Managing stress for farmers and farm families


June 19, 2019 -

Three simple concepts that can help farmers, farm families and others manage stress. Try any of the two of the ideas each day for two or three weeks and you will be able to notice how much less stressed you have become.

Try any two of these ideas each day for 2 to 3 weeks and you will be able to notice how much less stressed you have become.

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” ~William James


Think of any moment that made you feel comforted and content. Close your eyes and relive that moment. 

Think "B-R-A-I-N"

B= Breathe:

Breathe deeply 5 times. Release the air slowly. 

R= Relax:

Tell yourself to relax, whether in your head or out loud. Notice areas of tension in your body, and try to release that tension. 

A= Ask:

Ask yourself what you need or want to feel. We usually ask why the other person is such a jerk or why we goofed up. Instead, ask yourself what you need to feel: calm, in control, at peace, and other comforting feelings. 

I= Imagine:

Imagine feeling that way

N= Now:

 Now after doing those four things, ask yourself, “How do I feel now?” 


Tell yourself you can get through it. You have come through rough times before. You can do it again. You have gotten through difficult situations. 


Physical activity can help to lessen cortisol in the body and protect against negative impacts of stress (Puterman et al., 2012; Hamer, 2012; Heaney et al., 2014).  What physical activity might you be able to add in that you would enjoy?  Even taking a short walk can improve our mood and heart health (McGuire & Ross, 2011; Hansen et al., 2001).


  • Hamer, M. (2012). Psychosocial stress and cardiovascular disease risk: The role of physical activity. Psychosomatic Medicine, 74(9), 896-903.
  • Hansen, C.J., Stevens, L. C., & Coast, J. R. (2001). Exercise duration and mood state: How much is enough to feel better? Health Psychology, 20, 267-275.
  • Heaney, J. L. J., Carroll, D., & Phillips, A. C. (2014). Physical activity, life events stress, cortisol, and DHEA: Preliminary findings that physical activity may buffer against the negative effects of stress. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 22(4), 465-473.
  • McGuire, K.A., & Ross, R. (2011). Incidental physical activity is positively associated with cardiorespiratory fitness. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43, 2189-2194.
  • Puterman, E., O’Donovan, A., Adler, N. E., Tomiyama, A. J., Kemeny, M., Wolkowitz, O. M., & Epel. E. (2012). Physical activity moderates stressor-induced rumination on cortisol reactivity. Psychosomatic Medicine, 73(7):604-611.


Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at