Highly Sensitive Video Describing Acronym-DOES

Elaine Aron has come up with the DOES acronym that helps describe our experience of being a sensitive person.

D is for Depth of Processing

O is for Overstimulation

E is for Emotional Reactivity and Empathy

S is for Sensing the Subtle

Here's a video where I describe more about what this means: 

https://youtu.be/Ilkx2oBOi28

~Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist and author of several books, including Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions.  Julie developed and teaches an innovative online global HSP brain-training course, serves on the advisory council of the Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders, is a consultant to other therapists, teaches workshops, and coaches HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives and thrive. Her most recent book, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  She has also published two companion journals for her brain training program as well as several beautiful keepsake journals.  Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community.  

New Twitter Account for Highly Sensitive People

New Twitter account for the highly sensitive person: https://twitter.com/JulieBjelland

~Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist and author of several books, including Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions.  Julie developed and teaches an innovative online global HSP brain-training course, serves on the advisory council of the Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders, is a consultant to other therapists, teaches workshops, and coaches HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives and thrive. Her most recent book, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  She has also published two companion journals for her brain training program as well as several beautiful keepsake journals.  Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community. 

 

Highly Sensitive YouTube Channel

As a psychotherapist, I have created a new HSP YouTube channel for the have a sensitive person. "Like, subscribe and share" to spread awareness of our trait. 

~Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist and author of several books, including Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions.  Julie developed and teaches an innovative online global HSP brain-training course, serves on the advisory council of the Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders, is a consultant to other therapists, teaches workshops, and coaches HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives and thrive. Her most recent book, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  She has also published two companion journals for her brain training program as well as several beautiful keepsake journals.  Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community.

Video Discussing Challenges of Being an HSP

Are you a highly sensitive person who struggles with feeling too stressed and sensitive? Julie Bjelland, psychotherapist and author of, "Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions," talks about the challenges in this video.

HSP Online Course starts Monday, Jan 29:http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course

HSP Resources:http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-resources/

The Highly Sensitive Person Online Course Starts Jan 29

As a psychotherapist that specializes in the trait of high sensitivity, I have an online global course for HSPs that starts January 29 and there is still time to sign up. This course follows the 8-week program from my book, "Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions." I am very involved with supporting and guiding the HSPs who take this course. There's a video explaining the course more and you can also read about the transformations from HSPs who have taken the course: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course

My mission is to help HSPs understand our brain differences so we can truly thrive.

 

~Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist and author of several books, including Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions.  Julie developed and teaches an innovative online global HSP brain-training course, serves on the advisory council of the Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders, is a consultant to other therapists, teaches workshops, and coaches HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives and thrive. Her most recent book, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  She has also published two companion journals for her brain training program as well as several beautiful keepsake journals.  Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community.  Learn more: www.juliebjelland.com

Video Describing the Book and Course for the Highly Sensitive Person

Learn more through this video about the book and online course, "Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person, Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions." 

Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist and author of several books, including Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions.  Julie developed and teaches an innovative online global HSP brain-training course, serves on the advisory council of the Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders, is a consultant to other therapists, teaches workshops, and coaches HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives and thrive. Her most recent book, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  She has also published two companion journals for her brain training program as well as several beautiful keepsake journals.  Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community.  In addition to her work in psychology, she is a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainer and author of the book Imagine Life With A Well-Behaved Dog

 

Learn more: www.juliebjelland.com

 

Challenges of Being a Highly Sensitive Person

Recently I asked the question on my HSP Facebook page: What are the biggest challenges of being a highly sensitive person? One of our biggest struggles, in general, is a nervous system that seems to be in overdrive by default.  That makes us feel overwhelmed, emotional, hypersensitive, reactionary, and this can be very exhausting and difficult.  As an HSP myself, I used to struggle a lot and the more HSPs I met through my work as a psychotherapist, the more I saw we all seemed to struggle in the same ways.  I feel it is so important for us to understand our unique brains and the differences in our limbic systems.  I made it my mission to find out why and to develop tools and techniques to reduce the challenges and increase access to the positives of this trait.

I’m excited that these tools are available now in my book and online course.  If you are tired of struggling and want to live better, I encourage you to either get the book or sign up for the course. 

A new online, nurturing and supportive class starts January 29.  Join me as I guide you through the 8 weeks together.  Read what other HSPs who took previous courses have to say about their experience. 

These are the responses of HSPs from all over the world about what they find challenging about being highly sensitive: 

·       Crying easily when overwhelmed, especially when angry, then thinking everyone thinks you're a crybaby.

·       The overthinking (depth of processing) is the hardest for me.

·       The sensitivity to sleep deprivation. 

·       Picking up other people’s ‘junk’

·       overload. Uggh.

·       Feeling EVERYTHING !!

·       Being misunderstood.

·       Having your feelings displayed all over your face.

·       Being hypersensitive to criticism.

·       Not being able to turn off "feeling everything from everyone" blessing but some days feels like a curse

·       working a stressful job

·       Wanting to save everyone.

·       Encountering people who do not understand I am Hsp.

·       Daily news

·       Very few people take my sensitivity seriously; they think I'm weak or mentally off.

·       The anxiety. Knowing something is about to happen and having no control over it. The sinking of my stomach. Walking into a room or house and feeling the tension of fighting no matter how much it's hidden.

·       Handling the stress of my job. I love my job most of the time but Monday I was stressed for three hours straight with no relief and by the time I was leaving was so frustrated/overwhelmed I wanted to cry.

·       I don’t know the worst ... but first one to come to mind just now is, not wanting any communication when I’m mentally exhausted. Folk probably think I’m unsociable. 

·       Knowing when people aren't being honest, but others can't see it.

·       Feeling exhausted from stimuli - & thus fitting in /getting some 'down time
' in a very hectic, social world.

·       Other people being insensitive - especially about animals- huge trigger for me that most folk really don’t care

·       Loud noises and uncaring people.

·       One big challenge I have is other people's bad moods rubbing off on me. I absorb their energy. When this happens, the other person can revert back to being happy very quickly, but I'm left with the bad mood for hours!!

·       Work, parenting, life.

·       Living in self protection, not strong enough to speak my mind. Getting easily distracted when trying to focus.

-Do you relate to many of these? I want you to know that life can get better and you can truly thrive.  You are needed in this world and now we understand why we experience things the way we do and how to develop certain techniques that can change the way we experience our sensitivity.  These methods allow us to train our brain and transform our experience.  Everyone around us benefits when we are living well. 

Learn more: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course

 

Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist and author of several books, including Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions.  Julie developed and teaches an innovative online global HSP brain-training course, serves on the advisory council of the Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders, is a consultant to other therapists, teaches workshops, and coaches HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives and thrive. Her most recent book, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  She has also published two companion journals for her brain training program as well as several beautiful keepsake journals.  Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community.  In addition to her work in psychology, she is a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainer and author of the book Imagine Life With A Well-Behaved Dog

 

Learn more: www.juliebjelland.com

 

 

What Does Sensory Overload Feel Like for a Highly Sensitive Person?   By Julie Bjelland, LMFT

Before we discuss how to reduce sensory overload, let’s look at the ways highly sensitive people (HSPs) describe the feeling of overload.

·      Feeling out of control. Trapped in a burning building.

·      Like someone poking your body and eyes and ears relentlessly and saying, "What? I'm not doing anything."

·      Like there is too much of everything, and it's all coming at me . . . sights, sounds, smells, colors, actions, people, thoughts, pressure. My mind and body try to shut it all out. . . . I start to shut down . . . go numb and blank . . . need to get away . . . to quiet and peace.

·      It's like electricity and light pulsating through my body, brain, and soul. Pure exhaustion and weight that I want free of. Makes me want to run and hide anywhere calm and peaceful.

·      Chaos, like an out of body experience where I'm watching my life fall apart, and I have no control to stop it. My bed or a small room is the only way to feel somewhat safe. Isolating is protection for me.

·      I feel like I’m in a daze and can’t really process what’s going on around me completely. Feels like my head is all foggy. It’s all overwhelming, and I can’t figure it out.

·      I can't think straight. My mind reels. A kind of slow panic. Feeling I need to escape as quickly as possible

·      Like a physical assault.

·      DRAINING. Mental and physical energy completely depleted.

·      A nervous break down.

·      A bit like a panic attack. I get shaky, my chest tightens, and it’s hard to breathe. Instantly drained of all energy. And if I can’t remove myself from the situation, the room starts to spin, then I completely shut down.

·      Migraine.

·      Like spider man . . . when he can hear everyone's conversations and a pin drop . . . or those photos where the crowds are rushing past but one person is standing still in the middle . . . like someone turned the volume up on everything. The brightness.

o   I always say my spidey senses are on overload!

o   I seem to have superhuman senses too.

·      While I am in a sensory overload situation, I feel like what I imagine it feels like to free fall when you jump while sky diving. When the situation ends, it feels like the sudden jerk of the parachute and complete fatigue.

·      Just wanting to run away and hide, but not being able to makes me want to cry and die.

·      Head pounding, energy drained, overwhelmed, anxious, emotional, tears will no doubt come.

·      I feel like my inside is spinning out of control with increasing anxiety. I want to run away to a safe and quiet place.

·      Muscles all tense, people sounding like they're in a tunnel, fibro pain acts up, wanting to smack people.

·      Crazy making, heart palpitations, migraine, vertigo, anxiety, claustrophobia. Brain shuts down and goes into survival mode. Chaos! Circuit overload!

·      Let me go.

·      It starts as exhaustion, then escalates toward a panic attack. I also get extremely spacey. I have difficulty focusing on anything and make stupid mistakes. Afterwards, I am exhausted, and it can take me several days to recover.

·      It feels the same as when my blood sugar drops, minus the clammy sweat (well, most of the time).

·      Cognitive and physical fatigue.

·      Muscles in knots. Unable to sleep. Wiped out.

·      Like an itch you can't scratch. Feeling raw and exhausted but being unable to relax.

·      Sadness: Like cutting onions.

·      Anxiety: Like you’re underwater.  Intense!!!!!

·      Irritation and exhaustion.

·      Like ten cups of espresso coffee in ten minutes.

·      For me, it’s like something is sucking the life out of me.

·      Overwhelming feeling of the need to get away from the person talking my head off. Why do people talk so much? About nothing?

·      Negativity and emotional struggle, and people who are feeling overwhelmed!!

·      Survival. Like I’m caught in a horrible nightmare and fighting for my life.

·      Wishing I had an immediate 'cone of silence' ready to activate.

·      Suffocating.

·      Can’t breathe or make decisions.

·      Gotta get outta here!

·      Like my brain is pulsating or vibrating

·      Like I’m in a bell tower and the bells are ringing 2 inches from my face.

·      My vision starts to blur, and I often get a headache. Sounds start to seem to fade out, almost as if I am stuck in my own head. That's extreme overload. In the beginning, average overload, I get anxiety, and I have a hard time focusing. Because I'm always trying to take in the entire room. I think I shut myself down when it gets to the point I can't take any more. It's as if I'm in a bubble that cannot be penetrated.

 

This all sounds pretty awful, right? It is! It’s a horrible feeling when sensory overload takes over. One of the patterns I’ve noticed most about sensory overload is that it worsens when we are tired, sick, or too depleted. It’s almost like turning the nervous system volume up in everything.

Working with and researching HSPs worldwide has allowed me the opportunity to discover the default tendencies of our trait and target and understand our patterns. It has become my life work to research the trait of sensitivity as much as I can and relay whatever I learn to help other sensitive’s. We have such enormous gifts within us, but we are often so buried by overwhelm that we end up just existing in a sort of survival space, meltdown after meltdown. We give up our needs by default, and most of our focus is external by default as well. We tend to put everyone’s needs ahead of our own and often are not even sure what our needs are when asked. It seems easier to make sure someone else is comfortable and has their needs met, rather than having to deal with the feeling of disappointing someone. Sound familiar?

How does this impact us over time? We usually over-compromise in our relationships, our work, our friendships, and our family, so we end up pretty far from what we actually need. We may feel irritable and even angry, and it is very common to experience a lot of resentment. In my observations, HSPs often feel the most resentful in relationships with partners, family, and friends. How many times have we said yes to going somewhere or doing something when what we really wanted and needed was to have some alone time to recharge?

If we are walking around with our battery low, we are running on fumes. This makes our stress numbers go up, and our sensory systems go on overload. It is kind of like flooring the gas pedal of a car all day long. The car engine eventually burns out. How do we deal with this burnout feeling? We might get irritable and snap at someone. We might withdraw and retreat. Often, those lead us toward a spiral of shame and what I call the HSP hole. This hole is dark for us, and we feel terrible in it.

What I have learned by specializing in HSPs is that we are remarkable when we get the right amount of nervous system self-care. When we are living closer to our centered, balanced state, we really thrive. We get to access our internal gifts that way, and we even create brain space for the creative center of our brain to light up again. What is the right amount of self-care, and what does that even mean? The right amount is when you could say your stress number is a 2 or 3 out of 10. Most HSPs, before they come to work with me, say their stress numbers are as high as 8 to 10 on a daily basis. This means we are too close to activating our already overly activated limbic system. The fight, flight, or freeze system of our brain is meant to protect us when we are in danger. The problem is that the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and perceived danger. That means that when you are highly stressed and another stressor occurs, your brain starts to get your system ready to either flee or fight.

The following is an excerpt from the HSP brain-training book and course that offers some insight into understanding our overly activated limbic systems.

Understanding the Limbic System

What’s happening in the brain when we go into our limbic system? There is an almond-shaped part of our brains called the amygdala that gets activated when our brains think there is something it is supposed to protect us from. Its job is to help us run away if we are in danger or fight to protect ourselves, which is why it is referred to as the fight-or-flight response.

When the amygdala receives a signal that you are in danger, it sends signals to your body to release adrenaline, certain other hormones, and even more oxygen to your muscles so your body can defend itself (in other words, run away or fight). It happens so fast that we don’t even realize it is happening. Remember, this is not the “thinking” part of your brain, so it doesn’t know when you are in real danger or when you just perceive a threat.

If you were about to be attacked or hurt, your amygdala does a wonderful job of preparing your body for defense. But research shows that HSPs have a more activated amygdala, so we spend even more time in an activated, defensive brain state than most people. The problem with the amygdala is that it cannot tell the difference between something that might actually hurt you and something that won’t.

If you don’t need to fight or run, then the amygdala has flooded you with adrenaline, other hormones, and oxygen you don’t need or use. As these build up, you are overwhelmed with the feeling of being anxious.

Increased Oxygen Effects

During a perceived threat, our brains send signals to slow down our breathing so that the oxygen can be used for our muscles to run or fight, causing a shallow type of breathing pattern. That’s why we may feel out of breath or even feel a sense of flushing in our faces. If we don’t use it for fighting or fleeing, then the oxygen builds up and causes carbon dioxide to drop, which can give us that familiar dizzy and overwhelmed feeling. Our heart starts to beat faster, too, in order to move all the increased oxygen throughout our bodies. A racing heart often makes us feel sick and dizzy as well. With all this extra, unused fuel, our muscles can tense up. And, as our bodies start to overheat, we can start to sweat to cool ourselves down.

Digestive Effects

Our bodies start to prioritize what they need available during a threat and what can be shut down in order to conserve energy. Our digestive systems get affected because the fuel that our bodies need to digest food isn’t needed for fighting or fleeing and is therefore perceived as being wasted. This is why we may feel that familiar butterfly sensation in our stomachs, feel nauseous, or even vomit.

Bypassing the Limbic System

It’s pretty remarkable how our bodies shut down what they think we don’t need in an effort to preserve more energy for our muscles so that we can run faster or fight harder. The problem is when there is no real threat, our bodies don’t use that extra fuel well, which leaves us feeling quite bad physically.

I think it is helpful to understand what the brain is doing and why we experience the feelings we have when we are stressed or anxious. By understanding what is happening, we can work on ways to prevent it.

The brain-training program I’ve developed helps us get out of our limbic systems, even allowing us to bypass it over time. This means that we don’t have to go through the physical and emotional symptoms that feel so awful. It takes time to be good at this, but you can get better at it if you use the tools correctly and consistently.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is no such thing as perfection. Sometimes we are consistent, and sometimes we fall off track a bit. From what I have observed, part of what makes us get off track is when our own daily stress levels are very high, when we haven’t slept, or when we are ill. When our stress levels are very high on a daily basis, we are too close to activating our limbic systems so it becomes nearly impossible to bypass it. Fortunately, there are tools that can teach us how to lessen our daily stress and, therefore, be more successful at getting out of and bypassing the limbic system.

Throughout this book, we will learn about our brains and how to train them. Once you start realizing there is a better way to live as an HSP, you will be amazed at how your life can transform. I know many of us as untrained HSPs walk around feeling quite worried about our emotional and physical reactions to stress and anxiety. But once you start using the tools effectively, you begin to trust in yourself and that can begin to open up your world.

 

When was the last time you felt really relaxed and centered? There are many available consciousness techniques and tools that work incredibly well for our particular sensitive systems. You deserve to feel your best, and the world needs you out there thriving in it.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about the limbic system, re-read the descriptions of how highly sensitive people described sensory overload. It makes sense why we experience it in the way we do when we understand what our brain is experiencing.

*If you found this article helpful or interesting, and would like to see more like this, please click "like" below and share with other HSP groups, as well as your friends and family to help spread more awareness of our trait. 

~Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist and author of several books, including Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions. Julie developed and teaches an innovative online global HSP brain-training course, serves on the advisory council of the Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders, is a consultant to other therapists, teaches workshops, and coaches HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives and thrive. Her most recent book has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD. She has also published two companion journals for her brain training program as well as several beautiful keepsake journals. Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community.  In addition to her work in psychology, she is a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainer and author of the book Imagine Life With A Well-Behaved Dog

Learn more about Julie’s HSP brain-training techniques in her online global course and books: www.juliebjelland.com

Are you a highly sensitive person who struggles with high stress, overwhelming emotions and/or anxiety?

 

 By Julie Bjelland, LMFT

Psychotherapist that specializes in the highly sensitive person.

 

Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person, Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions: An 8-Week Course was developed for the highly sensitive person and is so transformational.  I wanted to share what some of the students who completed the course learned and experienced and the ways their life is better since completing the course. 

 

What has this course meant to you?

The time in the course has meant a lot to me. First, it marked a moment when I've decided I do need to take care of myself. I've found it helpful to be a part of a group who has been so supportive and who also is so similar to me. Julie, your input has been critical in this journey. I appreciate a pragmatic results based approach and this was exactly that. Truth be told I'm a little sad we are at the end of our 8 weeks, I'm wishing everyone in the group all the best. Hopefully I'll see some of you in the graduates group!

It has been a pleasure being part of this group of fabulous and gentle souls. I don't feel as alone or frustrated with my HSP trait. We are all so similar it really fascinates me. We are a special group of people and I am so happy that you all are out there in the world. Thank you!!!

The time in this course has meant a lot to me. It has helped me realize that I am just as important as those that I am trying to help for and be there for all the time. It has shown me that I need to take care of and appreciate myself in order to be the best me that I can be.

The course has meant a lot to me and it has been great to learn alongside other HSPs. I think it has helped me finally understand myself better and goodness knows I’ve been trying to do that all my life!! I read something somewhere that said ‘don’t expect other people to know and understand you, just make sure that you know and understand yourself’ and that is where I think I have got to now.

 

Share the tools that have worked for you and in what ways they have changed aspects of your life for the better.

The tool that works for me is the three-circle technique. It’s tough at times to remember to utilize it, but when I do remember and I do use it, it’s fantastic. I look forward to continuing to use it while dealing with my emotional triggers.

I think the tool that has worked best for me is the one where we accept an emotion and don't judge it. I have spent so much of my life being disappointed and angry with myself for having such strong emotions and have berated myself as a result. I have accepted that it is within myself to show compassion and to comfort myself where necessary. I find that putting my hand on my chest and saying 'it's going to be ok' when I am in a stressful moment, is a very powerful tool. 

My tools have been to slow down and think before overdoing it. I get very passionate about most things and take on way too much. Saying "no" is getting easier for me. Deep breathing has kept me from getting too anxious and overwhelmed. I have also changed my bedtime routine to hopefully get better sleep. I take longer showers with no guilt and use our hot tub more often. I also walk around my garden when I need to take it down a notch and only have a minute.

The awareness/mindfulness is huge for me. When I can catch those triggers at the beginning then the three circles work well for me.

 

What stress numbers were you walking around with before starting this course, and how much have you been able to lower them? What worked for you? Do you use specific activities to help reduce your stress? Have you observed how your emotional and sensory overload reduces when you reduce your stress numbers?

In the beginning of this course, I feel like my stress numbers were at a 10. Now, most of the time I feel at about a 5 during the work-week and maybe a 3 on the weekends. I think taking time for myself has helped me immensely. I have realized that I don’t have to save the world, I am not perfect and things do not have to be perfect. Don’t get my wrong, I still have my moments, but I feel like I have learned to relax, finally. I think of tasks that I have to complete, prioritize them and then attempt to do them. If I get everything done, great. If not, tomorrow is a new day. I have noticed that when my emotional and sensory overload is reduced, my stress numbers are lower. 

I find my stress levels relating to social situations are much lower as I have a much clearer idea of my own needs, and I feel a lot stronger when I say no to an invitation particularly when I know that I don't have enough 'social energy' in the tank. I find I am pacing myself better. Also, if I feel exhausted from a lot of talking particularly if it’s been ‘deep’ conversations, I take time out to rest my mind & body. Sometimes by doing some mindfulness breathing or quite often I watch really easy, uplifting programmes.

My stress numbers were very high before most of the time. I had been trying to figure out why I suffer from burnout so often. I now realize that it is my sensitivity and I need to give myself a BREAK! My numbers are lower now and I'm sure I'm a more pleasant person to be around ;)Going to my pilates class and ceramics class makes me feel great. I'm trying to keep that schedule consistent and not let other obligations get in the way of my activities. 

Getting time to myself outside in nature makes the biggest impact for me followed closely by my morning workout and evening soak. I think "bookending" the day really helps me. 

 

Can you now prioritize your needs more? What are your new commitments to yourself and your daily acts of self-care? Come share the creative ways you have been able to reduce your sensory overload. Sharing with each other means we get more good ideas to try!

Yes, I am able to prioritize my needs more. My commitment to myself is to take time for myself daily – even if it is just 30 minutes. I try to read a book, take a bubble bath (sometimes both!) and get myself outside to appreciate the nature around me. It’s such a beautiful time of year. I have even tried to appreciate my surroundings while sitting in traffic – the color of the sky, the colors of the leaves. It makes for a more bearable commute when you think of all the beauty you’re surrounded by instead of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Combine that with a good tune and it makes the drive a breeze!

I am definitely prioritising my needs more and have deleted the word ‘selfish’ from my internal self talk. I have put myself to the top of my priority list whereas I was always at the bottom before. I am still getting used to this new priority but it is pretty liberating to give myself permission to listen to my own needs first. 

I am also seeking more ways to experience joy. I make life joyful for my family which of course brings me joy but I'm thinking more about what brings me joy personally and doing those things more.

Much better at prioritizing my needs now. Huge lesson this week about staying consistent with that, even when I'm feeling great and like I don't need it.

 

Share all the positive changes you have already made, as well as the commitments you plan to continue in your journey even after the course. Let’s celebrate our efforts!

A huge positive change I have made is that I make it a point to take time for myself daily and recharge. I didn’t realize how important it was until I started to routinely do it.

I take time to read more, I enjoy relaxing times in the bath listening to my favourite music. I take myself away for some quiet time when there is a lot of busyness going on and my family understand now why I need to do that. I also look at nature all around me when I am driving or walking in the area and am really enjoying all the beautiful autumn colours at the moment.

I continue to slow life down as much as I can, not overcommit and take time to listen to my heart. I'm just nicer to myself, as nice as I am to others.

Changes - mental shift to understanding and accepting myself. Allowing myself to feel emotions instead of telling myself why I shouldn't be feeling them (this has also become an invaluable tool in de-escalating a meltdown with my daughter). regular self care, I'm realizing it is not optional. This has also made me more open with my wife emotionally, it's helped me feel OK about myself to the point where I'm able to be more open on a deeper level.

 

Share with the class all the positives you have reflected on as an HSP.

It is a BIG positive to realise all the positive qualities that we have as HSP's. It was uncanny how similar our first week 'positive lists' were. One of my friends has only just replied to my request from week one and it has given me pleasure all over again to read what she has written. To be honest these are the qualities that I would hope for in a really close friend and thought I would never find! So my biggest positive is to have found a friend in myself!! And now that I am treating myself with the same understanding and compassion that I would show to a friend life feels a whole lot better

Positives I reflect on as an HSP: I am creative! I feel emotions deeply (I used to see this as a negative!), I am a good listener and attentive, and best of all I am weird – and it’s totally okay

Positives - our caring nature and ability to be a great friend, ability to pick up on nuances, Depth of feeling-I also used to see this a a negative and am beginning to also see the positive.

I am very loving, caring, supportive, intuitive, artistic and deeply emotional. I know what others need.

 

~A Note from Julie: This was from one of the last postings in our final 8th week.  This course is so transformational and I’m so proud of all of the HSPs who have completed the course.  May you continue to grow and blossom and thrive!

If you are a highly sensitive person and interested in joining our next course that starts in January, here is more information: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course

 

Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist. Having built a successful private practice, Julie continues to expand her reach by developing online brain-training courses, serving as a consultant to other therapists, teaching workshops, and coaching HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives. Her most recent book, Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  She has also published two companion journals for her brain training program as well as several beautiful keepsake journals.  Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community.  In addition to her work in psychology, she is a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainer and author of the book Imagine Life With A Well-Behaved Dog

 

 

How Compassionate Are You?

While highly sensitive people tend to be the most compassionate people toward others, we often struggle with feeling compassion toward ourselves.

Here's an interesting self-compassion test by Kristin Neff: http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/

If you want to increase your ability to feel self-compassion there are specific methods I teach in my online global HSP course. Students that completed the course score higher after learning tools directly created for HSPs. Learn more about the course and sign up before November 30 for a discount to our next course that starts in January: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course

Living life with more self-compassion is incredibly transformational and supports us through just about everything.

-Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist. Having built a successful private practice, Julie continues to expand her reach by developing online brain-training courses, serving as a consultant to other therapists, teaching workshops, and coaching HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives. Her most recent book, Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD. Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community. Julie also has published several journals for building gratitude, appreciation in your relationship and even a rainbow journal representing LGBTQ pride.  In addition to her work in psychology, she is a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainer and author of the book Imagine Life With A Well-Behaved Dog

www.juliebjelland.com


 

Gifts and Challenges of the Highly Sensitive Person, An Interview with Julie Bjelland LMFT

Dr. Lourdes, Viado interviews Julie Bjelland, LMFT a psychotherapist that specializes in the highly sensitive person.  Listen Here

What you’ll hear in this episode  

  • What compelled Julie to write her new book Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions 
  • The definition of high sensitivity  
  • Unique challenges of HSPs and  
  • The correlation between high sensitivity and health issues  
  • The importance of self-care for highly sensitive persons  
  • The neuroscience/research on high sensitivity 
  • Techniques that HSPs can use to manage their high sensitivity 

Julie Bjelland, LMFT specializes in working with the highly sensitive person (HSP), anxiety, couple’s communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQ community.  

Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives. Her most recent book Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions, has received beautiful reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  

As a licensed psychotherapist in California, Julie enjoys working with clients in her private practice and continues to expand her work by developing online brain-training courses; coaching the highly sensitive person globally; supervising interns; serving as a consultant to mental health professionals; working with parents of highly sensitive children; and serving on the advisory council for global sensitive leaders.  

Julie loves her work and uses her deeply intuitive and empathetic abilities to truly connect with clients and students and to support them in getting to know and celebrate their authentic selves. It’s beautiful to be a part of the change that helps people live remarkably better lives. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Highly Sensitive Person: An interview about the trait with Julie Bjelland, LMFT

 

Learn more about the highly sensitive person trait (also known as sensory processing sensitivity).  In this podcast, Dr Lourdes Viado interviews psychotherapist and author Julie Bjelland who specializes in the highly sensitive person (HSP).  

Here's a link to the podcast interview:

https://lourdesviado.com/episode-63-gifts-challenges-of-the-highly-sensitive-person/

What you’ll hear in this episode  

  • What compelled Julie to write her new book Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions 
  • The definition of high sensitivity  
  • Unique challenges of HSPs and  
  • The correlation between high sensitivity and health issues  
  • The importance of self-care for highly sensitive persons  
  • The neuroscience/research on high sensitivity 
  • Techniques that HSPs can use to manage their high sensitivity 

Julie Bjelland specializes in working with the highly sensitive person (HSP), anxiety, couple’s communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQ community.  

Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives. Her most recent book Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions, has received beautiful reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD.  

As a licensed psychotherapist in California, Julie enjoys working with clients in her private practice and continues to expand her work by developing online brain-training courses; coaching the highly sensitive person globally; supervising interns; serving as a consultant to mental health professionals; working with parents of highly sensitive children; and serving on the advisory council for global sensitive leaders.  

Julie loves her work and uses her deeply intuitive and empathetic abilities to truly connect with clients and students and to support them in getting to know and celebrate their authentic selves. It’s beautiful to be a part of the change that helps people live remarkably better lives. 

Resources 

www.juliebjelland.com  

Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person, Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions 

Instructor for: HSP Online Course 

HSP Facebook  

Highly Sensitive Person: Explaining the Trait

How to begin the process of telling someone about the trait of being a highly sensitive person:

A lot of HSPs ask me how I would explain the trait. I wrote this out in hopes you may find this helpful. Let me know in the comments if it's helpful!

I think when we want to teach someone about our trait it is important to do it with an energetic feeling that you are educating them about something that you are excited to have learned about yourself. If we talk about it as if something is wrong with us, then we project we think there is something wrong. So start off with the projection that this is an awesome trait that has a lot of positives and also some challenges.

With that said, I might say something like…

Have you ever heard of the trait called the highly sensitive person or sensory processing sensitivity? If they say no, then I will say…

It’s an innate trait that makes up to 15-20% of the population and is also found in several species of animals. It’s a type of survival strategy that involves a special way of processing extra, subtle details. We have the ability to read micro-expressions, for example, that up to 85% of the population cannot. We process the 5 senses in a much deeper way.

Imagine there are about 3 tubes of information coming into our brains, for example. That is the experience of the majority, but HSPs, have 50-100 tubes of information coming in to process. This means we can be very intuitive and empathic and it is often like having a whole other 6th sense.

As you can imagine, taking in so much information so often can feel quite overwhelming and exhausting at times. To function our best, we usually need more quiet, down time to process all that information.

It’s a pretty remarkable trait and there is a lot to learn about it if you would like to know more. Learning about it has really helped me understand myself better and I would love to teach you more about it too so you can also understand me better.

(Then, here is where you can add in specifics depending on your circumstances).

If I’m trying to teach my family or friends I might add in specifics like…
Sometimes I will need to go outside and take a walk during get-togethers, go home early to rest, pick restaurants that are less noisy and less crowded (I often prefer to sit next to a wall, for example, and go at off-peak times). There might be times when my system gets too overloaded and I need to turn down invitations or change plans sometimes. I just want you to know you are important to me and if I ever do need to change plans or make adjustments I hope you can understand these needs are a part of who I am and how I’m created. I really appreciate you are taking the time to listen and learn. ☺  http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-resources/

Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist. Having built a successful private practice, Julie continues to expand her reach by developing online brain-training courses, serving as a consultant to other therapists, teaching workshops, and coaching HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives. Her most recent book, Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD. Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community. In addition to her work in psychology, she is a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainer and author of the book Imagine Life With A Well-Behaved Dog

Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions for the Highly Sensitive Person

As an HSP you probably struggle with a lot of stress, anxiety and overwhelming emotions. Do you wish you could have more energy and balance in your life?

Taught by a psychotherapist that specializes in the highly sensitive brain, this online course offers specific brain training techniques for the highly sensitive person. Sign up before November 15 to receive $100 off! This is a gift to yourself and your loved ones when we can thrive in the way we are meant to as highly sensitive people.

Our HSP brains have specific differences and once we learn how to navigate these difference we can thrive!

Access the superstrengths that come with your supercomputer HSP brain! You are created to offer these gifts to the world, but sometimes the overwhelm can block them. Learn how to access all the positives of this trait!

This course has been life-changing for many HSPs. Read about how this course helped them transform: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course

Highly Sensitive People Need More Brain Processing Time

Most HSPs in my psychotherapy practice and my online HSP course tell me that examples I give from my life as a highly sensitive person often help them. So I'll share one today. Yesterday my niece gave birth! I got to be there to witness this amazing day with her and it was full of emotions as you can imagine. When I got home yesterday, I felt like I was "buzzing." Many of you may relate to this feeling? I think it was my nervous system on overload. I also felt elated. Last night while trying to fall asleep I was still buzzing, and I'm tired today, but the difference with my training is that I used to feel panicked when I couldn't fall asleep when my mind was racing, and that would turn into a night without sleep.  Then the following day I would be overly sensitive and emotional and then go into a shame spiral for however I may have reacted that day.  Does that sound familiar? But this time, with the understanding of our HSP brain, I comforted myself last night and just said to myself that I need to lay here and process the day. I took away the panic, and after less than an hour of calm processing, I fell asleep! Am I still tired today from all of that yesterday? Absolutely. But it is a more manageable tired because I was kind to myself and knew I just needed to let myself process the day. That's one example of using what we know about our HSP brains to help us. I didn't have to waste so much energy on being hard on myself or cleaning up feelings of shame the next day after emotional reactions from being too tired to be balanced. I hope that little example of the understanding of our needs as highly sensitive people helps a bit. :)

Comment below if you are a highly sensitive person and relate to this and/or have also experienced a feeling of "buzzing" when your nervous system may have been overly activated.  

Julie Bjelland, LMFT  Author of: "Brain Training For The Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques To Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions: An 8-Week Program."  

HSP Resources: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-resources/

The Challenges of Being a Highly Sensitive Person, by Julie Bjelland, LMFT

Life as a Highly Sensitive Person can be hard sometimes. I’ve spent a lot of time in my work talking about the positives of the trait, and I think that has been very important for us to identify the gifts of the trait. Understanding the positives helps us create a greater sense of acceptance and helps us through some of the challenges. 

Recently, I went on a weekend trip that was a little too busy with not enough sleep.  These factors can be a challenge for many of us as HSPs and often send us into a spiral of higher sensitivity and greater emotional response.  When I got home, I felt completely depleted and noticed that I felt a lot more sensitive and emotional.  Does that sound familiar? 

It was interesting to observe myself this time because after doing my own brain training, I have come to learn how to change my experience, so I recover much faster.  My younger self would often go into a spiral of shame after I would inevitably be irritable, irrational, or overly sensitive or emotional about something.  Then I would have a message playing in my head that something was wrong with me and that I was "too" sensitive.  This usually sent me into what I call an HSP hole where my own self-judgment would magnify my already difficult experience, and recovery would often take days or sometimes even weeks!  I know many of the HSPs I work with experience this in a similar way.

This time, I had tools that I had created and even a new neural route in my brain that could catch my negative thinking and self-judgment and start practicing more self-compassion and gentle, loving self-care.  I recovered quickly and skipped the shame cycle.  This sure feels much better! 

I love studying the HSP brain and teaching how to grow these new neural sprouts that allow us to create this pause and reflect ability to avoid strong reactions.  This allows us the time to use tools to get through whatever is hard in the moment and get back to our center as quickly as possible.  Life is completely different having this set of tools.  You even start to trust yourself more and know that no matter what you are faced with from either overloaded sensory experiences or emotional ones you can get through it quickly and feel your best again.  It makes the experience of being an HSP so much easier! 

As a psychotherapist that specializes in the highly sensitive person, I have developed tools that are made specifically for the HSP brain.  My passion is to help the highly sensitive person liver their best and thrive!

These tools are available in several forms:

An online HSP 8-week course that is self-paced, nurturing, and supportive with me as your guide, joined by other like-minded HSPs doing the program together.  Many HSPs have enjoyed this option because it feels very supportive to do it together and often lifelong connections are made. A new course starts Monday, September 25: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course

Through my book, "Brain Training For The Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques To Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions: An 8-Week Program: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-books

"Julie Bjelland’s new book Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person is a valuable support in opening to the challenges and potentials that come with high-level sensitivity."

- Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge

 

“This book is full of thoughtful, warm-hearted, and useful suggestions for calming and fortifying the nervous system. Julie Bjelland is a master of her craft, and it shows on every page.”

-Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

 

"I highly recommend that highly sensitive people read Julie Bjelland's book, Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person. This thorough and well-researched book contains many techniques to help transform the HSP's life. Even if the student implements only a portion of the many practical and innovative methods that are presented in the book for calming the sensitive nervous system, the HSP will live a happier, more tranquil and productive life."

-Ted Zeff, PhD, author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide, The Strong, Sensitive Boy, and The Power of Sensitivity

 

“Julie Bjelland MFT is a remarkable therapist! She has developed great expertise and success in her work with HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) clients. She has used research, clinical experience and her HSP gifts to develop a unique and effective therapeutic approach to help her HSP clients overcome the obstacles of living in a world that is too often not supportive of HSP needs, and to help HSPs feel accepted and valued rather than different or ‘wrong’. Now she brings her talent and work to a greater audience with this book. It offers the content of her approach with a focus on the necessary follow-up to make real change in your life. The book also offers the benefit of Julie's warm, compassionate voice and her caring.”

- Jeannie Wolitzer, LMFT

Or you may also work directly with me through HSP Coaching anywhere in the world or through psychotherapy in California.  I also offer a page of resources developed for HSPs that you may find helpful:  http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-resources/

Julie is a licensed psychotherapist in California. Having built a successful private practice, Julie continues to expand her reach by developing online brain-training courses, serving as a consultant to other therapists, teaching workshops, and coaching HSPs globally. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so people can live their best lives. Her most recent book, Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions, has received outstanding reviews from world-renowned psychologists Tara Brach, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD, and Ted Zeff, PhD. Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community. In addition to her work in psychology, she is a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainer and author of the book Imagine Life With A Well-Behaved Dog.

50% of Clients in Therapy are Highly Sensitive People (HSPs)

It is estimated that up to 50% of clients in therapy have the innate trait of high sensitivity, also called sensory processing sensitivity.  Without the right tools, HSPs can suffer from extreme stress, anxiety, depression and a sense of being overwhelmed and depleted almost daily. With the right tools, these symptoms decrease significantly in a very short period of time. As a psychotherapist that specializes in HSPs, I encourage you to share this resource page specifically designed for the highly sensitive person with your therapist's and other HSPs: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-resources/