Did you know the definition of anxiety is fear of the unknown? Does this make it easier to wrap your mind around? Or does it make you shrug with confusion? Are you tired of anxiety controlling you, and ready to control anxiety?
When we are anxious, physiologically our bodies shift into high alert, due to our brain sending out signals for flight, fight or freeze. Hearts pound, breath becomes shallow, blood pressure goes up and we either shut down or go into hyper-vigilant mode. If anxiety is a well worn pathway of response for us to life’s challenges, then it feels normal. It feels comfortable, and although we don’t like it, we learn to live with it. Many try drugs, alcohol, meditation and yoga to control it. However, without re-routing this pathway in your brain, that automatic response will still be there. I won’t go into the causes today, only the hope that it doesn’t have to be a part of life forever.
So, how do you form a new pathway or response to life’s stressors? Can you build new super highway of auto response to life’s challenges? YES!
Horses can help us learn first, how to identify when we are in-congruent, then help us learn how to cope in more healthy ways. Their finely developed ability to read our body energy allows them to know whether we are congruent or not. First, what does in-congruent mean? Simply put, this means that the electrons pinging in your brain, do not match the rhythm of the electrons pinging in your heart….or your gut. Oftentimes in our desperate search for answers on how to solve the latest problem we face, we get stuck in our brains, intellectualizing and getting stuck in the whirling thoughts that either send us backwards into the past, or jettison us forward into the future. When in this state, horses cannot connect with us. They cannot sense our energy. Furthermore, if we are anxious, but pretend that we are not, then that is actually threatening to them, and they will not only refuse to connect, but may even retreat in fear. I will explain connection on a later post.
Is learning to be present, recognizing emotions, and re-routing the well-worn pathways of anxiety response easy? Absolutely not. Recognition alone, of our state of disassociation or hyper-vigilance, is often very difficult. By working with horses, listening to what they are telling us, and practicing this recognition, and response to energy/pressure, we can learn to control our reactions to things that cause us fear, and therefore not only depend on our brain to figure out the best answer, but also our heart and gut. We were beautifully designed with all three mechanisms for a purpose. Once we have tapped into this ability, we become empowered to make better decisions for our relationship with ourselves, others, and the universe.
I have been blessed to witness this incredible transformation for several years. My heart is full with gratitude for those who have taught, written and shared their amazing insight, as it has not only changed the lives of many I have worked with, but my own as well.