What Horses Can Teach Us About Mindfulness
Picture this. You’ve walked into a quiet round pen, the sun is shining and your senses are in overdrive as you hear the soft sound of hooves shifting back and forth beneath the horse you are about to meet. You abandon your preconceived notions of what your equine interaction is going to be. You feel at peace, aware of the present and your environment. This is the special ability horses carry, fostering deep connections with humans and increasing mindfulness.
Why we need mindfulness
With the rapid pace of both professional and personal environments, it’s critical to practice mindfulness. It’s an elegant word to describe something so simple. Mindfulness is defined as one’s ability to be fully present, aware and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by outside noise or distraction. Unfortunately, most days are spent hammering away at our to-do lists . This creates constant stress and anxiety as our desire to succeed weighs on our ability to finalize tasks and projects. In order to combat burnout, we must be mindful of our feelings and actions.
One of the main benefits of mindfulness is its ability to decrease stress and regulate our emotions. When we focus on the present, we make clearer, more intentional and engaged decisions. Often, we make choices swiftly and out of emotion. These emotions range from anger and spite to pleasure and enthusiasm. Ultimately, every decision impacts the future, which is why it is necessary to remain attentive to our lives and those around us.
Now that we understand what mindfulness is, how do we practice it everyday? All of us have the capability but most of us don’t know how to use it. First, take a moment to check in with yourself. Find time to breathe and gauge your feelings both emotionally and physically. Are you tired? Then make a conscious decision to go to sleep earlier. Are you overwhelmed? Hit the gym and sweat your frustrations out. Mindfulness can also be cultivated through meditation. This creates a calming effect as we become more aware and in touch with our body while meditating. When we observe ourselves, we make choices that establish instant gratification.
How horses can help
Horses are exceptional teachers because their sheer size require us to stay present in their presence. This can be helpful for us here at Pathfindr Equus Coaching since we partner with horses to help individuals and teams create a mindful company culture. Horses can be insightful in increasing our own awareness as they only respond to us when we are fully present and engaged. They have a heightened sense of awareness about their environment and themselves. This is due part to their evolution, since they lived in herds for thousands of years. Horses function socially in groups, which is key in corporate environments and interpersonal relationships. Time spent with horses allows for us to find peace of mind as we take note of how horses engage with surrounding areas and beings.
Equus coaching provides direct and honest feedback, as horses are able to read our body language - they can tell when we’re fearful, uptight or uncomfortable. Horses can also pick up on our happiness, excitement and energy, which they communicate with us through their actions and non-verbal behaviors. We can then adapt and alter our body language and energy. The quiet interaction between horse and human is fundamental to mindfulness, as it fosters awareness and personal development. Pathfindr Equus Coaching invites individuals to participate in self-discovery and create deeper connections between themselves, family, friends and co-workers.
Personal and professional benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness plays a profound role in our happiness, both in and out of the office. A positive mindset and attitude contribute to feelings of satisfaction. Stress, however, burdens this. This reason alone is why mindfulness is imminent to improving your overall well-being. Mindfulness ensures you pay attention to your emotional and physical needs by remaining aware of and in tune with your body. Relationships formed through Equus Coaching help further your relationships in your personal life as you can grow friendships and company culture.
As you become more present in your daily life, your stress load will decrease. Most importantly, mindfulness allows us to focus on one thing at a time. With the constant pressure to succeed at work, individuals multi-task throughout the day. Multitasking, however, is a disadvantage to mindfulness as it causes us to lose focus and increase stress. When we are unable to concentrate on one step at a time, we hinder our ability to remain aware and present. When you emphasize mindfulness, you will begin to take intentional actions, allowing for you to be a more creative and receptive individual.
With the help of horses and Equus Coaching, you will be one step closer to maximizing your full potential as a better leader for both yourself and your peers.