Being in crowded places, like restaurants, shops or public transport, can be challenging when you're highly sensitive.
As a highly sensitive person, you feel the energies and emotions from other people as if they were your own. You're also more quickly overwhelmed by loud noises, bright lights and other sensory information. It's as if you don't have the natural protection that other people seem to have and therefore, everything hits you harder.
In daily life this means that being in busy, crowded places can quickly drain your energy and overwhelm you. However, you don't have to limit yourself by avoiding these places. There are things that you can do to make it easier and sometimes even enjoyable for yourself:
1. Choose your place wisely.
Whether it's a seat in a restaurant, a conference room or a place to stand or sit in public transport, feel the energy as soon as you come in and feel in which area you would like to be.
If you need to sit next to somebody you don't know, choose the person carefully (assuming that you have a choice, of course). Just feel which person seems most comfortable to you. When you consciously tune into that feeling, you'll know!
Usually sitting in a corner or on the side is more comfortable than sitting in the middle of a room (or table). A window seat can be more comfortable than an aisle seat, because of the energies of the people walking by all the time.
2. Relax and harmonize.
As soon as you have found a place, try to relax as best as you can. Imagine your energy harmonizing with the energies of the people around you. Just imagining it will make it happen! Take a deep breath and ground yourself.
3. Stay connected to yourself and your body.
Use your breath to become aware of your body and how you're feeling. If you go outside of yourself with your attention and energy, you'll feel drained very quickly.
Instead, focus on your breath. As you follow your breath, you connect with your body. As you become present in your body, you become more grounded. Being grounded helps you to let go of the energies from other people and it prevents overwhelm.
4. Be aware of your boundaries.
This is where your energy tools come in. Be aware of your energy field and imagine an invisible boundary at an arm's length from your body. This is your energetic space.
The problem with crowded places is that you often have people cross that line because you have to sit or stand close together. What you can do in those situations is to temporarily draw in that boundary closer to your body: in between you and whomever is around you.
The most important thing is to keep your attention and energy on your side of that energetic boundary. As soon as you focus outside of yourself, you energetically set the door open for your attention and energy to go out AND for other energies to come in. This is what I mean by staying centered. Be aware of your own body within your energy field, and keep your attention and energy focused on yourself as much as you can.
5. If something feels uncomfortable, either take action or choose to accept it.
When you feel really uncomfortable, see if you can change your situation by finding another seat or place to stand.
If that's not possible or not appropriate, let it go and practice full acceptance of what is present in the moment. Observe your discomfort. Embrace it. Feel compassion toward yourself.
Observe what you're feeling. Try and stay focused on yourself more than on your environment. See if you can consciously drop the energies from others in your space into the earth through your grounding chord. All of this will help you feel more centered and balanced.
It takes practice, but it is possible to be in crowded places and not feel drained or overwhelmed, even when you're very sensitive.
Practice these tools and see the difference they make! If you have any additional tips, let me know in the comments below so we can all learn from one another.