Your Window of Tolerance is Not Fixed
In her book ‘Language, Signs and Calming Signals of Horses (2018), Dr Rachael Draaisma describes over 20 different signals that horse give to each other when they are trying to stay calm in the face of increased stress. For a horse, an increase in stress levels could be as simple as the presence of a new person, animal or even strange sounds and smells.
Horses want to be in a state of calm. If they find themselves in stressful or negative situations too frequently, their ‘window of tolerance’ reduces in size and they become less able to deal with additional stress, resulting in a fight or flight response.
People are basically no different. The size of our personal ‘window’ depends upon how much we are able to tolerate challenges to our personal resilience. As our personal window is pressured it becomes harder to stay calm and grounded in the present because we are spending so much time worrying about what has happened and what may happen.
Our work centres on helping people (of all ages) to understand how to regulate themselves and, through observation of the horses, identify strategies that they can use to get back to a state of calm. One of our favourites calming signals used by the herd is of course, the horsey out breath – a favourite with all ages.
As people develop strategies to both stay calm and to return to a state of calm so their personal window grows. This leads to less emotional regulation and disruption and may reduce the risk of individuals becoming over aroused.
For more information on equine assisted learning, please all Annie on 0411 549562 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org