Are you Feeling Lonely?
You need not necessarily feel lonely only when you are alone and all by yourself. On the other hand, you can still feel lonely even when you are surrounded by people. You might feel lonely when you don’t feel meaningful connections with others in a room full of people, or you might feel completely alone and lost even when you are around your friends or family.
Loneliness is a normal human emotion. Everyone experiences it. However, it could be bad for your physical and mental health if you do not seek help and overcome it. Feeling lonely does not make you weak. It is just a reminder that you are not made of rock and you are a human.
Who better to help you overcome loneliness than friendly, empathetic, and ever-loving animals? Equine therapy at Healing Hearts and Minds can help you get past the phase and start to feel connected again with people. It is a healthy way to create more meaningful connections and prevent social isolation.
Why Do We Feel Lonely?
There is no single common cause for loneliness. It can happen at different stages in life. Be it a kid who doesn’t have any friends or a new student in college or university who feels unwanted amongst his peers or someone who had a break-up, or someone who lost their spouse recently. These are all termed situational loneliness. You feel lost because of a situation and long for new connections.
However, if a person feels lonely more frequently than normal, it could be a sign of chronic loneliness. It is a negative feeling experienced when you are socially disconnected or the needs aren’t met. And it is vital you tend to it.
Loneliness is normal, but to constantly feel lonely is not. Continual feelings of isolation can lead to serious health issues including physical and mental. A lonely feeling is often linked with depression, anxiety, and self-harming thoughts and you must seek professional help.
Does technology cause loneliness?
We live in an advanced digitally connected world, where connecting with friends and family is just a touch away with our gadgets. Our social environment has changed. Gone are the days when you’d have to wait for weeks to receive a letter from your loved ones. Communicating with friends and family is an instant process with social media, emails, and video calls and we spend time together less.
The world is more connected than ever, yet so disconnected. Social media sites are powerful tools with a strong potential to connect with people in far-flung places, boost careers, learn new things, and build communities, however, they also unleash a myriad of mental health issues that have altered the sense of reality.
Virtual life is all about all things pretty and nice. No one posts about things when things go wrong in their life. It is a fantasy world having its perks. But it is also making people believe in unrealistic things, especially the young generation and compare their lives with others and brood about the things they don’t have.
In other words, social media is a switch that unplugs us from the real world and makes us lonelier.
How does equine therapy help in overcoming loneliness?
Over-connection can also make you feel lonely. People sometimes prefer to hit the brakes and disconnect from the outer world when they’re overwhelmed with never-ending meetings at work, or running errands every day. That is okay. Solitude is peaceful for most.
Some prefer consuming alcohol to take the edge off their loneliness or to numb the feeling. It is only a momentary fix. Or might lead to a whole new problem of addiction while trying to mend a different issue.
Loneliness does not have a quick fix. It is a slow transition. Not everyone can make instant social connections. For people like that, filling the social life void with a furry friend can be easier and more beneficial.
Equine-assisted therapy helps people explore their feelings, calm themselves down, connect and strengthen their relationships with themselves and others.
Horses are blessed with the ability to sense human emotions and mirror them back.
How does equine-assisted therapy work?
Equine-assisted therapy is a therapeutic process to enhance mental and emotional well-being with the help of horses as therapeutic healers.
People with loneliness might find it hard to connect with people with the fear of judgement and lack of self-confidence. Although, bonding with animals can be easier for such people as they’re non-judgemental, impartial, and empathetic.
It is a known fact that animals do not speak, but they are known to be excellent communicators.
Likewise, horses have the ability to understand or sense how a person feels and have the potential to allow people to develop self-confidence and love.
The therapy includes engaging clients in activities like feeding, haltering, and grooming a horse while being monitored by a mental health professional and an expert horse handler.
The professional can understand the issues better with the way the horse responds to a person’s emotions. It is easy to delude a human but not a horse. As mentioned earlier, they communicate based on emotions.
Does equine-assisted therapy have an age bar?
The feeling of loneliness can happen to any human with no age restriction. Likewise, equine-assisted therapy has nothing to do with how old a person is and horses know no boundary of age.
Horses pick up human emotion and respond to the same. For instance, if a person is angry, the horse may become obstinate and react to it. If a person is nervous and uncomfortable, the horse may get skittish.
Equine therapy takes place in groups in the farm amidst greenery and fresh air. It soothes an individual’s state of mind and helps them relax.
The therapy allows people to share their experiences, whilst the therapist guides the person to recognize their perceptions and escape the dark thoughts that keep them isolated.
Long-term loneliness has destructive effects that distort people’s cognitions about themselves. They tend to believe that if they deserve to be lonely and they will never be loved the way they want.
Equine-assisted therapy helps people with such emotional instabilities to line their thoughts and behaviour with reality.
Equine-assisted therapy at Healing Hearts and Mind will help people develop a greater sense of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-confidence while strengthening their ability to adapt to the outer world.