Elaine Aron, PhD, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, said we need to live our lives differently (and make different choices) if we want to feel good. Knowing what I do now as a Highly Sensitive Person, I would agree. The hurried, highly interactive lifestyle that is the mainstream culture just doesn't work for us. We can maintain it for a while, but we will get physically or mentally ill/exhausted if we keep it up for years on end. Below are seven tips to start building a life that works for you:
Joyfully Living a Healthy Sensitive Life,
- Understand that sensitivity is part of your temperament—not a flaw to be fixed. Sensitivity is simply a character trait that 20 percent of the population shares. Instead of buying into the industrialized western culture that says people should be tough, outgoing and sales oriented, recognize that the world needs people who are caring, heart-centered and gentle.
- Treat yourself compassionately. You were born with the capacity for great compassion. You know how to give it to others, so turn it on yourself. You will perform much better by listening to your body when it wants sleep, for instance, rather than by doing that one more thing.
- Carve out some time for yourself. We live in a busy, high-energy world. It's essential for highly sensitive people to have down time in order to function well in this environment. Take a walk in the park or sit and read in a cozy space for a while. You will feel refreshed and energized.
- Create an environment that uniquely suits you. This is a higher level of self-care. You need to be aware of what you like and dislike in your home, place to live, scenery, clothing and anything else that supports who you are. This has a great effect on how you feel, which in turn is one of your greatest assets in connecting with other people.
- Set healthy boundaries. It's hard to say "no," when someone keeps pushing you to say "yes." You have compassion for them and want to make them feel good, yet you must consider your own needs, or you will feel used and eventually burned out. Practice saying no to the less important things and work your way up to family or friends who expect you to say "yes."
- Learn to build a healthy lifestyle that fits your needs. A lifestyle that supports you includes the type of food you eat, some form of regular exercise, rest, friends you can reach out to when needed, and spiritual well-being. Take on one area at a time and build from there.
- Think of someone you love dearly. Now give that love to yourself. You were meant to be here. Acknowledge your uniqueness and love yourself for it. There will never be another "you."