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5 Ways to Find Strength in Difficult Times and How to Help Someone Else Struggling With Mental Health

Building emotional resilience can help when facing negative emotions and challenging experiences

A portion of the cover of the Church's Emotional Resilience manual.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Mary Richards, Church News

Distressing challenges and losses can impact people physically, emotionally, socially, mentally and spiritually.

In his October 2020 general conference talk “Embrace the Future with Faith,” the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson, said: “I urge you to take steps to be temporally prepared. But I am even more concerned about your spiritual and emotional preparation.”

Building emotional resilience is one way to prepare for life’s challenges. Resources to help can be found with the Building Resilience section of the Gospel Library online and in the app, and the self-reliance course on emotional resilience.

Finding strength can be done in the following ways, explained a post from the Church’s Caring.ChurchofJesusChrist social media account.

  1. Connect. “Connect with someone you trust.”
  2. Renew. “Renew your spirit through prayer, meditation, mindfulness and compassionate care for self and others.”
  3. Focus. “Focus on things in your life that are going well and that you can control.”
  4. Reflect. “Reflect on what is meaningful to you.”
  5. Utilize. “Continue to utilize healthy coping strategies that you find helpful.”

What Not To Do When Feeling Negative Emotions

Everyone can feel unsettling emotions sometimes, and that’s OK, said another post from Caring.

Sometimes, those emotions can lead people to unhelpful behaviors. When experiencing overwhelming emotions, it is natural to want to ignore, suppress or escape them — or isolate from others.

The following tips from the Church go through what not to do when feeling negative emotions and what to try instead.

  • Instead of ignoring or suppressing emotions, try “journaling about your feelings, talking to someone you trust, praying or meditating, or writing down some things you are thankful for.”
  • Instead of “isolating yourself or cutting yourself off from important relationships,” try doing recreational activities with friends, going for a walk, or finding ways to help and serve others.
  • Instead of escaping through excessive screen time, try “taking a break from media and news, doing a relaxing activity like yoga or tai chi, making a treat for a friend, or intentionally reading or listening to uplifting media.”

For additional help, reach out to trusted loved ones, a spiritual leader or a licensed mental health counselor.

How To Be More Resilient in a Crisis

When someone or their loved ones are in the middle of an emergency, they might be overwhelmed by anxiety and stress.

Some tips can help people improve emotional wellness — even without having tried building resilience skills before.

A social media post from Caring outlined the following examples from the Church:

  1. Feel and acknowledge emotions. “Having emotional resilience does not mean shutting off your emotions. Resilient people find healthy coping mechanisms that help them process their feelings and progress through their challenges.”
  2. Take care of your body. “Remind yourself to take breaks. Do your best to get sufficient sleep. Eat, hydrate and exercise. Remember to care for your body so you can mentally recharge and be prepared to help yourself and others.”
  3. Strengthen interpersonal connections. “Stay connected with those around you. Strengthen your support network, serve others, and encourage compassion in yourself and your community. And don’t forget to communicate your needs. Emotionally resilient individuals don’t try to do it all themselves; they ask for help when it’s needed.”
  4. Focus on problem-solving. “Keeping a goal-oriented perspective can help your emotional well-being as you experience positive emotions from achieving a goal — even if that goal is as small as waking up and getting dressed.”

Bonus: Use a sense of humor. “Exercising your sense of humor can also build your resilience. Taking time to laugh can lessen some of your stress and anxiety.”

More information can be found in the Building Resilience manual under the section “Emotional resilience helps us to prepare for emergencies.”

5 Myths About Helping Someone Struggling With Mental Health

As outlined in a Caring social media post, a person doesn’t have to have all the answers in order to help someone else. Often, just listening and being there is the best thing that can be done.

Below are several common myths people may believe about helping someone who is dealing with a mental health challenge.

  1. Myth: “I am 100% responsible for providing others the help they need.” The reality: “No person can solve everything for someone, but you can be part of a healing community to bless others. You can offer your unique strengths and perspective and give when you can.”
  2. Myth: “I should be the expert on solving others’ problems.” The reality: “Even professional counselors believe their role is simply helping a person make his or her own changes rather than providing an instruction manual. Your role is to love and minister to people.”
  3. Myth: “This problem has lasted a long time. Why aren’t they better yet?” The reality: “There are rarely quick fixes to life’s problems. Working through change is a process and nearly always takes longer than you think it will. Real change is a refinement process that you or your loved ones have to go through.”
  4. Myth: “I don’t know the right thing to say, so it’s better I don’t say anything.” The reality: “The good news is that you often don’t have to say much. The greatest gift you can give others is to show interest in them, ask questions, listen with love, and help them feel safe sharing with you.”
  5. Myth: “If I help at all, they will always become dependent on me.” The reality: “As you serve, you can set healthy boundaries to make sure you are taking care of yourself and your family. Never underestimate the power that small and simple acts of love can have in people’s lives, and don’t be afraid of investing time and love in someone.”

Copyright 2024 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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