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Equestrian Mindset Coaching: handling anxiety today

Q: I am beyond anxious at the moment – I’m worried about my horses, and my family, and the whole world has gone crazy. How am I going to get through the next few weeks?

Answered by Linda Hennings, Forging Ahead, Equestrian Mindset Coaching

A: I know that it’s not easy, but the answer is actually a simple one – the most important thing right now is to focus on what you can control:

A = Attitude. Yes, it’s a cliché, but you really do have control over your attitude at this time. You have the power to choose whether to allow panic and fear to rule you, or to take charge and direct your energies towards as yet unexplored possibilities. You may be on lockdown, but you are not alone. Reach out and connect with friends and family using the technology we all have at our fingertips. Choose to engage in positive ways – spread hope and gratitude, not conflict and distress. Be real, be vulnerable, but be gentle – with yourself and others.

B = Breathe. Now is the perfect time to practice some simple breathing techniques. They have been proved to lower the heart rate and take you out of that scary flight or fight response. Start easy, by breathing in for the count of 4. Imagine that the air is traveling in through your nose, down to your lungs, all the way down to the base of your spine, and then gently exhale, to the count of four again, allowing the air to travel slowly up your spine, all the way up over your head and flowing gently over your face and out through your mouth. I find it useful to imagine that I’m blowing on a hot bowl of soup, to cool it down. Repeat in cycles of 4 until you feel calmer. Many clients have found “soup breathing” to really help to lower their anxiety in stressful situations.

C = Commit. Make a promise to yourself today that you will emerge from this lockdown with some new ideas, new habits, new thoughts about yourself and the world, and then commit to the process of making this happen. You might want to focus on your own fitness – there’s a lot you can do from home, and multiple online resources to help you. You may have a stash of articles or books, or online videos that you have been meaning to read or watch forever, and just never got around to it because of the busyness of everyday life. What about an online study course in a subject you have always wanted to explore? Now is the time.

By focusing on the things that are within your control right now, and implementing a solid plan for managing your anxiety when it threatens to spiral out of control, you begin to feel more empowered. You will feel less frantic and fearful; more able to calm yourself; more able breathe into the possibility that you have the mental skills you need to survive this difficult time; and more secure in the knowledge that, ultimately, everything is going to be ok.

Sending love and light to all.

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