#3: Coping with Stress and Positive Self Talk

In this episode, we discuss coping with stress and using positive self-talk.
In this session, we discuss coping with agricultural stress and positive self talk. First, we hear from Shauna Reitmeier about coping with stress in a healthy way. Then, Brenda Mack joins to talk about reframing our negative self talk into positive self talk.


Megan Roberts:
Welcome to this session of our Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture podcast, series one. The Cultivating Resiliency Project develops tools for women in agriculture to recognize, adapt to, and develop positive coping strategies to life stresses. This podcast series is developed from our Cultivating Resiliency webinars sessions. I'm Megan Roberts, and I co-lead this project along with the Doris Mold. In this podcast, we feature Shauna Reitmeier and Brenda Mack as our session hosts. Shauna and Brenda are professionals and behavioral health with family ties to farming. In this session, we address coping with stress and positive self-talk. First, we hear from Shauna Reitmeier about coping with stress in a healthy way. Then Brenda Mack joins to talk about reframing our negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Here's Shauna.

Shauna Reitmeier: These are some of the things that you can do in coping with stress and diet and drinking lots of water. Healthy eating when you've got a lot of things going on is hard to do. If you're running from one event to the other, and I know the days when I've eaten poorly, and it's a lot of quick, fast food, I'm in a convenience store because I'm traveling from one place to the next, and I'm not getting fruits and vegetables and protein and lots of water. I know I physically feel that. It's sleeping, trying to sleep. Building and maintaining those really supportive relationships are really helpful. Relationships are really the root of keeping our stress ... Everybody needs somebody to bounce things off of. When I think about kind of a tool of coping with stress is this positive self-talk is so important because when you do have a bunch of things, sometimes it's really easy to stay half glass empty, go to what's not working versus what's positive, and that in itself is a symptom of stress. And so one of the things that I have done is I create these reframes and I will write them down on a post-it note. I'll put one on the bathroom mirror so when I wake up in the morning, it's the trigger and the reminder for me right away. Okay, I know I've got a lot to do, things might be stressful, but this is going to be ... I can think about this positively. So how do I start thinking about things differently? Putting one on the refrigerator, putting one on the dashboard in your car as you're going through your day, because the stress does eat at the positivity and we have to sometimes do things that give us the tools to trigger how to think differently. When you're in it, it's hard to remember to do that all on your own.

Brenda Mack: When we talk about reframing or taking negative self-talk and changing that to positive self-talk, that first step is really to be aware of those self messages. And hopefully after this seminar, you'll be able to walk away and start to catch yourself when you are giving yourself negative self-talk. And we've got a practical little exercise to walk through with you here that can help you do that. On the webinar site, we've uploaded this worksheet for you to take a look at, download, print off, put on your refrigerator or mirror. On the left-hand side is for old patterns. That's your negative self-talk, and your thoughts directly impact your feelings, which directly impact your behaviors.

And so really what I want you to do is I want you to think of an example of a negative message that you give yourself, and then I want you to walk through this worksheet, what is that negative message? What feelings are triggered because of that negative message? And then what is your behavior as a result of that? I want you to then reframe like Shauna, would be a good example of, I want you to reframe that message and you don't need to have this grandiose, absolutely positive rainbows and unicorns and sunshine positive self-talk, you just need to change it to something that you believe then that is more optimistic in nature. And then walk through what kind of feeling do you have when you reframe that situation where you are giving yourself a more hopeful, optimistic message and what are those feelings? And then what are the possible behaviors that are resolved with those feelings?

So let me give you an example. Think about this situation, here's an old pattern. I'm not talking to my husband. He's so crabby. That's my thought. I am not talking to him because he such a crab. But my feelings are really exhaustion, resentfulness, and anger. And as a result of that, I don't talk to my husband. I go to bed without saying goodnight, and I do not engage in a conversation with him. That has a rippling effect, potentially.

Now think about this reframe. My husband is worried about getting the crop harvested. I can empathize with that. I'm going to ask him for five minutes to talk about the kids' school program. I have a sense and a feeling of relief and optimism when I reframe that message, and then my behavior is asking him to go on a small walk with me. Let's just take a little walk. Let's do a walk and talk because I want to just talk for a few minutes about this program that our kids have at school. And if that walk takes you longer than five minutes, that's okay.

Shauna Reitmeier: Great.

Brenda: Sometimes you just need to be with one another.

Shauna Reitmeier: Yeah.

Brenda Mack: You don't even need words.

Shauna Reitmeier: Right.

Brenda Mack: But sometimes you just need to be with.

Megan Roberts: Thanks for joining us on this Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture podcast, series one. In this session, we learned about coping with stress and positive self-talk. This podcast focused on three important coping strategies, building relationships, eating well, and reframing negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Remember Brenda's great suggestion, start small. This doesn't have to be grandiose or all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. We can be real about the challenges of farming and agriculture. Recognize agriculture is very stressful right now, but also try to reframe our thoughts and develop positive coping strategies at the same time. This project is a collaboration of American Agri-Women, District 11 Agri-Women, University of Minnesota Extension Women in Ag Network and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, UMASH. You may find the recordings for our entire webinar series on the UMASH or American Agri-Women websites under Cultivating Resiliency. Our next podcast will focus on the three legged stool of self-care and how to get and stay energized.
#3: Coping with Stress and Positive Self Talk
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