If you have just started to learn about the universe that is called ‘high sensitivity’ you might feel euphoric or devastated or anything in between. Because now you know that (extreme) sensitivity exists but what of it? It might seem pointless to know about this partly inherited trait if you don’t know what to do with the new knowledge.
Do not despair: this article will get you started. It will help you to embrace your (high) sensitivity and to create a life accommodating it – instead of the other way round; that your life is being dictated by your (high) sensitivity.
High sensitivity is a characteristic of the nervous system, including the brain. It is characterized by (extreme) sensitivity for external stimuli.
About 15-20% of the population is (high) sensitive, about as many men as women. The concept of (high) sensitivity was first postulated by psychotherapist Dr Elaine Aron in the mid-1990’s.
The finely tuned nervous system of a (high) sensitive person also comprises the skin. The skin is the outer limit of your body. It comprises several layers. These layers contain all sorts of nerves and sensory perception organs. Through these organs, your body is aware of your surroundings. These observation organs in your skin also feel the energy of other people, of electronical waves or magnetic fields. If you are (high) sensitive, these nerves and sensory organs tend to become overstimulated more quickly than in less sensitive people.
Which explains why you might feel overwhelmed at times.
But just as an athlete trains to push his physical limits to increase his sport performances, you can train your physical limit to ‘filter’ the information it passes on to your brain.
I’m not saying it is an easy path per se. But I’m sure you’ve mastered more challenging tasks in the past!
To train your body and mind to become more selective as to which stimuli you follow op on and which ones you allow yourself to put on the waiting list or discard completely is certainly worth it. Because it will save you a lot of energy and help you to become a more balanced and happy person appreciated by yourself and others.
Tip 1: Allow yourself a good physical condition
A good physical condition helps you to guard your ‘borders’ and keeps the ‘stimuli filtering system’ smooth and running. The more unhealthy your body is, the harder it is to feel good How can you achieve that?
- Create a balance between activity, rest, exercise, entertainment, duty and pleasure.
- Teach your body to desire healthy food, drink and movement
- Movement and exercise help also to release physical and psychological tension.
- If you do not like sports, go more often for a walk or a cycle ride.
- Adopt a healthy posture. If you often sit huddled, slumped or with hunched shoulders you can impair the energy streams.
- Nature is a great place to calm down. You come to yourself and connect again with your deeper core. Find a place in nature that feels soothing and visit regularly to ‘recharge’.
Tip 2: Provide your own security and safety
- You might regularly experience a feeling of insecurity and being ‘different’ which might leave you feeling lonely at times. You need not feel that. Just make sure the child in you feels safe by playing that you are your own father and mother. Comfort yourself when you are afraid, give yourself help or companionship in new situations.
- Ask yourself what you have to do to comfort yourself, especially when you face new challenges.
- Don’t judge yourself if you get upset but find out what you need to feel better.
- Make sure you can always count on your own support.
- Trust that some things become easier as you do them more often.
- Find out what is necessary for you to increase your sense of security also on a practical level. This can be having your own phone, a cozy corner all to yourself, or the regular meeting with a trusted friend or mentor.
Tip 3: Take the lead in your relations to others
Some people you get on with easily, others are more intimidating. But why not use an uncomfortable relationship or situation to learn to be more resilient! You can do this by practicing to keep in touch with your intuition, use it as a guide. You’ll be amazed how empowered you may then feel and react.
- If in a situation or with a person you are uncomfortable with, avoid this: 1) Start defending yourself right away; 2) Let yourself become overwhelmed and simply leave the scene. Instead, stay centered and in your strength.
- When alone, pay attention to what you find difficult: what makes this particular contact difficult for you? Research the situation as objectively as possible.
- Be assertive, but avoid negative reactions. Send out positive energy instead.
- Look beyond the person’s behavior, maybe someone is temporarily in a potential situation. Look past what happened to the person himself.
- In this particular contact or situation, you might need to improve your borders or put events in a less personal perspective. It might just remind you of a person or situation you have a past with.
- Create an outlet for your emotions (talk with someone you trust, write them down) or release the stress physically (shout it out in the car, slap on a pillow or go for a run)
- Look what you can do yourself to improve the contact or situation. Do you need to let go of certain beliefs or expectations? If so, then work on it.
- You see no chance of improvement, make sure that you stand your ground firmly. In some cases it may be better to gradually loose contact to a person or to break it off completely.
Which of these tips do you find most helpful?
Is there any particular one that begged you to apply it asp?
Which of the above hands-on tips do you already practice in your daily life?
I’ll address tip 2 in more detail in the next blog article ‘The one tip to revolutionize your heart – head connection as a (high) sensitive person’. Online November 9th.
I hope that you got some eye-openers reading this article. Please contact me for more advice or any questions that you have – I’m happy to help!
For hands-on practical group training, go to my website for the data.
Rests me to wish you lots of insights and success on your journey!
I am really excited to hear about your experiences so please let me know by sending me an email or leave a comment below.
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Anke Weber Smit, P.h.D. is an passionate coach and approved healer with nearly 10 years of professional experience working with children, teens, adults, and companies. Anke’s mission is helping people with recondition the past and creating their future lifes. She has experience with treating (high) sensitivity issues, eating disorders, body image, relationships with others or with yourself, psychological abuse and anxiety. Anke is a honest, warm inspirational counselor, author and speaker who uses professional expertise, humor and personal recovery to help others to help themselves. For more information on her services, please follow Anke’s blog or visit her on www.cocreate.com (English) or www.ankewebersmit.com (Dutch)