Feeling frazzled? Late on a deadline? Stuck in LA traffic? Consider how often stressful situations leave you feeling irritated and drained. How we manage our energy when faced with a stressful situation can have a far-reaching effect on our performance, health, and overall quality of life.
One key way to manage energy and keep from loosing your cool is to mindfully notice your energy and focus on being present. Equines are masters at being in the present and managing their energy– they have to be in order to survive. Through working with them we can learn a lot about how to effectively use and manage our energy.
Margret, Chance, and Piper* were standing in the middle of the arena, exhausted from running behind the herd of equines. They were visually agitated, and so were the horses and donkeys. The three participants were trying to move the herd of seven equines from one side of the arena, over a pole, and to the other side of the arena, where they had to keep them calm for five minutes. After 10 minutes of wildly attempting to complete the task, the group members threw their hands in the air exclaimed with much exasperation that they could not do it.
We took a time out to process their experience. After some discussion, they all agreed that “running after the horses” was not working. In response to this, they were asked if they’d like to try something different and were given some time to brainstorm. The group went back to their task for a second try. However, this time, before beginning to move the herd the trio stopped & took three big breaths with their eyes closed. After breathing deeply, they opened their eyes and approached their task again. The group moved thoughtfully and slowly towards the herd, as if by magic, one by one, the equines crossed the pole and waited on the other side of the arena.
With broad smiles and confident strides, Margret, Piper, and Chance walked back over to the therapists once the exercise was completed. They were asked, “What worked?” Chance looked confidently at his two peers before answering, “Energy. We paid attention to our energy and took control to shift it. We calmed our bodies and minds, and approached with confident but calm energy.”
As the three clients learned, being aware of & consciously shifting our energy can help us become more present and lead to much better results. When we’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic or are racing to meet a deadline, taking a moment to shift our energy to the present may be the key we need.
*All names & identifying information have been changed