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“2: Learn,” Finding Strength in the Lord: Emotional Resilience (2020)

“2: Learn,” Finding Strength in the Lord: Emotional Resilience

Learn—Maximum Time: 60 Minutes

1. Our Thoughts Influence Our Emotions

Read:

Your thoughts are important. How you talk about yourself and how you think about things impact how you feel and how resilient you can be. Your thoughts also play a great role in how you interact with others and perceive the world around you. The scriptures teach, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

Knowing how much power your thoughts have over your emotions, both the Savior and the adversary seek to influence your thoughts. The Savior asks us to “look unto [Him] in every thought” with faith, without doubt or fear (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36).

Watch:

Am I Good Enough?” available at https://churchofjesuschrist.org/study/video/self-reliance-videos [3:28].

Discuss:

How can “look[ing] unto [the Savior] in every thought” remind you that you are good enough?

2. Recognizing Inaccurate Thinking Patterns

Read:

We might frequently find ourselves focusing our thoughts on what is wrong or negative. Inaccurate thinking patterns may lead us to see the worst possible outcomes to a situation. These distorted thoughts cause us to feel bad about ourselves and others. We all experience negative thoughts, but sometimes we get stuck in them and don’t see the inaccurate thinking pattern and how it is hurting our emotional health. Read the list “Common Inaccurate Thinking Patterns,” and then discuss the question that follows the list. Consider identifying one or two of these thinking patterns that you use most.

Common Inaccurate Thinking Patterns

Thinking Patterns

Explanation

Example

Thinking Patterns

All or Nothing

Explanation

Seeing something or someone as all good or all bad. Look for phrases with words like always and never.

Example

“I always say the wrong thing.”

Thinking Patterns

Mislabeling

Explanation

Taking something that happened and making a broad or incorrect statement.

Example

“The relationship ended, so I’m not good enough.

Thinking Patterns

Jumping to Conclusions

Explanation

Interpreting others’ thoughts or assuming the worst possible outcome.

Example

“I bet everyone is laughing at me.”

Thinking Patterns

Personalizing

Explanation

Blaming yourself or someone else for a situation that in reality involved many factors.

Example

“They didn’t call me back, so they must be mad at me.

Thinking Patterns

Emotional Reasoning

Explanation

Judging a situation based on how you feel.

Example

“I feel guilty. I must have done something bad.”

Thinking Patterns

Overgeneralization

Explanation

Applying one experience and generalizing it to all experiences.

Example

“I did poorly on this assignment, so why should I stay in the class?”

Thinking Patterns

Negative Mental Filter

Explanation

Focusing on a negative detail and dwelling on it.

Example

“It feels like nothing went well today. It was just failure after failure.”

Thinking Patterns

Discounting the Positive

Explanation

Rejecting all positive experiences because you don’t feel like they count.

Example

“It doesn’t matter if my daughter ate breakfast. She threw so many tantrums throughout the rest of the day!”

Thinking Patterns

Magnification

Explanation

Exaggerating your weaknesses or comparing them to others’ strengths.

Example

“I barely cook dinner for my family, and when I do, it’s nothing like her dinners.”

Thinking Patterns

“Should” Statements

Explanation

Telling yourself how things should or should not be.

Example

“I shouldn’t have messed up like that.”

Discuss:

Why do we sometimes think these ways?

3. Responding to Triggers

Read:

A trigger is something that causes an automatic reaction in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Triggers may include things you see, think, feel, and experience. They can be impacted by your mood, the time of day, energy level, relationships, places, events, or other situations. When your automatic reaction to a trigger is inappropriate, you can learn better ways to respond.

Discuss:

How can being aware of our triggers help us respond better?

4. Creating More Accurate Thinking Patterns

Read:

After you identify your inaccurate thinking patterns, the next step is to try and change them to more accurate, truthful thoughts. You can invite the Savior’s influence by challenging your thoughts and asking whether they are true (see John 8:32). Here are some questions you can use to challenge your inaccurate thoughts:

  • Considering all the evidence, is the thought I’m having 100 percent accurate?

  • Is this something the Savior would want me to think or feel?

  • Is this thought all or nothing—all good or all bad, win or lose, true or false?

  • Does thinking this way help me or hurt me?

  • How do I feel when I have this thought?

  • What do I know about myself and others that tells me this is not true?

  • What would I tell my best friend or someone I respected if they thought these things?

Discuss:

Why is it important to challenge thinking errors and create more accurate thoughts?

Discuss:

What can we do to remind ourselves to challenge and replace our inaccurate thinking patterns with more accurate thoughts?

5. Changing Our Thinking Takes Practice

Read:

The final step to changing our thoughts is to practice. This takes time and patience.

While thinking errors bind us and limit our happiness and ability to grow, challenging those thinking errors and replacing them with more accurate thoughts will “make [us] free” (John 8:32). Creating more accurate thoughts will help our confidence grow as we see ourselves and others in a healthier way.

This week you can practice healthy thinking patterns by completing the “Thinking Management Chart” at the end of this chapter. Consider sharing your completed chart with a family member or your action partner.