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Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled:
Uplifting Strategies for Restoring Peace to the Troubled Heart and Mind
by Rosa Le Boynton

* Prayer -- Pouring out my soul to my Heavenly Father and being “encircled in the arms of His love” brings me the greatest strength and peace (2 Nephi 1:15). With His perfect, pure, and infinite love for me, it is completely understandable why He knows how to comfort me better than anyone else and why He is the greatest source of help. This is why my Loving Heavenly Father is the first one I call on in my hour of need.
* Listening to my Heavenly Father speak comforting words to me in prayer, in scripture, in General Conference talks, in my patriarchal blessing, etc. I am at my best when I’ve been reading the scriptures because I’m more receptive to the guidance of the Holy Ghost and more focused on trying to be like my Savior, Jesus Christ.
* Gratefully Receiving of my Savior’s Merciful Gift of His Atonement and allowing Him to both cleanse me and enable me to be better. (*See talk by Elder Bednar in list F of Resources below.) I can accept and fully access the gift of my Savior’s Atonement by humbly repenting (with a “broken heart and a contrite spirit“), forgiving myself, and continuing on my journey (enduring to the end), with the strengthening and enabling power of Christ’s Atonement helping me to improve as I just keep striving to emulate my Savior, trying again and again, over and over, as many times as it takes (*refer to The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox). Coming to The Prince of Peace and feeling His healing balm truly alleviates the deepest sorrow!
*Maintaining an eternal perspective -- realizing trials are “for our good” to refine us so we may become like our Heavenly Father (“thine afflictions shall be but a small moment, and if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” ~D & C 121:7-8). One thing that has been extremely helpful for me to keep an eternal perspective on is understanding the Lord’s timeline for when we’ll reach perfection -- that complete perfection is something we‘ll continue to progress toward even after this life. While I can be perfect in some things (like paying a perfect tithe), my Heavenly Father isn’t expecting me to be completely perfect now in all things. All He requires is that I continually come to Him with my “broken heart and contrite spirit” and keep striving to do my best as I progress towards becoming like my Savior (becoming “perfected”). I find such comfort in the fact that my Loving Heavenly Father knows my heart, so He knows that I am sincerely striving to do my best and giving Him my all. Discovering these truths was so freeing for me, and still is every time I remember them, because it helps me to forgive myself, to remember that I am on a “pathway to perfection“ (Thomas S. Monson), that Jesus Christ is “finishing” me as the “finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), and that I just need to “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. . . and endure to the end” (2 Nephi 31:20). **The first five books on List C of Resources taught me these truths.
* Singing Hymns or listening to peaceful, spiritual music is such a quick and powerful way to bring the Spirit into our homes and dissolve negative thoughts/feelings. (*see list B in Resources)
* Remembering who I am by reading my patriarchal blessing, scriptures and books that remind me of my divine nature and infinite worth as a child of God (*Lists A and C of Resources below are my favorites that lift me by accomplishing this goal). Remembering my true identity as a daughter of God helps me stay focused on fulfilling the purposes He has for my life on this earth and my goal to return to my Heavenly Father so I may become like Him.
* Going to the temple to feel close to my Heavenly Father (the greatest love of all), to receive personal revelation and guidance from my Father, and to remember my covenants and renew my resolve to keep them so I may live with my Father in Heaven again.
* Talking to a family member or friend who loves me. This one is especially critical for me to do when I catch my mind lying to myself: telling myself “automatic negative thoughts,” or “ANTS,” as Dr. Amen calls them in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. He suggests writing these lies down, then later writing out the truths for each lie when you’re calm and able to think rationally. Then, the next time you catch your brain lying to you, or when you feel down, get out your list and read the truths so you can combat the “ANTS” that are most likely causing your lowered feelings. Well, I’m still striving to learn how to stomp out these “ANTS,” so I’ve found it most helpful to go to a loved one (physically, or on the phone) so I can listen to them talk to me so I don’t have to listen to my mind lying to myself. If the “ANTS” are really bad, then I’ll ask my husband to tell me the “truths” for each “ANT” that arises until, with his help, I’m able to stamp them out, have good thoughts again, and continue on my day.
* Focusing on the Positive – Counting my blessings, Keeping a Gratitude Journal, playing the “glad game” (from Disney's Polyanna movie), simply focusing on the good I've done that day (rather than dwelling on my mistakes/weaknesses/faults) and remembering my good attributes (which I can read about in my patriarchal blessing or in love notes from my family or compliments from friends **see Treasure Chest idea below), and walking in the Light of Christ! As President Gordon B. Hinckley said, we should “stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.“ By changing the “u” in “sun” to an “o” we discover who will bring us out of darkness and into the light. That’s right: The Son of God, the Light of the World! His light will bring us peace so we can look forward to the brightness of our future with Him! Maybe I lost my patience on the fifth time of it being tried by my children within five minutes, but what about the four times before that when I exercised patience? Doesn’t that warrant a pat on the back for myself? Yes! I should focus on the positive and celebrate the times I was successful that day! The mistakes I make don’t erase the good I’ve done. Of course I do still need to humbly repent and feel sorrow for my sins (which my loving Heavenly Father knows I do), but after this necessary step, I should not dwell on them. Our Heavenly Father gives us guilt to motivate us to repent; after we’ve done this, then we shouldn’t keep beating ourselves up or feeling guilty for it (because this isn‘t accomplishing anything). Instead, our Heavenly Father wants us to be able to move on, which is why He gave us the precious gift of His Son’s Infinite Atonement, available to us time and again every time we need it, until we make it back to His loving arms. Forgiving ourselves, moving on, and focusing on the good we accomplish each day will help us to “be of good cheer.” How is all this possible? Only through Our Savior, Jesus Christ, who promised: “ . . . in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
* Holding a loved one. One day, when my oldest daughter was two, she came up and said, "Are you sad?" To which, I replied, "Yes." Then she brought me her baby doll and her blue blankie (because that’s what helps her feel better when she’s sad) and kissed me and said, "Be happy." How could I not, after that tender act of compassion and love? Her love lifted me up and I felt the sun come out and push the storm away. Of course I still felt the pain, but smiled and did my best to shake it off and obey my daughter's kind request to "Be happy," since I do want to be a happy mother for my children. This is but one of many times my family's love has lifted my heart.
* Connecting with my children: through empathetic listening, pretend play, reading, snuggling, etc. As President Benson said, “A woman whose life is involved in the righteous rearing of her children has a better chance of keeping up her spirits than the woman whose total concern is centered in her own personal problems” (Do Not Despair, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1974/10/do-not-despair?lang=eng). This strategy is very similar to the “Service” one listed below. That’s because righteously raising our children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” is the greatest service, calling, and work we have the privilege of doing. Motherhood is not only the most important calling I have, but it is the highest honor I could ever ask for and it brings me the greatest joy!
* Treasure Chest of favorite pictures, love notes, keepsakes that remind us of precious memories, funny things our kids say, cheering scriptures, etc. --A young mother shared this idea at a BYU Women’s Conference I attended years ago. (I tried to find my notes so I could attribute this idea to her name, and describe it as she did, but I couldn’t find them, so I‘ll just do my best to remember what she said.) She told us that she has a small treasure chest (this could be as simple as a shoebox, a tinbox, or any kind of small container) which she keeps on her kitchen counter and fills with special treasures that help her to “be of good cheer”; things that she pulls out and looks at when she needs her spirits lifted. Some are photos of her with her loved ones, some are scriptures written on a paper, some are cards/love notes from her children or husband, some are objects that remind her of special memories (ex. the wristband her firstborn wore to remind her of the day she was born), some are simply tiny scraps of paper whereon she's jotted down the funny things her kids have said that make her smile. **This idea is really helpful during those times when you’re needing to be alone to calm down, but still need to feel the love of those who matter most to you. Reading about their love for you and seeing pictures of your loving relationship and special times you’ve shared can be very powerful visual reminders of how much those in your life truly love you and to get your mind quickly back on track to focus on reality and truth.
* Forcing myself to do something I enjoy (i.e. writing, playing my violin, reading, making photobooks online/digital scrapbooking, making a card to brighten someone’s day, etc.) because it will distract my brain from focusing on the pain and will force me to focus my thoughts on whatever it is I am creating/producing. Writing is an especially effective tactic because it is also therapeutic for me. When I have a problem, I write about it. Writing helps me sort through my thoughts, separate truth from lies, then encourages me to find answers by researching the subject, studying, and praying. **I say “forcing” myself because when I'm feeling down, I don’t feel like doing anything; so, in order to make any of these strategies work, I have to choose that I’m going to put forth the effort to do them so they can work their magic and improve my mood.
*Exercising --forcing myself to do something I may not enjoy at the time (lol), but my body appreciates it and it truly releases “feel good” endorphins. As Daniel G. Amen M.D., explains in his book: “Exercise allows more of the natural amino acid tryptophan to enter the brain, enhancing mood. Tryptophan is the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which has been found to be low in many depressed patients” (Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, p. 79).
* Getting enough sleep -- at least 8 hours a night is ideal for adults (for children‘s sleep needs by age, view a chart online). Sleep is a HUGE factor in my ability to function happily (as it is for every human being). Just like exercise, sleep also releases “feel good” endorphins and helps our brains be able to function. When I notice myself having “lowered feelings” (as Dr. Abraham Low refers to them) regularly throughout a given day, it’s usually because I haven't had enough sleep. On these days, I take whatever measures I possibly can to allow me to take a nap, knowing it is in the best interest of me and my family, so I can return to being able to function at my optimal level.
* Serving others --This is also a good technique because it distracts me from my pain, as I focus on how to lift others and alleviate their burdens. A friend once told me that she wondered how much of her depression was a result of her being self-centered or focused too much on her own problems, rather than thinking of and serving others. When I heard this, I reflected on times when I had experienced similar feelings. One occasion stands out above the others in my memory. One day during my freshman year at BYU, my body was experiencing aching pains that were consuming my thoughts and not allowing me to focus on anything else. While immersed in my pain and feeling sorry for myself, my roommate came in and announced that there was a campus service project and asked if I'd like to go. While the thought initially came as unthinkable, given the pain I was in, I decided to go. As I raked and bagged mountains of leaves in the front yards of elderly families, my pain grew less and less. Some may say it was because my pain medicine finally kicked in, but I think the greater magic that happened that day was that I learned how our troubles can melt away when we are anxiously engaged in serving and loving others. Whenever I recall this experience, it is usually coupled with the memorable phrase Gordon B. Hinckley’s father told him when he was feeling discouraged by the challenges on his mission: “Forget yourself and get to work.” As I learned that day at BYU, we can quickly forget ourselves and our troubles as we are consumed with the purposeful and unselfish act of compassionately caring for others and doing all we can to help relieve their pain or lighten their burdens. Elder David S. Baxter expressed my sentiments perfectly, in his April 2012 General Conference talk, when he said: “Many of you have already discovered the great, transforming truth that when you live to lift the burdens of others, your own burdens become lighter. Although circumstances may not have changed, your attitude has. You are able to face your own trials with greater acceptance, a more understanding heart, and deeper gratitude for what you have, rather than pining for what you yet lack.”
* Walking in nature -- This accomplishes two powerful things:
1) It allows me to relax (which is very important to me because stress is a huge trigger in setting off the anxiety/anger/depression cycle that I’ve struggled with many times throughout my parenting years), and
2) It reminds me of who I am, as I recognize and appreciate the hand of God, as it is manifested all around me in nature. When I take the time to “be still” and look at His marvelous creations, I remember that I am part of His amazing Plan of Happiness for His children, which reminds me that I am His child and reminds me why I came to Earth and that He wants me to gain eternal happiness. Our Heavenly Father beckons us to: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). During this peaceful “be still“ time, I truly can feel that He is God, that He is there, that He loves me, that I can trust that He is watching out for me and know that His Plan will continue to unfold until all His purposes are fulfilled! It is critical for me to take this time out to feel My Heavenly Father near me and hear His voice bear witness to me that I am His and He loves me. (**Walking in nature is only an option when my husband is home, since I obviously can’t go off on a walk by myself when I have four little ones to care for. However, at times when I‘m needed at home, I can still have these “be still“ moments by encouraging my children to each have their own independent “be still” time in their own separate places. Teaching our children to “be still” and feel their Heavenly Father’s love for them, and giving them this quiet time to pray and learn to recognize His voice, is a beautiful gift that is essential for them, just as it is for us.)
* Writing down my feelings, as if no one would read them, then tearing them up and throwing them away, if desired. My mother taught me to do this when I was a teenager and was struggling with some difficult feelings and it was hard to forgive one of our extended family members. Doing this exercise (and throwing the paper away) was very therapeutic and allowed me to let go of the anger and pain, and to forgive this person without ever having to say these things to his face or ever have him read these words (since I didn’t want to hurt his feelings because I do love him and know he is a child of God who deserves to be loved and forgiven, just as we all do).
* Relaxing in a warm bath, or whatever relaxation techniques help calm you best. (*The bath is obviously only an option when my husband is home to care for our children.)
* One Page Miracle -- Years ago, after a particularly challenging day parenting my toddler and newborn, I wrote down all the qualities I wanted to be as a mother. I felt inspired by the Holy Ghost to do this and also to read my list every morning as a motivation to help me be the kind of mother I feel my Heavenly Father wants me to be. It truly was a huge strength and positive start to my day! Years later, when I came across Dr. Daniel G. Amen’s book (before mentioned), I found a similar technique that he encourages his patients to do (found on pp. 134-37). He calls it the “One Page Miracle.” It entails writing out what’s most important to you -- “what you want” -- in the following four categories: relationships (spouse, children, extended family, friends), work, money, and myself (body, mind, spirit). Recalling my experience from years before, I shook my head in affirmation, as I read Dr. Amen’s statement that: “It is a great idea to start the day off by reading the OPM to get focused for the day.” Writing your own One Page Miracle (whether you follow his format, or a personalized version) and reading it every morning can be very motivating. This was a beautiful testament to me of how the Spirit will teach us what we need to do to improve our lives even before we read/find these strategies from worldly sources.
* Sticking up notes of encouragement all over your home in places where you will see and read them frequently throughout the day. This idea came from my dear friend, Veronica, who surprised me one day with a pack of star-shaped post-it notes that she’d written kind and encouraging notes on! She made me promise that I would stick them up all over and read them regularly to help me feel good. Seeing and reading them really did help me tremendously! I also asked my husband and my children to write a few things on some of the extra stars, which was sweet for me to read their loving encouragement. Then, I wrote the following on some of the remaining stars: parts from my favorite scriptures and hymns that uplift me (see lists A & B in Resources below), and some phrases that help keep my spirits up. A few of these phrases are:
  • I am a daughter of My Heavenly Father, who loves me, and I love him” (based on Young Women’s Theme -- can be found by searching on lds.org);
  • Keep an Eternal Perspective” (see notes on this strategy above);
  • Remember Your Crown“ --which basically reminds me of my royal, divine nature and potential to become as my Heavenly Father -- to continue striving to do my best and eventually become “perfect in Christ“ through His grace (Moroni 10:32-33), so that, by “relying wholly upon the merits of Him who is mighty to save” (2 Nephi 31:19) I may attain my birthright to rule and reign as a queen in My Heavenly Father’s royal courts above;
  • Be patient and forgiving with yourself” (as mentioned in several strategies above);
  • Continue on Your Journey” --To me, this pretty much means that after I ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness, and He “frankly forgives me” as Nephi did in 1 Nephi 7:21, that He wants me to forgive myself and then move on - - “continue on my journey” -- as his brothers did at the end of the verse. It‘s another way of saying, “endure to the end” (see 2 Nephi 31:20).
* Dr. Daniel Amen’s prescriptions for “enhancing positive thought patternsand healing the deep limbic systems, from his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (pp. 55-81). (*MA = “mentioned above,“ since many strategies on his list are similar to those mentioned above.)
  • Kill the ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that we tell ourselves (*MA)
  • Surround yourself with people who provide positive bonding (*MA)
  • Participate in deep limbic bonding with your children (*MA)
  • Build people skills to enhance limbic bonding
  • Recognize the importance of physical contact (*MA)
  • Surround yourself with great smells
  • Build a library of wonderful memories (similar to Treasure Chest idea *MA)
  • Consider limbic medications (e.g. Saint-John’s-wort, under supervision of a psychiatrist)
  • Try Physical Exercise (*MA)
  • Watch your limbic nutrition (omega-3 fatty acids, balanced meals with whole grains, protein)


Resources that Uplift Me by Restoring Peace to my Troubled Heart

A) My Favorite Uplifting Scriptures: verses that empower me by dissipating my “lowered feelings”
(1) John 14:27 (8) Proverbs 3:5-6
(2) Phillipians 4:13 (9) Alma 7:11-12
(3) Doctrine & Covenants 121:7-8 (10) 2 Nephi 4: 26-28, 34
(4) 2 Nephi 31:20 (11) Moroni 10:32-33
(5) John 16:33 (12) John 16:33
(6) Helaman 5:12 (13) Alma 26:27
(7) Ether 12:27 (14) Doctrine & Covenants 68:6

B) My Favorite Uplifting Hymns (from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints hymnbook; these can also be found online at lds.org)
Our Savior’s Love
How Firm a Foundation (the last verse is especially strengthening to me)
Lead Kindly Light
Be Still My Soul
I Know that My Redeemer Lives
I Believe in Christ
Nearer My God to Thee
I Feel My Savior’s Love (Children’s Songbook)
If the Savior Stood Beside Me (Children’s Songbook)
I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus (Children’s Songbook)

C) LDS Books That Have Strengthened Me -- because they remind me of who I am, teach me how to reach my divine potential through the gift of Christ’s Atonement, and are helping me let go of trying to be perfect in this life.
* The Book of Mormon and The Holy Bible (King James Version)
* Finding Inward Stillness by Brett & Wendy Topp
* The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox
* The Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister
* The Broken Heart by Bruce C. Hafen
* Hope in Our Hearts by Russell M. Nelson
* No Doubt About It by Sheri Dew
* Walk Tall, You’re a Daughter of God by Jamie Glenn

D) Therapeutic Books that are helping me learn to change my thinking and self-talk to be more positive, optimistic, and thereby, healthier and more productive:
* Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel Amen M.D.
* The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity by Dr. Meg Meeker
* Mental Health Through Will Training by Dr. Abraham A. Low (Founder of Recovery Inc.)
* Through His Eyes by Virginia Pearce
* Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman, M.D.
* Manage Your Fears, Manage Your Anger by Dr. Abraham A. Low

E) Parenting Books that are empowering me with effective positive means of communicating, teaching, and bonding with my children . **These have been so helpful for me because applying the knowledge from these books is one of the things that helps me avoid yelling when I’m stressed. (*If you'd like to hear my other anger management strategies, please ask and I'll send them to you.) The reason it's so important for me to control my anger is because, when I fail to do so, it has been the most common precursor to my depressed feelings (because I feel mad at myself for messing up, and ashamed of my behavior, because I know it's wrong to speak to Our Heavenly Father's precious children in angry or disrespectful tones). (*List C above has helped me learn to forgive myself during these times, so I can move past these depressed feelings, and “continue on my journey.”)
* Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, Ph. D.
* What the Scriptures Teach us about Raising a Child by S. Michael Wilcox
* Christlike Parenting by Glen Latham
* Soft-Spoken Parenting by Wallace Goddard
* The Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman, M.D.

F) Some of my Favorite Uplifting LDS Talks
*You Matter to Him by President Deiter F. Uchtdorf
This is my favorite message by President Uchtdorf, although I love all his talks. He reminds us all of our Heavenly Father's infinite and personal love for each of us as His children. I always feel uplifted after listening to his talks and empowered to go about my journey here on earth with a renewed sense of purpose because I'm armed with a knowledge that I am of infinite worth and loved as a child of God! The same is true of you! I hope you will know and feel God's love for you every day!

*
Eternally Encircled in His Love by Bonnie D. Parkin, General Relief Society President, 2006
When I typed that last line above, that you would feel your Heavenly Father's love for you every day, it reminded me of this talk:

*The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality by Elder David A. Bednar, April 2012 Ensign
This talk comes from a speech he gave at BYU on October 23, 2001. Here is the link to view that:
Elder Bednar teaches us of the cleansing and enabling powers of Christ’s Atonement. Our Savior’s enabling powers are how He helps to change our hearts, change our very natures, and change our weaknesses into strengths (see Ether 12:27), as we gradually progress on our journey of becoming like Him, by completely relying on His strength and trusting His promise that: “ . . . my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (end of Ether 12:27).

*His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox
This is one of my favorite BYU Devotionals. It has helped me, along with his book, The Continuous Atonement, to better understand how our Savior's grace is sufficient for all those who come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Through his teachings, as he expounds on the scriptures, I am better understanding what the Lord expects of me and how His grace works in my life, as I continue to strive to do my best. I highly recommend watching this talk and reading his book to better understand how grace & works help us to be healed and continue in our life-long (and hereafter) journey to become "perfected in Christ." Here is the link to watch the video.

*One Step After Another by Joseph B. Wirthlin

*Forget Me Not by President Deiter F. Uchtdorf
This beautiful message is filled with eternal truths about our true identity as children of God, our divinity, and His infinite love for all of us. It would do us all good to remember these five “forget-me-nots” daily, especially that we are loved by our Eternal Father in Heaven!


I Need My Savior, So Do You
by Rosa Le Boynton

I'm human; you're human too.
I need my Savior, so do you.
We all have faults, weaknesses, and sin;
Instead of judging others, let's turn our gaze within.
Self-reflection inspires a yearning to change,
To turn to the Savior, and rely on His name.

I'm human; you're human too.
I know I'm not perfect, and neither are you.
Rather than worry if you're judging me,
I've chosen to share what can set us free.
These are ways I've found to ease the pain
To help restore peace to my spirit again.

So you'll know that these strategies are tried and true,
I've chosen to share my whole story with you.
If I let on that I don't struggle, I'd be living a lie --
If I deceived you into thinking there was no beam in my eye.
Oh, but there is! And I'm striving to remove it!
Through my Savior's Atonement, I know I can do it!

If I share with you, and you share with me,
We'll learn from each other much quicker, you see.
How can I share what I've learned without telling you how
I've struggled, I've suffered, and felt as you do now?
But there's One who suffered all and felt all our pain
So He could succor us, comfort us, and let just His love remain.

I'm human; you're human too
But there's more to me, and there's more to you.
For this human life is but a speck of our existence
And our body, only half of what we consist of.
For I'm a spirit and you're a spirit too.
Remembering this will help us stay true.
True to who we are and who He knows we can be:
Sons and daughters of God with a great destiny.

We have the same goal and the same destination;
There isn't just one winner in that Heavenly location.
If we all reach out a hand, as we're climbing through life,
We can ease another's burden and help relieve their strife.
We will find when we pause to help lift another --
To think not of self, but for our sister and brother--
That there's no room for judging, just one truth will remain:
Eternal life with our Father is the greatest gift to gain.