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/

The Experience of Being a Highly Sensitive Person, By Julie Bjelland, LMFT

As a psychotherapist that specializes in the highly sensitive person, and as one myself I have come to realize that we share many similarities.  Once I expanded my work and started to work with HSPs globally, I saw that no matter where we live we share such similar experiences.  I also began to see such similar patterns that we all seem to experience with the trait.  It made me want to understand why we are the way we are.  If there are around 1.4 billion of us in the world with this trait, there has to be a reason we are the way we are and feel the way we do.  Why did we make up to 15-20% of the population? Why wasn’t it 50%?

I imagined the past when we were living out on the land in a tribe, and it was HSPs who were likely the medicine healers, the guides, and the ones the tribe turned to for advice and wisdom. As I grew to understand the trait more, I learned that we need that 80% of Non-HSPs to be the ones that might jump out in front of that lion to protect the tribe and we would lose a lot of them because they might react first and think later.  But the specialists were the HSPs, and we didn’t need as many specialists because we think first and act later.  This depth of processing comes in handy when planning out the best options for our tribe.  We were probably the people that could tell if a particular place was safe to stay.  Was it close enough to water and food and far enough from lions? We had a type of brain ability to think through and organize so many options and angles and this would be important in survival.  So we need both types of survival strategies, which is likely why we evolved the way we did with the 20/80 split. 

I also imagined that HSPs were the medicine tribe healers in that time. When we think of healers, we might picture that they spent a lot of solo time in their own hut, preparing remedies, and medicines and after healing sessions would need quiet time to rest and restore.  They would need silence for deep thinking and analyzing.  They could feel what their tribe was feeling so knew what was needed.  These extra senses also put out a lot of output, so would need downtime to recover and rest.  We, as healers, probably wouldn’t hang out with the tribe regularly because we needed down time to be silent.  If we are always giving, we run out of energy and need rest and restoration to offer our gifts. 

When I imagined this experience, I began to reframe how I viewed myself.  Instead of being weird and different I began to embrace my unique trait, knowing that it offered a special gift to this world that is needed.  If I am different, I need to care for myself differently, and that is when I finally found my center and learned how to live in balance.  I stopped trying to please everyone and started paying attention to what I needed for the first time in my life.  I spent more time practicing self-care and giving myself alone time when I needed it to be well.  It was the first time I paid attention to what I need, and slowly I began experiencing an amazing thing…My own authenticity!  I stopped putting on my mask in the world trying to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be and I started being ME.  What’s fascinating about that is that whenever I work with someone moving toward being their authentic version of themselves, they all describe the same feeling…They “feel free.”  It feels like being let out of a cage and putting down about a thousand pounds of weight.  Is it scary at first to put down that mask and be you?  Absolutely! But once a taste of being truly authentic is sampled, it is one of the most blissful feelings you can experience.  It makes you realize that if the feeling is that good, it must be what we are meant to do. 

Taking care of our own needs is necessary to be happy, and we are still the same kind and compassionate beings.  We just have to practice reserving some of that kindness and compassion for our own needs too.  It’s one of the things I observe most about HSPs.  We are some of the most compassionate people I have ever met, and yet most of us have trouble feeling that same compassion for ourselves.  I hear over and over again that we feel it is easier to disappoint our SELF or give up our own needs than to disappoint another.  But if we continually do that we are in essence continually bypassing our own needs, which leads to high stress, anxiety and being overwhelmed and over time this leads to burnout and often resentment.  I also work with a lot of couples, and I often observe that HSPs have the most resentment.  Resentment is also going to happen when we continually give up our needs.  Giving originates from such a beautiful space, but if we don’t balance giving to ourselves we will not be happy, and in the end, our relationships, friendships, and even our work suffer.  So what we seek is a balance. 

Once we have balance and are tuned in to meeting our own needs, we blossom and start to thrive as HSPs.  Once an HSP is thriving, then these incredible gifts of the trait start to become accessible again.  I think it is our stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed that blocks access to those gifts.  So, working on our precious self-care and balance will help us in so many ways, and it becomes a domino effect in our lives.  If we are thriving, then those around us benefit too.  As a mother of highly sensitive children, I know how easy it is to put all of our energy into what’s needed to care for children and all the other aspects of our life. It’s so easy as a parent to put our own priority at the bottom.  But what I observe when we do that is that parents become irritable, less present, and then begin a spiral of shame and blame.  We cannot be thriving parents if we do not practice our own self-care.

Self-care for an HSP looks different than what 80% of the population does.  It involves a lot more quiet, down time than most of us get. We also need to make sure we are taking breaks throughout the day. Most HSPs tell me that they used to do their self-care after a meltdown until they learned they could do self-care to prevent a meltdown! 

I’ve observed a big change in myself and my clients when we can give ourselves at least a half a day (preferably) one day of quiet, unstructured time.  This quiet time allows for depth of processing and resets our nervous system.  Without that reset we keep our nervous system wound up too high.  It’s kind of like burning the car out by flooring the gas peddle of the car all day.  We have these super computer brains that need a lot of processing time.  If we don’t get enough of it and keep downloading and downloading we eventually freeze up and that’s that familiar overwhelming feeling.  Once we have that reaction, we have activated our limbic system, and that means we have triggered our fight/flight/freeze response.  It feels horrible in our limbic system.  Research shows HSPs have an overly activated limbic system and I believe that shows up in depression, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, anger outbursts, brain-fog, exhaustion, trouble sleeping, resentment, low self-esteem, etc.  Once we learn how to navigate our HSP brain needs better we won’t trigger that system so often.  This means we will have more energy, more focus, sleep better, and generally be so much happier!  Our brains as HSPs are remarkable, but no one showed us how to take care of this amazing super computer brain.  So most of us take care of ourselves in the way the majority does.  But it doesn’t work for us, and that is one reason our levels of anxiety are so high as HSPs.

I understand this on a deeply personal level too.  I had spent most of my childhood feeling like there was something wrong with me and the way I reacted to the world.  I often heard the words, “Don’t be so sensitive,” and “what’s wrong with you, snap out of it.” I would feel everything so deeply.   Many of these messages and negative labels only compounded as I got older and soon I found my anxiety growing.  When my kids were little, I remember feeling like I could barely go to their school to pick them up.  It felt like the anxiety was taking over my life.  I just knew there had to be a better way to live.  That’s when I decided to work on myself and found a great therapist.  She offered a supportive, non-judgmental space for me to share my inner world.  I hadn’t shared that with anyone deeply before and it was hard at first, but then I began the journey toward self-acceptance and self-care.  My life changed after that completely.  I was free and authentic, and I felt all these things inside of me that were called to help others through this.  The more I work with HSPs, the more I absolutely know how special we all are.  We share such beautiful and positive parts of this trait; we just need to take better care of ourselves and our needs.  I truly believe we are meant to be here just as we are and then our authentic gifts emerge.

I think this is what drives me in my work.  I feel so called to help HSPs discover those gifts.  When I am working with an HSP who feels broken down and full of anxiety, I know how to help them, and that feels like a calling to me.  When I get to witness them removing that overwhelm and anxiety I know I am doing exactly what I was called to do.  It’s such a beautiful thing to be an HSPs guide to help them find themselves fully and witness their transformations toward thriving. 

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

~Julie Bjelland 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.  

 

Do you relate or connect to some of this as an HSP? I would love to hear from you either in the comments below or on Facebook. :) 

What Drains and Fills Energy for an HSP?

Most HSPs tell me that one of their biggest struggles is the feeling of being tired, depleted and overwhelmed. Here is a list of things that generally drain our energy and things that fill it up. In what ways do you relate? Feel free to add more in the comments.

These tend to drain our energy and use precious brain space:
Self judgment
Self blame
Too high expectations of ourselves
Trying to please everyone
Putting everybody's need above our own too often and at the expense of our own needs
Being too busy
Not enough rest
Clutter
Sensory overload

These give us energy and create extra brain space:
Self care (meditation, yoga, swimming, naps, time with pets, music, reading, etc)
Quiet alone time
Rest and enough sleep
Mindfulness
Nature
Developing more self compassion
Self acceptance
Being creative and or doing things that we love
Connecting deeply

Living well with proper self care and balance as a highly sensitive person allows us to access our super strengths and gifts of the trait so we can thrive.

Julie Bjelland, LMFT
www.juliebjelland.com

Are you an HSP that often feels depleted and overwhelmed?

As a psychotherapist that specializes in the highly sensitive person, most HSPs tell me that one of their biggest struggles is the feeling of being tired, depleted and overwhelmed. Here is a list of things that generally drain our energy and things that fill it up. In what ways do you relate? 

Drains our energy and uses precious brain space:

  • Self judgment
  • Self blame
  • Too high expectations of ourselves
  • Trying to please everyone
  • Putting everybody's need above our own too often and at the expense of our own needs
  • Being too busy and not enough rest

Gives us energy and creates extra brain space:

  • Self care
  • Quiet alone time
  • Rest and enough sleep 
  • Nature
  • Developing more self-compassion
  • Self acceptance
  • Being creative and or doing things that we love

Living well with proper self-care and balance as a highly sensitive person allows us to access our super strengths and gifts of the trait so we can thrive.

Here's a resource page specifically developed for HSPs: http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-resources/

Want some support to help you thrive? Our next HSP global online course starts September 25! http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course

 

~Julie Bjelland 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

Hiring private practice MFT Interns in Livermore, CA in August

In August I will be interviewing to hire MFT interns looking for Supervision in my private practice-East SF Bay Area (Livermore Ca). I specialize in the highly sensitive person (HSP), anxiety, couples and LGBTQ. I am the author of "Brain Training for The Highly Sensitive Person, Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions". Up to 50% of our clients are HSPs and I ideally would love to find an intern who shares similar specialities. Please spread the word if you know of an intern that may be a good fit.

Contact me to apply. Please send me your resume and answer the following in your inquiry:

1.     How many hours of the 3000 have you already completed as an intern?

2.     Did you have an internship somewhere before?  If so, where did you work, do you have letters of recommendation, and why do you want to leave?

3.     Do you plan to work in private practice when you are licensed?

4.     Do you know of a niche you want to specialize in?

5.     What type of experience do you have and hope to gain?

6.     Why do you think you would be a good match for this internship?

 

Starting in August, I also offer Off-Site Supervision

http://www.juliebjelland.com/contact/

2222 2nd St, Ste 14
Livermore, CA 94550-4527

Brain Training for The Highly Sensitive Person, Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions Now Available

Today, my new book, Brain Training For The Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques To Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions: An 8-Week Program, by Julie Bjelland, LMFT is now available on Barnes and Noble too!

"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, Ph.D., 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, Ph.D. author of "The Highly Sensitive Person Survival's 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
http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-books/

Consciously Reducing Anxiety and Stress for HSPs... A Series... Step 1

I am going to begin a series of how to lower your anxiety as an HSP.  There are several practices that we know work for our HSP brains.  Many of us often jump out of bed and race into our day, beginning the first moments of our day in a state of higher stress and anxiety.  Using what we know about the brain, we can begin to take steps to reduce anxiety and stress that can carry with us throughout the day.  What I have observed in my work with HSPs, in therapy, in my HSP course, and coaching HSPs globally, is that we all experience such similar ways of "being".  In my last HSP course, many HSPs discovered that they could see very clear patterns associated with what reduced their daily stress and what heightened it.   One of the first conversations that arose in our course was morning rituals.  HSP course participants started recognizing that on the days they woke up and felt rushed, their entire day felt harder and more stressful.  On the days, they gave themselves more time in the morning, to move at a slower pace, they noticed immediate lowering of their entire days stress levels.  That's an easy thing to do right now.  What can you do to slow your pace in the morning?  If we get up a bit earlier, which means we might need to sleep a bit earlier, we can take that extra time to move more slowly, to be mindful of ourselves in the morning.  Try some of these starting tomorrow and see how you feel.  The proof is always in how you feel.

1. Start out by determining how much sleep you need to feel rested and make sure you get to sleep at a time that gives you that feeling. 

2. When you wake up, take a few minutes before you get out of bed and practice light stretching.

3. Don't look at your phone right away.  You don't want to jump into "to do" mode right now. Instead, take some deep breaths and ask yourself, "What can I do for myself today that would be nurturing?"  This starts our day with an intention of self care, which is something essential for balance as an HSP.  For me, I love making myself my favorite cup of tea and then slowly, mindfully drink it, while looking outside at my favorite trees.  It gives me a chance to slowly wake my system up and appreciate the beauty of nature.  The quiet of the morning, before the children are awake is a lovely time (as long as we have had enough sleep).  

4. Try to get in touch with what you are grateful for in the morning when you wake up and when you go to sleep at night and any time you feel stressed.  This is a positive form of brain-training that is easy to do and activates a part of our brain that feels more calm and more peace.  There is also a great app called "Headspace" that offers 10 minute meditations to start your day feeling more calm and in touch with an inner peace that can have lasting benefits all day.  

5. Try to stay mindful and present as often as possible throughout the day.  When we are in the present moment we are not anxious.  When you are in the shower, for example, just be in the shower.  Think about the smell of the soap, the feel of the water on your skin.  Slow down and try to bring yourself to the present moment.  We know that if we slow down we are actually more productive, so don't let yourself worry about the "to do" list.  Enjoy the water on your skin.

If you have children, you can actively work on making routines easier in the morning so that everyone is in a more relaxed state.  My children leave enough time in the morning to lounge around a bit so that everyone is quite relaxed before leaving to school or work.  We were conscious about creating this routine in our family and over time everyone benefits.  

Try giving yourself more time in the mornings and see how you feel.  Everyone around you will benefit if you are more relaxed and less stressed.  

-Julie Bjelland, LMFT  HSP Psychotherapist, Teacher, Author of Brain Training for Highly Sensitive People, Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions.  http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp/

Describing The HSP Online Brain-Training Course

Several HSP therapists have asked to me to describe the online HSP course I have developed. I thought I would post something here as a brief description... Because HSP's have an overly activated amygdala, I teach methods to help bypass the overly activated limbic system as well as get out of the limbic system when needed. This reduces the feeling of overwhelm and depletion as well as Anxiety that HSPs often experience. It also reduces nervous system overdrive common with HSPs. We work on identifying emotional and even sensory triggers and creating a new pause in the neural networks for a new neural sprout to develop that gives us a feeling of choice in response rather than reaction from activation. Neural sprouts only take about 3 weeks to start so most HSPs feel better rather quickly! It's very exciting stuff. When we are not having meltdowns we also reduce the familiar HSP cycle of guilt, shame and self-blame which are powerful for HSPs. All of these methods open up a new amount of brain energy and brain space for higher level functions like creativity and getting out of survival mode where we are just trying to get through the day. It allows us to move out of an often depleted state and into one where our life feels so much better. A lot of HSPs describe it as "freedom". I focus a lot on self care practices, including mindfulness and meditation. Self care is like medicine to an HSP and doing more of it is essential to be able to create the space to train our brains in the first place. I also help HSPs reframe more positive labeling. There are so many amazing parts of having this trait, that sometimes are hard to reach when we are overwhelmed, but once we remove the veil of overwhelm, we gain access to all those positives! My clients and students have found it quite transformational. All of these methods work really well for HSPs because we have a higher level of consciousness and depth of processing by nature. I'm super passionate about all of this. There is so much to describe, that I sometimes find it hard to put into a few sentences. :) Hope that helps understand it better!  The next course starts April 10, 2017:   http://www.juliebjelland.com/hsp-e-course/