Quick Tips to Calm an Overwhelmed HSP Brain
1. Close your eyes. 80% of the brain's stimulation is in the eyes.
2. Count your breaths and extend the exhale. Breathe in for the count of 4, hold for 2, exhale for 7. Repeat 5-7 times. Exhalation engages the parasympathetic nervous system that slows the heart rate.
3.Name your emotions. Naming a feeling increases prefrontal cortex activity that will then decrease amygdala activity and help you feel calmer.
4.Mindfully observe your senses. Become mindful of your present moment by thinking about what you are hearing, feeling, seeing, and smelling. Increasing our awareness of the present moment can move us out of reaction and into response.
5. Go outside. Observe the beauty of trees, birds, the sky, flowers, etc. Being in nature has a strong calming impact on HSPs.
To Practice Daily: Build sustained awareness of your needs. HSPs are notorious for a more external focus on everyone else's needs and less focus on their own needs. Increasing your ability to understand what you need in each moment has a significant impact on overall wellbeing. I suggest every time you go to the bathroom, take a moment and ask yourself, "What do I need?"
-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.” Her passion is helping HSPs live their best lives and thrive. Julie also specializes in working with anxiety, communication training, self-esteem, and the LGBTQQ community. Julie is an HSP herself and mother of two highly sensitive children. www.juliebjelland.com