Exercise your heart

Let this lovely handcrafted card from the Boom Room inspire your heart to soar -- or at least jog!

Let this lovely handcrafted card from the Boom Room inspire your heart to soar —
or at least do some jumping jacks!

“Exercise your heart today.” — from a Dove Chocolate wrapper

One year ago today, I wrote a post about the physical demands of sailing, using it as a metaphor for dealing with the challenges of living.  It’s not just our bodies that get stronger with exercise, though. Our minds and spirits need it even more.

As part of Jeff’s ongoing campaign to keep me from getting as thin as I think I should be (or maybe because of their documented mood-elevating properties), he often buys me chocolates.  Most recently, he gave me a bag of those wonderful Dove dark chocolate hearts that have little sayings inside the wrapper.  Now that I’ve used one of the sayings here, I have an excuse to eat more of these candies.  Ah, the perks of blogging!

When I saw the message quoted above on one of the wrappers, I really liked it.  Depending on how you read it, it can be a very deep concept.  Some will think of physical exercise and its cardiac benefits.  But I think the best meaning is the figurative one; we need to take time each day to exercise our ability to care, and to show it in useful ways.  As with all exercise, it will require intent and some degree of stamina, but will get easier as we go along.

OK, so here’s a challenge: let’s exercise our hearts TODAY by doing some little or big thing we might not have planned to do.  Here are some possibilities to get you started:

Send a note or card to someone who might enjoy hearing from you.

Tell a loved one how much you appreciate some VERY SPECIFIC thing that they do or are.

Leave an encouraging comment on someone else’s blog. (NOT counting this one! 🙂 )

Carry a small plastic bag outside and pick up any little bits of trash that might have blown into your neighbors’ yards.

Let cars merge in front of you, or let someone go first in the checkout line at a store.

Listen to someone who just needs to vent.

Give a heartfelt compliment to a stranger who has an adorable baby or pet with them.

Be extra patient with someone who is having a bad day.

If you catch yourself starting to say something negative, try to substitute something positive in your mind, and say that instead.

Your turn!  What are some other ways we can exercise our hearts today?  Share your ideas here – then let’s all “just do it!”

One year ago today:

Adjust the sails

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    Today our hearts can get a lot of exercise just turning on the radio and praying for the people in the news. And praying for the people who put those people in the news.
    Like “Silly Putty,” our cold, unworked hearts can break -snap! – quite easily. Our hearts become more resilient as they are warmed and stretched.
    Blessings on your day!

    • Wow, I like that thought. I know some people who immediately came to mind when I read that…people who never seem to “SNAP” no matter what comes their way. And they are the warmest and most sensitive, caring people I know!

  2. Susan

    A very thoughtful post, Julia. When you mentioned letting cars merge, that reminded me of when I used to pick up my children from their high school. Along one road, there were always cars trying to turn left into their neighborhoods, with only one lane and no turn lane or turn signal. Cars would pile up behind them while they waited for a break in the oncoming traffic. I would always slow (conscious of the traffic behind me) to let at least one person make their left turn, and think, even if I do nothing else good today, at least there’s that 🙂 . Hopefully I did more good! But I liked the idea of making good things regular habits if we can.

    • Susan, thank you for doing the right thing there! I’m tempted to say “and I hope you organized a petition to install a turn lane or even a signal there.” 😀 But we all know how hard it can be to fight city hall! Tragically, it often takes a fatal accident to achieve such things. Meanwhile, we can all make things better for each other, one person at a time, as you describe. Thanks for sharing that!

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