139. Thoughts Are Not Problems

Hey, everyone! It’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach, and you’re tuned in to the LDS Mission Podcast, Episode 139 – “Thoughts Are Not Problems.”

In today’s episode, we dive into the misconception that thoughts are problems and explore how our brains work as problem-solving machines. Whether you’re a preparing missionary, currently serving, or a returned missionary, understanding the nature of your thoughts can empower you in navigating the unique challenges of a mission.

We also discuss the importance of compassionately observing your thoughts without judgment and recognizing them as assessments or pieces of code designed to reach specific outcomes. Remember, thoughts are not good or bad, right or wrong – they just are. Check out the show notes for some valuable resources to enhance your mission experience. Until next time, embrace yourself, your mission, and what’s next!

If you found this episode helpful, I want to invite you to subscribe if you aren’t already, share this episode with your friends and write a review. I know this work will help missionaries around the world and it would mean so much to me if you did. Until next week my friends.

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Get the Full Show Notes HERE

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0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 139 thoughts are not problems.

0:14 I’m Jennie the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next.

0:52 Hey, everybody, how’s it going? Welcome to the podcast. I am happy to be here with you today. And sharing with you some stuff that I’ve been thinking about the last couple days, sometimes I have like a whole podcast planned for a certain day. And then all of a sudden, what happens is I start getting a lot of messages and emails, and like Instagram direct messages about a certain topic. And I’m like, Oh, maybe I should just do a quick podcast episode about that. And that is the case today. And so we’re gonna talk all about how thoughts are not problems.

1:34 But first, the other thing I wanted to make sure that you guys know. And that I’m really clear about with what like what I offer, and what my coaching coaches and I offer for anybody who wants to work with us. Okay, so we have a program called Mission prep. Plus, it’s my new signature program for preparing missionaries, and picture up much like the online MTC, but all for your mindset stuff and your emotional well being. We dive into all of that, so that by the time you hit the mission, you are mentally and emotionally prepared, like your worth won’t go down the tubes, you’ll know what to do with your difficult companion, you’ll know all of those things, what to do for that, okay. Also, the other thing that’s super cool about that is it comes with, like email access to us for questions, like a private email for questions throughout the rest of your entire mission. And sometimes I remember feeling like when my kids were on their missions, is that they seemed a little bit isolated to me. And I loved this idea of being able to provide a way for you or for your kids, whoever’s listening to this podcast, to be able to have contact with someone who can give them tips and tools and strategies about how to sort of manage and maneuver the mission. Okay, when it comes to a mental and emotional place. Now, there’s a lot of people that will offer you a lot of advice about how to teach about how to like, tips for, you know, meeting your goals, and all kinds of things like that. And all of those are beautiful, and fine and good. But none of them are as effective. As if you have this foundation of self confidence of what to do with failure of how to think about yourself about how to think about your mission and all of that kind of thing. So we do all of that admission prep. Plus, it’s crazy, amazing, like place to be my coaches are in there, I’m in there teaching a master class plus that ongoing support throughout the rest of your mission as long as you need it. It’s just epic. Okay, if you then maybe you find this podcast or you find me and what I do, really soon before you go on your mission, and you just want something that you can take with you, then I would recommend we have a course that you can buy and download all the videos and the awesome thing about the course is you can get all of the information sort of in like a quick like watch those videos. I think there’s 10 of them as quickly as you want to. Okay, so we have that for missionaries. We have coaching for returned missionaries. I’ve worked with missionaries who have been home anywhere from a week. I shouldn’t say that. About a month is usually the best time to start working with a returned missionary, anywhere from about a month after they’ve been home to four to five years after they been home. Okay, so we do one on one coaching with returned missionaries. It can be a very challenging transition to take, like this. I just had a strategy call yesterday with a sister who’s been home about a month and like the self confidence that sort of plummeting and the self worth is sort of plummeting and this loss of fulfillment and loss of purpose, okay, so we do all of that help with returned missionaries as well. Okay.

5:31 The other thing that we do is we help missionary moms, I don’t talk about this very much. But at any given time, I we have a whole handful of clients that are missionary moms that want help, that are trying to help their missionary kind of maneuver that but they want the help for themselves as well. I was actually just talking to a missionary mom this week, who was just feeling like she’s on this emotional roller coaster with her kids. And I, I’m telling you, I under stand, I have been there, I have been on the emotional roller coaster, with your missionary and your kids. And we have all of the help in one on one coaching for that kind of thing, too. So those are kind of the main things that we do here. Of course, we have lots of free resources and stuff, too, getting the podcast to your missionary on a Google Drive, which I love that we do that so that missionaries all over the world can listen, if you’re interested in that just email me at podcast at Jennie dildine.com. So we’re doing lots of really cool stuff here. Really, really important stuff. I’ve been thinking about how I’ve seen a couple accounts on Instagram and I amazing, cool stuff that people are doing. And one of the posts I saw was like, This is what you need to pack for a mission. And I’m like, Oh, that’s so important, it is important to know what to pack for a mission. But what’s even more important you guys after doing this, like four and a half, almost five years is knowing how to manage yourself. Keep your confidence and worth intact, know how to manage your mind, feel your feelings, deal with difficult companions, overcome failure, find joy in the work, even when things aren’t going your way. Those are the most important things, like in my mind, doesn’t actually matter what you pack. I mean, it does, okay. So if you’re going to the great white north, like one of my daughters in law did, it matters like probably what shoes you wear. And it probably matters what kind of coat you have. And things like that right up in Canada, where it’s freezing, or in Alaska or whatever. Or if it’s dark. I just talked to a client, where it’s like dark most of the day in Finland. And they’re gonna want a happy light, right or something like that those are important. Don’t, please don’t misunderstand me. But what is so important is just having the inner tools, the inner ability to manage all of it, to manage your mind and manage your heart and feel the way you want to feel and create the experiences you want to create. Okay, so I want to just make sure I was super clear about the things we offer here because it’s so much good. And if you know someone that is going on a mission, or if you have, maybe you’re a mom listening to this, and you have a friend whose son or daughter is going on a mission or who just got home and who’s really struggling. Just have them, like maybe just send them this information, send them this podcast, send them an email, you know, I send out a weekly email as well to missionaries all over the world and return missionaries and missionary moms. So just if you can just help us spread the word i i just have been thinking so much about how there’s so many missionaries, right and and these mental and emotional tools are more important than ever, it’s no secret, that you’re probably seeing a lot more missionaries come home earlier than they were planning. Right you see it probably in your wards and in your steaks. And I really feel like if many of them could just have these tools before they leave. And what a difference it can make. And if these returned missionaries had these tools, you know, around the time that they got home, they wouldn’t have to suffer for as long as they do. I actually worked with a gentleman who was on his high council actually and was struggling with some like anxiety and stuff like that. And you know, he had thought still about his mission, you know that we’re kind of affecting him all these years later. And so I just feel if you can’t tell, super passionate about helping And, and letting helping these kids figure out how to help themselves. That’s the most important thing is letting them figure out how to help themselves so that when they’re out there, they know what to do when they come home, they’ll know how to show up, and they’ll know how to be there for themselves.

10:15 Okay, so off of my soapbox, let’s talk about thoughts are not problems. So this particular topic did come up because I had been messaging with a mom, who was kind of telling me a little bit about her daughter who’s getting ready to submit her mission papers. And we were talking a little bit about thoughts. And she’s like I, you know, follow some of the work that you do, and I follow some of the work that some other coaches do. And she said something like, sometimes I get the impression that we’re focusing too much on thoughts. It’s, she said something like, it’s almost like, we’re hyper focused on thoughts. And we’re overthinking things so much that we make it a bigger problem. And I was like, Oh, my goodness, yes, I feel like that’s true. Sometimes we hyper focus on our thoughts, and we make them a problem. But what I told her, and what I’m telling you right now is, thoughts are not problems. Okay. And I’m going to share some like verbiage with you that you might think in your mind about thoughts. And we’re going to kind of talk through those. And then we’re going to talk about some other ways that you can think about the thoughts that your brain offers you. Here’s what I want to preface all of this with is, of course, thoughts matter. Okay? If you’ve been listening to me for a while, you know that thoughts matter, because thoughts, create your feelings, which drive your actions like fueling a car, and then give you your results. And without exception, your result that you get is always going to be directly tied back to the thought that you’re thinking, now our brain tells us our results and the experiences that we have come from where we are, or what we’re doing or who we’re with. But when we dive a little deeper, we start to understand that the thought actually creates the result. S

12:20 o it makes sense, especially if we’re involved in this work of like, kind of becoming aware of what we’re thinking and trying to manage our emotions that we would get a little hyper focused on those thoughts. So that they matter. But they’re not problems. Let me give you an another example. I was talking to a return returned missionary on a strategy call, actually, was it in a return? Was it a returned missionary? No, I think it was a preparing missionary. And she said to me, you know, I’ve been listening to your stuff for a little while. I get it. And it makes sense that our thoughts create our feelings. But then she said, I just get stuck with my thinking. She said, I don’t know what to do after that. Like, I think all these thoughts, I spiral in these thoughts. I have, I tend to overthink things, and then I don’t know what to do next. And I said, okay, yeah, that’s, that’s what we do. That’s what our brain does. And she said, but I know these thoughts are not productive. Do you see the judgment in that? Do you see how she is thinking that the thoughts she’s thinking and the ones that she’s been observing are negative, that they’re a bad thing? Here are some other things that you might be thinking that I’ve certainly thought and actually, these are taken from some like messaging, and some intake forms that I’ve had recently for strategy calls and permission prep plus and stuff. So maybe you have a thought that’s like, I don’t have what it takes to serve a mission. I’m concerned, I’m going to feel a lot of homesickness and struggle with companions. I might miss my boyfriend. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know how I will find me time in the mission schedule. I might get sent home, right, like many of you are worried about getting sent home. We might have a thought like, I don’t know how well I’m gonna adjust. I’m worried I won’t be able to finish the mission that I’m not going to be capable. Right. So notice, at first glance, we might have a tendency to judge the thoughts and be like, well, that’s not useful. That’s not productive. Maybe I’m overthinking this. But what is far more powerful than judging the thought It’s and thinking that they’re a problem is just noticing them. Just be like, Hmm, that’s so interesting that my brain is worried about that. Okay, so here are a couple of things that you might think about thoughts. And I’ve already said sometimes people will be like, the thought is the problem. Okay? But thoughts are not problems, they, you might have something that’s like, this thought is not serving me. I have many negative spinning thoughts. And sometimes people will say, I spiraled downward in negative thinking, like this woman had said in our messaging, she said, You know, I think we tend to overthink things, even that word overthink can have sort of like a negative vibe to it, like, as if it’s possible for us to quote unquote, think too much. And then there is sort of this, especially in this quote, the coaching world, I don’t know if you’ve heard this before. But sometimes you’ll hear people say all problems are thought problems. And what I want to say to that is, what if none of it is a problem? What if thoughts aren’t a problem? What if feelings aren’t a problem? What if the way you’re showing up is not a problem? What if the results you have aren’t even a problem? They’re just the way that we’re operating on, you know, default as humans, and they, it makes total sense. I even had this I had this, you know, the Scripture kind of come to my mind from Proverbs where it says, As a man thinketh, so is he. And then this can, this kind of also makes everything sort of problematic, right? Like, so if we have this thought about our companion where we’re like, I just don’t like the way she taught that lesson, or I don’t like how she leaves dishes in the sink or whatever. Then we have if we have this idea that, Oh, that means I’m a bad person or a bad missionary, or I’m not Christ, like in some way. Now, we’ve made just the thought that our brain has had, we’ve made it a problem. Okay, so now, we have a problem on top of a problem if we even want to call the thought a problem. But instead, we don’t need to make the thought, a problem. Okay, because here’s what’s true. As a Man Thinketh so easy. And so is he not, we have so many thoughts every single day. And we don’t need to, like change them, we don’t need to switch them out. We don’t need to judge them, we don’t need to think they’re a problem, it’s not useful to think of our thoughts as a problem. What I want us to do instead is if we can just be the compassionate watcher of your brain. And in a couple of weeks, I’m going to talk all about this concept called the toddler brain. And we’re going to talk about some ways that we can sort of manage that brain and how we tend to talk to our brain, but maybe a better way to do that instead.

18:23 But for now, let’s just focus on, how can we be more compassionate towards this lower brain? That genuinely you guys, I want you to hear me out when I say this is that it really has your best interest in mind. I know that’s so mind blowing. Because if you’re about to go into a new lesson, like if you’re a missionary, and you’re going to teach your first lesson, and you’re full of anxiety and nervousness, because you’re thinking I might not do a good job. You’re like, wait, no, my brain is not trying to help me. My brain is trying to thwart me and shut me down. Well, what you need to know is remember, your brain is a problem solving machine. It I picture it like a literal computer. And it’s scanning the environment, scanning the fact that you’re about to go into this lesson, that you’ve only been in the mission for four weeks, or whatever it is, and it’s taking in all of that information. And then it has three objectives. It is always 100% of the time trying to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy. And so when your brain spits out a sentence that’s like, we might not do a good job, I might get the language wrong. That is not a problem. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be a problem that your brain that’s what it’s going to Okay, instead, we can just be like, Oh, um, there’s where my brains going kind of makes sense. And it’s okay that it does that. It’s okay, that your brain wants to shut you down. Now, does that mean that you’re going to let it shut you down, sometimes you will. And sometimes you want, both are totally fine. But the key is having awareness. And understanding, your brain is really just trying to help you now remember, this avoid pain piece, this is huge, the avoid pain piece that your brain is trying to accomplish at all times, your brain can’t sort of tell the difference between potential physical pain and potential emotional pain. So any sort of pain that you’re going to experience or potentially experienced by going in and teaching a lesson for the first time on them on the mission, it’s going to freak out a little bit, it’s going to start offering you all of the thoughts, it’s going to do what it can to try to shut you down to avoid that pain, and to conserve any sort of like emotional expenditure that we might be putting out by putting ourselves in that situation. Okay. So thoughts are not good or bad, they are not right or wrong, they certainly are not problems. They just are. Okay. that brain of yours is just when we think about it, like a computer is literally spitting out a piece of code. Okay, it’s like we want to, like if you were I’m not into coding, I don’t even know how it works. I don’t even pretend to know how coding works. But many times, I think the code is designed to make something happen in the computer, right? Or to have some kind of web page pop up, or some kind of text pop up or whatever, in a certain color, and font and box or whatever. And with a picture, okay? And so that’s what your brain is doing. It’s like, how are we going to solve this problem, we’re going to spit out a piece of code. And that’s it. So we can either think that this piece of code is a problem. Or we can notice the code, notice the sentence, like, understand it with compassion, be like, Oh, I see, I see what my brains trying to do here. And then we can leverage the power of the machine instead of thinking that the machine is a problem. Or that that thought is a problem, you guys are heavenly parents gave us these brains for a reason. Okay, not just to keep us alive. But because it provides sort of that balance or that opposition so that we could come here and experience all of the feelings that are here to experience to make life full and interesting and lush, and have so much depth to it. Okay. And so none of it is a problem. And we only create more problems, when we think our thoughts, our problems. So try to avoid judgment, like I just overthink things, or all thought problems or thought problems, or I have these spinning negative thoughts, or this thought is not serving me or this thought is not productive. Just observe it. Don’t attach any fear, like, Oh, if I’m thinking this, that must mean that I’m a bad person, or I’m a bad missionary. Right? It doesn’t mean that it’s just what your brain is offering you. Okay? So if we’re going to leverage the power of this machine, this amazing like, complicated, diverse, I mean, you guys, if we really think about it, the ability that our brain has to think about the future and contemplate the past and, and problem solve. It’s actually quite mind blowing. And I sort of believe we have an even while there are studies, right, that say we haven’t even tapped into the power of our brain fully yet. So let’s instead of making our thoughts, the coding that our brain spits out problems, let’s maybe decide, let’s give a few other definitions to our thoughts, okay. Thoughts are, number one, an assessment our brain makes, right? It takes in information like a problem solving machine, and it just makes an assessment. And sometimes that assessment is gonna feel good when we think it and sometimes it’s not totally fine. I’ll never forget one woman I heard talking about her thoughts and she lived in New York City and she was about to go out to get The mail and maybe I’ve shared this before, about her brain came online, that lower brain and was like, you might want to be careful, there could be bears out there. I mean, probably not bears in New York City, but your brain will do whatever it can, again, just another illustration to avoid pain, the pain of like putting on her shoes and going out in the cold and all of that, whatever it can to avoid pain and conserve that energy. We can also think of our thoughts number two as a piece of code designed to reach a certain outcome. And one of those outcomes is always seek pleasure, avoid pain, or conserve energy, we can think of our thoughts just like a sentence, in my mind. It’s just literally some letters with spaces, and a period at the end, we can also think of our thoughts as information, it’s just good to notice and observe what your brain is paying attention to. And what it’s worried about. It doesn’t actually mean that we have to worry about that thing. But it does give us a lot of information about what is going in on inside for us. Okay, so remember to your thoughts are not you, your thoughts or your brain? I know that feels different. But just because you think a thought doesn’t mean that that is just you, we think so many thoughts all the time, your brain, very convincing at time and at times, and it’s totally Oh, K, your brain, these thoughts are not a problem, please, just being a compassionate watcher, these thoughts are actually a gift your brain, this problem solving machine, it’s why we’re alive, it’s the gift we’ve been given to sort of manage our life here on this earth. And it’s beautiful. And so don’t judge it. Don’t think of it as a problem. So instead of saying I shouldn’t think this, or I don’t want to think this or anything like this is a problem, consider telling yourself, it makes sense that I’m thinking this and it’s okay, your brain has a good reason for everything it shares with you, even if we go back to some of these thoughts, like, I don’t have what it takes I, you know, I’m worried I’m gonna be homesick, I might be distracted. I don’t know how to adjust to missionary life, even those thoughts, your brain has a good reason for offering that piece of code, that sentence in your mind that information that assessment to you, it has a good reason. So be very compassionate and become the compassionate watcher. Okay,

28:01 so I hope this makes sense to you. I just wanted to get it out there. I never want the work that we’re doing here with our mindset work and our emotional work to be used against yourself. And I think one of the first things that we do, when we understand that thoughts create feelings is we think, Oh, well, I’m just gonna feel good all the time. And I’m gonna think all the positive thoughts all the time, so that I can create all of the amazing results that I want all of the time. And then inadvertently, when we think thoughts, other thoughts, we think, Oh, well, this is a problem. It’s never, never a problem. The thoughts that you’re thinking, doesn’t matter if they’re thoughts about yourself, doesn’t matter if your thoughts about your companion, doesn’t matter. It’s just information. It’s just sentences. It’s just code. And by the way, if your brain finds a piece of code, or a sentence that works to shut you down, that works to cause you to avoid any of that pain, or to not go into that lesson, or any live that if it finds that, that that works to shut you down, he’ll go back to it. Again, and again and again. And again, our brains like oh, that was awesome. That worked really well. Let’s try that thought again. Let’s try that piece of code again. But if we can be the compassionate watcher, if we can just be like, Ah, interesting. I wonder why my brain is doing that. Oh, I see. That makes sense, actually. And it’s okay that I’m thinking that your brain will start to let go of some some of those thoughts. It’ll start to loosen its grip on what it’s trying to offer you. Okay, so I hope you guys all have an amazing week. Observe your thoughts with compassion. All of them. And I hope this really helps you. Okay, we’ll talk to you next time.

30:09 Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges, and many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety, serve the successful mission you’ve always dreamed up and navigate your post mission experience with confidence. That is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries might video course for RMS or maybe you and I should hop on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you are involved in, just know that Jenny, the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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