by giving “I heard you say” or “I understand that you are angry,” “That is so sad,” or “I know that must have frightened you” statements.

When you listen attentively and give moral support (emotional supoort) to others by encouraging them, it gives them a feeling of being loved and cared for and that they matter and are important.  Remember to ask God to lead you to say the right things to encourage someone in distress. He will help both of you!

Good luck with your listening. I hope my ideas help spark something to help you think of a way that really works for you. Please share with me the things you do to help you be a good listener and stay healthy. Here are resources that might help you.


  1. Call Centra “Does Body Language Really Matter When Talking on the Phone?”
  2. Communication Coach. YouTube. “5 Tips to be a Great Conversationalist:”
  3. Bryan Robinson. Forbes. “The 3 to1 Positivity Ratio and 10 Ways It Advances Your Career.”
  4. Declutter the Mind. “21 Ways to Show Moral Support to People in Need:”
  5. Jamie Elmer. “Is Depression Contagious:”
  6. Modern Minds. “You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup:”
  7. Nulacha Sutthinonthagul. Elite Plus Magazine. “10 Rules of a Great Conversationalist:”
  8. Jack Zenger. “What Great Listeners Actually Do:”

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 Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2023 Joan Y. Edwards

 Flip Flap Floodle Firebird Book Award Winner Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?

Joan’s Elder Care Guide Practical ways to help you and your elder survive.






What Zaps Your Energy? Reclaim Your Power!

Breathe. It leads to peace. Man's picture by Arun Sharma & Unsplash
Thank you, Arun Sharma and Unsplash for allowing me to use this man’s image in my poster.

“What Zaps Your Energy? Reclaim Your Power” by Joan Y. Edwards

Stress zaps your energy. Stress can come from people, situations, thoughts, and fears.  These things can put too many stressors on your body, mind, and spirit.  They create unhealthy thoughts and feelings in you. Some of them seem uncontrollable…like your mind has gone zonkers in overdrive…so many feelings from sources known and also from sources unknown.

In these stress-filled times, you have to TAKE FIVE MINUTES…in a quiet place…take a walk in a quiet place…listen to calming music. Get a soft pillow or soft stuffed animal and put it in your lap (I have a Squishmallow butterfly Nixie, gift from my older daughter and her family…so very soft and cuddly. Squish the pillows in a store. Choose the one you love to hug. Imagine that pillow as a place where you can give your cares to God. By placing your hands on the pillow, you are dropping your unwanted stress into the pillow and giving it to God.

When I’m stressed, I love to get a hug from someone. Actually giving someone a hug, helps too. I think the comfort of a hug is powerful for both people in the hug.  If I am very angry, I want to be an island by myself for awhile…until I cool down.

Stressful thoughts and Actions

Worrying about things you cannot change
Being afraid that certain things might happen
Fearful that things you want to happen won’t happen.
Trying to force something to happen.
Holding onto past hurts from people who are no longer in your life

Are you like me and give it to God with your right hand, and take it back to worry about with your left? Here is one of my favorite scriptures about peace:

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Jesus told his disciples he was going to be gone, but he was leaving the Holy Spirit with them…with us. (Galatians 5:22). The peace of the Holy Spirit brings well-being, contentment, and wholeness, whatever the circumstances which is peace.

Ways to get more energy:

Spend time with your power source: Pray. Ask God for help. Read Bible Scriptures about being at peace.
Forgive yourself and others for unhealthy expectations and beliefs.
Realize that people cannot give you what they do not have. That was eye-opening for me when I realized I was expecting things from people I loved that they couldn’t give me even though they may have wanted to. Let me explain. If you go to a grocery store and they don’t have a new Toyota to sell you, it seems silly to be upset with them. There’s another phrase that explains…you can’t get blood from a turnip. We try that at times. Very stressful and unrewarding.

Set boundaries (Use that timer.) (Distance yourself from troublesome people or things for awhile.)

If someone is draining your energy, try to limit your time around them. That can be tricky if you are living in the same house. If that’s the case, you need to figure out why and how your energy is zapped. You have to own it. You can’t blame it on someone else.

For a long time, my husband Carl would come home from work. He would be so very angry. I tried to figure out why I got angry because he got angry. After much soul-searching, I remembered what my Mother said to me seemingly a million times, “When your father comes home, don’t make him angry.” Ah! All of a sudden I figured it out. I thought I was making Carl angry. He came home and dumped his anger on me and then he didn’t have to handle it. So that evening when Carl came home. He started ranting and raving about all the bad things that happened that day. I stood there in front of him and said, “Go ahead. Get angry. Stomp your feet. Scream and holler. Throw something.”

Carl looked at me and said, “I don’t want to do any of those things.”

I said, “It’s your anger. You have to decide what to do with it.”

I explained what I had figured out about what my Mother had told me as a child. Carl admitted that he was in fact dumping the anger on me. We talked about that moment when things were different. He knew he could tell me about his anger but he couldn’t expect me to figure it out for him and hold it for him. Carl always told me I could share any learning experiences we had because he thought perhaps it might help someone else.

NHS:UK says that whatever relaxes you will improve your energy.

Take a piece of paper and write down all the things you are worrying about.

Take a piece of paper and write down all the things you are thankful for.

Go to bed at a regular time every night. Get up at a regular time. Like when you first awaken after daylight in the morning. Have plans for fun things to do first thing in the morning and before you go to bed at night to keep you looking forward to the day. Remember “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad it is.”

Watch a positive thinking video. Here are two I found very helpful.

Positive Revolution. “Lessons in Positive Thinking:”

Drink more water.
Eat more protein; fewer high carbs. High carbs may drop your energy levels quickly.  Proteins give you energy that lasts longer. (Snack on nuts, cheese, high protein drinks, less caffeine)
Take a walk around your house and through your neighborhood.
Get in the car and go to a park to find 3 things that make you smile.
Listen to music.
Read a good book.
Spend time with friends.
Eat breakfast, lunch, or supper with a friend.
Make a zoom or Facetime call to a friend. Seeing their face will make you smile.
Take a nap. Before taking it, make plans for what you will do for fun when you get up.
Make a list of 10 or more things that are fun for you.
Now do one of those 10 things.
If something stressed you out, ask God to enlighten you as to why it was stressful. Did you expect more of yourself than humanly possible?

Sometimes getting a small chore done that you’ve been putting off will fill you with unexpected joy.


Arise Counseling and Coaching. “10 Ways to Reclaim Your Energy and Your Life:”

Glitter Guide. “Ten Mood-Boosting  Houseplants:”

Joan Y. Edwards. “Accountability Corner”
Joan Y. Edwards. “Accountability Corner – Step 2 – Project Ideas:”

Joan Y. Edwards. “Accountability Corner – Step 3 – Your Weekly Project Plan:”

Joan Y. Edwards. “Celebrate You:”

Joan Y. Edwards. “Don’t Tell God How Big Your Problem Is; Tell Your Problem How Big Your God Is (Author Unknown):”

Joan Y. Edwards. “Here Is a New Remote Control to Set Your Mood:

Shaun Blakeney, Wallace Henley. “Energy Zappers: Dealing with People Who Drain Your Energy:

Today Devotional. “The Holy Spirit and Peace:”

Valeo Training. “10 Energy-Zappers to Eliminate:”

Thank you for visiting my website and reading this post. I hope you’ll leave a comment. Knowing you and others read my blog, makes me smile and encourages me to write more posts to share with you. If there’s a topic you’d like for me to study and write about, let me know. If you find my posts helpful, please share with your friends and family any you believe would be helpful to them. I appreciate all the people who have subscribe to my blog. Please subscribe to receive articles of inspiration, encouragement, and humor,


 Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2023 Joan Y. Edwards


Flip Flap Floodle Firebird Book Award Winner Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox? Available as Ebook and Paperback: Amazon. Barnes and Noble.

Joan’s Elder Care Guide Practical ways to help you and your elder survive.