Stress Relief the Equine Way
The positive effect of your relationship with your horse
Have you wondered how spending time with your horse actually seems to relieve your stress? There is a neuroscientific explanation for this, as being with your horse actually helps to re-wire your brain to have a positive outlook, whatever challenges you face. It all relates to where our ‘stress’ comes from.
When we are stressed or anxious we are functioning from the primitive emotional part of the brain – our limbic system. This part of the brain cannot tell the difference between ‘stress’ caused by a genuine life or death situation i.e. confronting a polar bear or ‘stress’ causes by a relationship problem, financial difficulty or pressure at work. When we are operating from this part of the brain, we are on alert for potential danger and our general outlook is always a negative or gloomy one.
So what about being with our horse changes all this? We don’t have to be riding to feel just a little bit better about life, as we know that just being with our horse makes a difference. In my last blog I alluded to the importance of a connection with your horse, one which is built and strengthened by our release of the hormone oxytocin which reinforces social bonds. So, we have already established that loving and caring for our horse helps our relationship with them and also makes us feel happier. What else about being with our horse is helping to relieve our stress?
Whether we are mucking out, clearing the field or spending time feeding and grooming our horse, we are benefitting from doing so. Mentally healthy behaviour is related to our release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. For these to be triggered we need to be thinking positively, being active in a positive way and interacting in a positive way. Being with our horse ticks every box at once!
In undertaking general activities associated with looking after our horse we are regularly doing tasks that don’t require any conscious effort. The last time you were feeding and caring for your horse, you might remember that you had groomed and put a rug on them without really noticing you had done so. This is your horse effectively relieving your stress as you are distracted from dwelling on your problems in a positive way. These routine activities with our much-loved horses are providing the opportunity for our intellectual mind to go into a positive trance state – also known as rehearsal mode and it is here that our brain is stimulated to come up with solutions to our day to day problems. Our state of mind becomes calmer, clearer and more rational and logical.
As we reduce our stress levels we feel happier and our horse is effectively the catalyst to switch our brain into this more positive state. Just being with our horse provides us with the three essential activities (positive thinking, doing and interacting) we need to feel we can cope with whatever challenges life has in store. Our horses really do help us to relieve our stress!
Hypnotherapy can help you to get the very best out of your relationship with you horse. Whether you are having a confidence ‘wobble’ or just want to improve the relationship with your horse, Emma, based in our Devon Clinics, works quickly using Solution Focused techniques in order to get you back on track. Often stress from other areas of your life can affect you and your relationship with your horse – in the saddle and from the ground.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent. If you would like to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you lift depression click here to find your nearest therapist and book your free initial consultation.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information.