Becoming Emotionally Self-Reliant

Balance. It’s hard to maintain in this life. We are often knocked off kilter by events that are out of our control—loss of job, illness, relationship challenges. And when we are out of balance emotionally, it is more difficult to feel the Spirit in our lives and to right ourselves. It seems unfair that during times when we most need the Spirit, we are sometimes unable to find it. But if we look at life as a classroom, where God is providing opportunities for us to learn and grow rather than making the test easier by providing all the answers, then we develop a healthier perspective. We understand that much depends on us and not everything depends on the Lord. Like a good parent, He expects us to do our part to figure things out. And that includes learning to be emotionally self-reliant.

Ask yourself, “Does my happiness depend on others’ actions?”

This is a complicated question. Yes, others make us happy. But if we are happy only when other people are meeting our emotional needs, then we haven’t learned what our emotions are telling us; we’re simply dependent on other people. We need to learn to own our feelings—the whole range of them. And we need to learn from them: what are they telling us? Then when situations or people challenge us, we know better how to cope and progress.

Mental Health Checkup

Are you mindful? Part of being mindful is to be in tune with your emotions, asking why you feel a certain way, and fully processing them. Keeping a journal is a good way to process feelings.

Do you have healthy emotional outlets? Talking honestly about your feelings with a friend is a great way to keep your emotional health in balance. Good listeners make valuable friends. Share your emotions without expecting your friends to solve problems for you. There may be people in your life who are always trying to fix your problems. Remember, you have the responsibility to make changes in your own life with Heavenly Father’s help.

When you pray, you may consider changing phrases from desires like “Please, Heavenly Father, balance my emotions” to others like “Please, Heavenly Father, show me what I need to learn and do myself to balance my emotions.” With this simple change in perspective you can notice an amazing difference and become more emotionally self-reliant.

Are you experiencing anxiousness or tension? If you are having a hard time unwinding at the end of the day, you might have too much stress in your life. Try learning how to relax. Meditation, pondering the scriptures, physical exercise, and taking mental breaks to do something you enjoy are all practices that help reduce stress. Avoiding too much caffeine and sugar also helps reduce stress. When in doubt, turn to the promises in the Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89:18–21). Also, King Benjamin’s advice is especially applicable to our overscheduled lives: “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength” (Mosiah 4:27).

Do you feel balanced? Check the time and energy you put toward family, self, service, and work. When one area robs time and energy from the others, we start to lose sleep, energy, and focus. This means it’s time to hit the reset button and reclaim balance before stress leads to anxiety and we find ourselves unable to be productive.

So take the time to check your mental health. Understand your emotions. Pray for guidance as you do so. We are here to learn and grow, and sometimes that’s difficult. But we can also be at peace with the process if we spiritually prepare ourselves for the journey.