Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?

Highly Sensitive Person // Dare 2 Hope Blog

The word “sensitive” has a lot of connotations to it—many of which are not flattering. So often it has the unspoken “too” attached to it…meaning, that you take things personally or are overly emotional. Perhaps these are true at times, but there is much more to it than that. And it’s not all bad. First, to see if you are considered a highly sensitive person (HSP), ask yourself these questions or take the online test here:

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or loud noises?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • Are you aware and deeply affected by other people’s moods and emotions?
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?

If you answered “yes” to many of these questions, congratulations…you are an HSP! That may not sound like something to celebrate if you’ve felt like your sensitivity has been more of a curse than a blessing, but that feeling is usually based on not completely understanding or appreciating the positive aspects of being an HSP. For instance, according to Dr. Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, HSPs are often intellectually gifted, conscientious, and detail-oriented, making them exceptionally creative and productive workers. In relationships, they are considerate, compassionate, and able to connect deeply with others, making them attentive and thoughtful partners and friends. An estimated 15-20% of the overall population, HSPs are the visionaries, the artists, and the caregivers of society. Unfortunately, society doesn’t always value the HSP personality, only our contributions!

Try to start valuing the positive aspects of being an HSP and work on accepting the challenges that come along with it. Yes, we are more prone to depression and perfectionism and we have trouble taking criticism. We get over-stimulated more easily than others. Don’t beat yourself up for these things…just realize they are part of the package deal and do what you need to take care of yourself. Every personality has its strength and weaknesses, and it’s good that we’re not all the same!

How has being a highly sensitive person been a good thing for you and those around you?

much love,
Cherie_signature

 

DPP_0015bCherie Miller, MS, LPC opened Dare 2 Hope Counseling to help clients all over the country get free from their food, weight, and self-confidence struggles. Her specialty is eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, orthorexia and other unhealthy eating patterns. Contact her here.

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Feelings – Fact or Fiction?

Feelings are like waves...

Emotions—particularly intense ones like depression, anxiety, and anger—can be so powerful that our judgment is sometimes clouded by them if we’re not careful. We can even find ourselves in a habit of being ruled by them, which is not fun for us or the people around us.

It’s an easy trap to fall into because feelings feel so real. I mean, when we look in the mirror and see certain flaws, we feel ugly, so we believe we must be. When our boyfriend doesn’t call, it feels like he doesn’t care, so we assume he doesn’t. While it’s hard to believe something other than what our emotions are screaming at us from the inside, we need to remember that feelings aren’t facts. Everyone has flaws and they don’t mean we aren’t beautiful. Our boyfriend didn’t call because his cell phone died, and he hasn’t gotten home to charge it yet. Assumptions and generalizations will get us in all kinds of trouble if we don’t watch out for how they play with our emotions!

And yet, feelings aren’t fiction either. We can struggle just as much and stay just as stuck when we tell ourselves that our feelings aren’t valid as we do when we believe they are the end-all-be-all. Peace finally starts to come when we stop struggling against our feelings from either angle and just accept them for what they are—feelings! In their own right, they are neither fact nor fiction, good or bad.

Instead, view feelings as red flags that something needs to be paid attention to. Learning to recognize and analyze these signals in a healthy way is whole other topic, but at least being able to remind yourself that feelings are okay but they aren’t facts is a place to start.

What do think is the hardest thing about dealing with feelings?

much love,

Cherie_signature

 

How to Stop Dwelling on Things – Part 2

Ruminating - Part 2 - Dare 2 Hope Blog

Last week in How to Step Dwelling on Things – Part 1, I talked about what rumination is and the negative effects it has on our mental and emotional well-being. This week I want to talk about what to do about it. After all, we might know a behavior isn’t the best, but if we don’t know how to change it, we’re stuck!

In addition to the problem solving approach I already talked about, here are some ideas of things to try next time you find yourself obsessing about a situation.

Distract Yourself. Sometimes you just need to get your mind on something else. Try doing something enjoyable like reading a book, writing a thank you to someone, doing something active, going outside, or some other hobby you like doing. It can be helpful to make a list ahead of time so that you have already ideas when you need to distract yourself.

Schedule a worry break. Dr. Lauren Feiner recommends actually scheduling 20 to 30 minutes a day to ruminate to help contain it to a specific period of time. At other times of the day, remind yourself that you will have time later to worry and contemplate.

Let go. Once you’ve done your problem-solving on the situation and you’ve figured out what you can control and what you’re doing to do about it…acknowledge what you can’t control and work on letting go of that. No doubt, this is incredibly hard to do, but start by making a choice to let it go—and then keep making that choice every time your mind wanders back to it. If you’re honest with yourself, you’d probably have to admit that you increase and extend your misery by hanging on to things you can’t control.

The good news is that rumination is a thought and behavior pattern that can be changed. It’s a habit, and like any other habit, it takes effort and time to change. But the improvement in your health, happiness and relationships will be worth it!

Do any of these work for you or sound interesting enough to try? What has helped you get over ruminating?

much love,

Cherie_signature