Survival secrets for a relaxed and fulfilling life
I’ve written about being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) on this blog for a year and a half now, and each time I’m surprised and grateful for the genuine interest with which people contact me about HSP. The massive interests in HSP at the most unexpected places – the supermarket, school of my children – my sport studio! – is an enormous motivation for me to carry on spreading the word; Yes, as a HSP you might see and sense things around you – and within you – differently, but please, by all means: carry on doing so! We need every sensitive and aware person we can get to help making this world a more innovative, creative and peaceful place.
I first learned of high sensitivity back in 2003 via the work of psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron (www.hsperson.com). I immediately recognized myself in it and was overjoyed to find out that I was one of 15-20% of the population who have a heightened sensitivity in one or more aspects of their being.
High sensitivity as explaination
Being HS even gave me an explanation for why I am so appalled by any kind of violence, even the kind in Hollywood movies. Or by disrespectfulness. Realizing that I am HS has enabled me to supporting myself through experiences that otherwise might overload my senses in every-day situations.
I’ve assembled my top 5 survival strategies for you today.
Top 5 survival strategies for HSP’s
1) Carry ear plugs with you at all times
I started using ear plugs at a pop concert. I was there but could not enjoy anything anymore because of the – to my ears – horrendously hard sound of the music installation. It was a relief to be able to lock out the worst part of the overly enthusiastic band and just be able to enjoy the music. Since then I’ve used the ear plugs during the night (unmissable with young kids when it’s your partner’s turn to do the night shift), in the car (kids in the back want to hear their music and I don’t) and even sometimes at my sports studio, where I love the group lesions but don’t enjoy it to have my ears half-blown away by the sound from the speakers). So you see: ear plugs provide a simple, elegant and effective way to take control over my personal space and keep the noisy world at bay.
2) Plan sufficient decompression time
HSPs usually don’t do well with an immensely packed schedule or when they have to spend too much time in noisy, crowded or high pressure environments. Therefore: prepare for it if you know that you have to spend some time in such a challenging environment (for example, a concert, a parade, a crowded supermarket or the 60th birthday of your godmother). Be aware that you’re likely to feel completely drained afterwards and reserve some decompression time and space. Find somewhere quiet and relaxing, preferably by yourself. Nature is always a recharger. You don’t need to reserve ages – oftentimes, half an hour can work wonders. Alternatively, take a shower. This helps balancing the emotions and rinsing away tensions.
3) Opt for off – hours
Have you ever noticed the difference in stress you experience when doing your shopping in a quiet supermarket as opposed to the shopping-rush hour when all carts are taken? It’s huge. Therefore, try to avoid crowds and the associated noise and stimulation and navigate outside the average person’s schedule. You can do your grocery shopping late in the evenings, run errands during the week and watch a movie on weeknights. If you like walking, choose times when the average jogger is at work whenever you can. Besides reducing the impact of crowds, by avoiding them you wil also get your tasks done faster and more effortless.
4) Limit caffeine
HSPs are sensitive to caffeine – Personally, I respond to every single cup I consume, also the decaf version. While caffeine initially gets you started and active, it eventually can lead to more exhaustion and worries. Yes, worries, because you will often feel more hasted and as if time is running out. If you are a coffee lover (or one of dark chocolate, which has a similar effect) and identify with the HSP trait description, you might want to seriously consider coming clean. This can be a big step towards feeling calmer and more in control.
5) Get enough sleep
The average person responds with irritability, moodiness and lower concentration capacity and productivity to a lack of sleep. With a slight sense of horror I now look at young parents who have one or more infants that are bount to wake up at least once a night and demand parental attention. How, I wonder, did I survive those years? Only by diving straight into my bed as soon as my beloved baby-doll was taking his or her nap. In any case, aim for about 7 hours of quality sleep. Getting enough sleep recharges your senses and your sanity and will help you cope with a busy world.
- Do you have any tips of your own?
- What works for you?
- Please share your experience with the HSP comunity in the ‘Comments’ field below!
Find out more on the HSP congress, 13 October! Use this code AW0022 and save 10% (22.70 euro) on your registration.
I will launch my book, “Ontdekkingsreis Hoogsensitiviteit”, a practical guide and travel report on this HSP congress!
Are you triggered by this article? Know then that I’m offering a (free) introduction session where you can get more general tips or tailor-made advice for your personal situation. Call 06-53667256 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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