Matching our mind and body can help us stress less and live healthier lives. Research shows the mind and physical body are connected. Chronic emotional and mental stress can increase risk of many chronic diseases. Stress reduction practices such as mindfulness can help change the bodies reaction to stress and improve health outcomes.

Think of your mindset as a free tool you can use to save time and energy and get the most out of what you do. Mindset tactics include, Self Talk, Using Your Breath and Acceptance.

Use SELF TALK, the body hears what the mind thinks. Tell yourself that you can overcome any challenge. You can adapt. You have come through rough times before. You can do it again. You cannot always avoid difficult situations, but you can choose the reactions you have when you experience them. Try choosing three words to tell yourself to help maintain the mindset you want — like calm, capable and controlled.

Use YOUR BREATH when faced with a challenge, first use your breath. Deep breathing calms the mind and can help you focus. It can also reduce chronic pain and improve sleep. Try breathing deeply five times, releasing the air slowly. One Strategy of deep breathing is to breathe through your nose, smell the roses, and breathe out through your mouth like you are blowing out a candle. Combine deep breathing with self-talk to boost productivity and stay on task.

USE ACCEPTANCE when things are beyond your control, the most productive step you can take is to accept it. Making acceptance a part of your mindset can save you time and energy by letting you focus on the solution instead of getting frustrated by the problem. Try making the word “accept” a part of your self-talk and using deep breathing as a time to pause, accept and begin problem solving.

The human mind has 70,000 thoughts each day, that’s 70,000 opportunities! Though the typical brain is about 2% of your body weight it uses 20% of your energy. So, it is important that we are taking steps to reduce our stress.

In addition to using our mindset, physical activity and little laughter can improve our stress levels. So, let us get outside and smell the roses. While we might have additional stressors these days, we also have the power of our attitude. Let’s laugh a little, take deep breathes, accept what we cannot change and practice matching our mind and body.

To learn more about stressing less, visit msue.msu.edu/managingfarmstress.

For more information on this or other family topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sphill24@utk.edu or ‪615-444-9584 ext. 105.

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