“You’re too sensitive!” She said, slamming the door as she left.
Well, you’re an IN-sensitive a**hole, I thought to myself, not having the nerve to actually say it out loud.
Welcome to the world of being highly sensitive in a world that still lacks in understanding.
Within the past few years I’ve come to the awareness that I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP). No. This does not mean I’m psychic (though I’m working on that). A person who is highly sensitive has a significantly fine-tuned nervous system—an energetic over-achiever, I suppose.
Hail to the vibration gods!
As an HSP, I am neurologically wired to be quite sensitive to energy and I feel things more deeply than the average person. It’s like my nervous system has an antenna that attracts a lot of signals most wouldn’t pick up on: Others emotions, sounds (like a dog barking two miles away that only my ears seem to hear), the weather, (I feel the gloominess of dreary days) smells, physical sensations like pain, and more.
Research backs up these claims. In fact, a study published by Stony Brook University reported that HSPs actually have more activity going on in the parts of the brain involving attention and action planning. When an HSP was shown pictures of loved ones having positive and negative emotion, the parts of their brains dealing with awareness, empathy, and action planning were much more active than non-HSPs. This totally explains why some people (HSP) go into helping professions quite regularly, with heaps and heaps of empathy.
· Get overwhelmed at large gatherings.
· Want and need to spend large amounts of time alone.
· Experience deep empathy for others.
· Will absorb other people’s emotions.
· Will struggle with feelings of anxiety and/or depression.
· Become drained of energy when there are a lot of people around.
· Are wonderful listeners.
· Cry happy and sad tears—often.
· Get asked the question, “Are you okay” often.
Being highly sensitive, I’ve learned that self-care is very important in order to keep my anxiety at a manageable level. After all, there are plenty of things I want to experience in life without feeling power-surge frazzled.
It doesn’t always go as planned, but I’m learning how to manage it in a way that fits my life.
As I commit to practice daily self-care techniques and remind myself to continue on my wild self-love journey, my life makes more sense. My confidence rises. My energy level increases. My passions and drive soar and damn, that feels good!
Whether you’re HSP or simply prone to anxiety or stagnation, make a commitment to practice the following techniques regularly. It takes discipline and effort, but it’s totally worth it!
Grounding is a technique that is necessary in the high-tech cell phone/iPad/television world we live in. Our bodies are made up of cells that have electrical energy. Being around technology can cause an increase of positive electrons in the body. Getting out there and having direct contact with Mother Earth can help balance you out, as the Earth is a negative grounding charge. So lose the shoes and socks and walk barefoot or lie in the grass (naked if you can without getting arrested) for five to ten minutes. You can also take a walk in nature or sleep under the stars on occasion. Grounding has been reported to also help with issues like chronic pain, sleep difficulties, inflammation, and fatigue.
Implementing yoga into your life will help you mind, body, and spirit. Many expert yoga instructors will tell you that the best kinds of yoga for HSPs are Kundalini and restorative yoga. Kundalini yoga will help open up your chakras and restorative yoga really helps stretch out your muscles and connective tissues. Yoga is also great at helping release excess energy stored in the body.
If you’re like me, you live up in your head a lot. My mind can run marathon after marathon, which is one reason I make meditation a consistent practice. Taking time to journal can help get some of those thoughts and feelings out and reduce anxiety. Journaling has been found to be quite therapeutic for just about anyone.
4) Salt baths.
Epsom salt is the ticket, as it’s made up of a mineral heaven of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium helps reduce inflammation, boosts nerve function, and helps regulate many enzymes. Sulfate will help you get rid of toxins and help with nutrient absorption.
Nurture yourself. Light some candles. Sink down into a hot bath of self-love regularly.
5) Dry brushing.
Get yourself a natural bristle brush and brush your entire body. This may sound odd, but it’s actually very helpful, as it gets your blood flowing throughout your body. Starting with your feet, brush using circular motions, working all the way up to your face. This is a great tool for those HSPs, allowing you to feel less overwhelmed and more energized.
Start getting massages regularly, as they are wonderful for releasing built-up toxins in the body. A good massage will help your lymphatic system get moving and of course, help you relax.
Acupuncture is a great relaxation and healing technique that can help your nervous system calm down and get stagnant energy moving.
8) Practice setting and enforcing firm boundaries.
It’s important to embody firm boundaries each day. Do you have a tough time putting your own needs first? Do you automatically say yes to people who ask something of you without considering what you really want?
Practice the art of saying “No thank you.” Take a moment to pause and think about what you desire and how you want your day to go before responding to requests. People will eat up your time and energy if you let them. Feel good about taking care of yourself first. Then you can give from the “cup that runneth over” place; not out of obligation or fatigue.
9) Listen to your body.
Our body talks to us all the time and as a HSP, we’ve got to tune in to what it’s trying to tell us. Over-stimulation can lead to an overwhelming amount of anxiety, which can ultimately land you wiped out lying in the bed for days at a time. At the same time, too much solitude and quiet time can lead to feelings of sadness or apathy. Take time daily to listen to your body. What does it need today? What sensations are you feeling? Are your emotions trying to convey a message to you? Have you been stuffing emotions and your body is edging you on to let them out? We must trust that our body will guide us in a direction for the greater good.
I’ve come to fully accept that I’m highly sensitive. In fact, many artists, healers, poets, writers, and musicians are also HSPs. Instead of focusing on what others may deem as negative characteristics (too sensitive, too emotional, etc.), let’s emphasize the positives:
· We have the ability to connect with others at a deep level.
· We are fine-tuned to beauty.
· We are intuitive.
· We are quite compassionate
· We are quite creative
Let’s take good care of our highly sensitive selves. Let’s practice these self-care techniques regularly and fully embrace and celebrate who we are.
Because we’re amazing just as we are.
Author: Dominica Applegate
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: jay_defehr at Flickr
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