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Is there a Burnout Epidemic Among Mormons?

A recent LDSLiving.com, “What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed at Church,” ended with a simple survey. It asked one question: Have you ever experienced spiritual fatigue or burnout? Over 1,900 people took the online survey, and a whopping 95 percent said that they had experienced burnout.

Ninety-five percent! Houston, we have a problem.

But why is it so easy for Latter-day Saints to get to the point of burnout when it comes to their faith? A lot is expected of us—donating one-tenth of our income, hours of service in our callings, the expectation to “multiply and replenish the earth” and not delay marriage, three hours (minimum) of church attendance on Sunday, not to mention leadership meetings, activities, daily scripture study and prayer, journal writing, food storage, humanitarian work, missionary work… the list goes on and on.

And we expect a lot of ourselves; we want to serve God and serve each other. We want to be obedient. But sadly, a failure to live up to these ideals can elicit feelings of worthlessness, discouragement, and shame.

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10 Reasons I’m Not Afraid to Use Trans-Friendly Bathrooms

I am scared that we are using transgender bathroom policies as a way to avoid discussing the real concerns – sexual assault and all forms of victimization. I am afraid that by framing concerns about transgender bathroom policies, we are further victimizing an already victimized populations. I am afraid that we are using this discussion to avoid engaging in more complex discussions about stopping the glorification of violence and our cultural obsession with sex.

Pride in Disguise: 4 Facades of False Humility

Pride is often referred to as the universal sin. From the perspective of LDS theology, this seems pretty accurate; pride caused Satan to rebel against heaven, pride led to the downfall of ancient civilizations, pride is the driving factor that has caused evil individuals throughout history to come to power, and anyone who has studied the Book of Mormon has probably heard of the pride cycle. However, for this discussion, I’d like to move away from the archetypal, “big picture” idea of pride to focus on the perspective of it as an individual characteristic, that is, of personal pride.

It seems that certain patterns of pride are easy to identify. I think that one of the reasons that pride is so difficult to manage, however, is because it often appears in ways that are more subtle but just as damaging. In his well-known 1989 address, “Beware of Pride,” Ezra Taft Benson referred to this as the different faces of pride, some of which include tendencies to harbor a grudge, withhold forgiveness, or act contentiously with family members.

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Ask Julie: How Do I Stop Feeling Depressed, Angry, and Irritable?

Q: I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety a little more than a year ago, (although I have been feeling this way for a really long time.) I feel like I’m angry all the time. I want to be happy, but sometimes I feel like the anger is just always there. I have a wonderful husband and family and am happy with them, but I just cannot seem to shake this feeling. The littlest things bother me to where I can hold a grudge. I feel like I’m irritable a lot of the time, and sometimes, I feel as though I could just scream at any moment. Other times, I just feel like crying. I would really appreciate some feedback about this and maybe some type of mental exercises that I can do to start controlling all this built-up anger before it gets any worse.

A: Thank you for writing in. You said you were diagnosed with depression and anxiety but I’m curious if you’re being treated for it currently? If you are on any type of medication, I suggest that you talk with your health care provider and make sure that the dosage and medication is actually helping. Please watch the video for the complete answer.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

5 Myths About Forgiveness: Studio 5

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It’s a common saying that we should forgive and forget when someone offends us, but the truth is that there’s a little more to forgiveness than that. Throughout my years as a therapist, I’ve worked with many clients who struggled with the concept of forgiveness (what it means, how to do it, etc.). Whether it’s with minor offenses or severe abuse, we don’t always quite get the whole idea of forgiveness. I define forgiveness as ceasing to feel resentment toward someone who’s wronged us. Forgiveness is beautiful and can heal hearts and relationships, but I think we still may misunderstand it at times. Here are some common myths about forgiveness:
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5 Ways Mormons Can Teach Healthy Sexuality

Several months ago, my 8 year-old-daughter noticed the difference between her body and my 46-year-old-mother-of-four body and was asking questions. Throughout her life, my husband and I have used anatomically correct terms when talking about the human body, invited questions about birth and breastfeeding, talked about how babies are born, and have even gotten into a few specifics. We had been having discussions long enough that we had almost exhausted her questions.

Except for one.

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Are Your Boundaries Being Crossed? PsychCentral Interview

Figuring out where to set boundaries and knowing how to set them can be challenging. I recently interviewed

(By the way, the photo to the left is of me and my dear friend and colleague, Joe Sanok. He actually has very good boundaries but I think it’s such a great picture.)

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How to Help Your Child Learn Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a topic that has received a lot of attention from psychology and wellness gurus in recent years. It refers to being present in the moment and cultivating an awareness, non-judgment, and acceptance of one’s feelings, thoughts, and body. There are numerous benefits of mindfulness; those who regularly engage in meditative mindfulness practices report reduced stress, better sleep, improved productivity, lower levels of stress and bodily discomfort and pain, and even weight loss.

Avoiding Mormon Burnout by Saying No

One of our core values as Latter-day Saints is honesty (the 13th article of faith begins, “We believe in being honest,” right?). We know that it’s dishonest to lie, steal, and cheat, but have you ever considered that it might also be dishonest to say “yes” when you really mean “no”? For example, if someone asks you if you’d be willing to do something and you say yes when truthfully you are not willing to do so, you are being dishonest. It’s so tricky—we want to please, and we want to help; we want to do our share, and we want to do what’s right. I know that there have been times when I really wish I felt free to say “no” (and feel at peace about it), but I found myself saying “yes” yet again. Unsurprisingly, this pattern of repeatedly saying “yes” can cause problems in one’s emotional wellness, communication, and even in relationships. I do not intend to suggest that we stop going out of our way to serve others, or to always say “no,” but I think it’s important to examine why always saying “yes” can be harmful, and to look at why it’s okay, even honorable, to sometimes say “no.”

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