Anxious? Stressed? Worried? Why are we experiencing an anxiety epidemic?

Anxiety is the most contagious affect in the human experience. 

Whether or not we realize it, we are designed to pick up on the anxiety of others.  It’s how we stay safe when we are young, and it carries into adulthood.  The problem is, our bodies are not designed for us to be anxious and afraid all of the time.

Think about that for a moment; why do we feel anxious? Because of our experience AND because of how anxious other people are feeling too. Anxiety is contagious.

How can Integrative Equine Therapy help with anxiety? 

Beachwood’s horses show us what it’s like to be and feel safe. Horses move away from danger, and what is unsafe. When they feel safe, they communicate that sense of safety, wordlessly.

When we are in a safe environment the horses show us what safety looks, sounds and feels like.  With horses, we experience safety somatically, and can begin to feel and process trauma and the emotions that go along with it.  This is something that isn’t possible when we are even the least bit fearful.  

As anxiety subsides, we begin to experience what it feels like to move out of the fight or flight part of our brain, and then our minds and our bodies become aware of all kinds of information that was being filtered out when we were anxious.  Our nervous system and our emotional body can see, hear, sense and feel so much more!

Now, we can begin to be somatically aware of the difference between living in a state of well being; and, ignoring or pushing through what our nervous system is telling us – anxiety – as if everything is ok.

The American Psychological Association’s most recent survey reports that stress is so bad in America in 2022, that 27% of people were so stressed they couldn’t function. 

How many sessions does it take to start seeing results from Integrative Equine Therapy (IET)?

On average, Beachwood clients experience significant improvement in 7 Integrative Equine Therapy sessions, which means that on average IET takes about 10-12 weeks, and is 1/3 of the cost of traditional therapy. 

If you come for an Integrative Equine Therapy Intensive, you can experience 7 IET sessions in 4 or 5 days instead of 10-12 weeks. Clients report that they are back at work, off medications, and feeling like themselves again after an IET sessions in both intensive and standard formats. Contact us for more information.  We look forward to designing an Integrative Equine Therapy Intensive that works with your lifestyle, and best supports your needs!

Anxious? Stressed? Worried? Why are we experiencing an anxiety epidemic?

Who does Integrative Equine Therapy (IET) help? 

Beachwood’s Integrative Equine Therapists and Beachwood’s horses in Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, Illinois, and South Carolina see children as young as seven up through adults in their 70s. it is never too late to realize that you can actually feel good! 

Why do I feel so anxious? What is trauma?

How old were you when you first experienced something that was way too big for you to manage? How long ago were you first frightened or scared, and felt that you had to get through it alone?  When you think about that experience, do you feel it in your body? 

When fear is overwhelming and we don’t have a human connection to help us process and contextualize it, we know that the experience gets stored as trauma in the amygdala, the fight or flight part of our brains. 

Then, when anything happens that feels like that fear again, before you even get a chance to decide, your system releases adrenaline and cortisol again creating that anticipatory dread, or that feeling of anxiety. 

Stress And Anxiety Accelerate the Aging Process

Stress ages us when we are chronically stressed and don’t reach out for the support we need to relieve generalized anxiety, worry, and stress.  Yale University reported that this cumulative stress accelerated aging. The good news is that when people are able to develop practices that increase resilience such as emotional regulation and self-control, those practices helped to reduce the aging effects of stress.

How does anxiety feel in your body?  

What does anxiety feel like in your body? Tummy aches and gastro-intestinal issues are often signs of anxiety. What does a panic attack feel like? It can feel like heart racing anxiety with shortness of breath and those physical sensations are linked to feelings of fear. Anxiety can show up physically as sudden startling, jitteriness, trembling hands, vertigo, shaking in our voices, and headaches. 

Why do I have anxiety? What purpose does anxiety serve?

You are supposed to be afraid when others are afraid; it’s a survival mechanism. It’s how we stayed aware and stayed connected to others so we could survive the sabretooth tigers! 

Humans are designed to live connected to each other; we need our caregivers to protect and feed us when we are too tiny to do it ourselves. As we develop and grow, we seek out connections outside our families and develop tribes, and societies for the safety of all. Our lives depend on that connection. 

But there’s a difference between fear and anxiety.  Anxiety is generalized fear. 

Part of being connected to others is sensing and picking up on danger.  When we anticipate that danger is inevitable, or we get stuck in that fearful place whether or not there’s something to be afraid of, we feel anxiety.  

Fear And Anxiety Are Contagious 

Our human systems are designed to pick up on fear to keep us safe. When we live in connected and balanced way, we are able to notice fear and be afraid.  When we are stuck in an anxiety loop, we feel fear whether or not there’s something to be afraid of.  

Rather than be able to look around, and notice that we are actually safe, and allow the feelings and the hormones that fear triggers to flow through us, we get caught feeling frightened all of the time.  

How can Beachwood Integrative Equine Therapy (IET) help people who are experiencing daily and overwhelming anxiety? 

When someone is experiencing generalize anxiety, Beachwood’s process helps you to experience safety, something most people don’t even remember feeling. Horses are so sensitive to their environment and have such a low threshold for living in fear, they will show us anything in their in their environment that feels fearful.

When horses don’t feel safe, they communicate that lack of safety to the herd and rapidly move away from it. For people who’ve experienced lifelong anxiety or have been conditioned to think that fear and anxiety are normal, Beachwood’s horses help us feel safe and move toward what is safe.

Beachwood horses help people with anxiety because they help us have a somatic awareness of safety so we can make conscious choices rather than have reactions to what we are afraid of. 

What is the best breed of horse for Integrative Equine Therapy?

At Beachwood Integrative Equine Therapy, we use Warmblood horses. We can trace the linage of our horses back to the C13th and C15th when they carried Knights into battle. 

The first Warmblood horses were Trakehners, from Prussia.  Those horses began to be included in the Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg, Westfalen, Dutch Warmblood (KWPN), and other Warmblood breeds. At Beachwood Integrative Equine Therapy, we know the life history and blood lines of our Warmblood horses. When they are not helping Beachwood clients heal from anxiety, trauma, grief, depression, trauma, and PTSD, many of them are also still competing in the Dressage Arenas. 

At Beachwood’s Palm Beach County, Florida and Washington County, Rhode Island Centers, Beachwood’s horses also help clients learn how to connect with horses in Horsemanship sessions.  

Horsemanship is a great way to strengthen your ability to operate from the conscious brain, thereby reducing reactivity.  The more we operate consciously aware of all of our surroundings and faculties, the less we will experience anxiety. 

Where does anxiety come from?

The challenge for us, as human beings living in a technological and media-driven culture, is that even when we are not in immediate danger, we are saturated with signals that tell us we are in danger. 

Do you ever wonder about how doom scrolling or getting sucked into those social media sites that trade in doom clickbait will affect you? 

It absolutely causes and increases anxiety! 

We can be drenched with fear even when there is nothing to fear, or the danger has long passed. 

And when our system senses we are in danger, the neural pathway you use to make decisions originates in the fight or flight part of your brain instead of the conscious part of your brain. 

How does anxiety affect daily life? 

Is your child struggling? Dealing with bullying? Refusing to go to school? Worried or anxious and unable to focus on their classes? 

They’re suffering from anxiety, and experiencing reactions from the fight or flights part of their brain, not making conscious choices.  They can’t help it.  

Some feel they don’t want to get out of bed because facing what is going on is way too much to deal with. Going to school or meeting new people is too much.  The fear of being bullied, harassed, or whatever has happened is much more than they can handle and is much more than they are ready to deal with. 

How does anxiety feel?

When we get stuck living in the anxious fight or flight part of our brain, we might be able to smile on the outside, but somatically, we are feeling waves of physical and emotional fear on the inside. 

The more we push through this anxiety and fear instead of getting help to figure out what is going on, the more difficult it is to believe that it is possible to experience a full calm and connected life.

Is there data to show Integrative Equine Therapy works?

Ten years of data collected by Brown University shows that Integrative Equine Therapy at Beachwood with Beachwood horses helps. Warmblood Integrative Equine Therapy horses like Rajah, Wish, Lupita, Dior, Bugatti, Sierra, Selena, help people heal quickly and effectively with the lasting results. 

Data shows that people who came to Beachwood before COVID-19 for example, did not experience anxiety during COVID-19 and were able to process the stress and worry we all felt without storing it as a cycle of anxiety and fear. Beachwood’s protocol can also help with trauma, grief, PTSD, fibromyalgia, and psychosomatic illnesses including gastrointestinal issues. 

What kind of issues can Integrative Equine Therapy horses help with?

Often, trauma from our childhood, shows up as anxiety when we are adults. Things like starting a new school, or job, changing locations, marriage, or divorce, the birth of a child, the loss of a spouse, and adoption can all be triggering events for us no matter how happy or sad the experience. We often react, rather than respond. When we are anxious, we don’t get to choose.  

Integrative Equine Therapy helps us shift from reactions to responses so that we’re able to show up as the best version of ourselves.

How do we heal? How does it feel after Integrative Equine Therapy?

Author Alexandra Elle’s book “How we Heal” captures how it feels when we heal. How does it feel when we are actually healthy and well? 

Integrative Equine Therapy at Beachwood helps our clients move from survive to thrive. 

When we thrive, we experience our lives, rather than dread them.  After Integrative Equine Therapy, we can live most often from a place of safety, security, and connectedness.  Knowing we are not alone and that we have the tools and the ability to survive.  

And with the new neutral pathways we build, when we do experience something that’s bigger than we’re able to deal with, we can respond with all of our faculties. 

We can get back on an even keel with support from Beachwood Integrative Equine Therapy and Beachwood’s horses.

Plus, we can feel what is safe to turn towards and seek out more happiness, joy, and connection in our lives. Just like Beachwood’s horses. 

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