Stress Relief For Highly Sensitive People (HSPs)

Hi everyone. We made it through the harsh weather of February.  Yay!  March has visions of early flowers budding up through the ground, warmer temperatures, and hopefully a lot less snow and storms.  It was beautiful and fun at first, but here in the midwestern United States, the continuous snow and storms soon started to wear on us all.  Now we can breath a sigh of relief as the temperatures gradually rise and we can get out and about easier and with less stress.

Stress relief is so important to highly sensitive souls who survived the stressful conditions of having a narcissistic parent or other childhood wounds.  They may have stressed-out bodies and wounded hearts and they need to learn how to relieve stress in our lives.  They have been controlled by guilt and compulsively take care of the needs of others instead of themselves.  They often feel guilty even thinking about putting themselves first.  But in order to truly have something real to give others, a real human emotional connection, they HAVE to make themselves and their healing a priority.  This really begins with giving themselves permission to reduce the stress in their lives.  They may be so used to stress in their life, that they don’t even recognize it as stress.  Do you relate? Here are some examples:

1) Do you have long lists of SHOULDS in your life that you really don’t enjoy doing?  Perhaps you even have a large house and yard to take care of and it never occurred to you that you would be happier in a smaller place with less chores to do on daily basis.

2) Do you have relationships in your life that drain you rather than help you to feel good about yourself?  Do you have friendships with people who do not see your sensitivity as a uniqueness about you that makes you special, but instead make you feel like they put up with you and are willing to work around the nuisance it causes them that you are different?  For example, food  and seasonal allergies, needing more time alone, and frequent breaks from stressful work are not things you should be made to feel guilty about.  These are things that, when tended to with care, help reduce your stress level from the busy lives we are thrust into, and give you more time and energy for the things that you deep down really desire to do with your life!

3) Do you find comfort in collecting THINGS that fill your time and fill up your house, but then you are overwhelmed because of the time it takes to maintain the care of these collectibles and things that you just had to have?  Clutter can be draining to highly sensitive people.  You may be beginning to be aware that a shift in your feelings about material things in your life is starting to happen.  Does the phrase Less is More help you to realize that when we get rid of things in our lives that we don’t really need, then we have more room to relax and just be our true selves in the space around us?

When you empty a room, do you ever notice how your kids get excited and start to dance around and do cartwheels?  Self-expression happens when we are not cluttered by unnecessary material things!  It is difficult to get started sometimes because as highly sensitive people we often have deep emotional attachments to things that have been in our lives a long time.  I solved this problem for myself by taking pictures of things before I get rid of them.  Also, allow yourself to feel and grieve the thought of the loss of the item before you actually get rid of it.  Sometimes it is helpful to set items aside in an out of the way place and wait a week or a month or whatever you need and ask yourself if you really miss the item–you may be surprised that you are now ready to let it go or you have completely forgotten about it and then it is easier to give it to Goodwill or someone who will get some use out of the item.

As highly sensitive people, reducing stress put upon us by the SHOULDS instilled from childhood and less sensitive others can make a big difference in the quality of our lives.  You deserve to live the life that you envision for yourself and not someone else’s vision of what almost everyone else seems to be doing to be happy.  The key to happiness for hsps in listening to your own unique guidance from within. Often it is only through the quiet of being alone that we can hear the truth of our inner needs and desires.  Listen.  Listen to your heart and not to what your chattering mind is saying.  You can find inner peace and joy in your life if you can find ways to begin to really relax and enjoy YOUR life.  Noone else can know what is right for you but you.

With Love,


6 responses

  1. Well said, Roxanne, thank you! I still have daily challenges with these but found that discarding organized religious affiliation provided me the most “relief” from “shoulds”. It had provided what I believed was stability in my life, but in reality, it was providing chains. It’s really challenging to do because associates stepped up and tried to convince me I was going down the wrong path. But for me, organized religion was the keystone of my prison. Once thrown aside, I’ve been able to identify how, where, and with whom I am authentically meant to be with.


    1. piecework, thank you for your comment. You make such a good point. I agree with you wholeheartedly on this subject. Thank you for sharing your journey away from the inner prison you were experiencing because of your organized religion and towards your authentic self and inner guidance. Well said, piecework, and congratulations on taking steps away from “shoulds” and the stress it was causing you and following your own path–the road less traveled is the road to enlightenment. Yay for you! After taking the BeliefOMatic quiz online, I discovered the Unitarian Universalist Church which is a church that has an open-minded religion that encourages its followers to seek their own spiritual paths. Readers, you might like to try taking the BeliefOMatic quiz like I did at:

      Thanks again, piecework!
      Love and Light, Roxanne


  2. […] See more here: Feb. 28, 2011 Stress Relief For Highly Sensitive People (HSPs … […]


  3. Hi Roxanne, Lovely site and thank you for your good work. I am a survivor of an N mother. I have a grown family and my younger is a sensitive man who sometimes struggles with the “noise” of life and its expectations of a young 30-something who is doing a great professional job.
    My concern is that I feel in my innocence about the effects of NPD on me when he was young I may have given him parenting that was not good for him. In essence, I do fear that the effects of having an N parent carried through to my early parenting.
    He is very perfectionistic and not really enjoying his life. I remember awakening to the dysfunction of my family of origin when he became a teenager (not knowing about NPD until only about 10 years ago) and choosing to take a different course to my own upbringing only knowing then that mine was not right. However I am concerned that I treated him in a less than sensitive way in his very early years. Then again, it may be me who is also being perfectionistic !!
    I have apologized to him if I was less than feeling in his early years in my ignorance, but I am concerned that I changed too late and my history may have left its mark. He talks to me often about his problems and insightfulness, so I am proud he can talk about them. I think he really may well be an HSP
    My eldest son is more pragmatic and reasoning and clearly understanding my background.


    1. Martha’s Girl, Thank you so much for your comment and for your kind words about my work. I understand your concern about your parenting of your hsp child because you awakened and became more compassionate after your children were grown. I also felt this way for a time. However, I want to reassure you that you are being too hard on yourself. I can tell you are a loving person and mother (an HSP as well?) and care about the success and happiness of your children and this shines through to them. There is no way that your children were subjected to the trauma day-in-and-day out that you were subjected to and just your act of apologizing to him is HUGE. Our children have journeys of their own in which they sometimes suffer before awakening to their inner strength. It is difficult for us hsp parents to see our sensitive children struggle and suffer in any way and we want to protect them but we cannot. What we can do is be there for them with encouraging support and love and compassion and it sounds like you are doing just that. How wonderful that he talks to you openly–he trusts you and that is a safe relationship that will carry him through the tough world out there. You say he is doing a great professional job. It is to your credit that he is successful and on his own. Hsps do struggle in their twenties and thirties (remember?) and without the trauma of a narcissistic parent he will fair far better than you and I did. And he has you! Wouldn’t it have been great to have a mother like you when you were 30? We all still could benefit at every age from having a supportive mother that believes in us and that reassures us that we are doing a good job. Continue to stay positive with him and that you are on his side and that you understand his feelings and he will thrive far better than if he thinks you are worried about him. Keep shining your love on your children–it gives them strength and they appreciate it so much (even though they may be too busy to express it), 🙂


  4. I very much appreciate your supportive comments Roxanne ! I guess as an HSP too, I am offering that which I did not have – so your comments are very reassuring.

    Reflecting further on what you say I do believe that he is able to express his thoughts openly with a trusted source and so make sense of the world on his terms.

    For HSP’s it is so often just being heard that makes all the difference doesn’t it ?

    Many thanks..


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