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.