While serving as General Relief Society President, Sister Jean B. Bingham along with her counselors and the members of the Relief Society Board created a video entitled “Just Like You.” The video describes their experiences with the ups and downs of mortality. Their challenges include infertility, divorce, never married, family members with addictions, chronic illnesses, family members in prison, financial problems, being a stepmom, death of a spouse, and all of them have struggled with anxiety and depression.
Where does anxiety come from? Sometimes it can be a medical condition. Most often it comes from how we view ourselves, how we view others, how we view relationships, and how we view the world. When we can challenge and change our viewpoint, we can change how we feel and how we act. Our dear Relief Society sisters emphasized that no matter what, we can all find joy in Jesus Christ. Just Like You (churchofjesuschrist.org)
President Russell M. Nelson taught “When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy! … That is why our missionaries leave their homes to preach His gospel. Their goal is not to increase the number of Church members. Rather, our missionaries teach and baptize to bring joy to the people of the world! (General Conference, October 2016).
Adjusting to Missionary Life includes suggestions and tools that can help manage and overcome feeling anxious or inadequate:
◼ Enjoy being a beginner when you are new at something. You aren’t expected to be an expert. It is enough to be curious, interested, humble, and willing to try. Enjoy it!
◼ Talk back to negative thinking. Right now, or before bed tonight, list your negative thoughts from today on paper; then rewrite them to be more hopeful, truthful, and encouraging
◼ Cheerfully do what you can, and let God make up the difference. Sometimes we feel useless or ashamed when others look more successful. If Satan tempts you to doubt yourself or compare yourself to others, remember that we are doing God’s work, and He chooses the weak and simple to do it. He has chosen you! Trust Him. He trusts you!
◼ Envision success. Worrying can be a way of mentally practicing failure. Instead of rehearsing what can go wrong or constantly worrying about “what if,” mentally practice positive outcomes and make plans to achieve them. Then if things don’t work out as you hope, imagine yourself learning from the setback and going forward.
◼ Don’t try to control what you can’t. Trying to control things you cannot control only makes you feel more out of control, increasing your anxiety. Focus your energy on things you can do something about.
◼ Ask, “What is the worst that can happen?” If the worst possible outcome is something you can live with or something the Savior can help you overcome, move on without fear.
◼ Try slowing down by 10 percent if you tend to rush a lot. You may be more efficient if you are calmer.
◼ Serve. As you serve your companion, investigators, members, neighbors, or the poor and needy, you will think less about yourself and be happier.
Rely on the promise of the Lord: “… I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D&C 84:88)
May the Lord continue to bless us to feel and share the joy of His gospel!
[Note: These Mental Health Minutes are not meant to be a substitute for therapy. If you face any persistent issues that disrupt your ability to function in normal daily activities or negatively impact your relationships, I strongly encourage you to seek help from a qualified medical or mental health professional. In addition, if you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please seek help immediately. In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat at 988lifeline.org/chat/. Services are free and confidential.]