When you’re feeling emotionally exhausted, there are a few surefire ways to feel 100 percent again.
Life can definitely be emotionally draining sometimes, but when we are emotionally self-reliant, we are able to meet our emotional needs and cope with everyday ups and downs. This doesn’t mean that we never need help. Rather, being emotionally self-reliant is knowing when we can handle emotional pressures by ourselves and knowing when we need to reach out for help and support from others.
As we learn how to feel and respond to emotions in a healthy way, we become better equipped and more available to serve in the kingdom of God. Some of the following ideas may be helpful as you seek to become emotionally self-reliant.1
What You Can Do
Try applying one or two of these ideas over the next few weeks. Brainstorm other ideas you could try to help yourself become emotionally self-reliant.
- Do the basics: prayer, scripture study, church attendance, and service. Focus on gratitude.
- Take good care of yourself physically. Make sure you are eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Our physical health influences our emotional health.
- Keep a journal. Part of being emotionally self-reliant is to be in tune with your emotions. Keeping a journal is a good way to process feelings.
- Talk honestly about your feelings with friends or family. Discussing your feelings with another person is a healthy outlet that can help keep your emotional health in balance.
- Pray for help instead of fixes. Consider changing phrases 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.”
- Evaluate your balance in life. Check the time and energy you put toward family, self, service, work, and recreation. When one area robs time and energy from the others, you start to lose sleep, energy, and focus. This means it’s time to hit the reset button and reclaim balance.
- Don’t procrastinate. Putting things off can lead to depression. Break down big tasks into smaller pieces. Get started, reminding yourself, “All I have to do right now is ______” or “I’ll just do this a few minutes and then take a break if I want.”
- 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. If things don’t work out as you hope, imagine yourself learning from the setback and going forward.
- Focus on what you do right, and avoid comparing yourself to others. People with excessively high expectations for themselves tend to overfocus on their weaknesses and failures. Then, instead of improving, they may feel hopeless. Make a list of your values, talents, experiences, and gifts. Plan how you can use those strengths creatively this week.
- Let go of what you cannot control. The past, the agency of others, the weather, your limitations, or the personality of other people are outside of your control. Focus on things you can do something about, such as your behavior, your part in a relationship, your current choices, and your attitude.
- Accept the reality of some boring routines. Not all of life is deeply meaningful and exciting. Avoid creating drama, intensity, or conflict to deal with boredom. Instead, appreciate and enjoy the good around you, and look for ways to improve and serve.
- Don’t feed your anger. People are more likely to feel angry when they choose to see others as (1) threatening, (2) unfair, or (3) disrespectful. Instead, see if you can think of a more charitable explanation for their behavior. For example, perhaps they are tired, uninformed, insecure, or think they are being helpful. Make the choice not to fuel anger.
- Resist the tendency to blame or shame others or yourself. Instead, figure out what the problem is and ask the other person for help in fixing it, regardless of whose fault it is.
- Listen to the Spirit, not negativity. If you are having thoughts that are belittling, mocking, angry, sarcastic, murmuring, critical, or name-calling, they are not from the Lord. Shut them out. Sing a hymn, recite a scripture, or say a prayer to invite the Spirit back.
1. From “Resources for Managing Emotional Demands,” Adjusting to Missionary Life (2013), 29–34; “Becoming Emotionally Self-Reliant,” Self-Reliance Blog, Feb. 21, 2017, srs.lds.org.
This article originally ran in the January 2019 Ensign.