“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” – Edgar Allan Poe
One of my new favorite magazines is called Breathe. My dearest and oldest friend, Ili, turned me on to it. The issue I recently purchased (well a couple of months ago) was The Well-being Special. This particular edition contains numerous articles for each of the following categories: Wellness, Kindness, Mindfulness and Inspiration. As you can imagine, this magazine is right up my alley!
I can’t begin to tell you how much content this magazine offers. There must be about 10 articles for each of the featured categories. And the visual graphics are extremely soothing. The featured quotes cannot help but to touch us in some way. Here’s the welcoming one from the Wellness section: “Whether you’re working, resting, or playing, treating yourself like the guest of honor in your own life will lead towards inner peace.” Just how lovely is this quote? It makes me stop, inhale deeply and let it all out with a sigh…And let’s not forget how true it is!!!!
One of the articles that I especially enjoyed was the one on highly sensitive people titled, “Sensitive People; the Untold Story.” We’ve been talking a lot about this topic in one of my yoga classes, so the timing of this article was spot on with where my thoughts have been recently traveling.
You see, I never considered myself to be a “highly” sensitive person as I was growing up. I don’t even think I had that vocabulary or knew how to express some of the things I would feel. As I have gotten older and wiser, I have learned to embrace the fact that I am a sensitive soul (maybe not Highly, but sensitive to some degree). It’s like meeting a new me for the first time. It’s also allowed me to look at other people though a different lens, be more patient, compassionate and better understand them.
Needless to say, highly sensitive people (HSP) are often misunderstood, judged and even poked fun at. As noted in the article, sensitive people “perceive and process the world at a deep level, are often incorrectly labeled shy or deemed overly dramatic and told to calm down. But being fine-tuned to their environment isn’t something they can throw off – it’s part of the nature of the internal system of the Highly Sensitive Person.”
We tend to have a picture in our heads of what a “sensitive” person looks and acts like, but we have learned there is a wide spectrum of highly sensitive people in the world. “The HSP trait manifests on a sliding scale and to varying degrees of extremity.” Also, the reality is that some of us may know we are highly sensitive, and some of us may still have no idea other than knowing that we feel very deeply to the point of sometimes feeling weighed down or depleted.
The truth of the matter is that “there are certain people who are predisposed to perceive sensory data more deeply because of the nature of their internal system.” What does this mean? Well, it means that such individuals tend to experience the world rather differently than the rest of society.
Since I am such a self-care advocate, student of life, and love writing / sharing ways we can continue to grow, evolve and help ourselves and others, I thought it would be beneficial to summarize and share the tips offered in the article for grounding and setting boundaries. Grounding is an important aspect for all of us to do on a daily basis. It allows us to feel deeply rooted and supported. It is especially necessary for HSP do to because of the nature of their openness and ability to unwillingly take on someone else’s pain or energy which, in turn, leaves them feeling dehydrated, depleted and exhausted. Setting boundaries is equally as important and something we do for ourselves and for others. Here goes:
- EAT GROUNDING FOODS such as root vegetables, leafy greens and nuts. These types of foods rebalance and regulate the body and its ability to heal.
- ENERGY CLEARING at home, in the workplace and especially after visitors. You can burn/ smudge sage, Palo Santo or even use ready-made clearing sprays infused with essential oils.
- GET OUTSIDE IN NATURE walk barefoot in the grass, talk to plants or hug trees.
- LET NATURE IN and open doors and windows because it resets the energy to neutral. Have plants in commonly used spaces, especially near electronics as it purifies and recycles the air.
- WATER is known for its healing powers. Take baths using bath salts for added detox, take a swim, wash hands when leaving places, and drink lots of water.
- RELAXING BREATH is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. Connect with your breath and feel grounded. Controlled breathing techniques help to reset and regulate the nervous system, inducing an increased state of calm.
Setting and Holding Boundaries
- SAYING NO is a critical part for establishing boundaries and for one’s sensitivity to external factors. Be clear about what not to do or where not to go. Comfort comes first.
- PROTECTING PHYSICAL SPACE by having a designated place and space that’s just for you. It should be somewhere you can retreat to, to center and ground.
- LIMITING TIME WITH SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS is key. Learn to leave a place or situation when ready. Disconnect and take quiet time to relax.
- LIVING IN LINE WITH NATURAL ENERGY whenever possible try to work, socialize, exercise and eat when it best suits you, and wake and sleep naturally. Choose spaces and places with natural light and get outdoors regularly.
Whether you or someone you know is a sensitive soul, there are wonderful resources out there. You can visit hsperson.com or look into some of Dr. Elaine Aron’s work. She is the author of the following books:
- The Highly Sensitive Person
- The Highly Sensitive Child
- The Highly Sensitive Person in Love
- The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook
- Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person
In retrospect, I wish I had known of the existence of these books early on in my life journey. They would have answered a lot of questions for me. It’s taken me a lot of life experience, personal growth and learning about energy to come to a point in life where I am extremely discerning as to where, when, why and with whom I choose to expend my energy. Self-preservation, darlings!
Also, I think these books would have prepared me as I embarked on my teaching profession. After all, educators and administrators come across highly sensitive children and staff all day long. And all of us, in every profession and calling, come across people whom are highly sensitive. The more we know, and the better we are able to support HSP, the better prepared we are to be in any kind of relationship with such beautiful and deep feeling souls.
I hope to share a few more articles and tips from Breathe magazine in some upcoming blogs. By now, you should know I’m all about the sharing and anything that calls our souls to inspire, love, serve AND lead from the heart…right from the start!
Inhale Love & Light…Exhale Grace & Gratitude.