Mending Your Stress Buttons - Elaine Froese | Canada’s Farm Whisperer | Your go-to expert for farm families who want better communication and conflict resolution to secure a successful farm transition


Mending Your Stress Buttons

by | Jun 7, 2014 | Uncategorized

How’s it going  these days? Feeling torn apart with stress and worry, or are you cutting off the frayed edges of distress and patching up the problem areas of your life?

With a grateful heart, I’m encouraging you to identify the stress buttons in your life and develop your own unique solutions to cope.

Life , like harvest, is stressful, but how you react to breakdowns and plugged goals really affects your physical and mental condition . Identify the stress problems you’re reacting to so you know the causes of your stress. Combine monitors tell me my feeder or rotor are under stress, and I quickly slow down or shut off to avoid damage.

“Who or what ?” are your sources of stress?

Grab a sheet of paper. Write out a list of stressors…mine are clutter, lack of computer skills , lazy committee members, telemarketers….etc.

Stress facilitator Jim Cook says that “ as soon as you start to define the problem you can start to solve it.” Now on your paper answer “Why is this stressful?” Clutter in my son’s room is stressful to me if I interpret his mess as my problem, a reflection that I am not a good parent because he has not disciplined himself (yet) to be tidy!

How’s your blood pressure as you write your stress button list? Are you angry, embarrassed,  frustrated, hopeless, worried, upset , fearful? The negative emotions as part of our stress reaction cause inner fraying and tearing that is damaging to our health if left to be intense, continuously wearing on our minds and bodies. Cook says the “key is to get control over your emotions and use them as positive influences.” Think how mad you were when the combine plugged for the umpteenth time and you had all that adrenaline pumping through you to wrench back the feeder chain. It’s okay to be angry, but which emotions are causing the biggest impact?

My stress buttons could be family, friends, coworkers, home situations, work events, community hassles or my habits. Sleeping in, lack of consistent exercise, clutter, and computer frustration top my list of stressors. I get angry, frustrated,  and upset when these buttons “pop” and need to be re-aligned.

So what’s the solution?

Recognize some things can be mended, and other stuff has to be thrown away and forgotten about…or just accepted as it is. Cook urges clients to look at the stress factor:

1. rate the degree to which the reality of the situation can be accepted,

2. rate the reduction of stress as a result of that acceptance.

Some relationships in your farm family may be very testy and you’ve already tried to “make things better.” You can change your reaction and attitude towards others, but they are responsible for changing themselves.

Consider tips to help you relax,  “Self-care for stress reactions”. You can take better care of your body and mind with what you feed it. Talking, hot baths/showers, reading, journaling, playing cards, driving to the coffee shop, praying…find the repair kit that works for you. I had to laugh when I wanted to write this article my computer monitor stayed black as night…I phoned a computer whiz to help solve the problem…I’m slowing learning !

“All you have to do is look for an answer and you’ll find one” says Cook. “Ask and you will receive.” the Bible says. Things get stressful because we don’t have a clue how to handle them. Gaining skill and experience with the attitude “knowledge is power” will help you cope. Work on your PMA…a Positive Meaningful Action that will help to improve the stressful situation.

Books are where I often find help. Wes, my loving husband , teases that “if Elaine read it in a book somewhere then she knows it will work, even though I suggested it (the solution) before she read the book!” Make use of the Internet, toll-free numbers, and your local inter-library loan. Read your Bible.

You’re tired of  “making do” with your ragged feelings and fraying problems. Time to learn how to mend with reinforcing that will ensure longer wear life… “Quit hoping things will get better and start making things get better.” encourages Cook. “You can start by dealing with the things that are causing you the biggest problems, or begin by eliminating some of the small things that can be taken care of quickly . You can attack the problem by dealing with the people, situations, and habits, or you can learn to control the specific emotions that are causing the stress.”

The only mistake you can make is to do nothing. Do not ignore the mending of you!


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