1 - Setting emotional boundaries: You can easily pick up on the feelings of others and can become confused about whether your feelings are your own. Think of yourself as a psychic sponge, soaking up the mental and emotional energy of those around you. Use your creative ability to visualize a protective shield around you that can filter out some of the stimulus.
2 - Saying no: This is tough for you because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Yet, when you take on more than you can handle you can build resentment that often leads to pulling away from others, so that you find yourself bouncing from one extreme to another. While saying no may be awkward in the short term, it can help save your relationships in the long term.
4 - Choose your relationships wisely: You often get into unhealthy codependent relationship patterns due to your tendency to believe in the potential of others while ignoring their issues that they may never do anything about. Balance an idealistic outlook with a realistic perspective.
5- Self-soothing: Think of this as moisturizer for the nerves. The nerves need some calming on a regular basis. Appeal to the five senses through aromatherapy, massage, yoga, warm herbal tea, soothing sounds, warm baths, art and nature. Investing the time for this will pay off by helping you accomplish things more efficiently.
6 - Ground yourself: It’s much more likely that you’re in your head too much rather than being “out of your mind”. The imagination and analyzing has its limits and an HSP can frequently find themselves “going down the rabbit hole,” one thought leading to another, then another, and another, etc. Throw out a “spider web” like Spider Man and pull yourself out of your head. You must occupy your body and latch onto something in the physical world, something in your five senses. Name 3 things you can see and hear. Feel your feet on the ground or the chair you’re sitting on. Get moving with exercise.
7 – Mindfulness: Watch your own mind work. This is when you take a mental “step back” and just observe your own thinking and feelings without getting sucked into them. Imagine they are just passing by or through you. You’re not avoiding them or getting caught up in analyzing them. Let go of “why”and stay with “it is what it is” for a bit. Understand that thoughts are thoughts, and feelings are feelings. They are not reality.
8 – Support: It’s important to have a positive, non-judgmental support system that you can turn to so you don’t feel isolated. Connection to others is a basic human need, whether it’s a friend, family member, group, therapist, clergy, etc. Find a balance of interaction with others and time to yourself, based on your own personal needs.
9 – Organization: Clear out clutter as much as possible and use a planner of some sort to organize your time. This can reduce the amount of stimulus that overwhelms you. Getting your plans, ideas, and tasks on paper (or in your smartphone) helps you see things more clearly.
By Shannon McQuade, LCSW