Is Your Passion For Horses Healthy?
Harmonious vs. Obsessive Passion
Passion for the horse is what our world is built on upon. Passion for the journey with horses is what inspires in us leadership, tenacity and a hunger for knowledge of all things equestrian. Grit, born of enthusiasm, is an ingredient required to rise before the crack of dawn for competitions or stay up into the wee hours of the morning to care for a sick horse. Passion for the horse emboldens us to climb on to the backs of these magnificently powerful animals but passion for the journey lifts us up to climb back on if we fall.
With the horse, our emotional and energetic investments produce a connection, the first spark of passion, and a powerful driving force. When there is balance in our passion it becomes harmonious. The joy we experience from our work with horses fortifies us to undertake and learn from difficult experiences in order to improve. We encounter a number of highs and lows in our industry, so it’s important that we don't mistake grinding for grit. When we fail to create balance in our passion, it tips the scales from harmonious to obsessive.
The way that we express our passion, harmonious or obsessive, impacts our relationships with ourselves, our horses, and other people. This expression affects our sense of self, our ability to reach goals, and ultimately, the quality of life for ourselves and our horses. Let’s take a second to unpack what these manifestations of passion really look like.
Set up Good Habits
“Those who are obsessively passionate... are inflexibly, excessively and compulsively committed, finding it difficult to disengage. As such, they are setting up bad habits from the start, and risking burnout in the longer run.”1
“Research shows that harmonious and obsessive passion are positively and negatively linked to well-being respectively”2 Recognizing when your passion has become obsessive is the first step to regaining balance. It’s important to remember that this is not a mode that people intentionally set out to achieve. Most slip into this unhealthy pattern without realizing.
You may be aware of harmonious feelings flowing in yourself and you may not. If you find yourself at the more obsessive end of the spectrum, great job recognizing your status objectively. You can course-correct and achieve balance. Take a moment to list some behaviors you recognize as obsessive, acknowledge the warning signs, and then offer yourself a harmonious inverse behavior to develop into a habit when that obsessive "red flag" appears. Knowing how to help your unique body and mind will set you on the path towards a harmonious balance in your life.
It Starts With Food
The way that we feel is within our control.
Our diets can influence motivation levels, decision making, bodily energy, and clarity of mind. Yet, so many give that power away by absentmindedly or obsessively consuming calories that do not contribute to healthy patterns and feelings.
Create balance by listening to your body. What does that headache mean? What do you eat that makes you feel bloated or tired? Journal about your diet and try eliminating foods that don’t agree with you.
Pay attention to when you feel really, really good and what you might have done to achieve this state. Choose more of that! Choose to prioritize feeling great.
As equestrians, a healthy goal should include experiencing passion that provides better returns on your emotional and energetic investment. Build a lifestyle that both supports and is supported by your passion. Part of your journey through life with horses is developing mind, breath, and body to gain a healthier perspective and enhance your quality of life.
When we find this harmonious balance within our passion, our journey with horses really starts to Flow.