Do you often feel vulnerable to the external world? Do large crowds, excessive talking, strong smells, or people in general get under your skin? Or maybe you're just overwhelmed with the demands of daily life and don't know how to manage it all.
If any of this sounds like something you experience regularly, you may be a highly sensitive person.
According to Dr. Elaine Aron, highly sensitive people (HSPs) make up 20 percent of the world's total population, meaning one out of every five people possesses this trait. Similar to having freckles or brown eyes, being sensitive is something you're born with, not something you choose.
HSPs have finely tuned nervous systems, which means they feel things more strongly (positive and negative), get hurt easily, can often read and feel the energy of other people, and can sometimes anticipate when something will happen before it does. So how does an HSP manage all of this overwhelm?
Two words: self-care. Here are six ways HSPs can practice self-care regularly:
Grounding is a simple practice that doesn't take a lot of time and involves connecting with your body and the Earth in whatever way makes sense for you.
My favorite way to ground myself is by lying on the floor or in the grass. Every morning after I get out of bed, I lie on the ground on a yoga mat and meditate for at least 10 minutes. This allows me to start my day off right because it lets me be present in my body.
Since I started this daily practice, I've noticed I am less overwhelmed and not as bothered by little things. When I can, I practice this several times throughout the day and am almost instantly relaxed.
Other ways to "ground" yourself include walking barefoot in the grass, taking a walk in nature, or floating in water.
2. Dry brushing
Dry brushing not only helps remove dead skin, it also allows you to detoxify your cells and internal organs.
Using a natural bristle brush with a long handle, simply start at your feet and brush in circular motions, working your way up your entire body to your face. The key is to brush from the bottom to the top to get the fresh blood flow moving to your heart. (This area is also where your lymph system drains.)
Dry brushing allows you to feel more invigorated and energized as you go into your day, which can be especially helpful for HSPs who feel overwhelmed.
Most highly sensitive people live in their heads, which means many of their thoughts get trapped up there with nowhere to go. In my experience, I've found that after a stressful day, journaling really helps because I'm able to jot down what I'm thinking onto paper and make sense of my feelings.
Don't know what to write? Start by simply putting a pen to paper and writing about how you feel. See what happens from there!
4. Salt baths
After a long day, a soak in a salt bath instantly relaxes me. And the best part is that all you need is a tub, water, and Epsom salt. Soaking for 10 to 15 minutes has myriad benefits, which include making time to yourself, taking a break from whatever your day has contained, and allowing your body to reap the restorative benefits of a long, hot soak.
Yoga is naturally relaxing and energy-releasing. When it comes to HSPs, I recommend two styles: Kundalini yoga, which opens your energy channels (chakras) to greater spiritual awareness; and restorative yoga, an intense stretching of your muscles, fascia, and the connective tissues in your body.
With the latter, each stretch is held for 3 to 5 minutes, which not only allows you to obtain the benefits of stretching, but it also assists with releasing emotions or energy stored in your muscles. I've found that practicing either of these before bed improves sleep quality and quiets the voices in my head.
6. Massage or acupuncture
Both massage and acupuncture serve as a release for the toxins in your body, which in turn promotes an easier path to relaxation. Massage is great because it incorporates touch and is relaxing overall. Acupuncture is beneficial because the needles trigger your nervous system to send serotonin to your brain — an instant relaxation technique!
Whether or not you're an HSP, these six self-care techniques practiced regularly can allow you to have a better quality of life overall.
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