5 Tips to Handle Your Low Mood
I have 4 mares. I know there are many people who prefer geldings, because they’re more stable and less hormonal. I know. Mares have moods.
You know who else has moods?
Me. You. Everyone.
Everyone has ups and downs, high moods and low moods. It’s a part of life.
Some of us have higher highs and lower lows; some of us barely fluctuate. Some of us move slowly through our moods; some of us flip back and forth quickly. But we all have moods. Even the best of us.
Your mood affects you and your relationship with your horse. Here’s 5 things you need to know about your moods and your horse
Moods affect your judgement. When you’re in a high mood, life can look pretty good. But when you’re in a low mood, your skin gets thinner, and every molehill seems like a mountain. When you’re faced with a problem with your horse, be cautious that you don’t blow it out of proportion, just because you’re in a low mood. Question your own thoughts and judgements when you’re in a low mood. It’s very possible that your thoughts aren’t reflecting reality as much as they’re reflecting your low mood.
Don’t (over re-)act while in a low mood. If the problem wouldn’t be a problem if you were in a high mood, then it’s not a real problem is it? When you’re in a low mood with your horse and every molehill seems like a mountain, that is not the time to “correct” the “problems”. Wait until you’re in a high mood. Then see if the problem is still a problem. If it is, then you can act on it from a more rational point of view.
Don’t judge your mood. If you’re in a funk, don’t judge it. Have some compassion for yourself. Remind yourself that it’s a low mood, and everyone has low moods. It does’t mean you’re broken. It means your human. This will prevent an inner war from taking place. From this place of self-acceptance, you’ll be less likely to take personally what your horse does or doesn’t do.
Wait it out. Moods come and moods go. If you’re in a low mood, hunker down and wait. Instead of trying to force a high mood, or trying to summon feelings of happiness or contentment, practice patience. Patience to wait out the storm. If you try to fight it or fake it, the inner war that you wage will have your horse wanting to get away from you. And that’s not going to help the mood.
Don’t hold onto a good mood. This sounds counter-intuitive because high moods are so darn good. But here’s the thing. If you try to hold onto a high mood, and try to keep it lasting as long as possible, you’re going to squeeze the life out of it. You’ll spend all your energy trying to grip it and you will have actually missed it. You weren’t present with it. It’s like missing the beautiful sunset because you were running to get your camera. So if things are going ah-mazing with your horse, wonderful. Live it. Experience it. Enjoy it fully. But don’t force it to last.
I’ve learned (the hard way) to check in with myself and recognize when I’m in a high or low mood before entering my horses’ pasture. If I’m in a low mood, I caution myself that my skin might be thin. I remind myself that my thoughts and feelings are going to reflect the low mood and not necessarily reality. Then I might do some simple warm-up exercises with my horse (I’m the one warming up) to assess how I can handle challenge. If I feel I can handle it, then I go a bit further with my horse. If I can’t, I back off.
It’s not worth damaging the relationship because of a temporary mood. So keep it light. Keep it easy. Exercise self-compassion. And if need be, there is zero shame in stopping the session early, taking that halter off and putting the relationship first. There’s always tomorrow.
Here’s to You and Your Horse