Are You an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)?

Does this scenario ring a bell for you…

“I’ve always been highly sensitive, and as a creative and inventive person, this is usually considered a very good thing.

Except when non-sensitive types always made fun of my sensitivity~cracking jokes at my expense, or finding fault with everything about me, and then accusing me of being “overly sensitive” or “touchy” or “having no sense of humor” when I didn’t laugh. I actually have a very good sense of humor and an ability to laugh at myself, but I am also highly sensitive.”

Some HSPs pick up on other people’s energy and have a hard time shaking it off. Others become easily over-stimulated and find being in the world very overwhelming. A number of HSPs constantly feel like the world is against them and being true to themselves feels like an uphill battle. Still others had the blessing of realizing they are HSPs, and have found ways that help them function better while taking advantage of their amazing sensitivity.

If this rings a bell with you, you might be an HSP. The good news for HSPs is that they are usually very creative and often find it easy to think outside the box. The world needs you!

Elaine N. Aron, PhD. wrote the first real self-help book for HSPs: The Highly Sensitive Person. Her website, hsperson.com, is a treasure trove of information to help HSPs find a better way to experience life while appreciating their gifts. On her site, it says…

Elaine Aron has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a thriving psychotherapy practice. She is the first therapist to tell HSPs how to identify their trait and make the most of it in everyday situations. Highly Sensitive People have an uncommonly sensitive nervous system – a normal occurrence, according to Aron. About 15 to 20 percent of the population have this trait. It means you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings, a great advantage in many situations. It also means you are more easily overwhelmed when you have been out in a highly stimulating environment for too long, bombarded by sights and sounds until you are exhausted.” An HSP herself, Aron reassures other Highly Sensitives that they are quite normal. Their trait is not a flaw or a syndrome, nor is it a reason to brag. It is an asset they can learn to use and protect.

If you suspect you might be an HSP, you can try the self-test on Aron’s website.

There are many great online and offline resources for HSPs. If you haven’t already listened to my October 2009 Co=Creation Cafe Call with Jenna Avery discussing how HSPs can embrace their sensitivity and find their authentic calling, you can listen to it or download it here.

Are you an HSP? Share below in comments what has helped you embrace your sensitivity

Is it Time for a News Diet?

Recently, one of the members of an online group focused on discussing positive issues made this comment:
It’s a struggle not to soak up the negative. I try to follow world and national events, but if you look at the homepage of the major news sites, like Fox or CNN, it’s fairly gruesome. Any thoughts on this issue?
What struck me about this question is that many people are feeling this way, taking on the news issues as their own personal problem, and feeling overwhelmed, negative, frustrated, angry, and trapped. The truth is that every situation that is experienced is created by the people involved, which doesn’t necessarily include you. If you can watch/read/hear the news consistently without feeling negatively stressed or overwhelmed, then by all means, keep doing it. However, if you are a person who takes on the world’s problems as your own, obsessively watching/reading/seeking the news is adding more stress to your life than is healthy or necessary. For our own health and well-being, it is important for each person to know their tolerance level and protect themselves, if/when necessary.

There are many ways that one can deal with the overwhelm and negative affects of the news. For example, something that can really help is putting yourself on a news diet.

In 1991, I made a decision that completely changed how I looked at news. At the time, I was a newly-single mom with a 2 year old working full-time outside the home. My newspapers went unread day after day, not from lack of interest, but from lack of energy to read them. After 6 months, and piles of newspapers growing around my apartment, I said, “ENOUGH!”. I recycled the newspapers and canceled my subscription. The relief from feeling pressure to read the paper (and extra money) was greatly appreciated! I was surprised how wonderful a simple decision could be in improving my overall quality of life.

Since I was working full-time, most of my evenings (during which the nightly news airs) fell during dinner preparation or dinner with my young son, quickly followed by bath time, and reading time. There was simply no time to watch the news. By the time the late news came on, I was sound asleep in bed recuperating my body for the next day. The funny thing is, I didn’t miss it! If there was something to know, I somehow heard about it. I also had more time to read books of interest, and it was easier to stay motivated and uplifted. Life was much less overwhelming, and my previously worried mind began to relax, fill with positive possibilities and creative ideas. I’ve never looked back, and during times like this…I’m in a much more stable, happy, and relaxed state of mind than those who are addicted to the news.

My initial ‘news diet’ was imposed by circumstances, less a conscious choice than one of necessity, but anyone can choose a news diet–for a day, a weekend, a week, a month, or more. You don’t have to wait until you are feeling overwhelmed.

Try this for a weekend or a week, and see how you feel as a result:

1. Choose the most uplifting TV shows to watch (or none at all), or watch only uplifting DVDs (no commercials convincing you that you are ill or lacking in some area).

2. Set aside your newspapers until the news diet is over. After that, you can decide whether to keep them or recycle.

3. Keep good reading books handy so you always have something to read when you are at home or in the car. Your local library is a great place to pick up books you have meant to read in the past.

4. Change your browser’s home page to  your favorite search engine or a blank (empty) page. Make a conscious choice ahead of time to stay away from news channels on the web.

5. If you are not already doing so, consciously choose a time and place to meditate. If you are new to meditation, just set a timer for 3-5 minutes and allow yourself to sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed. Allow your mind to wander, and soon it will quiet down. Once 5 minutes is easy, you’ll find yourself wanting to meditate longer and longer.

6. If you haven’t already created a set of personalized affirmations, this is a good time to do it. Sign up for my free Six Steps to Powerful Affirmations eCourse that will walk you through the process. Write them down so you can read through them any time throughout the day. Soon, they will pop into your head on their own, replacing less positive or powerful thoughts.

7. With a quieter mind, focused on positive thoughts, you will find it delightful and fun to spend a few minutes each day visualizing a better life experience. Imagine your affirmations as if you are living them now, and revel in the feelings that come up for you.

Try these simple steps and see how it impacts your life. You can always turn on the news when you feel more calm, ready to hear it (but not absorb it into your being). Remember, where your attention goes, your energy flows…You are always attracting to yourself that which reflects what you are paying attention to. Do you want to attract what you see in the news, or something different?

Do you have other ways to deal with the overwhelm and negativity of the news? Click “Comments” below and let us know what works for you.

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