51. Addressing Anxiety with Amy Koch

On the podcast we’ll be talking about the prevalence of LDS Mission anxiety. When it comes to serving an LDS Mission, or coming home from an LDS Mission… Anxiety is becoming more and more associated with the experience missionaries are having.  Join me in listening to this convesation I have with Amy Koch.  She specializes in working with teens and young adults who experience anxiety.

You will learn:

•How to know if your anxiety is manageable and when to get help

•Amy’s three step process to manage anxiety and still show up the way that you want to

•The reason that so many missionaries are struggling with anxiety on the LDS Mission

•How best to support loved ones who are struggling with anxiety.

Whether you are preparing to serve a mission, currently serving, or a returned missionary you will NOT want to miss this episode.

Learn More from Amy Here:

Website: www.findyourmind.com

Email: amy@findyourmind.com

IG: @amykoch.findyourmind

Learn More from Jennie Here:

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Free Training for Preparing Missionaries:  Change Your Mission with this One Tool

Free Video Series:  3 Tools to Help RMs in Their Transition Home

Free Guide:  5 Tips to Help Any Returning Missionary

Free Strategy Call:   Click Here

Jennie Dildine 0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you’re listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 51. Addressing anxiety with Amy Koch. I’m Jenny, 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. Hey, what’s up, everyone, welcome to the podcast. I’m so excited to be hanging out with you. I love getting on here every single week to give you guys some things to think about and ways that you can mentally and emotionally prepare for the mission. Also how to successfully navigate your transition home. Before we dive in to this episode, which I love, I want to remind you of a couple things. Number one, if you have not gotten it already, go grab my new training video for preparing missionaries. It’s called one tool. And just this one tool after like all of the work that I’ve done with hundreds of currently serving, preparing and return missionaries, I boiled all of it down to this one tool that has the ability to completely empower you on your mission. So all you have to do is go to Jennie dildine.com, forward slash one tool and grab that video. If you are getting ready to leave, or you know someone who’s getting ready to leave, you will not want to miss it. Also, just a reminder that every week I open up just a few strategy calls. If you have something specific that you want to chat with me about, maybe it’s anxiety, maybe you feel like you’ve lost your purpose, that we can have a sit down chat and you know, create a strategy for you to start feeling better. Even if you’re a missionary Mom, this week, I hopped on with a mom and we made a plan and came up with some strategies for how this mom can help her missionary feel better. So to get one of those calls, and there’s only a few a week go to Jennie dildine.com, on the work with me link, and I can get you some like one on one help. They’re totally free. So this week’s episode I’m super excited about I can’t wait to share with you my conversation with Amy Koch, she has been working with teens and young adults on anxiety. I love this conversation, I hope that it will help you get some actual strategies that you can implement as you’re getting ready to leave. Or if you’re serving or we also kind of discuss returned missionaries. We also discuss if you’re a parent, how to best help your teen or your young adult or your missionary with some anxiety that they might be experiencing. So without further ado, I want to share this conversation I had with Amy Koch. Hey, Amy, how’s it going? Good. Good. I am so excited to have my friend Amy Koch on the podcast today. She specializes in helping teens and young adults with anxiety. And I know that it’s very prevalent with our Preparing missionaries are currently serving missionaries and our return missionaries as well. So I am super excited to kind of dive in and pick her brain a little bit about that today. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today. Oh, thank

Amy Koch 3:50 you for having me.

Amy Koch 3:52 Why don’t you just start by telling us a little bit about you and about your family where you’re from all that good stuff.

Amy Koch 3:59 Sure. I don’t really say I’m from anywhere. I’m kind of all from all over the place. I moved around a lot growing up. My dad was in the army. And but we eventually did settle in Las Vegas and graduated from high school there and then came back with my husband who I met in high school about I guess 16 years ago now. So we’ve been here for a while. So I guess I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere. And we have four kids. We have three young adults one married and one still at home. Who’s 16

Amy Koch 4:34 Okay, good. Any missionaries in the mix there?

Amy Koch 4:38 Yes. One of our sons is on a mission. He’s out right now serving and he comes home the end of this year.

Amy Koch 4:45 Wow. Is it gone fast or slow for you?

Amy Koch 4:49 You know, it’s gone by fast. I think one thing that’s been different when my older son went on his mission, we didn’t have the weekly contact and so I Uh, that has really helped, it seems to really keep you in communication and help things kind of flow a

Amy Koch 5:07 little bit there. Yeah, I agree. And I think that I helped some missionaries and families. And I also have kind of heard too, that it makes it harder for some missionaries and families that, at least from my perspective, I love being able to chat every week and just kind of touch base. And it sounds like that’s your experience, too.

Amy Koch 5:27 Yeah, we did have a missionary some missionaries over for dinner last week, and one was saying that he, it wasn’t so enjoyable for him. He was saying, I don’t really know what to say every week is the same, you know, so. And then sometimes I think it is, you know, something that can lead to feelings of homesickness. So I think it depends on the person.

Amy Koch 5:52 Yeah, can bring up all of that on a weekly basis, which really fun. Right? Good. Well, I just am super curious to kind of hear your journey about like working as a coach with teens and young adults on anxiety and just kind of how that all started and what you’re doing now? Sure, yeah, I.

Amy Koch 6:14 So when my kids were in my home, I, I noticed that they were they had some apprehensions about things and some social anxieties. And I had worked through a lot of those as a kid. And then even as an adult didn’t feel like I quite understood how to handle the anxiety that I felt or, you know, the stress or overwhelm. And there were basic things that I think everyone understands, and you sort of know how to work with it on a certain level. But then when it came to my kids, I felt like, I wanted to help them work through it. But everything that came naturally to do seemed to make things worse. And so I decided there has to be something out there that can help and especially, especially targeting kids or teens. I just felt like that was an underserved community. It just felt like there weren’t clear answers, I felt like well, I’m a pretty capable person, I can figure this out. Or if I knew what to do, I would do it. But then it just sort of felt like there wasn’t anything that really targeted that specific concern or area. And so it really wasn’t until I found the Life Coach School that I learned those tools and then became certified as a coach and decided to work with teams that I felt like this really is an answer to all of the things that I struggle with myself, that I struggle with, through parenting, and then ways to help my kids. So that was really how I was drawn to it, which is helping that underserved community and then being able to bring my own experience and help in a way that I wished I had had help at that time in my life.

Amy Koch 8:03 Yeah, so for those of you listening, who don’t know what the Life Coach School is, both Amy and I are certified through the Life Coach School, which is owned and was created by Brooke Castillo and various others specific way of coaching and working with people. And it sounds like it’s changed your life, I know that those tools have changed my life as well, I, I struggled with anxiety myself, even to this day, and the tools are really powerful. So when you first started, were you just only working with teens then? And what age group? And how did that kind of

Amy Koch 8:45 evolve? Yeah, I’ve always worked with teens, that’s always who I’ve focused on and then worked with younger kids, I don’t so much anymore. But I ended up working with parents just because I do include sessions for parents because it’s important for them to be involved in, in what’s going on with their kids. And then I just found that I really enjoyed the older teens and young adults. And so it kind of has branched into that area too. So you know what, I do work with a lot of those who are preparing for college or missions, and then also coming home for missions and making that transition.

Amy Koch 9:22 Yeah, for sure. So when you mentioned like circling back a little bit, when you mentioned like that there was stuff that didn’t work, I’d like to kind of dive into a little bit to like, what how you would describe anxiety. How do we know the difference between like a generalized anxiety disorder versus just like the feelings of anxiety and and what are some of those things that maybe we’re doing right now that maybe aren’t working when you said, there’s just a lot of stuff out there that doesn’t work and can you help us understand why. Sure. Yeah, one

Amy Koch 9:59 of the things things that I think comes very naturally, for us as parents, especially since we’ve had kids we have, you know, from the time they were born and responsible for their care and taking care of all of their needs. And so we get in this habit in this relationship of fixing and, and having to create solutions, you know, and, and while that can be helpful through different stages, once kids become teenagers, especially, it’s just important to point them more toward themselves. And recognizing that, yeah, there is a lot of uncertainty in life, and it’s not always going to be something that’s fixable, or, you know, won’t be immediately resolved. And so I think I just had this mentality with my kids, like, either I had to make it better or tell them, it’s going to be okay. And that kind of got stuck in some of those traps of constantly reassuring, or maybe it’s not that big of a deal, you know, trying to minimize it. And neither one of those really worked. And then I would end up getting frustrated and irritated and short tempered, and just like, just just get on the bus, just go talk to your teacher, just go to this party with this friend, you know, like, just get over it. And what I learned was just the value of allowing them to have their own experience and being there as a parent to guide to listen to validate the feeling, and how they were thinking about it, but not necessarily to take that discomfort away or to think that it was a problem.

Amy Koch 11:47 Yeah, I love that so much. And it is interesting that you say that, because that is you know, when preparing missionaries come to me, what I see a lot is they think I’ve got to fix my anxiety before I go on my mission. Right? But you and I both know that, that it’s not as much about fixing it, as it is like, how do we, like make this work in our lives? How can we be empowered to feel that anxiety to experience the anxiety and still create the life that we want to create? Yeah, exactly. So

Amy Koch 12:21 most of my clients, when I meet them, for the first time on the console, they always express a similar desire, which is to Yeah, I just don’t want to feel anxious anymore, right? I just want to have confidence, and I just want to really not feel this way anymore. Or have this, you know, and, and unaffected confidence, you know, and it just really is a turning point for them when they recognize that Oh, okay. It’s not necessarily getting rid of this feeling that is the main objective, it’s learning how to work through it, and it will come up again, and again and again. And it’s just part of the process of being human and learning more about our feelings, learning how to accept ourselves, learning how to accept the human experience, and work with those feelings when they come up. So if we looked at feelings just as, oh, this is energy in my body, it’s not necessarily good or bad, but it’s just, this is uncomfortable. What I’m feeling right now I feel it in my chest, or I feel like my stomach feels tight. What is it? You know, I can name it? Or how can I? Or what am I thinking that’s creating this and then being able to work through it, it really only takes 60 to 90 seconds to work through an emotion all the way through if you’re very present and mindful

Amy Koch 13:50 with that. Yeah, to me, and to me and what my clients find, and I’m sure your clients find too is that’s where the real confidence comes in. Is not just like, can I how do I get rid of this, but I can experience it and do what I want to do in the world and on my mission, and in my life. That’s That’s powerful stuff. So how would you describe anxiety then when you’re talking to your clients? What, what do you tell them? Do you just tell them? This is just an emotion? How do you talk about it with them?

Amy Koch 14:24 Yeah, I think people describe it in different ways. And so in some ways, that can be kind of a personal experience. But really, what I think we all get tripped up on at times is just that there’s something outside of me that is causing us feeling you know, it’s this place I don’t want to go or it’s this person saying these things or you know, which that is part of our experience. But not everyone in that situation. has that same reaction. Not everyone would feel anxious. You know, like some people enjoy public speaking and they enjoy anything up there? You know, and for so many other people, it’s terrifying. And so, anxiety itself is just if you think of it as energy in the body, what does it feel like for you, you know, is it like, I had one person say that she just felt it in her arms, you know, and then maybe someone else feels it in their legs, and they want to get up and walk around. So it can be a restless feeling, it can be a feeling, it’s, it’s always rooted in fear of one kind or another, right? But it can be just an uneasy feeling. It can be just a deep, restless apprehension, or it’s always related to trying to control something, or wanting to avoid something, it can be tied to feelings of scarcity, and lack or not enough or feeling inadequate. So it can be a variety of experiences for different people. Mm hmm.

Amy Koch 16:01 Yeah, I agree with that wholeheartedly. When we kind of get into processing emotions with my clients, it’s like, the the gamut of like, descriptions that, like in different parts of the body and different experiences is like, as widely varied, as humans are varied. We all experience it differently. How would you differentiate? Like, if someone comes to you and they’re struggling, I’m experiencing anxiety? How can people know the how to differentiate between I’m feeling the experience of anxiety, or I’m feeling the emotion of anxiety, I need to understand how to manage my thoughts or my mind, and my emotions, manage all of that better? Versus like a generalized? Like, maybe we need to see a counselor or maybe get some medication or something like that. Do you have any tips for kind of what maybe the line would be? Or how to

Amy Koch 17:03 know? Yeah, when it really interferes with daily living on a consistent basis. That’s a clue that it might be something more persistent, something more, you know, all encompassing, but it really is a normal emotion that we can all relate to. We all experience it from time to time, maybe in certain instances, it comes up more readily for us. But when it’s kind of this persistent, ongoing feeling that we meet every day, and we carry it with us throughout the day, and it does interfere with our activities and our basic functioning, then we know, you know, oh, I’m feeling apprehensive. I’m avoiding all of these things. Maybe I’m not getting out of bed. Maybe I’m skipping class, maybe I, you know, don’t want to say these things, right? I want like I spiral into a panic at times.

Amy Koch 18:12 Yeah. What do you think, kind of causes that panic spiral? I have my thoughts about that. But I know personally, like I have experienced a panic attack before. And my a couple of my kids as well. So what do you how do you kind of work through that with your clients? Is there a way to ward that off? How do you see that that coming into play?

Amy Koch 18:38 I like to think of it like there are in there lies, the anxiety likes to tell. And so if we can be very aware of separating actual facts from our story or thought about them, for example, anxiety will always tell us that the worst is going to happen. Right? So we start to go down that spiral. And we start to imagine ahead of time scenarios that can happen that we think would be the worst. And so then it will say, you can’t handle it. And it will say this is going to last forever. And it might tell us we’re not enough. So those are common themes and lies, anxiety likes to tell. So being on to those and kind of knowing those ahead of time really helps for us to separate like, Oh, this is just my brain firing off from Oh, this is the actual experience, and this is who I am. So being able to distinguish that is one way. In the moment. I always tell my clients to go into their body first because sometimes it’s a good like it’s good baseline level knowledge to be aware of those sneaky lies and where they come up and how they It manifests in our lives. But it’s really an important skill to develop the power of mindfulness and being able to go into your body in the moment. So that might be just simply pausing, breathing, noticing your breath. And I usually say find three things you can see three things you can feel. Three things you can hear, you know, might just be that you’re pausing to feel your feet on the ground, maybe you feel your feet, you’re you wiggle your toes in your shoes. Maybe you see the clouds in the sky, you hear a bird, but bringing yourself back to the present moment, and being able to listen to your breath, feel your breath, be in your body, and then really get mindful of where am I feeling this energy? Is it tight? Is it sharp? Is it what is it making me want to do, and then really coming to a place of neutrality, and being able to see, okay, I’m just having a human experience here. It doesn’t mean that these things I’m imagining are actually going to happen. Like we’re so good at our creative powers that were God given. And sometimes we use them to imagine scenarios in the worst rather than to create an experience that’s beautiful, and successful. And so we can use those creative powers of our imagination, to maybe see ourselves handling it, working through it, being Okay, with this feeling in my body and really accepting it being more open.

Amy Koch 21:36 I love that. This idea of being more accepting and open, because that’s kind of what I’ve observed in myself and in my daughters. It’s that resistance of just that anxiety, I think that causes it to escalate, you know, when we’re not present when we don’t want it when we don’t, like we’re afraid of feeling the anxiety and that escalates. Rather than just be like, Okay, I can feel some anxiety and take that deep breath. And I love like getting into your body and being mindful. That’s super awesome. I love that.

Amy Koch 22:13 Yeah. We’re so much in our heads. Yeah. And I think that’s a lot of my clients don’t really feel anxiety in any area of their body, except they would say their head, you know, I guess my head because my thoughts are spinning and ruminating. And it feels like a lot of pressure up here. So, you know, sometimes we are out of touch with our bodies. But if you really slow down and start to think about what that pressure causes, maybe it’s an increased heart rate, maybe it’s a shortness of breath, maybe you get clammy hands, you know, whatever it is, but you start to notice other things, rather than just the thoughts looking around up in your head.

Amy Koch 22:57 Totally. Yeah. I 100% agree with that. I love that so much. Why do you think anxiety is becoming more prevalent? Or is it has it always been here? And now we just have more words to describe what’s going on?

Amy Koch 23:16 I think the bottom line is we don’t know because we don’t really have all the information. But I do see that there is a platform for discussing it. You know, now we have the internet, we have social media we have, we’re really destigmatizing it’s not as shameful as it once was to talk about it. We do have words, we do have language to talk about it and say like, oh, this is anxiety. I think when I was growing up, I didn’t realize what I was feeling was anxiety, I just were social anxiety, I really thought that, oh, I’m just shy or, Oh, I just you know, I’m not a super outgoing person, I’m more quiet, I’m more reserved, but really having language to describe it and talk about it and ways of thinking about it. I also think sometimes we over label things. And so maybe we say we’re experiencing or we have anxiety when really, it might just be more sporadic, like any normal other, you know, regular person who you know, has anxiety from time to time and sometimes we fixate on that and create a story about it. And then it does become our reality because what we think about can become our reality. So I think there are a lot of things I think, you know, are what we eat has somewhat shifted. I think if we’re caring for our bodies, we might in different ways we might see more or less anxiety depending on our sleep habits depending on our nutrition, exercise, those kinds of things. I think there are you know, there’s the blessing of medication. I think sometimes we go to that too quickly. In there are other ways that we can work with anxiety. And then I think sometimes we’re so afraid to go to that, that we don’t go to that and use that as a tool and resource. I think it goes both

Amy Koch 25:10 ways. Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah, definitely, I mean, I can sort of see this right with missionaries is, to me having some anxiety would be a normal and natural consequence of going to a brand new place, with brand new people, maybe in a culture that you don’t know or don’t understand. But then when we think we shouldn’t feel anxiety, or we think there’s something wrong with the anxiety, then and we create a story about that anxiety, than it just adds to that anxiety. So I, I love thinking about it that way, that it can kind of go both ways, sometimes, you know, we create a bigger story than it needs to be. And sometimes, you know, maybe this, we need to get more help than we are.

Amy Koch 26:01 Right? Yeah, a lot of people will stuff their feelings down, ignore them pretend that they’re not there, you know, a lot of my clients are very high achieving perfectionistic. Yeah. And it’s hard for them to really talk about the fact that, yeah, I have low feelings of self worth, or I struggle with my self esteem, I feel inadequate, I feel like I get validation, I have to prove my worth from the high grades, or a lot of friends or succeeding in sports, or career or whatever it is. And it is hard to talk about those things. So it can be just an unraveling and layer by layer, being more comfortable and, and owning the way that we think and the way that we feel, and maybe challenging some of those beliefs.

Amy Koch 26:54 Mm hmm. I see that so much too, and on the mission, just putting their worth and what they’re accomplishing, or, you know, in the goals, and it’s all kind of outside of them rather than coming inside and finding that worth inside. So, it is interesting, I think the machine creates kind of a pressure cooker for that for the anxiety, because we’re looking to find that worth and validation outside instead of within and and understanding that that anxiety makes a lot of sense. And it’s okay, and can we figure out ways to manage it?

Amy Koch 27:30 Yeah, and comparisons to right, like you’re in or you’re in an environment where you’re around a lot of people who are similar ages doing similar things. And so it can be easy to say, Oh, I’m not, you know, as great of a leader is that person, or maybe they get called to leader, leadership position and feel unqualified, and get stuck in self doubt, or, you know, not able to trust that God will help you or there are other pieces of this, it’s not all up to me. And it can be a situation where you do start making your success, reflective of how great a missionary you are, when really, I mean, you can show up and do all the things and maybe what you’re measuring is success is something that, you know, you’re never going to be able to really fully equate or feel better based on those things. It really is just, you know, I’m doing I’m showing up and I’m doing these things and learning how to connect those dots with. Yeah, this is who I am, I am a person, this is my identity. I’m a person who does these things. And rather than these are the results of other people, so therefore it means, you know, great things about me or not great things about me.

Amy Koch 28:56 Yeah, like finding that internal compass instead of in a comparison. Totally. Totally. So since we’re talking about anxiety on the mission, it is becoming very prevalent, I think, and I hear of it more and more all the time, and parents reaching out to me all the time. Can you help and how can we help our missionaries? So what would you say to like a preparing missionary who maybe has experienced some anxiety? And here’s what’s true, Amy, is I’m finding most of the time. People don’t see it coming. People who’ve never experienced anxiety ever experience it on the mission. And so what do we what can we do ahead of time to sort of get ourselves ready for that experience?

Amy Koch 29:51 I think number one is just recognizing number one. You’re not going to ever be fully prepared for every thing that you are going to experience part of your growth happens through that experience. And so you are not meant to be fully equipped for getting through that experience entirely on your own. And, you know, if you’ve never experienced something, how would you know how to get through that, right, you have to learn, you have to sometimes go through the not knowing. And that’s what faith is, is faith is I trust in this process and a belief in something that is true and real, but not really seen? And not having all the answers ahead of time, it’s taking that step out into the dark. And so I think that’s number one is just recognizing, and maybe they can reflect on past experiences and saying, like, did you know everything that would happen when you went to middle school? How did you get through that? Did you know everything that you would face? Or be challenged with during high school? How did you get through that, you know, how were some of your really challenging, hard things? A gift and an opportunity for you? And or what do you know now that you didn’t know that and, and really drawing those lines and connections? And you know, I think we just live in such a culture that wants to know everything ahead. We want answers for everything. And while that can be a wonderful tool of curiosity, and leading us to answers, it really isn’t helpful to dwell on that in the sense like, and I see that happen a lot with seniors in high school who are deciding Do I go to college, do I go on a mission, you know, and really feeling underprepared for either one of those scenarios. And there really is just no way to be completely prepared 100%, for everything that you’re going to experience, and if that’s why you go, or that’s why you take that leap of faith. And I think just building the trust, and the faith and the hope, and the inner self confidence that you know, I’m going to be feeling a lot of emotions, and I don’t know what I will feel. And that’s okay, that I don’t know what I will feel, because maybe they get out there and they feel loneliness. You know, like my son went to Australia, and he flew from the city, the mission went from the very southern tip of the country to the northern tip. And so he flew from one end of the country to the other when he had his first transfer all by himself.

Amy Koch 32:52 And then he landed in a very, very small area, and served with one other companion who was an awesome companion, but they were out in the bush. And so they’re literally they they had no one within three and a half hours. And so they so they had no car, all they had were bikes. And he was not prepared for the loneliness and isolation that he felt during that time. And so even though it was like this big adventure and a different, unique experience that he looks back on, with very fond memories, it was very difficult in the moment. And so I think we have to remember that and really talk to our kids about those kinds of things that, you know, whatever you experience, yeah, you’re gonna, it’s gonna be tough, it won’t be easy. And the reality of the situation is, you know, you can’t fully prepare for everything. But there is a trust, and there’s like I am bonded, and yoked with God and Christ. And that is how I get through. And maybe I do feel lonely, but I know God is always there for me. And so those basic truths and principles and learning to rely on God and Christ, for strength in those circumstances to get through, maybe there will be that person, maybe it’s a companion, maybe it’s a mission president, maybe it’s, you know, a friend or parent that is able to talk to them, while they’re struggling, that does help them through that. But just knowing that, hey, I can draw on, you know, my identity as a child of God. I have those seeds of divinity within me. So I know I’m capable. And I’m powerful and I can connect with God’s power and he will help me. So there are those basic truths and principles that we know and believe that we can always go back to, but then there are also those things that you know, the uncertainty and how do I work with that? And so, as parents, I think sometimes like I said earlier, sometimes we want to come in and make everything better and reassure them Come and say, Oh, it’s gonna be okay. Because this, this and this and then it creates this habit loop for them where every time they call, then they are seeking reassurance or seeking validation instead of working through those discomfort, or that uncomfortable feelings of uncertainty and not knowing on their own, which, again, like we want, we support them through that. But we don’t want to create this dependency, like a codependency almost right. And so I think there’s, there are things we can say to our kids, like, I have confidence in you, I believe in you, I know you’re gonna figure this out, and really kind of put that responsibility back squarely on their shoulders, but show them how much you believe in them and have confidence in them and know that they can figure it out. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t encourage or maybe share some of our own personal experiences, or really help them to see who they are. And maybe point them to times when they have worked through difficulties. But I think it just means that we’re not there to solve or fix it for them, that really is their discomfort to experience. So one thing we get to do as parents is manage our own discomfort, right, when we see our kids struggling, we feel really uncomfortable, right. And so it leaves this sort of sometimes it can be an ongoing, nagging worry or distressful feeling for us, because it can be challenging to see our loved ones struggle, but just know, like, we get to practice and model those same skills.

Amy Koch 36:46 Yes, yeah. I think one thing that I kind of, that I love about what you said is, we sometimes think that when we’re yoked with Christ, or we’re yoked with God, we think then we shouldn’t feel lonely. We think that if we’re yoked with them that that equals the absence of the difficulty, right? I think that that’s kind of sometimes we get that mixed up a little bit in the Gospel, and especially on the mission. I think we get that a little bit mixed up, when in fact, what you’re saying and what I wholehearted Lee believe is, we’re still going to feel lonely. But we’re going to have like, that added measure of strength, not added measure of like empowerment, to experience it and come out the other side.

Amy Koch 37:38 Right. And I think, you know, we, we do talk about confidence as a willingness to feel and yes, and, and so trusting on the other side, doesn’t mean that, yeah, I, I’m gonna get through this perfectly, and everything’s gonna be, you know, the certain way that I imagined it being right times, we do have experiences that we even have a hard time making sense of later, right? And so we maybe haven’t closed the door on really, truly finding the silver lining, and that’s okay. But it’s just, hey, you know, am I am I willing to feel this? Am I willing to practice this skill, of feeling discomfort, and trusting and knowing that nothing’s gone wrong here. And I’m sure you’ve talked about the 5050 on your podcast before, but just like that 50% That is hard and uncomfortable and challenging, and then opposition and all things. So there’s a 50% that can be joyful, and rewarding and satisfying. And it wouldn’t be life if we weren’t experiencing both. And sometimes we’re experiencing both simultaneously. But having the skill of holding both at the same time. And knowing that nothing’s gone wrong. It’s not that I’m trying to rush over to the 50%, joyful and high from the heart and challenging, but it’s just, I can coexist with those. And that is the human experience, because I have a human brain and my brain is always going to be offering me fear or self doubt or, you know, questioning and, and that’s okay, so I’m developing the skill of working with those thoughts when they come up, and I’m developing the skill of seeing, Hey, I am not my circumstances, I am not my thoughts. Even though I’m thinking them, I am not my feelings, even though I’m experiencing them. I’m not my actions, even though I’m responsible for them. And I’m not my results, even though I’m creating them. So being able to see ourselves that separate from that. And knowing that, you know, I have an identity outside of those things, and what is the identity? And who am I? Really?

Amy Koch 39:51 Yeah, and President Nelson talks so beautifully about that in the young adult fireside. Did you watch that one?

Amy Koch 39:59 I haven’t yet. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he

Amy Koch 40:02 talked very beautifully about that you’ll have to go watch it, but about like what our identity actually is. And he talks about how different labels we put on ourselves. And maybe in this podcast we’re talking about, maybe we have a label that I’m anxious or something like that, or I have anxiety, but the most important label is that your son or daughter of God, anyway, right? And really think about what that means. Right? You know, we impact of that. Really. Yeah. And that we have the power to experience the loneliness. And, and I really teach my clients, Heavenly Father created our bodies. And I think you kind of alluded to this earlier that to experience all of the emotions, and it’s okay, and we’re supposed to do, right, that’s actually real faith, I think being able to be like, Oh, this is the part where I feel lonely, or anxious, and that’s okay. Like, and God’s got me his plan, that’s was always part of his plan.

Amy Koch 41:02 For sure, and being open to receive those things, you know, and allow for that experience, rather than resist it, or try and push it away, or pretend it’s not there, or go to other things as a source of distracting ourselves from that feeling, whether it’s screens, whether it’s food, whether it’s, you know, pornography, or shopping or overworking or overachieving, or whatever, like we really, truly can feel those emotions and work through it in a very powerful way.

Amy Koch 41:36 Yeah, it’s so I get like goosebumps on it. Like, I feel like it’s what makes us like, God in a lot of ways is that we have the power to feel all of that and be okay. It’s, it’s pretty awesome. Absolutely. So let’s say like, we’re on the mission. And we’re starting to notice that we’re having some anxiety, we’re feeling that tightening in our chest, we’re feeling that rapid heart rate, or whatever that experience of anxiety feels like for us. What would you recommend that we do? Like, what would be some first steps do you think?

Amy Koch 42:17 Well, I, I actually teach my clients a tool that I can share here that I created that helps in this situation, and it’s this tool of how can I go far with anxiety? So the acronym far? So how can I go far with anxiety? So the F stands for friendship? So number one, open up to this idea that this emotion can coexist with me? And like how do I treat a credit? How do I do if a friend comes unannounced to the door and is knocking and wants to come in? Am I just like, rolling my eyes walking away? Or do I open the door and just say, You know what, come on, it’s not convenient. But you know, I love you, you can be here, I know that, you know, it’s going to be of course, we have like boundaries and everything with friends, too, right? But, but just allowing the emotion to be there so that we don’t create a lot of resistance to it. And then getting really mindful and descriptive and curious about how it feels in our body the same way we we get to know a friend, and everything about our friend, we call our friends by their names. So this is anxiety, this is what it feels like in my body. We name it to tame it. And then just knowing that, you know, just because my friend is here doesn’t mean I have to sit here and do nothing. I get to move along with my day. And so I can bring anxiety with me, it doesn’t mean I need to stop and sit there do nothing. Even if we’re just actively listening to a friend, we’re doing something right. We can pause and listen to our body. But really developing that friendship and, and also a friendship with ourselves. It’s so critical to really be your own best friend. Because during those times of loneliness, as we alluded to, really, who is always there with you your entire life you are and the relationship you set with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship that you have. So how important is that? I mean, God gives us that commandment to love Him. And so that’s another friendship and relationship right trusting in Him. But then he says Love your neighbor as yourself. So how can we love our neighbor if we don’t really truly know how to love ourselves? That’s a relationship. Right? So that’s powerful. And then the next letter A stands for abundance. Anxiety is really about not enough thinking like thinking I’m not good enough, or I don’t know have enough time, or I don’t have enough of this quality or characteristic that I think it takes to do this thing. So how can We really open up to the idea that God created us to do everything that we were meant to do, there’s nothing that is going to be set in front of us that we can’t handle. And when we really look at our abilities and our our opportunities to involve and invite more of God’s power into our lives, we’re going to see more abundantly. And so we’re going to have more than enough, and really work on that idea of expansion. Whether it’s our confidence, whether it’s our belief, whether it’s exercising more of his power in our lives, there’s always more than enough, it’s just our capacity to receive and open up and allow, that really shuts the door, and creates anxiety and scarcity thinking. So we really have to open up that’s abundance is kind of the opposite of anxiety, then the R stands for routines. And so many of us forget the importance and the value of showing up for ourselves, and consistently following through. So even when we don’t feel like it, you know, getting up and doing the thing and noticing where my energy is high or it’s low and honoring that. But really like if I need more sleep, get more sleep, if I need to take time to work in more healthy meals and feed my body. I do that if I need to

Amy Koch 46:39 work in some exercise. That’s important, you know, how can I do that and time management and things like that, but really planning ahead and then following through. So routines are really powerful. And especially as a missionary, you think about it, their whole schedules are set up for routines, right. So I think that’s largely part of why a lot of missionaries struggle when they come home is then they’re not with a companion, they don’t have a system of accountability. And they’re on their own. And so it brings up maybe some social anxiety that they haven’t felt for a while, or maybe they felt it but in a different way now, and their environment has changed. And so the routines and the structure really are there to be a gift to us. But sometimes we resist that.

Jennie Dildine 47:29 So good. Amy, I love this so much. The friend piece. One of the things that I teach my clients is I talk about the scripture, that Christ was acquainted with grief. And this is how I like to think about my emotions. And it sounds like how you teach your clients to think about their emotions, we get acquainted we get, we really get to know them, they let them be with us and then just that peace of also being a friend to yourself. So so good. I love that and abundance. So good and routine. Thank you for sharing that far everyone FA our that’s

Amy Koch 48:11 so good. How to go far without gaiety depression and stress overwhelm in any circumstance, you can continue forward.

Jennie Dildine 48:21 I love it so much. I wanted to talk about return missionaries because I work with returned missionary clients to a lot of them I think do talk about this social anxiety I see it coming up like going into class, they see it going to school, I see it with dating, you know, I’m sure you see a lot of the same things. Do you find that managing the social anxiety is any different than just managing, like the anxiety or fear of like, you know, some of the things you talked about, like the future or what’s coming up or that I won’t be able to handle that or whatever. What I see is it’s like people are have this fear of being seen almost when they walk into class late or they’re gonna show up at work. It almost has less to do with AI. No, it still comes back to the thoughts but less to do with their thoughts about something that might go wrong and more to do with like an actual, like environmental around being around people. What do you think about that?

Amy Koch 49:27 Yeah, I think it it really does speak to, you know, what I think is kind of a core issue with anxiety just in general, which is a lot of self doubt, and a lot of not understanding it, who they truly are, and their strengths and their their capacities. I think it really is about I’m wanting to control. And by that what I mean is, we want to control other people’s perceptions of us. So if we’re walking late into a room, we don’t like the idea that they might be looking at us, we might be on the spotlight, they may not like what they see, we might not want them to see what you know, all of these thoughts that go through our heads. And so it really is, I like your word kind of becoming acquainted with like reacquainted with ourselves. And back to that friendship with ourselves, having our back, knowing who we truly are that core identity piece. And it’s not saying that, you know, any of us is going to be completely, you know, unflappable or not, you know, once, once we work on those things, I think it’s an ongoing lifetime. Process, for sure. But it’s a practice that I think, sometimes we miss the boat on this idea of practicing, and showing up, like, we think that we have to have a certain level of confidence or be a certain way or have, you know, a certain appearance before we can feel confident and go to a party by ourselves or show up at church without a friend, or, you know, whatever. And, and it really is just learning to have that relationship with ourselves that we’re at peace with who we are. And we don’t have to control other people’s thoughts about us, or try and manipulate them or get steeped in false impressions or, you know, trying to impress, it really is just being comfortable in your own skin and knowing who you truly are, and being at peace with that connection and relationship that you have with yourself and with God.

Jennie Dildine 52:08 Yeah, I actually just reminded me that I was just talking to an RM client about this yesterday. And she was super concerned about what this guy was going to think because of some stuff that she had going on. And, and yeah, I do. I think that’s a big part of it is, our brains kind of think that we can, if we manipulate ourselves or show up a certain way we can manipulate the way other people see us. But that feels terrible.

Amy Koch 52:37 Yeah, and it’s not to say there aren’t people that are more prone to feel that way. I think for sure, like, genetically, we can, you know, we can have this, you know, propensity to be more inclined to have social anxiety, for example, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t work with it, and really get to the underlying core issue. And you know, when we’re willing to do that work, we can see honest change. And it is, like I said, it’s a form of practice. So it’s not like, you’d want to it’s kind of like speaking like public speaking, if you have a job or a calling where you have to show up and speak regularly in front of people notice, it still may be nerve wracking, but you start to become more familiar with that process. And it becomes less traumatic over time. Yeah, yeah. So it’s just like sitting down to play the piano, we don’t just sit down and expect to be a master at playing an instrument we put in the time practicing and still learning to enjoy the art the practice that in make it an art of practicing, and being okay with, yeah, this I missed up. I messed up on some notes, I didn’t play you know, but this is the part that I get to work on for next time. And so really kind of being okay with the process and not thinking that, you know, I have to be the certain way in order for me to show up.

Jennie Dildine 54:12 So do I hear you saying like, let’s just keep showing up and feel the anxiety come up and keep practicing that and feel kind of like we’ve talked about like getting your body and instead of avoiding it altogether, we just be like, well, maybe I’ll try this one thing. Maybe I’ll go to this one thing. Maybe I’ll show up to work today. Or maybe I’ll go to this party or maybe I’ll go on this date and let all of it come up. But then practice feeling it and just go anyway, is that what I hear you saying instead of avoiding it?

Amy Koch 54:44 Yeah. avoidance is really one of the most dangerous coping mechanisms for anxiety because what happens is it plays a trick on our brain because we don’t go and then we save ourselves the discomfort of having gone On and felt the anxiety. And so we think that that’s the way to work through is to avoid those situations, when in fact, it’s really just a counterfeit solution, right? The avoidance, it just snowballs. And it really reinforces that that thing is the thing that’s creating our anxiety, it’s not our thoughts about it, it’s not something that can be shifted over time, or grown or worked with or tweaked. And, and it really minimizes who we are. And we forget, we lose sight of this idea that we are eternally progressing and capable of growth and change. Because we are children of God. And so it really undermines our identity, and our purpose and, and it’s this counterfeit reward for not going and feeling the discomfort. So that really is an important key and, you know, going through those difficult things, and it doesn’t mean like, of course, we can be aware of our capacity. Sure, you know, we don’t have to show up 10 places a day and, and stretch that right. But maybe we make decisions ahead of time. And we plan with a purpose, to actually go to that thing, that place where we feel discomfort, and really work on creating a new vision and a new experience of how this might be for us.

Jennie Dildine 56:30 So good. And I agree with that wholeheartedly, I think with anxiety, especially when we avoid it. And yeah, we get that counterfeit reward from our brain is kind of what you’re saying, our world gets smaller. Because then we’re like, that’s the thing causing the anxiety, not me, and it’s unmanageable. So that’s so good. Thank you for that. Um, if you are a parent supporting a missionary, and we did kind of touch on this a little bit for preparing missionaries, or even if you’re a missionary supporting a companion, or you’re even like a young adult RM, whose friend is coming home, and they’ve experienced anxiety, how do we support people through this experience of feeling anxiety and being anxious? What’s the best way?

Amy Koch 57:20 I don’t know that there’s one way I think there are a lot of ways but I think just, you know, being a safe place for them being open to listening, being able to be a place where they can discuss how they’re feeling and maybe reflect some of that to them. And helping them to understand that, you know, you’re there for them. And, and you can see that that is a challenge for them. I think just back to what I what we were talking about earlier earlier, is just kind of managing your own feelings around it. And just knowing like, it’s not a problem. It’s not a problem to be solved. This is a person to be loved. Right. And so that unconditional love and just knowing Yeah, they’re just experiencing it a feeling because they’re having thoughts. And this is challenging for them right now.

Amy Koch 58:18 So good. I did have one pretty recently returned a missionary, come up to me at church and she said, my, you know, my friends coming home from the same mission, she’s really, you know, feeling anxious about it. She’s worried she’s going to experience anxiety, she experienced some on the mission. And she just said, what, what should I do for her? And I said, the biggest thing is just to let them know, it’s okay. That they feel that way. And it makes sense that they feel that way. I think inadvertently when we’re like, we got to fix your anxiety we got to take you here we got to do that we inadvertently say that it’s not okay, the way you’re feeling. And I think what, what what that person hears is I’m not okay. But when it’s just a safe place to allow them to experience what they’re experiencing.

Amy Koch 59:11 I love them.

Jennie Dildine 59:13 All right. Amy, thanks so much for being here. Any last thoughts that anything we haven’t covered that you’re that you really think we need to know anything else that you want to share with us?

Amy Koch 59:24 I think just the final thing I would say is that you will be able to work through whatever challenges are coming your way or you are currently experiencing I think sometimes what people need more than anything is just that seed of hope. So, sometimes it’s important to remember things could always be worse. And that’s where you know, gratitude and appreciation for our current circumstances may come in. And also things could always improve and they will and So our life experiences are fluid, they’re always changing, they’re never going to be like this constant, oh, joyful experience void of challenges, right? Or it’s never going to be constant challenges and no experience of joy or hope. And so just kind of ride that wave. I think it’s like the ocean waves, they ebb and flow and just being able to appreciate that and sometimes that’s hard to see in the middle when you’re, you know, feeling the, the pressure and the things, you know, the circumstances and then your thoughts about them surrounding you, that can be very challenging. But just knowing that you will get

Amy Koch 1:00:43 through it, yeah, that you’re strong, that you’re empowered, and you’re gonna be okay. I love that. Thank you so much for being here. I have loved this conversation. And I’m glad that we finally got to connect. I’ve been watching Amy for a while and she’s an incredible human full of love. And thanks so much for being here. How can people find you to get more help from you?

Amy Koch 1:01:09 Thanks for having me. I am on Instagram. It’s Amy Koch, Kate. Oh, CH dot find your mind. And I’m also online, my website is find your mind.com you can email me at Amy at Find Your mind.com

Jennie Dildine 1:01:27 Awesome and we will link all of those goodies in the show notes so you guys can all go find and follow Amy and get all of her wisdom and love.

Amy Koch 1:01:37 Thanks so much.

Jennie Dildine 1:01:39 Okay, thanks, Amy. Thanks for being here. Take care.

Amy Koch 1:01:41 Bye. Bye.

Amy Koch 1:01:44 Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today. Listen, if you’re learning a lot from this podcast, and you like what you’re hearing, you will absolutely love hopping on a free strategy call with me. That’s where you and I meet up one on one and talk specifically about what is going on for you. I love teaching young adults the mental and emotional tools that they need to overcome worry and anxiety serve the successful missions they’ve always dreamed of and navigate their post mission experience with confidence. So go to Jennie dildine.com, and click on the work with me link. I would love to meet you. And I would love to get you some helpful tools and strategies to help you fully embrace whatever is next for you. 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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