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"Breaking the Chains of Worry and Anxiety"

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This is the slideshow I shared on the book "Breaking the Chains of Worry and Anxiety" at the BYU-Idaho Education Week.

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"Breaking the Chains of Worry and Anxiety"

  1. 1. The following slideshow was part of my presentation at the BYU-Idaho Education Week. I have included on the slides a small box with a brief description. For more information, please visit: https://LessonsfromLibertyJail.com
  2. 2. This is not me – I am not a counselor or therapist!
  3. 3. This is me – I am a worrier and and prone to anxiety!
  4. 4. Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students, though depression, too, is on the rise. More than half of students visiting campus clinics cite anxiety as a health concern . . . Nearly one in six college students has been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety within the last 12 months. Hoffman, Jan. Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers (cited in “The New York Times”) And, I am not alone!
  5. 5. I am a Down Winder, raised as a young child in the path of radioactive fallout from the 1960’s nuclear tests. In 2005 my younger brother, also a Down Winder, contracted brain cancer and passed away. Soon, I experienced my first panic Attacks
  6. 6. • Medicine • Natural Remedies (acupuncture, yoga, exercise) • Counseling • Meditation/Mindfulness • Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) In my angst I started to grasp for any remedy that would ease my pain, looking for a quick fix solution!
  7. 7. • Accept Thoughts/Feelings • Choose Values • Take Action ACT vs CBT I happily discovered Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT); masterfully taught in two books, and experienced very positive results!
  8. 8. Yet, I was bothered that this therapy was very secular, focusing on traits and tendencies (like fight/flight) resulting from our evolving from creatures that crawled from the sea and cavemen. Many people who believe in this seek spirituality, but avoid religion. I wanted my faith to be central to my healing.
  9. 9. Alumni Webcasts Available at: www.byui.edu/alumni Happily, I participated in a BYU-Idaho Alumni webcast by Dr. Nathan Williams who shared the Lessons the Prophet Joseph Smith learned from the Lord while in Liberty Jail. The title was called “If, Know, Therefore” and provides a fantastic framework for healing very much in alignment with ACT!
  10. 10. IF D&C 122: 5 Ifthou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils (x3) . . . . 6 If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring . . . 7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee . . . Because of the Fall we will have hard times, trials, and adversity!
  11. 11. IF KNOW V 7 know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. V 9 God shall be with you forever and ever Yet, the Lord assures us that our trials can and will be for our good and God will be with us always!
  12. 12. IF KNOW THEREFORE V9 Therefore, hold on . . . fear not [and] cheerfully do all things that lie in your power (123:17) But, we must do our part by trusting in Him and cheerfully taking positive actions!
  13. 13. IF KNOW THEREFORE FOR MY GOOD Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good (D&C 122:7) In the end, our trials, adversity, and challenges will be for our good, part of Heavenly Father’s plan for our growth and eternal progression!
  14. 14. Is it possible to combine the Lessons from liberty Jail with Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
  15. 15. Dr. Dallas Johnson BYU-Idaho Counseling ACT Certified Dr. Nathan Williams BYU-Idaho Religion Joseph Smith Scholar Dr. Gary Purse BYU-Idaho Religion Meditation Scholar With the help of my friends at BYU-Idaho, we created a healing plan that combines the Lessons from Liberty Jail with ACT!
  16. 16. IF KNOW THEREFORE FOR MY GOODAccept Thoughts Choose Values Take Action PEACE VISION AGENCY BECOME The model includes three lines. The first are the principles from Liberty Jail, the second are the practices from ACT, and the third are the promises.
  17. 17. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE It was meant to be that life would be challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal. Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is a great purpose in our struggle in life. President Boyd K. Packer There is great value in our trials!
  18. 18. STRUGGLE OF THE EMPEROR MOTH A biologist found the cocoon of an emperor moth and took it into his lab for study. It sat on his lab table for quite a while. Finally, the cocoon began to tremble as the moth made its efforts to get out into the world. The scientist noticed that the cocoon was shaped like a bottle: wide at the bottom but very narrow at the top. The top was made of a concrete-like substance. The scientist thought, “There’s no way the moth will make it through that hard material.” He watched the cocoon for a while, getting more and more impatient. Finally he decided to help the moth out. He took a tiny pair of scissors and carefully cut through the hard, concrete-like material, opening the cocoon at the top. The moth popped out almost instantly. The biologist waited for the moth to spread its beautiful wings and show its pretty colors, but nothing happened. The moth was misshapen, with a huge body and very tiny wings. It finally died, unable to lift itself off the ground. The scientist began to read about the emperor moth, trying to figure out what had happened. Other people had made the same mistake he had, trying to help the moth into the world. It seems there is a purpose for the moth’s cocoon being shaped the way it is. In order for the moth to fit itself through the narrow neck of the cocoon, it must streamline its body. The fluids in its body are squeezed into the wings, which make them large and the body small. When it finally emerges into the world, the emperor moth is a creature unsurpassed in beauty. The scientist realized that by trying to spare the moth what he considered unnecessary hardship, he had actually done it a disservice.
  19. 19. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE [ ] The Golden Mean Courage Caution Aristotle taught about the Golden Mean, where we should seek a balance between opposite traits, like courage and caution!
  20. 20. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE [ ] The Golden Mean Aversion (Avoidance) Attachment As we struggle, there are strong tendencies to avoid those things that cause pain, or desperately seek or cling to (attachment) remedies that bring some relief! Both of these extremes may lead to a life out-of-balance.
  21. 21. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE A pebble held close to the eye appears to be a gigantic obstacle. Cast on the ground, it is seen in perspective. Likewise, [the] problems or trials in our lives need to be viewed in perspective... No matter how difficult something you or a loved one faces, it should not take over your life and be the center of all your interest. Challenges are growth experiences, temporary scenes to be played out on the background of a happy life. Don’t become so absorbed in a single event that you can’t think of anything else or care for yourself or for those who depend upon you. Elder Richard G. Scott Our trials can become a hyper-focus and self- consuming!
  22. 22. WORRY All that we can see and focus on!
  23. 23. MatthewBYUI JENNA Emrie MOM COOPER Tetons P2B Family History CES DAD FAITH TEMPLE BENTLEY Health WORRY Yet, our worry and trials are just PART of us and put into proper perspective, just a small part!
  24. 24. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE Mind The Gap The first acceptance practice is to “mind the gap”. Instead of avoidance or attachment, just sit with the pain. Accept it. Stay with it. And heal.
  25. 25. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE Mind The Gap Our natural stimulus response inclination will be either aversion (avoidance), or attachment!
  26. 26. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE Mind The Gap Instead, when we “mind the gap” we create space, allowing our inner wisdom to guide wiser more balanced responses!
  27. 27. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE Mind The Gap From a gospel perspective, it is within this space where we can be more open to guidance from the “Light of Christ” and the “Holy Ghost!” This is where the enabling power of the Atonement can be most effective.
  28. 28. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE Sstop Ttake a deep breath Aaccept things as they are Aask yourself what you really want R react in a positive way (aligned with values) STA2R A very good acceptance practice is STA R, which is illustrated in this graphic. 2
  29. 29. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE Another acceptance practice is the “observing mind.” Picture your mind as a pasture and thoughts as horses. When a horse (thought) enters the pasture, you can ride it or try to chase it away. Both of these choices will just make the horse more entrenched. Better yet, just acknowledge the horse and go back to acting on values. The horse will soon leave on its own accord.
  30. 30. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE Thoughts = FACT or FICTION Worry = Unlikely Maybes What to do with worry – it’s up to you! FICTION Remember most thoughts (even the scary ones) are just stories and almost always fictional. It is our judgment/evaluation that causes us to fuse with an unwanted thought.
  31. 31. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE Reality Imagined Suffering The root of depression is mourning the past. The catalyst for worry is imagining something bad is yet to come. Acceptance helps us live in the present and diffuses unwanted/scary/fictional thoughts.
  32. 32. IF Accept Thoughts PEACE D&C 123:17 • Cheerfully • Stand Still • With Faith • To see the Lord’s will Other practices: • H.E.A.L. • Urge Surfing • Mindful Eating, Walking • Notice 5 Things • Bridal Meditations Other solid practices are outlined in the book.
  33. 33. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION Who do I want to become = Vision What Matters Most = Values The first step in choosing values is to identify your mission/vision statement.
  34. 34. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION The Three Parts of Purpose Clayton M. Christensen 1. Likeness or “the person I want to become” 2. Becoming Committed 3. Finding the Right Metric • A man who is dedicated to improve the lives of other people • A kind, honest, forgiving, and selfless husband, father, and friend • A man who just doesn’t believe in God, but who believes God
  35. 35. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION • A man who is dedicated to improve the lives of other people • A kind, honest, forgiving, and selfless husband, father, and friend • A man who just doesn’t believe in God, but who believes God What are his Values? • Dedication • Service • Spouse • Children • Friends • Faith • Discipleship
  36. 36. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION Have to (fear) Ought to (guilt) Want to (love) The first practice of choosing values is to identify the things you love to do!
  37. 37. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION The second practice is to pick a time when you were most happy. What was right in your life? What does this say about what you value?
  38. 38. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION Now, pick a time when you were the most sad. What was wrong or missing? What does this say about your values?
  39. 39. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION The next activity is to pretend you just came across a burning building. Perhaps it is your home. What would be willing to go into the home to rescue? What does this say about your values?
  40. 40. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION Finally, ponder for a few moments what you are most inclined to spend your time, money, and energy on. What does this say about your values?
  41. 41. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION J.O.Y.(2 NEPHI 2:25) What are his Values? • Discipleship (J) • Faith (J) • Service (O) • Spouse (O) • Children (O) • Friends (O) • Dedication (Y) In the Book of Mormon we learn that men are to have JOY. One way to get to joy is to make the word the acronym J.O.Y. – which means Jesus first, others second, yourself third. You might want to rank your values using the J.O.Y. model.
  42. 42. IF KNOW Accept Thoughts Choose Values PEACE VISION "Only when you lift a burden, God will lift your burden. Divine paradox this! The man who staggers and falls because his burden is too great can lighten that burden by taking on the weight of another's burden. You get by giving, but your part of giving must be given first.” President Spencer W. Kimball The J.O.Y. principle is illustrated by this quote from President Spencer W. Kimball.
  43. 43. IF KNOW THEREFORE Accept Thoughts Choose Values Take Action PEACE VISION AGENCY Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts Og Mandino Acting on values is the key to healing as illustrated by this quote by Og Mandino.
  44. 44. IF KNOW THEREFORE Accept Thoughts Choose Values Take Action PEACE VISION AGENCY Weak is he who permits his [worries] to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his [worries] Og Mandino Acting on values is the key to healing as illustrated by this quote by Og Mandino.
  45. 45. IF KNOW THEREFORE Accept Thoughts Choose Values Take Action PEACE VISION AGENCY Therefore Stop Therefore Start Therefore Accept Therefore implies taking action and there are likely things in our lives that we should stop doing, start doing, or just accept.
  46. 46. Importance: Satisfaction: 0 Not important 1 Moderately Important 2 Very Important 0 Not Satisfied 1 Moderately Satisfied 2 Very Satisfied Is there a discrepancy? If so, why? (what are the barriers?) How do you feel about this value in action? Value = My Children This exercise will help you identify how you are doing with each of your values.
  47. 47. This worksheet is provided in the book and will guide you through the practices.
  48. 48. IF KNOW THEREFORE FOR MY GOODAccept Thoughts Choose Values Take Action PEACE VISION AGENCY BECOME Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good (D&C 122:7) Becoming is an eternal process and our working trough trials, including anxiety, will in the end be for our good!
  49. 49. IF KNOW THEREFORE FOR MY GOODAccept Thoughts Choose Values Take Action PEACE VISION AGENCY BECOME D&C 123:17 17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. The Final Therefore! The final verse in the Liberty Jail revelations reminds us that if we do all in our power, and with faith, stand still; we will see the Lord’s hand and will in our lives.
  50. 50. https://lessonsfromlibertyjail.com The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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