Mind in Focus Program … Stress Reduction and Emotional Rebalance

 

High stress levels are affecting more and more people; all kinds of people, any age, any socioeconomic group, any gender. It is not fussy. The effects of stress can be far reaching causing emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms.

Signs of stress are different in everyone, with some people experiencing physical signs, like fatigue or high blood pressure, and others emotional or psychological signs, like irritability or depression.
Workplace related stress in particular can cause physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms that can be hugely incapacitating in all aspects of life.

What is the Mind in Focus Program?

Our Mind in Focus Program is a unique process of combining equine therapy and mindfulness to more fully experience the benefits of both to reduce stress in the workplace.

Equine therapy, using the EAGALA model, a ground based, experiential process with a treatment team, which includes horses, is a scientifically supported form of therapy with numerous psychological and physical benefits. It is also especially beneficial for those attempting to deal with the far reaching and debilitating effects of stress.

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to, and seeing clearly whatever is happening in life. It doesn’t eliminate pressures or problems, but does help people respond to challenges in a calmer manner. This is beneficial to their heart, head, and body. It helps them recognize habitual, often unconscious emotional and physiological reactions to everyday events. Mindfulness is a scientifically researched approach to developing greater clarity, insight, and understanding, leading to an improvement in quality of life.

Why combine equine therapy and Mindfulness?

The benefits of being Mindful are well established and are now accepted in mainstream scientific literature. However, for some people achieving a state of Mindfulness is quite a challenge. And the more that it is needed, the more difficult it can be to achieve. Adding a horse, or team of horses to the process and working in an arena in the open air not only increases the beneficial effects of mindfulness but makes the practice easier to achieve and therefore more accessible.

Horses add another dimension too. Horses are prey animals and their existence has been ensured by their heightened sense of intuition. They respond to our energy levels and authenticity and give immediate and undeniable feedback. Our Mind in Focus Program teaches people to reconnect with what matters in life, decrease stress levels and become who they were destined to be before life became complicated.

The Fullgallop Mind in Focus Program will help address stress-related issues including:

Decreasing hyperarousal –
Many individuals struggling with stress often feel that they are constantly on high alert. This type of energy can cause countless problems effecting life, health and wellbeing.

When someone brings a high level of arousal into the arena it is noticed immediately by the horses because they respond to emotional tone and energy. After seeing this effect the client is shown how to reduce energy and lessen arousal levels. They receive immediate feedback on their progress, from the horse. As they reduce their arousal levels they will achieve a different response. This cannot be faked, intentionally or unintentionally, horses are acutely intuitive and the participant has immediate and undeniable feedback.

Sitting in an office and asking someone to lower their arousal level does not have the same effect. Sometimes it can have the opposite effect, invalidating the person’s feelings. This can add to their sense of hopelessness. Asking a person, whose body is in a state of fight or flight, to use their mind to relax can be an uphill battle for both the therapist and the client. Engaging in outdoor exercises with the horses provides a clear learning outcome and experience of early success.

Lower Stress
Using mindful, experiential exercises helps participants consciously lower their stress levels. This results in an immediate recognition that they are able to gain control over something that can seem out of control and terrifying. Our mindfulness exercises are taught with the horses present. Having the horses to support the process makes the learning easier and more fun. Lessons that are fun are more meaningful and are more likely to be retained. Participants are then shown how to transfer this new skill into everyday life.

• Mindfulness is an incredibly powerful tool for dealing with and handling stress.

• Mindfulness can help reduce your body’s cortisol levels, which quickly lowers stress on a neurochemical level.

• Mindfulness can also help deal with negative self talk, so workplace problems are handled more easily.

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Some people find it difficult to be mindful. This is particularly true when suffering with chronic stress, just when mindfulness is most needed it can be hardest to obtain. Being in an arena, in the open air, it becomes easier to be exactly where you are. That is a good start when practising mindfulness. Adding a horse or two makes concentrating on the moment at hand second nature to most people. Thinking about the past or the future when you have one or more large, lively and inquisitive horse milling around is actually quite difficult for most people. Horses live in the moment and being around them is a great way to start to experience the benefits of doing the same.

Encouraging expression – Everyone handles stress differently, and many individuals do so by bottling up their emotions until they can’t hold them in any longer. By working on the ground with a horse and an equine therapist, an individual can begin to develop stronger communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal) that help him or her avoid reaching a breaking point and the negative outbursts that often follow. Paying close attention to the horse’s reactions to your non-verbal behaviors, through equine therapy, will result in some significant awareness of yourself.

In our Mind in Focus Program we offer unique experiential exercise aimed at people who have difficulty discussing their feelings, helping them to open up in a brand new non-threatening manner.

Promoting self-esteem – Healthy self-esteem is crucial in being able to manage stress. An individual can begin building confidence in themselves to a point where they can work through their challenges calmly. Equine assisted therapy can help foster solid self-esteem by not only providing individuals with opportunities to succeed, but also by allowing them to work through their issues through equine assisted counseling, guided by the equine therapist.

Increasing levels of connection and finding meaning – social connection is a human need linked to both psychological and physical health including a stronger immune system, faster recovery from disease and longevity.
Social connection may be particularly important under stress because stress can lead to a sense of vulnerability and loss of control. Working with horses in ground-based exercises provides the individual with the opportunity to experience real connection. It also allows the treatment team to see what behaviors the client uses to help and what behaviors they use to hinder those connections. Additionally, the participant gets to experience appropriate levels of control with a very sensitive, intuitive creature weighing 600 kilos.

Our Mind in Focus Program helps people dealing with stress decrease their hyperarousal, improve positive expression, increase self-esteem, develop greater connection and experience appropriate control levels.

We provide the opportunity for people to examine what they can do well rather then what they can’t do.

Many people experiencing very high stress levels have a reduced capacity for having fun. At Fullgallop, in our Mind in Focus Program, participant will learn that they can have fun while decreasing stress levels, increasing communication and connection and experiencing greater success and achievement; all helping them to rediscover their well-being and passion for life.
Contact us for the next start date.