If you aren’t familiar with the term “Highly Sensitive Person” or “HSP” it refers to about 15-20% of the population which possess a unique sensory processing trait which allows them to pick up more on subtleties in the environment, resulting in deeper processing and often being easily overwhelmed. Take the self-test here.
Are you weary from pandemic fatigue?
Are you struggling with the coming of colder, darker days?
Does climate change, social injustice, or global suffering weigh heavy on your tender heart?
You’ve kept on a tight smile and positive attitude for others, only acknowledging your fears in the quiet of the night.
You whisper to yourself in the dark:
“How can I keep enduring this…?”
“How can my heart keep holding all this pain?”
If this is you, I feel you.
You’re certainly not alone.
(Although social distancing makes us feel otherwise.)
Please write this down. Or say out loud:
“I’m not okay…
And that’s okay.”
Say it again.
Was there an exhale of relief?
Or did the loneliness grow?
How does your body feel?
Fear? Anger? Despair?
Once you name it, you can stop pretending everything’s fine.
Yes, there is a place for hope, gratitude, and optimism.
And there is a point where blind positivity can invalidate your experience as a sensitive, deep-feeling person.
It’s okay to be struggling right now.
As a Highly Sensitive Person, your brain is uniquely wired to notice subtle threats, pick up on nuances, and process experiences more deeply.
Not to mention, if you have experienced any type of trauma or abuse, your brain is even more wired for hyper-vigilance.
So, of course you feel…
All of this above? Yup.
Here’s a few things you can do right now:
(Only if you want to. Naming and being with your feelings is plenty!)
- Write it down. Write down that you’re not okay. Write down how you’re feeling. Better yet, speak it out loud to yourself. Stop pretending for just a moment and allow yourself to name what is happening for you.
- Practice Radical Acceptance. This is NOT the same as condoning or “giving up”. It’s acknowledging and owning your feelings right now — and you don’t have to fight, shame, or belittle yourself for having them. They are here and that’s okay.
- Make a list. Create a list of activities that helps you feel better. Even just 5% better! Schedule them. If you can, take 5-15 minutes to do that activity right now.
- Do one small thing. Complete one task that helps you feel accomplished. Do the dishes. Send a text. Schedule a doc appointment. Make your grocery list. Return library books. One small thing to help you feel a small sense of control.
- Call up a friend or loved one. Call, don’t text. You need to hear and see another human. The voice of a compassionate person can be soothing.
- Seek out tiny moments. Seek out moments, places, or images (either real or imaginary) that help you feel calm, peace, joy, or awe. Lean into your HSP strengths of noticing the beauty in subtleties. Evoke your natural ability to feel awe and wonder to help counteract the stress.
- Prioritize your body’s needs. Put your sleep, nourishment, physical touch, and joyful movement first —- in whatever ways your schedule allows.
- Take time off. Schedule a day off from work. As an HSP, you need more rest and downtime than non-HSPs. During times of stress, you need EXTRA time to process and recover from your experiences.
- Seek out professional help and/or community support. There are countless HSP specialists ready to help you. There are numerous communities and groups just a Google search away.
Compassionate Counseling for the Sensitive Soul
If you’ve been considering counseling, now may be the time to explore working with an HSP specialist.
Imagine working with a therapist who understand your brain and doesn’t shame or pathologize how you’re naturally wired as a Highly Sensitive Person.
What would it be like to work with a therapist who teaches you how to harness your strengths as a sensitive being?
I’m Arianna, Trauma Therapist & HSP Specialist in Colorado.
I can support you in honoring your sensitivity, managing big feelings, and reclaiming a sense of purpose and control amidst this chaotic world.
I use gentle, practical strategies to support you in healing from past experiences and confidently facing current stressors— because we know there are plenty ahead.
Even though you are sensitive, you are strong.
Even if you are hurting, you are whole.