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How Expressing Difference Brings Connection

How is differentiation of self related to assertiveness? When a woman asserts herself, she is differentiating her needs, thoughts, feelings, or wants from another person. She is essentially saying, “I’m think something different than you. I have other feelings than you do. I’m not you.” True assertiveness, as I define it, means that this is done in a way that’s not alienating or rude but still clearly makes those differences known.

How To Follow My Dreams When I Feel Guilty? Ask Dr. Julie Hanks

Kelly asks, “How do I take care of myself and fulfill my own dreams when my family makes things all about them?” She grew up in a family with a narcissistic mother and Kelly felt she needed to take care of and focus on her mother at her own expense. This created guilt for Kelly whenever she invested in her own development. Listen to what I have to say

Mormons and Shame: When You Feel You Don’t Measure Up to the Ideal

There is nothing wrong with teaching ideals and one could argue that that is the primary job of religious institutions. However, in real life, holding up ideals often leaves members never feeling “good enough” because they have not achieved the ideal righteous Mormon life. Chronic feelings of “never good enough” because your life doesn’t look like an Ensign magazine cover, your child has left the Church, your spouse isn’t committed to church callings, you’re struggling with the word of wisdom, you’re having difficulty forgiving someone, you’re not a good provider, or you’re not an attentive mother or father, can erode our whole sense of self.

The One Thing That’s Keeping You From Being Happy

By exploring your self-doubt, challenging your thoughts, and taking action, you can manage insecurities so they don’t sabotage your confidence and happiness….

Confidence is something we all aspire to have, but the truth is that insecurity is something we all experience. Insecurities were huge for most people in high school (think acne, frizzy hair, not making the sports team, etc.), and although we’ve hopefully gotten over some of these things, we still are fragile and imperfect human beings who sometimes doubt ourselves.

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Our Definition of “Good Mothering” is Bad For Mental Health

Preparing to be a “good mother” is emphasized in Primary, Young Women’s, and continues as a central thread woven throughout Relief Society lessons and discussions. Unfortunately, it turns out that many of our beliefs about “good mothering” are correlated with poor maternal mental health. When I first read findings from a study published in The Journal of Child and Family Studies that suggest that five specific beliefs about mothering–essentialism, fulfillment, stimulation, challenging, and child-centered–are correlated with poorer mental health among mothers with young children, I thought to myself, “These beliefs align with how we, in America, and in LDS culture define good mothering!”

Putting A Positive Spin on Anxiety

The word “anxiety” makes us a little, well, anxious. The truth is, though, that everyone gets nervous; it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The problem comes when we psyche ourselves out and make a difficult situation worse by compounding our worries (also, please understand that I’m referring to normal anxiety, not anxiety disorder, which is a legitimate mental health condition that requires professional treatment).

There’s some interesting new research that shows how reframing anxiety into a form of excitement can help us cope better. I love the idea of viewing our nervousness as a positive thing that can prepare us for demanding situations. Here are 3 ways we can rethink anxiety and use it for our good: Read more

How to Help Your Anxious Daughter: Studio 5

All parents want to raise strong, confident, happy daughters, but there’s evidence showing that female adolescents are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. A recent article in the Deseret News suggests that young women are having a rough time; researchers are seeing anxiety, self-harm, and even suicide in girls as young as 10. In recent years, I have witnessed an increase in the number of referrals of young people (girls and boys) to my therapy practice who are experiencing these same sorts of issues. Clearly, we have a real cultural problem to address, and there’s certainly reason to be concerned. Read more

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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