Sometimes, I wish I had a giant bubble to protect myself from the harsh realities of the world. As a sensitive person, I can relate to the anguish and anxiety that many of my clients face. At times, it may feel like there is nothing you can do to lessen the intensity of emotions that you feel. This leads to lower self-confidence and certainly less happiness. Sure, a teflon suit to deflect the bad vibes away and allow us to float through life with ease sounds fantastic, but the reality is we need to learn how to manage as a sensitive person in society.
In order to feel confident and function in the world with success, I had to learn to stop allowing emotions from invading my mind and begin to protect myself. It may sound impossible, it’s not. It just takes some willingness to see things and react differently. If you want to feel happier and confident, it takes trying some new techniques.
Identify Sensitivity Triggers
I rarely watch the news. I used to watch it in the morning, while I prepared for the day, but began to notice that my days started off fearfully. It was like a lot of caffeine that I didn’t need. Instead, I get my news from surfing the internet. I have become aware of the people or places that make me a bit more vulnerable or frustrated and choose when I encounter them. If I’ve had a long day, I often take a taxi instead of the subway. It’s not worth the stress of changing trains or feeling worried about riding it late at night.
The more aware you are of situations that bring about stress and anxiety, the more you can do to prepare ahead of time to avoid or adjust your day in order to reduce their affect on you. Don’t watch shows that make you stressed, listen to music that brings up bad feelings, or go to places that make you want to use urges. Try avoiding them when you can.
Become Less Vulnerable
It seems impossible right, but it really isn’t. Haven’t had lunch? Maybe you skimped on sleep this week or forgot to take your medication. All of these make you more vulnerable to emotions and more sensitive. I get angry or anxious when I’ve gone more than 4 hours without some protein, so I make sure that I always have a snack nearby. In dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), we teach clients to practice the PLEASE skill:
- treat Physical illness
- balance Eating
- avoid mood-Altering drugs
- balance Sleep
- get Exercise
If you’re feeling sick, hungry, tired, under the influence of drugs or alcohol (too much caffeine even), don’t get much exercise or aren’t doing something in your day that gives you a sense of mastery or accomplishment, you are likely to be vulnerable emotionally. This means being more sensitive and less confident. Checking off these simple things can make you much more stable and in control of your life. Even if you hate your job or don’t know where you are going in life, you can still eat right and go for a walk. You can also research jobs or read an article that gets you one step closer to a goal you want.
Get Mindful to Fight Sensitivity
You can’t control what other people are going to do, what is coming or what has already happened. The more time you spend in the present moment, living in the now, the less likely you will feel like Velcro when fearful thoughts or experiences attempt to invade. Guided relaxation, hypnosis, mediation and yoga all helped me develop my mindful muscles.
Focus on You
Have the tendency to put yourself last or let other’s views control your mood or direct your day? This can make you more susceptible to feeling too sensitive. Making time to do nothing, read a book or clean your room without the noise or energy of other people is a luxury. Turn off your phone and focus on doing something that you will thank yourself for later. Self care is imperative to recharge your batteries, and focusing on yourself for a moment strengthens your self-confidence.
Feeling overly sensitive doesn’t have to rule your life. Start finding healthy ways to keep your emotions from running the show and make your own “bubble” by following these and other tips found on our blogs.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.