Quick Tips to Calm An Overwhelmed HSP Brain
- Close your eyes. 80% of the brain's stimulation is in the eyes.
- 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.
- Name your emotions. Naming a feeling increases prefrontal cortex activity that will then decrease amygdala activity and help you feel calmer.
- 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.
- Go outside. Observe the beauty of trees, birds, the sky, flowers, etc. Being in nature has a strong calming impact on HSPs.
- 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?"
Self Care Websites I Recommend for HSPs
- Autumn and Fig. Dr. Alexandria "ALI" Hotmer is an HSP therapist and offers wonderful resources for self-care. I have met her in person and she has a lovely caring, calming presence.
- Headspace.com. I love this meditation/mindfulness app. You would be surprised how ten minutes a day can be very centering, grounding and calming, which are all things important for HSPs! The first ten are free so you can try it.
- Insight Timer. Many of my clients and students love this free app-you can pick how long you want to meditate and there are many different meditation teachers.
- Earplugs. Many HSPs have challenges sleeping. I recommend trying these Mack earplugs to reduce the amount of times you wake up in the night due to noise or you may prefer a white noise machine, fan, or soothing music.
- Weighted blankets affect proprioceptor input that can help our brain release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which can create a sense of calm. Many companies make them now. I have one from weightingcomforts.com that I like the flatness of and the weight but the flannel is not soft sensory-wise so I use a duvet over it. The company said they make some with softer material so you can inquire about that. I also have one I like from SensaCalm that also make custom ones. It's a bit puffier and can be cozy if you like that part. There are a lot more companies making these types of blankets now so I invite you to explore what feels right to you.
- Do the same five things before bed every night, our brain begins to recognize sleep is coming by about the 3rd step. Also, if we warm up our body with a bath/shower before sleeping, the process of cooling the body after can initiate better sleep as well.
- Try a bath with lavender or epsom salts.
- Lighting a soothing candle
- Reading something non-stimulating
- Turning off the lights
- Listening to meditation or soothing music