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.
Holiday Survival Tips–An HSPs Recovery From Artistic and Creative Self-doubt
Hi everyone. It’s November!—and there’s a briskness in the air and the awareness of the holidays approaching. For many highly sensitive survivors that comes with a bitter-sweet feeling–of light and love from God above (the true reason for the season) mixed with the grief of a lost childhood and sad or painful holiday memories of being misunderstood and diminished. Or it can be an overwhelming feeling of dread on some days for many reasons related to your present relationship with your some bullies in your life, and on other days of stress–being caught up in the busy-ness of getting ready for the big days ahead for your loved ones–often too busy to feel anything at all.
Depending on where you are in your recovery, it is normal for you to be feeling all of these different ways. Be kind to yourself no matter how you are feeling and please try to slow down, breathe deeply and take self-care breaks–stop and be aware of the negative messages in your head and change them to kind words that you deserved as a child such as: Everything is going to be all right, You are doing a good job, It’s okay to make mistakes, You are special, deep, and a rare gift to this planet.
Affirmations you can say to yourself are: I love and approve of myself, I am safe, and, my favorite, I give myself permission to be the best that I can be. This last one is helpful especially because often others may have been threatened and jealous of your gifts and so, sensing this, because you were highly sensitive and empathic, you protected them by hiding your gifts away so they would feel better. Giving yourself permission to be the best that you can be can be so empowering and satisfying–like suddenly realizing, “Oh, wow, I don’t have to protect anyone anymore and I can just relax and be awesome!” Many of you feel guilty for everything even for your own creative and artistic gifts! A caretaker from childhood may have caused you to feel shame for expressing them. Please take your gifts out of hiding and take a good look at the truth of the gifts and talents that you brought with you to this planet. They are your gifts and yours alone and you deserve to enjoy and feel good about them and share them with others!
For more about overcoming creative self-doubt please read my post from January 28, 2010 On Overcoming Self-doubt–The Story Behind My Songs Of Hope and Healing.