5 Steps to Living Optimally as a Highly Sensitive Person, by Julie Bjelland, LMFT
As an HSP psychotherapist that specializes in HSPs I have discovered through years of clinical work and research that there are a few essential elements that HSPs need to practice daily to live more optimally.
1. Do what it takes to get the right amount of sleep for your particular needs. As HSPs this is of top priority. We function at our best when we have slept well. Prioritize this and you will notice a difference right away.
2. Get enough downtime. That means that every day you have time that is unstructured rest time. Your HSP brain needs both processing time and restorative time. That means you need more of it than up to 85% of the population so structure that time for what works for you, not what works for the other 85%. Time in nature and/or time alone is often the most optimal.
3. Take breaks during the day. If you work non-stop with no break you are likely feeling pretty depleted every day. If you take breaks throughout the day you will have a fuller tank after work for yourself and those you love. You will also sleep better. If you floor the gas pedal of your car all day long it will burn out and so will you. You need to rest that super computer HSP brain and give it time for processing and to reset and restore.
4. Remember to put your own mask on before assisting others. HSPs tend to take care of everyone else's needs by default and often don't have enough space for their own needs. This creates the origination of resentment in relationships, friendships and with family. We must be aware of our needs and learn how to ask for those needs to be met if we want to be happy and live more optimally.
5. Self care is medicine for an HSP. Without it we shrivel and with it we thrive. Self care means you do things EVERY day that nurture yourself and that make you happy and calm and relaxed. When we take care to nurture ourselves we increase our own self compassion and that improves so many parts of our lives.
-Julie Bjelland is a licensed psychotherapist and author of the book, Brain Training For The Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques To Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions: An 8-Week Program. Julie also created and currently teaches an Online Course for HSPs. Her passion and expertise is in neuroscience and determining how to successfully train the brain so HSPs can live their best lives. Julie specializes in working with anxiety and the highly sensitive person (HSP), couple's communication, self-esteem, and the LGBTQ 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. To learn more visit her website.