Bureau is in the fight against farm stress and the too-long-overlooked
challenges to farmers’ mental health. We’re sharing resources with every
available audience because you never know when you’ll have an opportunity to
help someone through a tough spot.
By Becca Gulliver
I get it: you think meditation is quirky — maybe beyond quirky. But those who meditate regularly or practice deep breathing agree it helps clear their mind and gain focus — two essential keys to maintaining good mental health.
It takes some practice, but starts simple:
How was that? You may not notice a major difference right away, but you probably feel at least a little refreshed, and certainly calmer. Try that every day for a week and see the difference it makes!
MSU Extension’s Managing Farm Stress material explains how deep breathing can also help reduce chronic pain and improve your sleep. You have a busy schedule for sure, but look for just two minutes for meditation, maybe while lacing up your boots or after turning off the tractor for the day.
If you aren’t comfortable with the deep-breathing exercise (or want to explore other options because your trial week went so well) there are plenty of online options and smartphone apps available — Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, Aura, Breathe — or just search YouTube for meditation videos.
MSU Extension also offers a mindfulness exercise based around the acronym BRAIN:
Meditation and deep breathing help us take a step back from what’s stressing us out, reset and move forward with a clearer head. It helps us give ourselves the grace we need to move forward.
Late 19th-century thinker William James — “the father of American psychology” — said, “Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
Let that sink in!
Farmers feed the world but often forget to care for themselves physically, emotionally, mentally. It’s like the starving baker, spending so much time baking bread for others that she forgets to eat.
You can’t feed the world while neglecting yourself.
You don’t have to run out and buy a yoga mat or light candles or incense to reap the benefits of meditation. You just need to take two minutes to check in with yourself and breathe — take time to feed yourself like you’re feeding everyone else.