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Taming your High Sensitivity

Taming our high sensitivity… who doesn’t dream about it? Who doesn’t want to…? Not all the time of course, but we would certainly love it when it gets a little too much…and it does… sometimes.

Are you coming with me to find some solutions together? And by the way if you can come up with some tips and tricks, share them with us. That’s why we are here to gather our minds, our hearts and help each other.

So, if you have been told more than often: “Stop thinking about that, let it go!”, “You take everything too seriously!”, “Come on, you worry too much!”, “Why don’t you get over it and move on?” or “Here you are, upset and crying again!”

Let me tell you… You might be a highly sensitive person.

But if you always feel on a tightrope and are often overwhelmed by your emotions and feelings, if everything touches you deeply, if everything affects you or sometimes even disturbs you, if all your senses are over the top, you are probably a highly sensitive person.

Now if those around you perceive you as someone intense - even excessive -, accusing you of being very often on edge because they can see how you are constantly walking on a wire emotionally, you must definitely be a highly sensitive person.

If your mood changes dramatically in the presence of some people, when you can’t stay too long in a crowd feeling assaulted and drained of your energy, if you need to regroup and take some time off to calm down and be in alignment with yourself, I could bet that you’re a HSP.

It can look like being a HSP is anything but a walk in a park, and yes! It could seem like that, but it also comes with the same opposites. Let's take this long and fastidious road of learning to tame the darker sides of high sensitivity.

Taming your high sensitivity.

So how to tame your high sensitivity?

You don't have to change or "manage" your high sensitivity. It is the state of “too much”, the state of overbeing “everything”, the state of extremes that you simply have to tame. Those states can be very exhausting and make us look like we can’t control our emotions, our feelings, our life!

But taming doesn’t mean suppressing, hiding, putting under the rug, or fake it. Actually it would be harmful to try to suppress your sensitivity, and you surely wouldn’t feel any better.

So now let’s review a few important keys to be “on the top” of your unique personality!

Recognize your uniqueness and accept it without feeling guilty!

The simple fact of realizing and accepting that you are a highly sensitive person is in itself a relief and a validation of all you have been feeling and battled with without knowing why. Accepting your sensitivity will immediately lift a huge weight off your shoulders.

I remember feeling that incredible release when I discovered I was a highly sensitive person, everything started to make sense, I felt validated at last and set free of the thought that something was wrong with me!

You will see that recognizing that you have no psychological problem, that you are simply an atypical person born with hypersensitivity, has an instant therapeutic effect.

So instead of believing you are weak and abnormal, see the positive aspects of your high sensitivity because there are so many. You have unique qualities: you are intuitive, empathetic, creative and your capacity for exceptional perceptions is a precious gift. But first, you need to clear yourself of the inadequacy, guilt and shame you might feel sometimes.

Stop the overload!

Stop thinking that the problem is with you, the problem is you! Just because those around you don't understand you, doesn't mean you have a problem. You know, sometimes I say to myself, OK the "norm" has defined our singularity as being highly sensitive (which insinuates for others "too" sensitive), but in the end, why shouldn't we reverse the label and qualify the norm itself as "insensitive"? Sorry to be a little provocative, but it's my rebellious, highly sensitive side that would like to see the abolishment of labels.

Now more seriously, an important thing you have to do first is to identify your limits AND RESPECT them. For example, if you can't stand the smell of your neighbor at the table, move to the other side! If you have the impression that your colleague is talking too loudly and is disturbing your concentration, just tell him! If the bustle of the crowd oppresses you, just leave the place! If someone makes you feel drained, try to avoid them! If you need “me time” more than anybody else, take it! There is no reason for you to inflict unnecessary torment on yourself.

So learn to slow down, do whatever makes you feel good and stay away as much as you can from situations that could overwhelm you. It doesn’t mean that you will live as an hermit, it means that you respect your needs.

Take this short quiz (below) if you want to know if you are a highly sensitive person.

test : are you highly sensitive

Clean up your emotions

When you have the beautiful quality of being able to put yourself in other people's shoes, it is a fantastic gift, but it also comes with downsides not so great. Don't let yourself get caught up in all the emotions (and problems!) of others. Try also to remember that sometimes you even go as far as to take care of people who didn’t ask for it. Just try to tame your momentum! You are not here to save everyone or to save the world. I used to feel like that and put myself in some unnecessary painful situations until I got it. I still get caught in this savior syndrome from time to time but I now can see what I am doing and stop it before I get hurt again. It isn’t our job to help without being asked. People in need will find you and come to you. Concentrate on the ones who want and really need your help, there are already so many. You don’t need to overload yourself with unrequested and unwanted help. You are doing it unnecessarily to yourself and it doesn’t bring you anything but frustration, sadness and suffering, because all people won’t meet your expectations. As Buddha said: When we attach to unrealistic expectations of others, we create unnecessary suffering for ourselves.

Of course, you won’t be able to stop your incredible empathy, and I wouldn’t suggest that, but stop carrying the weight of other people's worries on your shoulders. With time and after many painful experiences, you will learn to separate things. It is that simple… but I will give it to you, it isn’t so simple to put in action! Trust and faith and you will get there or close to it! :))

As a side note and a little advice, keeping a diary to release your emotional overflow is an excellent tool. It will help you to unload overwhelming emotions that can become paralyzing if you keep them in.

And another thing… move, move your body and put joy in it! Dance, jump, walk freely! I will never repeat it enough, emotions are physiological reactions.

Your body speaks to you, listen to it

HSP have the tendency to over-intellectualize and tell themselves stories all the time when they are physiologically overstimulated. They constantly overinterpret their reactions. The trick is that the mind becomes all-powerful and can make us miss other signals, the body signals! Believe me, the body knows what to do! So leave your mind aside for a bit and listen to the messages it is sending you. Rather than letting your mind tell you stories, try to opt for a neutral and objective self-talk like: if my heart starts to beat faster when I meet someone new, it's my body feeling either danger and run, but it might also be the excitement of recognizing to be in alignment with that person's energy. Another example can be that you have the sensation you can’t breathe fully, it might be your body screaming that it needs some space. Or if your stomach gets tight when you speak with a certain person, it is your body telling you to set your limits. Then if you feel drained and exhausted after being in a place, your body is asking you to recharge and avoid that kind of situation in the future.

I could give you many examples, but the most accurate ones are the ones associated with your own sensations and listening to your body will just give you the tools to recognize each physiological reaction, don’t let your mind make of your physical reaction, let your body talk and listen!

So cultivate your sensations, they are the messengers of your well-being.

Stop numbing yourself!

This is THE great sabotage of the highly sensitive people. Because HSP do not know how to channel their sensitivity and its permanent hyperstimulation, they try at all costs to stifle their emotions, their intuition and sensations, and by that, hoping to find calm and serenity. It is really just a trap! A trap that risks sucking you into a vicious cycle of addiction and self-deprecation. And we know that HSP tends to develop addictions: coffee, sugar, cigarettes, alcohol, sport, TV,... and it is just their way to cope with the overwhelm.

I know, the road to deconstruction of addiction is long, but it is equal to the benefits which will come from it. Living in full awareness of your high sensitivity is an incomparable pleasure.

The recipe: integrate with your head, your heart and your body, that our high sensitivity is a very special gift. So as long as you understand that, why would you want to numb this unique talent?

I know, getting out of addiction is difficult, and here I am not talking about pathological addiction for which you absolutely must seek professional help, I am talking about compensatory addiction, ritual sabotages to sedate, stifle what you do not want to feel. So yes! Getting out of an addiction requires willpower and courage, but by simply realizing that what you are trying to numb is in fact a precious talent can be enough to get you out of this vicious circle, because honoring a gift brings meaning.

Cultivate your creativity!

Creativity is one of the major assets of high sensitivity, because in addition to channelling your mind, it offers you an objective anchor to express your emotions. And I'm not just talking about artistic creativity. In reality, creativity goes far beyond that. It serves you on all levels: it allows you to bounce back from a compromising situation, it assures you of new opportunities, it initiates solutions, it opens you up to a new perspective, it creates deep emotional bonds in relationships… So nurture it, cherish it as much as you possibly can. In my opinion, it represents one of the main keys to better living with high sensitivity.

Find a way to relax

HSP are often anxious and nervous or stressed people. Why? Simply because there are things going on in their head and in their heart - non-stop! So try several techniques and keep the ones that work best for you to regain your balance and cultivate a calmer state of mind. You will find the one that makes you feel good. Do not be afraid to start your search again and again or to vary the approach according to your needs at the moment. Listen to yourself… for once! Being kind to yourself will help you feel better.

And as I said before, put forward your creativity, find occupations that will free you. And don't expect other results than to relax.

And then again… move your body, let your emotions circulate… even a simple walk can do wonders!

Allow yourself to come first!

Learn to say no! Respecting your limits when you are a highly sensitive person is vital to preserving your integrity and energy. If the task seems insane to you to say no which is quite possible for a hyper-empathetic person like you, start by identifying what is important for your well-being. Eventually write down these needs and decide to make them a priority. Become the warrant of this list and dare to assert your limits when necessary. Every little victory counts.

This is how you will meet your true nature and reveal your full potential.

You must also know that, the more you will be able to recognize your needs, the more you will also experience pleasure in your relationships.

So stop being too nice, stop being a people-pleaser, be real… with yourself!

Quit searching for someone or something to fix you.

Sensitivity is a temperament trait, it is not a medical disorder. So nothing is wrong with you or needs to be fixed. Sadly, though, many health practitioners still don’t know about HSP and will treat you for depression for example, not looking for the reasons behind it. Sensory processing sensitivity is a pretty recent area of health research.

Sure, highly sensitive people are more likely to get depressed or get allergies for example. Because they are more prone to overstimulation, they can also feel stress more easily so, of course, this can lead to other health issues, but sensitivity in itself is not something that needs to be fixed.

Knowing your trait and being mindful about it will make you realize that you are not “broken.” If you’re tired of researching yet another solution to take away your “flaws,” know that the answers to living in harmony with your sensitive nature lie inside you.

Look for the hidden positivity in every situation and breathe in it.

The brain is a very powerful filter but can also be your worst enemy. It holds on your experiences to shape your perceptions of reality. If you think the world is a dangerous place, your brain is wired to hunt for evidence of danger. If you believe it’s a loving place, you spot more loving opportunities. What you focus on, you get more of, it is the famous quote: Where attention goes energy flows!

As a highly sensitive person, the more negative the environment, the more you suffer. But the opposite is also true - the more positive, the more you thrive (even compared to others), it is the theory of Vantage Sensitivity.

Thoughts are stimuli for our nervous system and one of the most important things a sensitive person can do is to be aware of the negative (not ignore it - because what you resist, persists), but then let it go… immerse yourself in positive thoughts and situations, surround yourself with people who make you feel good, practice self-care that will at least give you a soothing sense of relief.

Decide for yourself to see the world full of opportunities, look at all the things you are grateful for and try to keep the vibe. It is a choice, your choice. If you’re feeling at the mercy of your emotions and circumstances, be aware that your thoughts (and the emotional charges they trigger) are always within your control. Again your choice!

Life can be very tough and cruel already enough, don’t let your own thoughts ruin all the beauty of life… there are plenty too!

Stop smothering your sensitivity.

After years of being bombarded by stimuli, it can become second nature to push your sensitivity out of your conscious awareness. Shutting down your relentless sensations, so you can pretend you don’t feel anything, won’t make them disappear. Toning down your intense feelings (good and bad) so you can step off the roller coaster you’ve been on for a lifetime, isn’t going to take them away. Suppressing emotions to get a break from feeling anything at all won’t make them vanish into thin air.

This self-protective mechanism might fool your conscious mind, but it won’t fool your sensitive body. It will leak into your health, it will poison your relationships, it will scratch your career and every aspect of your life … or, it will build so much tension inside that something will have to give.

Let go of the grasp for control. When you free the energy used to hold yourself tight, you free the gifts of your high sensitivity that have been lost to you... and you allow your true potential to blossom.

Closing thoughts

Use your deep-thinking mind to recognize hidden understandings, and deliberately refocus on positivity and possibilities.

Use your deep-feeling body to tune in your emotions and sensations, and stay within your optimal range of arousal as often as possible.

Use your heightened awareness to dance to the beat of your own drum, even if that seems odd to a lot of people.

Because somewhere, others are dancing with you, like you.



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What is your biggest struggle?

  • Feeling emotionally drained

  • Moving on and letting go

  • Criticism and conflict

  • Being under pressure

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