Being a Highly Sensitive Person can certainly make life challenging at times. But there are ways to cope with and manage the challenges of being a Highly Sensitive Person to keep them from having a negative impact on your life. Today I’m sharing 5 ways to make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person.
What is a Highly Sensitive Person?
If you’ve never heard the term “Highly Sensitive Person” before, check out this post for more detailed information.
Basically, Highly Sensitive People have particularly sensitive nervous systems, making them especially sensitive to stimuli of various kinds. As a result, Highly Sensitive People can become quickly and easily overwhelmed and overstimulated by the world around them. Leaving them feeling stressed, frazzled and exhausted.
For example, a Highly Sensitive Person can become overwhelmed by things such as:
- Loud sounds
- Strong smells
- Bright lights
- Busy environments
- Witnessing upsetting or violent shows or programs
- The effects of caffeine, sugar or hunger
- Feeling rushed or having a lot to do in a short amount of time
Until a few years ago, I had never heard the term “Highly Sensitive Person”. But when I first learned about it, I felt like I was reading about myself. It was a relief to learn there wasn’t anything wrong with me, being highly sensitive is just the way I am. And knowing there was even a name for it made it even easier to accept and understand.
The benefits of being a Highly Sensitive Person
While being a Highly Sensitive Person has its challenges, there are many positive aspects of it as well. For example, Highly Sensitive People are often creative with rich imaginations. They tend to be compassionate and empathetic, often picking up on and empathizing with others’ emotions. They tend to be conscientious and detail oriented, often noticing details others miss.
The key to making life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person is learning to best manage and cope with the challenges of being highly sensitive. And at the same time appreciating the benefits your highly sensitive nature brings to your life.
Recognizing if you are a Highly Sensitive Person is key
The first, and most important, thing to remember when learning how to make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person, is recognizing if you are a Highly Sensitive Person, to begin with.
Although it’s estimated up to 20% of the population are Highly Sensitive People, the concept is still not widely known and often misunderstood. We live in a society that often undervalues sensitivity. Highly Sensitive People often feel like their sensitivity is a disorder, a weakness, a flaw or something they need to overcome.
The important thing to remember is that being a Highly Sensitive Person is not a disorder or something you need to fix or change. It’s simply the way you are! It’s an innate trait you are born with.
The first step is identifying if you are a Highly Sensitive Person and understanding that there is nothing wrong with that. The next step is learning how to best cope and make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person.
5 ways to make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person
1. Know yourself & your triggers
While there are common triggers that overwhelm many Highly Sensitive People, knowing exactly what causes you to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated is important.
Learn more about what kinds of stimuli can be difficult as a Highly Sensitive Person so you’re aware of what to look for. Then begin noticing and tracking what triggers are most overwhelming for you. Knowing specifically what overwhelms you is the first step in learning to cope better with those things.
It can be things such as loud noises or being in a noisy environment for extended periods of time. Or maybe you’re particularly sensitive to smells, bright lights or hunger. It could even be messy, cluttered environments that leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Whatever it is, begin identifying and understanding what triggers in your life cause you to feel overwhelmed or overstimulated as a Highly Sensitive Person.
2. Plan ahead to manage your triggers
Once you’ve identified your most challenging triggers, find ways to plan ahead to better manage those triggers.
Of course, some things will be beyond your control. But even if you can’t completely eliminate a trigger from your life, you can look for ways to make it less overwhelming for you.
This is all about problem-solving and looking for creative solutions. Take the top 3 to 5 most overwhelming triggers for you and look for possible solutions to help make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person.
For example, if noisy environments overwhelm you at work, maybe try listening to soothing music through headphones. Or if you are particularly sensitive to hunger, always carry nutritious snacks with you and plan to eat regularly.
I’ll use myself as an example with my top 3 triggers. And share the ways I cope with and manage them to reduce my feelings of stress and overwhelm.
Trigger #1 – Clutter and mess:
I have decluttered our home and keep it as simple and minimal as I can. Less stuff in our home simply means we have less clutter and less to make a mess with. Of course, our home still gets messy at times. But with less stuff, it’s a lot quicker and easier to get it tidy and orderly again.
Trigger #2 – Noisy environments:
As a stay-at-home-mom to 2 young kids, our home is often loud. Some days the amount of noise makes me feel completely overwhelmed, even if it’s happy noise from the kids playing. I’ve done a few things to better cope with this normal part of my daily life.
First, our family has periods of quiet time each afternoon. My kids have outgrown naps, but an hour or so of quiet time does us all good.
Second, I reduce the background noise in our home. I keep the tv off during the day, rarely have music playing, etc. It’s just too much for me to have background noise on top of the regular noise in our house.
And finally, I try to clearly communicate with my family when the noise in our house is overwhelming me. I will say something like, “The amount of noise is making me feel overwhelmed. Could you please stop shouting/lower your volume/etc.?” I think it’s important to demonstrate to our kids how to recognize our own limits and advocate for the things we need. Not only does it teach them to be considerate of others, but it also helps them learn self-awareness and how to advocate for themselves.
Trigger #3 – Having too much to do at one time:
Although not always avoidable, I try to manage my schedule to avoid having too much to do at one time when possible.
I make it a point to plan my week at the beginning of each week. I look at the activities and commitments we have and make sure I organize my days in a way that gives me enough time to complete each task.
It’s also important to remember my limits when agreeing to commitments and obligations. I’ve learned it’s better to say no to an invitation or request if it means I’ll be too busy or rushed, rather than agreeing and feeling overwhelmed by it.
Besides being a Highly Sensitive Person, I am also very introverted. I know I need plenty of quiet, alone time to rest and regain my energy. For me, it’s important to plan this alone time into my schedule and my days. Not only does this time allow me to reenergize, it also allows me to better cope as a Highly Sensitive Person.
3. Turn your home into your sanctuary
Highly Sensitive People are easily overstimulated by the world around them. While you can’t control or change everything you are faced with in the outside world, you have more control over what you are faced with in your own home.
Turning your home into a sanctuary where you can rest and recharge is very important for Highly Sensitive People. Again, knowing your own triggers, work to set your home up in a way that will be most helpful to you to make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person.
As I mentioned, a cluttered and chaotic environment can be very overstimulating and overwhelming for a Highly Sensitive Person. Decluttering and simplifying your home can be extremely beneficial for Highly Sensitive People.
Beyond getting rid of the clutter, there are other ways to make your home your sanctuary. This could include painting with colors that appeal to you, using light sources that are best for you, reducing background noise, etc.
Do what you need to turn your home into a place you can retreat, rest and recharge. Even creating your own sanctuary in one room, or a corner of a room, you can retreat to when you’re feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated can be extremely helpful.
4. Build in opportunities for rest & quiet time
Rest and quiet time are important to make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person. Your brain is easily and often overstimulated by the world around you. Giving yourself quiet time for rest, away from the sources of that overstimulation, is important.
Think about what will work for your schedule, your life and your needs as a Highly Sensitive Person. This may mean giving yourself an hour before bed where you spend some quiet time doing something you enjoy. It could mean eating your lunch in a quiet spot instead of the busy lunch room. Or maybe it’s scheduled quiet time every afternoon. Find ways to schedule periods of quiet time into your day and prioritize this time.
Adding margin time to your routine and schedule is also important as a Highly Sensitive Person. This means giving yourself time and space between the activities in your day to recharge, regroup and reset. While some people thrive being on the go from one activity to the next, many Highly Sensitive People find this overwhelming and stressful. Building in margin time between activities can help Highly Sensitive People reduce feelings of overstimulation and overwhelm.
5. Practice good self-care
Highly Sensitive People tend to have more intense reactions to stimuli around them. Meaning their brains are often working overtime to process and handle the world around them. This takes a toll on their bodies and minds. Taking good care of yourself is important to be better able to cope with and manage the stress this overstimulation can cause.
No one is able to cope as well with stress when they are tired, unwell, or overwhelmed, to begin with. But this is especially true for Highly Sensitive People. Taking good care of yourself makes you more resilient and better able to cope with the challenges of being a Highly Sensitive Person.
Make sure you get enough sleep, eat regular nutritious meals and snacks, get regular exercise, etc. The better you care for your mind, body and spirit, the better you’ll be able to cope with your triggers and the challenges of being a Highly Sensitive Person. Which will help make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person.
How to make life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person.
If you are a Highly Sensitive Person, remember: knowledge is power. The better you know yourself, your strengths and your limitations, the better you’ll be able to create a life where you can thrive. Being a Highly Sensitive Person can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to negatively control your life. A bit of planning and a few simple changes can make a huge difference in your life as a Highly Sensitive Person.
If you’re a Highly Sensitive Person, what is most challenging for you in regards to your sensitivity? Have you discovered anything that makes your life easier as a Highly Sensitive Person? I’d love to hear, leave a comment below and let me know!