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Most people don’t wake up thinking excitedly, “My knee feels so normal.”

That’s because people are wired for negativity—it’s a survival mechanism intended to let people know, for example, that waking up with pain in their knee is a problem. This means people must be taught positivity, according to Steven Eastmond, a licensed clinical social worker with the Family Transitions Counseling Center.

However, “depression is not something that you just go cheer yourself up and you’re good,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

That doesn’t mean there aren’t tools to train the brain to think differently, though. Eastmond spoke at BYU Education Week during an August 21 session titled “Practical Tools for Combating Depression and Anxiety.” His presentation was not addressed solely to those suffering from mental health conditions, as his techniques for overcoming negative thinking are applicable to everyone.

Balance the scales

For example, Eastmond used Book of Mormon stories to illustrate “balancing the scales”; while Laman and Lemuel only complained about their situation, Nephi “states both what is negative and real and what is positive and real,” Eastmond said. “In other words, [Nephi] balances the scales.”

Eastmond also emphasized the importance of humor in balancing personal scales.

“Sometimes you just have to roll with stuff,” he said. “There’s more to be seen than sometimes you think.”

Reframe the situation

To read the full article on LDS.org, click here