Are You A Highly Sensitive Person? These Stress-Busting Techniques Are For You

Photo: Wendy Laurel

Highly sensitive people are naturally wired to be hyper-perceptive, meaning they can pick up more readily on subtle stimuli around them. They might be empathic, or able to easily sense the energy and emotions of others, so it's no shock then that highly sensitive people are drawn to working with an intuitive like me. And one thing I've noticed about my HSP clients is they tend to get more overwhelmed than others in the days leading up to events they perceive as potentially stressful.

If you're a highly sensitive person who is prone to this type of anticipatory stress, these tips could help:

1. Be mindful of how often you think about an upcoming event beforehand.

Sensitive people usually feel more relaxed and comfortable when they are prepared. They can tend to be planners who get very detail-oriented. Think about an upcoming event, like a weekend trip or the delivery of a large piece of furniture up a narrow staircase, only as much as you need to plan the particulars. If you obsess on the details, that can become anxiety, and soon the event gets blown up all out of proportion in your mind.

2. Use creative visualization to imagine a happy, calm, or neutral outcome.

Picturing a stressful conversation with your boss going smoothly ahead of time, or imagining yourself feeling calm and confident while giving the toast at your brother's wedding next weekend (go ahead and imagine the audience laughing at your jokes, too), will make you feel more relaxed during this lead-up period. Bonus: Creative visualization also sets you up for being more grounded, less emotional, and less reactive when the event actually happens!

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3. Remind yourself that sometimes you are prone to anticipatory stress.

Simply being aware that you are a sensitive person who can find the lead-up to situations way more stressful than the situations themselves is very helpful. It's the same way that some women who experience PMS are aware of their cycles and how it can affect their moods. Knowing yourself and your patterns can put everything in perspective.

4. Work on becoming less rattled by the emotional reactions of others.

HSPs know that they will have to feel the uncomfortable emotions of those around them at the event, which can be a lot to handle. If you are stressed about a big close or deadline day at work, it might partly be because you know how stressed and easily triggered your co-workers will be that day. Sensitive people do not have to be held hostage by the energy or emotions of others. Although tuning into people is the empath's default mode, they can learn how to mindfully tune in and tune out to others at will. Here are a few rituals to help you do just that.

5. Ask your guides for help.

I find that many sensitive people are quite open to Spirit, or the notion that there is a larger, benevolent force looking out for us that we are all part of. It might be easier to surrender your worries about an upcoming event to something or someone. You can find out more about how to connect with the spirit guides and angels looking out for you in my book Angel Insights.

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6. Avoid perfectionism.

Sensitive people might be more prone to perfectionism. No one likes to make "mistakes," but sensitive people are extra nervous about getting something wrong (which is why they can make such excellent, conscientious employees). This is because the sensitive person wants to avoid causing others to have negative emotions because they don't want to have to feel those emotions secondhand. Remember that worrying ahead of time about how to make things perfect can have the opposite effect.

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