I was thinking this morning about our future selves. Every decision you make affects your future in one way or another. It could be helpful to ask yourself before each decision or as you go throughout your day, "Am I helping or hurting my future self?"
You could even go further and determine if you would be helping or hurting your future self in the short-term or long-term. Some decisions may affect both. For example, if you choose to eat a healthy lunch at home over a fast food one, you are likely helping your short-term and long-term future self. If you decide to procrastinate on a work project, you are probably hurting your future self because you will have to muster up the motivation later and may feel more stress.
Of course, we shouldn't look at this question as a way to control ourselves and others too much and be "perfect." We are human and we will never be perfect. There will be days when you don't feel your best and taking care of your very basic needs is all you can do. That is okay!
On the days where you feel your best, asking yourself this question throughout the day can really help you think about the consequences to your decisions, big or small. In these times when everything feels out of our control, we might realize that there are many things we can control to be happier and healthier.
So today, as you make both small and big decisions, ask yourself, "Am I hurting or helping my future self?" If the answer is helping, you're on to a great decision! If the answer is hurting, determine how much damage that decision can potentially do. For instance, one cookie once in a while will not hurt anything... treat yourself! On the other hand, deciding to do something more dangerous could affect you negatively in the short-term and long-term.
Let me know, have you ever tried this? If you try it, comment below and tell me your experience with it! It is definitely something I will keep trying in hopes of giving my future self the best life possible.
I was listening to a podcast that was talking about actually feeling your feelings to work through them. A phrase that stuck out to me was something along the lines of "Society teaches us to question and repress our feelings, while you should be letting them come to the surface to heal."
It made me look back. As a HSP child, I was often overwhelmed and that would lead to tears. Think about any time that you've cried or gotten upset, as a child or an adult. The first thing we are programmed to ask is "What's wrong?" Next, we are programmed to help others get rid of those feelings quickly, sometimes to help them feel better but more often to make ourselves avoid the discomfort of seeing someone upset.
I think many kids are encouraged to not have feelings, so we grow up with repressed feelings and don't know how to release and heal. This can cause anxiety, depression, anger, and a ton of other things. I think about how often tears arise as an adult and how quickly I always try to make them go away, especially if I am in the company of others. I remember that feeling of embarrassment as kid. In fact, it came up recently when I saw a girl I went to school with for many years, but haven't talked to in years. All she could remember about me was I cried a lot.
To be honest, that was kind of embarrassing and it brought back all of those negative feelings. I know people either felt bad for me, wondered what was wrong, or made fun of me. I had no idea that I was a highly sensitive person. The adults around me knew I was sensitive, but it was looked at as something to get rid of or fix instead of something to embrace.
Moral of the story... the next time that feelings arise, know that feelings come and go. How often do you feel the same feelings and emotions all day long? Feel them and let them pass. Comment below and tell me your experience with this!
By: Helen van Soest
Being a HSP
Some people don’t like labels, but at times, I find them comforting and reassuring. Like when I discovered I was a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), after reading Elaine Aron’s famous book, “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You”. After I read that book, I felt relieved that my personality was not that unusual after all, given that apparently 15–20% of the population share this personality type.
I have often felt that my high levels of sensitivity were almost like a disability, not allowing me to live the carefree and relaxed life that I craved. I took things too personally, I cried too much and I was affected too much by my environment — crowded trains, people talking loudly around me and construction noise would irk me no end.
But when I realised I was a HSP, I accepted who I was and that my sensitivity was not going to change. The only thing I could change was how I reacted to my environment. I also needed to make some adjustments to achieve the calm I needed, so I moved into my own flat (no flatmates allowed), had quiet time every day and allowed myself as much sleep as I needed.
Introvert or extrovert?
You are probably already aware of how introverts and extroverts are defined but for me, the key difference is that introverts gain energy from being alone and extroverts gain energy from being with others.
I thought that being a HSP might mean I am also an introvert, but I like socialising too much and feel lonely if I spend too much time on my own. So I realised I am an extroverted HSP — I love being out and meeting people but have limits as I can get overstimulated easily.
Ambiverts are people that have both introverted and extroverted qualities. As well as being an extroverted HSP, I believe I am also an ambivert as I have a mixture of both personality types. For instance, my introverted side loves meditating, reading, journaling and listening to calming music. My extroverted side loves meeting friends, going out to restaurants, clubs and bars, travelling and even chatting to random strangers.
Who wants to be labelled?
Although I understand why people don’t necessarily like these personality type labels, sometimes I wish my family, friends and workmates knew and understood that I am an extraverted HSP and ambivert. Then they might not get upset if I don’t always answer their calls straight away. They might not get so annoyed at me when I take something they say personally. And when I cry for what seems like no reason at all, they might just let me cry with no judgment but simply with acceptance.
There are lots of resources available on these personality types through books and the internet if you wish to look into them further. I have found these books so helpful in my journey of discovering my unique personality type and I would highly recommend them: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain, “Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes” by Jessica Pan and “The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World” by Teff Zeff PhD.
Being Highly Sensitive is your Superpower
Guest post by: Rhea Raje
I am assuming if you're reading this that you're an highly sensitive person (HSP). Even if you're not, you may have friends who are. So, I think you will relate to the story I'm about to share. Everyone has different times in their life when they realize that they're an HSP. For me, it was in second grade. My mom had bought me a new set of art pens, which I was extremely happy to have. I took precious care of them. I was in school one day when boom! ---the lid of one of the pens flew off and fell on the ground. I got to my hands and knees and tried to look for it, but no good. It had vanished. As a child, but more due to the fact that I was an HSP, I burst into tears. I cried for an hour over a lost pen lid, whereas any other six-year-old in my place would have forgotten about it. My classmates laughed at me. My teachers called me silly for crying over such an insignificant thing. I felt miserable, but going ahead I realized that being the way I am doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me. As HSPs, we tend to get emotionally attached with everything, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to others, and cherish it.
Getting emotionally attached is only one of the many tell-tale signs of an HSP. HSPs have other qualities such as being empathetic, caring for others, and being kind even when others don't deserve it ;) You may ask, what exactly constitutes being an HSP? Are they any different from the rest of us? Well, not really. We experience the same emotions as the rest of you, but only on a much-heightened scale. We are exposed to the same environment as you, yet we are hugely more perceptive. We have the same 5 senses, but we're so deeply connected to them, that they become our superpower.
Busting a few myths:
Are all HSPs introverts?
Although they tend to be introverts, HSPs can be extroverts as well.
Are all HSPs serious and solemn all the time?
Absolutely not. We can be goofy and weird too ;)
Are all HSPs cry-babies?
I get this a lot, and it's a ridiculous question. The answer is NO.
Just a few tips on how to survive and thrive, from one HSP to another.
I hope this helps :) I'd like to end with a beautiful quote I saw:
"Please don't ever get tired of being an HSP with a good heart. It hurts being taken advantage of and feeling like it's better to be cold-hearted, but people like you matter and are so important for this world❤️"
Quotes For Highly Sensitive People: HSP Quotes
If you consider yourself a highly sensitive person, you know how isolating that can feel. Even though HSPs make up about 20 percent of the population, it can be hard to relate to many non-HSPs. Quotes can make you feel less alone and like someone actually understands you. I know many of these quotes have helped me to feel like I am not alone in my struggles. Quotes have even helped me to realize that being a highly sensitive person is a gift.
Enjoy these quotes and share this post with your fellow HSPs! Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
1. “For a highly sensitive person, a drizzle feels like a monsoon.”
2. “Highly sensitive beings suffer more but they also love harder…”
“…dream wider and experience deeper horizons and bliss. When you’re sensitive, you’re alive in every sense of this word in this wildly beautiful world. Sensitivity is your strength. Keep soaking in the light and spreading it to others.”
— Victoria Erickson
3. “We try to be like others. But that leads to our becoming overaroused and distressed.”
“We are a package deal, however. Our trait of sensitivity means we will also be cautious, inward, needing extra time alone. Because people without the trait (the majority) do not understand that, they see us as timid, shy, weak, or that greatest sin of all, unsociable. Fearing these labels, we try to be like others. But that leads to our becoming overaroused and distressed. Then that gets us labeled neurotic or crazy, first by others and then by ourselves.”
― Elaine N. Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You
4. “Am I too sensitive to be in this world?”
“How do you ever explain the feelings of anxiety and paralyzing fear? I can’t answer those questions. It’s just a feeling of ‘Am I crazy? Am I too sensitive to be in this world?’ A feeling that the world is just too complicated for me right now, and I don’t feel like I belong here. But it passes, and fortunately today I feel blessed for all the good things in my life.”
― Winona Ryder
5. “I’m extremely-extremely sensitive. I can cry at the drop of a hat…Anything upsets me. I cry all the time. I cry when I’m happy too.”
― Mandy Moore
6. “Being a sensitive empath is a beautiful thing as an artist…”
“I am very sensitive to the interactions I have with people. Whether it’s a momentary glance in an elevator, or a deep philosophical conversation over dinner, or a brush-by in a café, I feel (sometimes exhaustingly) attuned and affected by the subtle exchanges that pass seemingly benignly between us as human ships. Being a sensitive empath is a beautiful thing as an artist, and it fosters a deep burning curiosity about why we do the things we do.”
― Alanis Morissette
7. “There is nothing wrong with you if there are times you get weighed down by the heaviness of the suffering in the world.”
― Rachel Samson
8. “Highly sensitive people learned early in life to try to control the external world as a way to attempt to manage their inner one.”
― Sheryl Paul
9. “Everything I experience hits me deep, raw, and intense. As an empath, I feel the energy of myself and others. As I age, this ability only grows deeper and stranger.”
― Sylvester McNutt III
10. “Even a moderate and familiar stimulation like a day at work can cause a highly sensitive person to need quiet by evening.”
― Elaine N. Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You
11. “I can’t stand chaos. I hate loud environments. Art makes me cry. No, I’m not crazy; I’m a textbook example of a highly sensitive person.”
— Anne Marie Crosthwaite, You’re Not Crazy, You’re a Highly Sensitive Person
12. “It seems my heart is made of tissue paper; I wish the world would handle it more delicately.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich
13. “The highly sensitive person has an important mission…”
“The highly sensitive person has an important mission, which is to serve as a balance to the more aggressive behavior of some of the non-HSPs who advocate a less than nurturing policy toward humans, animals, and Mother Nature.”
― Ted Zeff, The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World
21 Signs That You Are Indeed A Highly Sensitive Person
Have you ever been told you’re too sensitive?
To just get over it?
Have you ever been out to eat at a restaurant with your friends and suddenly felt super overwhelmed? Rationally, you were having fun. But suddenly, the 32 TVs blaring, the fluorescent lights, the drink you’re sipping, the collective noise all hit you at once and you HAD to get out of there.
Do you suffer from anxiety or depression?
Have you been called annoying, dramatic, or even crazy?
I feel you. I am you.
You’re not annoying. Or dramatic. Or crazy.
You might just be highly sensitive.
You might be familiar with these terms or you might be thinking, “well isn’t being highly sensitive the same thing as too sensitive?” “Does that mean I should just get over it after all?”
Being highly sensitive is an amazing gift, even if sometimes it feels like a curse. In fact, about 20% of the population can be considered highly sensitive. Elaine Aron first shared research about highly sensitive people and I personally am so grateful for that! I've been able to find out so much more about myself.
Here are some of the ways to know if you might be highly sensitive. This is a quick highly sensitive person test. You might say a resounding “YES” to everything on this list or just a few:
So, what now? Do you recognize yourself as a highly sensitive person (HSP)? Do you see it in someone you love like your child, your partner or your best friend?
I’ve got you! As someone who is an HSP and an INFJ personality type, I’ve developed some tools to share with you to cope when things get rough and to start to LOVE yourself and the fact that you’ve been given this gift. I've developed a course that will help you Find Your Magic as a Highly Sensitive Person! I've also created workbooks for HSPs with anxiety and am a HSP coach.
I’ll teach you:
How to Manage Your Energy as a Highly Sensitive Person
Guest post by: Lauren Littlewood
With every month of 2020 feeling like the next level of Jumanji, it has been harder than normal to find mental balance as a HSP. I personally have had more panic attacks than normal, have had an eating disorder relapse due to quarantine weight gain, have lost my temper more often and have spent an insane amount of time on social media and YouTube to try and escape my reality. In a nutshell, 2020 has been a bit of hell in a handbasket.
When you seen images of healthcare workers busting their butts or protests across the country, that alone is enough to break any person's heart. Then you add all the deaths and politics and it is just too much to handle. Those around us that are not as sensitive are even having a hard time with the world today.
So how can we learn to manage our energy and help our loved ones struggling to do the same, when the world feels like it is going to collapse?
By taking a holistic approach to your life you can learn how to improve your vibes and live with greater ease in these troubling times. In life in general we are still going to struggle and have a wrench thrown in the cogwheels of our day from time to time but with these tips we might be able to maintain balance more easily.
First, we must look at the information we are consuming. I originally built my Instagram around people who made me feel happy and inspired but I have found even they have taken to making their pages into more of a social activism page now than when it was just cute yoga pictures.
Choosing to continue following people that make you feel good or people you give you valuable information that you can act upon is one way of balancing energies. We obviously want to learn more about how we can help make positive changes in the world but social media feeds that constantly note everything that sucks about the world and is not informative or action driven is just another energy vampire in your life. In addition, we need to monitor the news we are consuming. Are we getting the highlights to stay informed in our ever-changing year of chaos or is it just feeding our personal anxieties? If you are spending more than an hour a day on news outlets and you are not getting paid to do so, then stop! What we put in our heads matter and the amount of content matters.
Second, what are we consuming… literally. The food we eat has two avenues. It increases inflammation or decreases it. The inflammation in your body affects just about everything in your body. Everything is connected! Emotional eating tends to be the increasing type… unless you tend to crave kale. If so, then rock on and ignore this part.
When we eat highly processed food or food that have felt pain and stress, i.e. animal foods, we take on that energy. Slow and sluggish like processed junk food or fearful and panicked like the animal in which your food did. Many people don’t realize this, but the energy of food is real and makes a bigger impact than you can imagine. Don’t believe me? Spend one week eating a whole food plant-based diet and just see. You positive energy will be up and your FML feeling will be down. Feeding your body, feeds your mind.
Third, create happy chemicals in your brain. This can take many forms. My personal routes are drawing, running and yoga. Yes, you can create happiness with things that don’t require you to get off the couch. Sing! Dance alone in your room! Make a painting of your feelings or of what you want to be feeling. Do something that makes you vibe and don’t feel guilty for it.
Fourth, take some action. If there is something that is really bothering you, then take some action to stop it. Use your sensitivity for the greater good. Sign petitions, make a petition, donate time or money to a cause you care about. Just by making a small action you can alleviate some of your suffering by helping relieve someone else’s.
Fifth, get that shit out! Sometimes you can do everything right, but you just can’t stop feeling all the feels. When that happens, get it out. Feeling left inside will fester and repeat. Journaling is in my opinion the best way to get them out especially, for those who struggle to get the words out of their mouth. Write everything you feel, ignore grammar and spelling, throw decorum out the window. If you worry someone is going to read it then burn it. Burn it and all those negative feelings with it. Release them to the great beyond.
I sincerely hope that this holistic approach to managing your energies is helpful to you. Remember that your sensitivity is a superpower not a curse. When you find a way to balance it, that’s when you can find your magic.
Lauren's Bio: As a child I was a very sensitive person and very empathetic towards everyone and everything. This is probably why I because a vegan, a therapist, a yoga instructor and a health coach. Through my life I have struggled with rage issues, anxiety issues and depression. I have learned many techniques to overcome these issues which I love to share with others. If we are not lifting each other up, then what are we here for?
Meditation and self-hypnosis trick to reduce internal chatter!
Guest post by Arabella Goldsmith
I want to share with you today a little meditation trick which is relatively unknown, and of which is extremely useful in reducing internal chatter! I also use it in self-hypnosis and sometimes in hypnosis, to help some patients calm their mind.
For those who meditate, or who have tried to meditate before, you have surely noticed that the first thing we see is the seemingly uncontrollable flow of thoughts that arise in our consciousness. As if our conscious mind were a crazy monkey jumping from one idea to another without our consent.
Several guided meditation techniques teach concentration on an object first. It can be focusing on a candle, a spot above the eyes or on your breathing, to help develop some control and gradually bring a state of tranquillity inside. And these techniques still work well. However, there is one particularly useful technique which has been taught by Anna Wise, a specialist in neuro-feedback. She explained this technique to monks who had several years of practice meditation. Apparently, their reaction was unanimous: they were flabbergasted by its effectiveness and would have liked to learn it sooner!
Anna had scientifically demonstrated (and I have also been able to measure this) that the use of this technique reduces the beta waves in our brain. These are waves between 12 and 30 Hz, typically produced by our left brain and characterized by rational analysis, logical reasoning, also appearing when we are agitated or excited. It is, therefore, a technique that radically reduces our mental activity, decreases our internal dialogue, and controls the monkey in us! There she is:
It's about sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, and focusing your attention on your tongue with the intention of relaxing our tongue. It is, therefore, a question of concentrating attention on the language and nothing else, by relaxing it as much as possible. And by relaxing it, you may find that your tongue thickens, or seems to shorten slightly. And you can even allow your jaw to relax completely, perhaps by letting your mouth slightly open. And each time you exhale, imagine your tongue and the area of your mouth relaxing ... more and more ... with each exhalation ...
By doing this, you will immediately notice, from the first minute, that the stream of thoughts has significantly decreased. Why is this so? This is because when we think, we tend to speak inside ourselves, sometimes even unconsciously. In fact, when we have a dialogue or an inner monologue, our language expresses microphones -movements. And it would be impossible to maintain an interior dialogue when our language is REALLY, deeply, relaxed and relaxed.
I invite you to try this experience! First, take only a minute in which you do not relax your tongue, do not try to control anything, and simply observe the flow of your thoughts. Then take another extra minute, following the language relaxation guidelines explained above, and compare the difference. You will most likely, like me, perceive a clear difference. You may even feel like time is expanding, and the minute seems longer.
In short, it's something that helps me personally in my meditations as well as in self-hypnosis! And if you try it, don't hesitate to share your experience and share this post!
From a hypnotic point of view, it can be argued that the relaxation of the tongue is an element very rarely caused consciously. So, bringing consciousness there, with the relaxation of the other parts of the body and a little bit of confusion over it, quickly brings an individual into a state of hypnosis and internal focus. It remains a focus.
Extra tip: also relax all the muscles of the face: forehead, temples, muscles around the eyes (and behind the eyes), nose, mouth, jaw, cheek, and even the skull, scalp, leaving the head slowly resting (do this lying down or in a chair with headrest).
Proper meditation, good trance!!!
Arabella Goldsmith is a British hypnotherapist and yoga teacher who loves helping and showing others a positive light. She is always incredibly keen to show how simple exercises can change peoples lives and believe optimism is where it begins!
Why I Love Living Alone as a Highly Sensitive Person
Guest post written by: Helen van Soest
I have lived in so many shared houses and flats, I have lost count. An amazing feat really, considering I am a highly sensitive person (HSP).
I grew up in a stable and strict home and was pretty sheltered. I finally moved out of home at 25 years old and my education about the world really began, especially by living with various strangers over the years.
I shared flats and houses with people in Sydney, Melbourne and London. I saw the goodness in people but also unfortunately, the dark side of human nature.
In London, I lived with my landlord in a shared house and he decided to bully me as he was lonely and bored. The good thing about being highly sensitive is that you reach a threshold where enough is enough. After months of enduring his erratic behaviour and tendency to control, I finally moved out.
When I moved back to Sydney, my home town, after a brief sojourn at my parents’ place, I moved in with an older lady who was overconfident and showed a bit too much interest in my life. I couldn’t afford to live on my own at that time but really needed my privacy, a quiet place to relax and not have to worry about other people. In the end, she got sick and asked me to move out. I was more than happy to — the stress of living with her had taken its toll.
Many years later, I moved to Melbourne, fresh out of a relationship. I decided to live with a flatmate again as I thought it would be a good way to make new friends and establish a social life. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong person — she was too tough and sometimes appeared a bit cold. Now and then, she would open up to me and I saw a warmer side to her. Because of the pain she had suffered in her life (a death in the family), she had developed a tough exterior that was hard to penetrate.
My bathroom became problematic — there was a mysterious leak and she was not willing to help me. I ended up moving out five months later. I was really upset that someone could be so unhelpful and uncaring.
My last shared flat started well but ended badly. My flatmate was nice to me at the beginning but then the performance was over and I saw what was really happening — someone suffering from a serious mental illness, who was not in control of her life. In the end, she chose a guy over me — her on-again, off-again boyfriend wanted to move in. I was not happy with this arrangement, so she said I could leave.
I finally found a cute and cosy studio to live in — I got the peace and quiet I was craving and felt at ease. I had to accept that as a HSP, it's impossible to live with someone and not care about them, even when they don’t deserve it. Highly sensitive people have open hearts and often get hurt by other people, which is why alone time and having strong boundaries in relationships really helps.
I have tried to move on from the past and learn from it. I have learnt that people need to earn my trust and care — it's hard for me to hold back like this, but sometimes I have to do it for my mental health and wellbeing. Being sensitive in a tough world is not easy.
At the end of the day, living alone is the best thing for me. Somewhere to retreat to at the end of a busy working day, to get away from the noise and clutter of everyday life and to breathe in and enjoy silence and peace.
Helen is a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. As a HSP, she loves reading and writing articles about this unique personality type and how best to navigate the world!
How To Stop Overthinking as a Highly Sensitive Person with Anxiety in the Age of Coronavirus
Overthinking is very common, especially for those very in tune with their feelings, emotions, and the feelings and emotions of those around us. Right now, we are all dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and life is confusing, weird, and scary. I've seen so many articles detailing what could go right and what could go horribly wrong in this day and age of COVID-19. Many of us are stuck at home, with spiraling overthinking thoughts. You're definitely not alone if you've been overthinking everything these days.
However, there are ways to ease overthinking. Here are some of my favorite ways:
1. Write a gratitude list.
No matter what is going on in the world, there is always, always something to be grateful for. Even if you are going crazy being stuck inside right now, at least you have a nice house. You have food, things to watch on TV, etc. Whenever you are overthinking or feeling crappy, make a list of all of the people and things you are grateful for. Bonus points if you reach out to someone and tell them why you are grateful for them! You might just cheer them up too.
2. Think more about what could go right.
When we overthink, our thoughts tend to always go to worst-case scenario. This in turn gets us feeling cranky and depressed. Instead, start to think about all the ways the situation could turn out in a positive way. Think about all of the good that can come from a bad situation.
3. Re-frame your thoughts.
When you start to think about what can go right instead of wrong, you begin to re-frame your thoughts and become more positive. You can even write things down. For example, you might be worried about getting sick. Yes, you might, but there are more chances you'll stay healthy or get sick and recover. If you are taking precaution and social distancing, you are likely to stay healthy and keep others around you healthy too.
4. Distract yourself in a positive way.
If you can't stop overthinking bad thoughts, distract your brain! Watch funny videos on YouTube (or check out my channel), watch something positive on television, play a game, do Sudoku, play with your pets, call a friend, paint your nails, or do ANYTHING that will get you out of your current headspace. Sometimes a little distraction is all you need to feel better and stop overthinking everything.
5. Talk it out with a trusted support system.
If you have a therapist, talk to them. Or you can talk to your best friend, significant other, mom or dad, etc. They can likely help you to stop overthinking, start thinking of solutions, or simply be a good distraction. In addition, you could also think about what you would say if someone came to you with your overthinking thoughts. If your best friend was overthinking the same thing, you would likely say something positive to them or tell them they are being ridiculous. Say the same things to yourself.
If you need a little help with anxiety and overwhelm, both of my courses are only $10 each right now too! Click the links below for more information.
Stay healthy and safe out there and try to stay positive. This too shall pass! xo Lauren
Highly Sensitive Person Blog