Empty Nest is Not Empty – Using Gratitude to Fill Your Mind

The Empty Nest is not empty.

The empty nest is only as empty as you allow it to be. I’m going to make a bold statement here that may turn some folks off, but as we say down here in the country..”it’s how the cow eats the cabbage.”

SurTHRIVE in the Empty Nest
SurTHRIVE in the Empty Nest

When we keep reliving sad or painful scenes in our mind (memories) of the past we are not allowing the healing power of God to help us through life.

The mind is a powerful thing and the words and images we allow to echo in your skull affect us emotionally, mentally and physically. So, if we keep replaying a sad time over and over again you are putting yourself through the pain all over again. As if one time wasn’t enough??

In fact, the empty nest is really not EMPTY because the lack of children in the house just means that now your MIND is full thoughts and memories.

Truthfully, Empty Nest moms are no different AND may sometimes be the worse folks of all! (I can make that statement, because I AM ONE so that gives me license to observe and judge with a little more authority, don’t ya think?) =)

Walking by the kid’s bedroom and replaying that scene when they drove away to college. OR worse, looking at the painful pictures over and over again,

I’m here to tell you…STOP IT!

Rearrange the Filing Cabinet of Your Mind

Basically, our mind is like one giant computer. Our mind has only two basic files. Happy and Sad.

Let me share with you a story. When our son left for college we drove behind him and I took a picture with my cellphone of the tail lights of his car as we were driving down the highway. I was trying to put on my “happy face” but inside this mommy was worrying, sad, anxious, apprehensive, (should I go on any further?). The problem with that scene was that not only did I post it on my Facebook but I would look at that picture over and over again.

What do you think would happen? Of course you know. I would relive that moment over and over again and all those negative feelings would come up. Oh yes, I was excited for him, and I would think of HIM and how much fun he was having. BUT, I would also have those negative emotions bubble up again.

I kept pulling memories and thoughts from my SAD file.

SO, I had to get the point that as soon as I saw that picture I would click it OFF and immediately think of some fun news he had told us about his college life.

I had to go to my HAPPY file.

Here is how your file looks:


  • Good things that have happened to you.
  • Accomplishments
  • Victories
  • Success
  • Anything that has brought you joy through the years…..


    • All the opposite things of the happy file!
    • The hurtful, negative, sad pains of your past
    • Failures and defeats
    • Sadness and sorrows

And here, let me be very honest with you. Keeping these files in the correct order is something that takes work. You know how you have a filing cabinet all nice and neat, but you get busy and may not be as diligent about filing things. You, you end up just stuffing things in there and then every once in a while you have “clean your file cabinet”. Maintenance overhaul…

You have to work on maintaining this good brain “filing system”.

I have found that for me personally, there is a connection between pulling from the SAD FILE too often and Gratitude. Yes, even though I am giddily HAPPY in the empty nest, I still have other things going on in life that sometimes “get me down.”

When my filing cabinet needs rearranging I realize that I have been slacking on my expressions of Gratitude. Whether it be my Gratitude Journal or expressing gratitude to others.

I encourage you to work very hard this week on rearranging the file drawer in your mind. Move the HAPPY file to the front, push the SAD file to the back! I want you to break free of the SAD file emotionally and experience the joys of the SurTHRIVING in your empty nest! Make the conscious decision to refuse to dig up the sad and painful memories.

Until next time…..
Hugs and feathers from the nest~~()~~

Kim Steadman is the COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest. A place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who find they need to RePurpose and ReDesign their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim.


  • Ree

    Good advice Kim. I find the more I pull from the gratitude file, the bigger my happy file gets.

  • kimsteadman

    Thanks Ree! Isn’t that the great way it works!? You can never use up that Gratitude file either. It just keeps multiplying like bunnies!

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