As a highly sensitive person, I’ve dealt with anxiety for the greater part of my life; if you’re reading this I get the sense you have too! I have to be real with you; sometimes I am good at coping and other times I’ve struggled when I don’t have a plan or my go-to's to help me cope. I’ve learned a few tricks over the past few years for coping with anxiety in public, and they may help you too!
Pop your headphones in and put on music, a podcast or audiobook and drown out the noise of the world. Headphones help distract you from conversations happening around you that may cause tension or anxiety. We’ve all been there on the subway or waiting in a doctor’s office where you hear a conversation between two people that may cause some anxiety and stress, and you carry around that anxiety for the rest of the day, no fun!
Take medication or a supplement:
For those of us who find it hard to leave the house because our anxiety is provoked by specific public places (grocery store, mall or concert), it may be necessary for some anxious HSPs to take anxiety medication. While I don’t take anti-anxiety medication, I do take a small dose of a beta blocker when going to larger events and places I know my anxiety will pop up. The beta blocker helps to keep my heart rate and blood pressure at a regular rate, which keeps me relaxed.
Have a plan:
For anxious people like myself, the best way to help manage anxiety is to know what I am getting myself into. For example, I am going to a musical with friends; I want to know how to get there, reserve parking in advance, bring snacks, know when the show starts and ends, and communicate in advance whether or not I will be going to dinner after. Having a plan and knowing the details of your outing will calm anxious thoughts and help to avoid last minute disasters!
Take a breath:
If you find yourself at an event and you are completely overwhelmed about to have a panic attack, step away from the event by going outside or to the restroom- anywhere you can breathe and collect yourself will help. Sometimes we HSPs just get overwhelmed with what is going around us even if it is a fun event like a concert or a play that the anxiety will just hit us. Know it is okay for you to take a few minutes to yourself and return when you feel ready to do so.
These are just a few things that help me navigate going to public outings as an HSP with anxiety. I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
Amanda Shea is the founder of Voices of Mental Health. She is a mental and self-care advocate, conscious content creator, and business owner. She is a regular contributor to Boston Green Blog. Amanda resides in the Greater Boston area with her partner, Casey, and pups, Bernadette and Teddy.
I have some exciting news to share with you today! My newest book is available!
So, what is it about? If you've followed me for a while, you might have followed my courses for highly sensitive people (HSP) and for people with anxiety. I decided to share a little more of my story and give some guidance to others on what I've learned over the years. If you've never heard of what I do, I help other highly sensitive people and people with anxiety get healthy, get real and find their happiness within.
Here’s what is included in this book (also doubles as a workbook because each chapter asks you to journal to uncover new things about yourself and start to heal):
1 – My story
2 – Learning to manage your emotions & removing bad energy
3 – Dealing with Overthinking, Worry, Stress, and Anxiety
4 – Trusting Yourself and the Universe
5 – Manifesting your dreams
6 – Dealing with the world aka sometimes a scary place
7 – Developing confidence and self-love
8 – Finding your HSP Magic
Click here to order! (Kindle or Paperback)
Anxiety can get worse for anyone around the holidays, whether you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder or not. There are presents to buy and wrap, parties to attend, family get-togethers, baking to do and the to-do list goes on. It can be an especially difficult time of year if you have to see relatives who don't understand your lifestyle or dismiss your anxiety or another part of you. This year, let me help you stop holiday anxiety before it gets too bad!
Here are some ways to feel less anxious this holiday season:
You've made it to the final day of this challenge! Woo hoo!
Much like the last day of my course for highly sensitive people, I want you to pick a day to go technology free.
Now that you've examined your relationship to technology, cleared the clutter a bit and have started to go tech free in the morning and evening, I want you to GO BIG or GO HOME (who am I kidding... I'd rather be home. So, um, just try this last challenge!)!
Pick one day where you won't use your phone (emergencies only & make sure to tell your loved ones that you'll be unavailable and how to reach you in case of an emergency - be clear on what an emergency is too!), won't watch TV, won't go on your computer, won't play on your iPad, etc.
A great time to do this is if you plan a camping trip or a fun day trip!
After your tech free day, make sure to journal how you felt and what was the best and worst parts of the day without technology.
Try to incorporate tech free days into your daily life. Start by doing one once a month then go to once a week if you can! Remember, there will ALWAYS be someone trying to reach you. You might even make people upset. But explain to them that you need breaks from technology in order to be the best worker, friend, business owner, etc. Then send them this challenge. ;-)
Don't forget to keep posting your journey on social media #hsptechfree & @findyourmagichsp! Thanks for joining me! I hope you feel refreshed & have learned a lot about yourself and your relationship to technology.
What's the first thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning?
What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Chances are, you responded, "look at my phone" or a similar response to both questions.
#NotJudging.... I do it too. A lot.
Now answer me this... how do you feel in the morning? How well do you sleep?
If the answer to both of those questions is "crummy"... we need to talk.
Your phone and other technology like iPads, TVs, etc. create artificial light. Our bodies are designed to rise with the sunlight and wind down at night. When we stare at artificial light all day and night, our brains get super confused. That could be why you have a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep and/or waking up in the morning.
Not to mention, when you grab your phone the second you get up and you see 50 unread emails, texts, calls, tragedies on the news, complaining on social media... no wonder you might be feeling anxious or upset! Ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? Looking at your phone first thing and trying to deal with everything all at once is kinda like that.
So my challenge for you is to start keeping your phone in another room or off an hour before you go to bed and an hour after you wake up. No excuses! If you need to be available to certain people, turn your ringer on for them and "do not disturb" everything else or turn off notifications.
Use the hour before bed to wind down. Cuddle your pet or significant other. Read a book. Take a bath. Do something that you enjoy that relaxes you and doesn't involve a screen.
Use the hour after you wake up to get motivated and positive for the day. Meditate. Make a good breakfast. Journal. Do something that helps you wake up, inspires a productive and positive day and makes you feel calm.
Comment below with the new ritual you start before bed and in the morning and don't forget to share on social media using #hsptechfree & tag me @findyourmagichsp! I can't believe tomorrow is the last day!
How much TV do you watch? What kind of shows do you watch? BE HONEST...
I'll be totally honest with you... my guilty pleasure shows are The Housewives series on Bravo. Like, all of them!
But sometimes I wonder if I am allowing drama in my life by continuously watching women engage in drama on TV.
I also wonder if I watch too much TV. TV has always been an escape. Like most families, we congregated together in the evenings to watch shows together. I think it can be a good bonding experience to watch TV together, but sometimes I find myself watching mindless TV night after night by myself.
Now with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime... amazing shows are more readily available and cheaper than ever. It is SO easy to get sucked in to a ton of different shows which require hours and hours of time. Some of them are just so good! But some of them, I find myself watching just to finish the series or because I've always watched it.
What else could you be doing with that time? How many times do you catch yourself with the TV on and scrolling mindlessly through your phone? Are you truly engaged in either?
What type of shows are you watching? Are they enriching your life, giving your joy or maybe just inviting negativity into your life?
So today, really take stock of what you watch and how much time you spend in front of your TV. It might even inspire you to cancel your cable subscription!
Share your thoughts below & on social media... don't forget to tag me @findyourmagichsp & #hsptechfree!
Which apps do you use daily?
It is crazy to me how many social media apps are out there now.
The list goes on...
Are you on all of them? Which other apps do you use? How many apps are on your phone?
For HSPs especially, we can feel overwhelmed very easily. Technology is kinda designed to be overwhelming and give you a ton of options. Everyone is out there trying to make a website, an app, etc. This isn't a bad thing at all, but it can be overwhelming and detrimental to you if you try to keep up with EVERYTHING.
So today, my challenge for you is to keep track of which apps you use daily. Do you like going on them or do you feel you HAVE to?
Which apps on your phone do you never use or haven't used in a long time? Free up some space and DELETE.
Do you feel you need to have social media apps on your phone or do you use your laptop daily and can visit those websites there? It is all about what is best for you. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing.
Comment below or post on social media: What apps did you delete? Are you more aware of what apps you actually like using and which ones you just felt like you had to have?
Don't forget to share using #hsptechfree and @findyourmagichsp so I can find you!
I have a BIG challenge for you today!
Time to keep track of how much time you spend on technology in an average day.
That means how much time you spend on your phone, on your computer, watching TV, on your iPad, etc.
There are apps you can download on your devices to track how long you're using them or you can do it the old fashioned way and use a timer whenever you sit down at your computer, pick up your phone or turn on the television. But don't let this change your habits... yet.
At the end of the day, right before you go to sleep and turn everything off, add the time together.
If you're like most people, you've just spent 8-10 hours staring at some sort of screen. Kind of scary if you think about it like this, right?
No wonder we all have aches and pains, headaches, eye strain, and anxiety these days and start hurting younger and younger. HSPs are especially prone to these issues.
Since you're getting your number of hours at the end of the day, start tomorrow by journaling or thinking about these questions:
1. Were you surprised by your number of hours spent on technology in an average day?
2. What type of technology were you on the most? Social media on your phone? Watching TV? etc.
3. What was the most productive time (writing a blog?) and the least productive time (going back on Facebook for the 849349 time?) using technology?
4. What is something you could have been doing instead but didn't because you were bingeing or scrolling?
5. Did this exercise make you more aware of how often you use technology?
Comment below and share your answers or post your thoughts on social media! Don't forget to tag me so I can follow along your journey... @findyourmagichsp #hsptechfree
I do believe there are two kinds of people in the world.
Those who love INBOX ZERO and those who DGAF (don't give a f) if their email box has a million unread messages.
Which one are you?
I'm definitely the first one (kinda wish I could be the second one sometimes). I get anxiety about unread emails and unchecked boxes on my to-do list. So take that with being bombarded by advertisements and email newsletters and it is enough for any highly sensitive person to go crazy.
So today your challenge is to go through your email inbox and clear out the clutter.
I suggest using a website like unroll.me to go through and see easily what you subscribe to and easily unsubscribe to what doesn't matter to you anymore. You can also "roll up" all of your newsletters into one email so still get what you want but your inbox isn't so cluttered.
Let me tell you, it feels super satisfying to unsubscribe from junk, especially when sometimes you don't even know how you got on that list to begin with.
Next, take some time to organize and clean your inbox if it bothers you. I like to separate emails into labels so I can sort and find messages easily. I also like to go back and delete super old emails from time to time. If you're really up for the challenge, organize your computer files as well.
After today's challenge... how do you feel after decluttering and unsubscribing? How many newsletters did you unsubscribe from? (Hopefully not mine! :))
Comment below or post on social media (don't forget to use #hsptechfree & tag me so I see it @findyourmagichsp)!
Highly Sensitive Person Blog