If you are not quite sure what I mean by pressure today I am going to use the term pressure to represent all the things that we are faced with on a daily basis or once in a lifetime that make us want to run, resist or push back against and or lack the motivation to move forward with. Essentially all the stresses we encounter that are triggers for us and activate our nervous system telling us the big I CANT, I WONT or I WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH. Some examples might be playing on a sports team always worried about not doing good enough or having to be better, your workplace dealing with other peoples ideas, suggestions or orders that don't resonate with you, raising children (I mean everyone and I mean everyone can do it better then me!) paying bills, public speaking, having to be in close confinement with people you don't know on a bus, deadlines, making healthy choices and the guilt or shame that surfaces when we choose something that doesn't meet those standards, just making it to work alive in rush hour and of course keeping peace in our intimate relationships just to name a few. Any of these sound familiar?
These are all human ways of going, horses well there main pressures are where do I find food, shelter & water, do I have a herd so that I have connection, interaction and most importantly a leader so that I AM SAFE or am I the leader so I can keep my herd safe and that's about it. Trust me its not that horses are not faced with all sorts of other stresses/pressures but horses are relationship oriented and respond very well to environmental pressures as well as communicative pressure when it is appropriately used. Why is this relevant to us humans? well the one thing horses experience the majority of their every day lives even when facing pressure that we don't is PEACE!! So your thinking so what is peace? or why is that important to me? because it is my observation and many others that peace is really what we are all striving for in our environments, relationships and selves. Without peace we are in constant mental, emotional, spiritual & even physical strain and a good chunk of it is avoidable, completely unnecessary and down right self imposed. So on that note lets begin with the first thing in this series that horses are going to teach you about how to find peace under pressure.
Ease your Nervous system. When the fear gets the best of you remind yourself its a challenge not a threat unless of course it is a threat if this is the case then also act like a horse and move your feet as fast as possible away from the threat, if that isn't an option then all teeth and hooves start a flying. Lets get back to the challenges though, most of our everyday pressures are challenges not threats (and by threats I mean life or death survival) but what we don't realize is that often our nervous systems receive the information and believes these stresses are threats as we have done nothing to tell our incredibly hard working nervous systems differently. When this happens a bunch of very cool physiological things take place in our bodies but we are going to go back to the activation, the trigger that happens which then stirs up the thoughts I CANT, I WONT and or I AM NEVER GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH. This is a normal reaction to a whole bunch of things that are based on our previous experiences and the beliefs that we have formed from these experiences. How to rectify this and find peace in the face of a challenge is to first remind yourself this is just a challenge not a threat and that you are safe. Just a reminder whats the single most important thing horses need to achieve peace? they need to know they are safe! Step 1 assess the threat vs challenge and gently remind yourself you are safe.
stay tuned for our next blog post that will continue on with the next thing you can learn from our horses about remaining calm under pressure.