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Valerie Young

on 9 April 2014

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Transcript of Smiling

Journeying through life.
Joyfully serving.
Keeping the right perspective.

If you want to give a light to others, you have to
-President Monson
It all starts with you. In order to decrease stress in the family, you need to be the one to start. In order to cope effectively, you need to be the one to start. In order to bring others to Christ, you need to be the one to start.

Start... by smiling.
When you change the way you think, you change the way you feel.
(When Panic Attacks, David D. Burns)
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit!
Author Unknown
As you encounter hard times, don't lose hope.
Recognize that you have options beyond what you initially believe. Specifically pray and talk carefully together about your options. Specific impressions will come and a change in your thoughts will help you feel more confident and able to weather the storm. (Family Stress & Coping, Michael D. Williams)
When making decisions you don't want to come to a compromise. You want to come to a consensus. In making a compromise you are striving to get the most of what you want, but in the end, have to give up something. Whereas a consensus is a general agreement... an opinion or position reached by the group as a whole.
In order to fully reach a consensus, it is important to follow these steps that the Brethren of the Church use:
PREPARE: Prepare an agenda for your council. Giving all participants in the council a copy the night before so that they can ponder the topics.
PRIVATE: When you come together meet somewhere secluded, private or sacred where there will be no interruptions or distractions.
LOVE: Visit with one another. Be sincere, be kind, show love, care and concern for one another.
PRAY: Open with a prayer. Petition the Lord. Ask for His guidance, counsel and direction.
DISCUSS: Give each person an opportunity to share without interruption or dispute. Continue one-by-one, and repeat and strive to reach a consensus. (Even if it is only a "two-week trial" consensus.
Close: End with a prayer, expressing gratitude and seeking the Lords help to fulfill what's been decided.
Eat: Have a snack or refreshment. Eating together strengthens bonds and communication.
Sustaining and supporting my husband in his endeavors now and forever:
"Never punish him for
being gone"
-Sister Hendricks
Watch this video and remember that there are good times to come.
"Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." -Jeffery R. Holland
Personal Stress Experience:

Back in 2009, my oldest brother made some horrible choices and landed himself in Prison. This experience was extremely hard on my family. I remember getting the call that he’d been arrested just as I was walking in to the testing center to take 2 mid-terms. I then completely bombed both of those mid-terms. My whole family didn’t know how to react, what to do, how to get through it etc. My sister called a few days later to let me know my mom had become so worried and stressed that she was literally sick in bed. I took a week off from school and went home to care for the rest of my family. Maybe on the outside I seemed to be handling the stress well, but inside I was torn up. I remember getting SO incredibly angry with God. I couldn’t believe that He would have allowed something like that to happen, and I kept asking the “why” questions. “Why us, why now, why did this happen etc.” I stopped praying and reading scriptures, and really shut myself off from everyone… except my family, but even then, I didn’t share my feelings.

But don’t worry, this isn’t a completely depressing story. :) When I returned back to school, my roommate of 3 years helped me a lot. She made me talk, and she would listen. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that what had happened, happened and that I was only making myself hurt more but not letting our Heavenly Father, and Savior Jesus Christ, take my burdens. I soon returned to reading and prayer, and felt my load completely lifted as I relied on our Savior. It still took time before I was able to talk about it, and we still had to attend courts and trials off and on for about a year before he received his official sentence, but I was able to get through the hurt of it. Since then my family have seen many blessings come from this experience. For one, we are closer as family, as a whole we are closer to the gospel, we have learned what it means to sacrifice for those you love, and to not judge just by a label (as many people judged us simply because a relative was on the news and in prison). Since then my brother has grown more in the gospel then he has his entire life, and we just found out 2 weeks ago, that we received his release and parole date of December 3rd! He’ll be home for Christmas!

I hope sharing this experience didn’t make anyone uncomfortable, and please don’t feel like it bothers me to talk about it. It’s just “normal” now and it’s an experience that has helped define who I am.
Once we are able to effectively manage and cope with our own stress and hardship, we are enabled to help others who are struggling.
Mosiah 2:17 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
"Be without do really isn't being-it is self-deception. Believing oneself to be good merely because one's intentions are good.

Do without be is hypocrisy. Portrays a false image to oneself." -Elder Lynn G. Robins
You and I are here on the earth to prepare for eternity, to learn how to learn, to learn things that are temporally important and eternally essential, AND to ASSIST others in learning wisdom and truth. -David A. Bednar (Learning to Love Learning)
It is important for us to recognize and understand the background we came from and how our own family system worked. From that we can take the positive and change the negative in our own lives, to create an even better system for our own families.
One of the hardships we've had during our married life was actually only a few weeks back. My husband would work long long hours at night and I would never know if he was going to be home at 1 or 2am or if it be more like 5 or 6 or 7am. I would consistently wake up and worry. Through the Mood log I was able to work through a lot of the anxiety I was experiencing. Yet I still struggled to reconnect with my husband, and had a hard time not being bitter about his absence. He then got a church calling that also takes a lot of his time. (Now he was gone 9-6 with school, then working on his calling, then gone again for work.) One night when I couldn't sleep I came across an article that impacted me in many ways. (I'll share it below) The following day I saw the bishop and his wife. Somehow in our conversation the bishop said, "I'm gone and busy a lot. But what has probably strengthened and helped our marriage the most is that she never punishes me for being gone. I know I can come home and embrace her and feel the spirit in our home. I'm far more willing to help her when I have that kind of a welcome." I realized that I truly was trying to "punish" my husband for being gone when we both know that it was something neither of us could control, and that he was trying his hardest. I really had a paradigme shift and since then the spirit in our home has changed dramatically. I've realized that I need to sustain and support my husband and let him feel the love I truly have for him. This is also part of the inspiration for the theme of this Prezi.
"Mindfulness is about being aware of whatever is happening in the present without any filters or the lens of judgement." -Stahl & Gosdstein

This talks about the importance of "meditating" and taking time to really take in the world with out distractions, multi-tasking, or anything else.

We are taught by living prophets that "Meditation is the language of the soul. Meditation is a form of prayer. We can say prayers without having any spiritual response…Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord.”-David O. McKay
PRACTICE: (Taken from Stahl & Gosdstein, Chapters 1 & 3)

Eating a Raisin:

As you do this practice, put aside all distractions, turn off the phone, and focus direct, clear aware- ness on each aspect and each moment of the experience.

Place a few raisins in your hand. If you don’t have raisins, any food will do. Imagine that you have just come to Earth from a distant planet without such food.
Now, with this food in hand, you can begin to explore it with all of your senses.

Focus on one of the objects as if you’ve never seen anything like it before. Focus on seeing this object. Scan it, exploring every part of it, as if you’ve never seen such a thing before. Turn it around with your fingers and notice what color it is.

Notice the folds and where the surface reflects light or becomes darker.
Next, explore the texture, feeling any softness, hardness, coarseness, or smoothness.

While you’re doing this, if thoughts arise such as “Why am I doing this weird exercise?” “How will this ever help me?” or “I hate these objects,” then just see if you can acknowledge these thoughts, let them be, and then bring your awareness back to the object.

Take the object beneath your nose and carefully notice the smell of it.
Bring the object to one ear, squeeze it, roll it around, and hear if there is any sound coming from it.
Begin to slowly take the object to your mouth, noticing how the arm knows exactly where to go and perhaps becoming aware of your mouth watering.

Gently place the object in your mouth, on your tongue, without biting it. Simply explore the sensations of this object in your mouth.
When you’re ready, intentionally bite down on the object, maybe noticing how it automatically goes to one side of the mouth versus the other. Also notice the tastes it releases. Slowly chew this object. Be aware of the saliva in your mouth and how the object changes in consistency as you chew.

When you feel ready to swallow, consciously notice the intention to swallow, then see if you can notice the sensations of swallowing the raisin, sensing it moving down to your throat and into your esophagus on its way to your stomach.

Take a moment to congratulate yourself for taking this time to experience mindful eating.


Elisha’s Story: Mindful Eating (Taken from Stahl & Gosdstein Chapter 1)

Back in my midtwenties, when my life felt out of control, I went on a one-month retreat. Each time we sat down to eat we were instructed to be aware of what we were eating, where it came from, and the people who prepared it and to be thankful for it and eat it mindfully. Since I was resistant to being there in the first place, I dug in my heels on this issue and just continued eating as I always had. Often my mind would be swimming with doubts, questioning my decision to even come to this place, thinking I had more important things to be doing, and worrying about whether I really fit in. Most of the time I would be halfway thought the meal before I even really tasted the food.

One day, as another participant in the program was talking to me about the importance of being intentional and present in all the activities we do, I immediately thought of the eating and asked him, “Doesn’t it annoy you that they make such a big deal about eating here?” He gently smiled at me, brought out an orange from his knapsack, and said, “Treat this as an experiment. Take this orange and really think about where it came from, how it started from a seed in the ground, how real people cared for the tree to make it healthy and then plucked the fruit from that tree. Think about how this orange was carried from there by many different people before it came to me, and now I’m giving it to you. Now, take this orange and drink it in with all of your senses before even peeling it, much less tasting it. When you are ready to take a bite, chew it slightly slower than you normally would, and then come back to me and let me know how it was for you.” And then he left me.

As I sat alone, I noticed some resistance arising but decided to try his experiment.

I reflected on all the effort it took for this little orange to get to me, including the fact that it was a gift from him, and noticed that I felt a twinge of appreciation and a smile came to my face. I had to admit I liked that. I looked a little closer and noticed all the tiny indents in the skin. As I slowly peeled the orange, I noticed a mist of citrus spring into the air, as though the orange was rejoicing to be opened, which made me laugh, and then I smelled the pungent aroma. I noticed the contrast between the vivid orange of the outside of the peel and the pale, whitish inside surface. Once the orange was peeled, I brought it closer to my eyes and saw the smooth, veined texture of the outer membrane. As I broke apart one section, I really looked at all of the tiny individual pieces of pulp, swollen with juice. When I finally put a piece of orange on my tongue, tingling sensations ran up my cheeks. All of my attention was on the taste of the orange, and as I began to chew, I felt a rush of sheer delight at the amazing taste of this orange. I had eaten many oranges in my life, but I had never tasted an orange in this way. And then I noticed that the distress I had been feeling was gone, and that I felt calm and at ease.
Resilience: "The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties"

“Protective factors are those internal and external resources that promote positive developmental outcomes and help children prevail over adversity (develop resilience)”

Protective Factors:
Parental supervision
Parental warmth, acceptance, organization
Reduced family conflict
Positive temperamental characteristics
Educational opportunities
Collective efficacy
Presence of caring adult

Please click on each page to read document

Do this practice in a relaxing environment without distractions, such as the phone. You can do it either lying down or sitting up, but if you lie down and find yourself falling asleep, try a more upright posture. Bring your full, undivided attention to this practice as you listen to track 3 on the enclosed CD or read the following meditation, pausing after each paragraph. You can practice anytime throughout the day, combining this practice with the mindful check-in if you like.

Take a few moments to be still. Congratulate yourself for taking some time for meditation practice.
Bring your awareness to your breath wherever you feel it most prominently in your body. It may be at the nose, neck, chest, belly, or somewhere else. As you breathe in normally and naturally, be aware of breathing in, and as you breathe out, be aware of breathing out. Simply maintain this awareness of the breath, breathing in and breathing out.

There is no need to visualize, count, or figure out the breath; just be mindful of breathing in and out. Without judgment, just watch the breath ebb and flow like waves in the sea. There’s no place to go and nothing else to do, just be in the here and now, noticing the breath—just living life one inhalation and one exhalation at a time.

As you breathe in and out, be mindful of the breath rising on the inhalation and falling on the exhalation. Just riding the waves of the breath, moment by moment, breathing in and breathing out.

From time to time, attention may wander from the breath. When you notice this, simply acknowledge where you went and then gently bring your attention back to the breath.

Breathing normally and naturally, without manipulating the breath in any way, just be aware of the breath as it comes and goes.

As you come to the end of this meditation, congratulate yourself for taking this time to be present, realizing that this is an act of love. May we be at peace. May all beings be at peace.
How are these connected with the Young Men and Young Women programs?

Most of these can be greatly impacted in the YM’s & YW’s.I had a friends that truly made it through her teen years because she had the “presence of a caring adult”. It was her YW leaders that helped her be resilient even when she didn’t have the parental supervision. Educational opportunities in the church, and youth programs are just as important as in school. And through the youth activities young men and women can really establish their own self esteem and competence.

I think that the biggest issue with these programs is that too often the leaders don’t realize how much of an impact they do, or can have on their youth. I look back to when I was in young women’s and I idolized my leaders. I looked up to them so much! They had such a huge influence on me and I don’t think they even knew it. I think as leaders recognize the impact they are having, they can work even closer with the youth and help them withstand some of the hard things they face in today’s world.

Ask yourself, “How can I help the young women? How would I make a difference? Why is it so important? How did my leaders help me be more resilient?” Etc. It makes me excited to be able to go out and fulfill callings, to help others, and to make a difference.
An Example of Resilience:
On my mission I met an amazing girl. In fact she later served a mission herself. She came from a horrible background. Not only were her parents separated, but almost every one of her 5 siblings had a different dad. Her mother had become an alcoholic and relied heavily on drugs. (On time we went to pick her up to go to a lesson and a drug deal was going on in their kitchen!).. All of her siblings were involved in similar activities, and had done things that could land them in prison for quite some time. She grew up in a tiny town and everyone “knew” her family’s history and therefore were not very receptive to her. Her mother then opened her home to “rent” and the 6 bedroom house became a place for 5 different single men to live, making the home environment even more uncomfortable for this girl. Someone was always on something, using, or drinking when she was home. Yet regardless, she never participated. She seemed to have an inner strength that held her strong. She graduated high school with great grades (while most of her siblings dropped out, or had illegitimate children during their high school years). This girl had protective factors of being good natured, affectionate, social, and positive. And though her home environment was not good, she took to the LDS environment. The church was her sanctuary, and her Sunday attendance seemed to get her through every single week. During her adolescent years she had young women leaders and groups that became her family, and often she would spend the night with one of them. She had a strong sense of her self-worth and recognized her eternal identity. When times got really hard, that is what held her together and kept her strong.
The ABCX formula primarily focuses on the stressors, the resources and the event (all of which make up the crisis), the Double ABCX formula has added the “post-crisis”. The Double ABCX formula shifts the focus by helping us also consider the stressors that follow the initial stress (pile-up or post-crisis) and the perception of those pile-ups with their resources. In essence it is the coping through the post crisis.

I think of a time when my family was going through some hardships. During this trial one of the fish in my brothers tank died. My dad had a fit! He just about broke down and said, “Now the fish is dead, what’s next!” In reality it was only a 0.25 cent fish and the rest of the family could really care less, but my dad’s perception of it, made it seem like the end of the world. He was having a hard time coping with the stressors he was already faced with and so when the pile-up stressors came it only made matters worse.

I think it is important to recognize that there is a lot more to a stressor then one single crisis. Often the reason something becomes a crisis is because of all the other events leading up to and following it, and obviously the individual’s reaction to it.
Cognitive Behavior
Keep everything gospel centered

Describe one family you know who has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of notable challenges.

With this, I actually am thinking of my Aunt. Who was diagnosed with Leukemia last month. She and her husband had their lives planned! He just retired and they were working on mission papers. They had planned to travel for the upcoming several months and see all their family members and then leave on their mission this summer/fall. Then one week she got a little sick… but after it stayed for several days they decided to go to the doctors. Six days after her initial “sick” feelings she was diagnosed and started immediately on Chemo. Within two weeks she had already lost all her hair. She is extremely sick and in a lot of pain, yet she and her husband remain positive, hopeful, and a good sense of humor. In one of their last updates he comments “the doctors keep saying the goal is remission. I think that means we get to go on a mission… and then redo it… so two missions…Remission!” She sent a poem about not having to worry about having bed head when visitors come. They have always been very positive in their lives, and strong in the gospel. They have a tight family unit, and with this trial they have only come closer together, become more optimistic, and stronger in their testimonies.

How might you teach some of these family resilience strategies as a helping professional? Choose one or two skills or tendencies and formulate clear plans for teaching them to clients.

Family connectedness is very important to me. As I have learned more about it, I have only become more passionate about it. I am striving hard to have it with my current family (husband and baby) and want to do better at having it with my original family (parents and siblings). I love the knowledge of how to build that connectedness through the activities you do together (such as birthday or holiday traditions, wholesome recreational activities etc.). In understanding how important this is to me, I think that it could really make a difference for some marriage and families. I think I would teach or share the importance of shared activities and how to develop emotional bonds. I would have them try activities together (even if it was having dinner together, or maybe a weekly family council!)
Story of Zack Sobiech
The pure in heart have a distinctive way of looking at life. Their attitudes and desires cause them to view their experiences in terms of eternity. This eternal perspective affects their choices and priorities. As they draw farther from worldliness they feel closer to our Father in Heaven and more able to be guided by his Spirit. We call this state of mind, this quality of life, spirituality.

Spirituality is a lens through which we view life and a gauge by which we evaluate it.

—Elder Dallin H. Oaks, The Pure In Heart

Close to home:
There is a choice with every circumstance and we can have a good attitude or a bad attitude. I have certainly seen that with circumstances I have been in... and it is always easier to get through when we choose to have a good attitude. My Aunt just got diagnosed with Leukemia 5 weeks ago, and yet she remains to have a positive attitude. Even when things go wrong, she finds the one good thing to dwell and and we often hear her saying, "I am the most blessed person on the planet!" She also talks a lot about how much the Lord loves her and some of the tender moments she has had with the spirit. Just because she is suffering from cancer doesn't mean she is walking that road alone.
Hardship and Bad Memories for the Gaza Family:

Why do you believe God allows some people to experience very difficult circumstances, when he could easily stop or alter them? How is this related to his love or regard for his children?

Wow, I could talk about this question all day. Your right… the Lord CAN easily stop or alter hardships, and sometimes He DOES. But other times, it is necessary that we go through them. That doesn’t mean that the Lord gave them to us, but it does mean that He is allowing us to experience them. Why? Because he LOVES us. Think back to the very beginning with Adam and Eve. The Lord COULD have stopped Eve from taking of the fruit, but He allowed it to happen… because He wanted them to be able to gain earthly experience so that they could progress toward exaltation. He also wanted each of us to have the opportunity to come to this earth (also for experience, bodies, and ultimately gain eternal exaltation).

So really the WHOLE PURPOSE we are here is so that we can be REUNITED with God & receive exaltation. Unfortunately, if we breeze through life without having to make decisions, or choices, and without hardship and trials (this was Satan’s plan), we wouldn’t change, we wouldn’t grow, we wouldn’t really gain experience and we wouldn’t progress.

Without those things… we really can’t achieve the highest degree of glory. So BECAUSE the Lord loves us, He allows us hard times, in which we have the opportunity to grow and to change. To increase our faith, purify our hearts, draw closer to Him, apply the Atonement into our lives, become more Christ-like, increase in humility, etc.

Just think of the scripture when Joseph Smith is in Prison and asking God, “where art thou?” As we feels abandoned and forgotten, and as he is going through this incredible trial. The Lord responds and says:

D&C 122:7 “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, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”

I know that sometimes we feel forgotten, or like the Lord is “picking on us” but here is another good scripture to remember in these times.
Hebrews 12:6 “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth..”

The question asked why SOME people will experience very difficult circumstances. Let me change that. We will ALL face very difficult circumstances at SOME POINT in our lives and we just need to remember that it is the “sandpaper to refine our rough edges.” Though we will all have very different circumstances and trials, we need to remember that the Lord DOES LOVE US and that what we go through (though hard to acknowledge this at the time) is an opportunity for us to become more like God.
Council Method
Learning about how the brethren have their councils and then being able to do with my husband had a lot of impact on me. It was like night and day in our decision making too. I really feel like this is an inspired tool. My husband and I have already implemented it and we have family council every Sunday night. Sure it can be used when there is conflict, but I also think it is a good tool for any decision making that needs to take place and it helps prevent conflict and stress.
Mood Logs
This was in incredible tool and had a good influence on my when I was stressed over my husbands work situation. I didn’t realize just what my thoughts were doing to me, and since doing the mood logs it has completely changed my perspective and I have been able to cope better. My plan is to keep printed out copies in my journal and then when I am struggling with something I can pull it out and work through it.
I like how this one, to me, just slows me down, centers me, and connects me with the spirit. I think to often I am to “fast paced” trying to get everything done, that I don’t take time to enjoy, to breath, or to feel the spirit. This tool is a vital aspect to getting me to do that. I have found that breakfast is my time to “be mindful”. I manage to practice this during breakfast about 3 or 4 times a week.
Risk & Resilience
I choose this tool because I want to help my family become resilient so that when they face hard times they can better cope. I think the biggest thing is talking about challenges and taking them as an opportunity to grow and change. I’m going to start now by having a family blog in which we talk about hardship and how we learn and grow from it. As my children get older I will take opportunities to teach them as difficulties arise.
ABCX Formula
I like this because I can relate it to so many stressors I’ve been through already, and plan on using it in future hardships. It kind of helps you step back from the crisis for a moment and you are able to analyze it with different eyes in a way. I am going to print out the formula and put it on the side of the fridge with some inspiring quotes to help us in the hard times.
My Tool Box
What I am taking with me from this class

"What a shame it would be to invest time and energy in developing a tool and then to not have ready access to it when the moment arises to use it to bless the life of someone you love—or even your own life." -Text from Class
Full transcript