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4 stress busting tools

Yesterday I went on a stress awareness course run by Healthy Cornwall. I thought that I would share with you the four tools the course leader shared with us.

positivity jar in window

1. A jar of positivity

I had heard of this concept before but have never been inspired to implement it. I suspect that it was because I was overlooking the small everyday positives and only looking the bigger positives. As it happens, this is the whole point of the exercise.

We naturally focus on the negative and ignore the positives. This exercises helps us to recognise the positives in our lives first and balance the negatives.

All we need to do is to write down at least one positive thing that happened to us each day and pop it in a jar. This could be something as simple as hearing bird song, spending time with your favourite animal or enjoying a cup of tea with a spouse or friend.

After a period of time has passed you will be able to empty the jar and be reminded of all the things that made you happy. You should also have started to find it easier to focus on the positives.

Stress bucket

2. The stress bucket

Imagine placing all the things that cause you stress in a bucket. A bucket is a finite space so it will soon fill up if we do not empty our bucket of some of our stresses. An overflowing bucket represents poor mental health and wellbeing.

The size of our buckets can also change depending on how resilient we are feeling.

Now take a look at what is in your bucket and identify the stresses that you can do something about, and do not worry about those you have no control over. If anything requires urgent attention, attend to that first. By tackling some of the stressors using healthy coping skills your bucket will begin to empty.

5 ways to wellbeing

3. Five ways to wellbeing

There are five actions you can take to improve your mental wellbeing

Connect – spend time with family, friends, neighbours and other farmers.

Be active – not only does physical activity keep you physically fit and healthy, it also increases the levels of happy hormones in our brain .

Take notice – as the famous saying goes, stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the small things such as bird song, the playfulness of lambs, turning out your cattle for the first time in spring, the taste of a particularity good cheese and the calm of a gently flowing stream.

Keep learning – it can give you a sense of achievement, new interests and ideas, and help to build confidence. You could even use your new found skills and knowledge to increase profitability. If you feel like you do not have the time, why not listen to a podcast in your tractor cab.

Give – doing something for others can be very rewarding and provides an opportunity to connect with others. Why not take part in Open Farm Sunday, FaceTime a Farmer, or open up your farm to school groups or become a demonstration farm.

Note you can achieve most of these things at events such as focus/demonstration farms, discussion groups, workshops, and training days.

Use your sense

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This is a great tool for when we feel stressed, panicked or when it feels like things are getting on top of us. It is a grounding technique that requires us to use all five senses to bring us back into the present moment.

5. LOOK: Take notice of 5 things you can see. e.g. sheep, tractor, water trough, feed bucket, farm house.

4. FEEL: Identify 4 things you can feel. e.g. a yearling nuzzling your back, the wind in your hair, the bailing twine in your hand, the warmth of your jumper.

3. LISTEN: Listen for three sounds e.g. the clang of a 5 bar gate, cows mooing, the sound of the milking parlour in operation.

2. SMELL: What two smells can you identify e.g. hay, slurry.

1. TASTE: Whats is it you can taste right now. e.g. the lingering taste of your last coffee

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