Do you find yourself often feeling out of balance or overstimulated? Do you sometimes feel that you struggle just to get through the day, and wonder why it seems no one else has the same experience? First, I want you to know that you are not alone. Many sensitive souls are introverted, which means the world tends not to hear the sensitive voices as often as the more boisterous ones. Even if you don’t see them right away, if you take a closer look you will find sensitive souls everywhere. I know because I am one too, and I work with them every day.
As a sensitive soul, you likely are blessed with many special gifts, such as the ability to be deeply compassionate, creative, intuitive and conscientious. However, you also likely have the tendency to be too hard on yourself, easily overwhelmed and, of course, extra sensitive to the world around you. Luckily, there are ways to nurture and support your sensitive body, heart and mind, so that you can live a more peaceful and fulfilled life.
Here are six of my favorite steps to help you survive and thrive in the busy world we live in. You can read more steps in my new book, Empowering the Sensitive Soul.
1. Be on your own side (love yourself) –
We tend to be our worst critics instead of our biggest fans. The most important way to take care of yourself is to commit to supporting yourself no matter what. It is absolutely essential that you learn to treat yourself like a true friend rather than a foe or you will never find the balance you are looking for in your life. I know all this self-love stuff can sound kind of cheesy, but it’s truly a practical mechanism to help bring you from pain and suffering to feeling like you always have a friend by your side (aka: You!). You likely know you have the ability for great love and compassion for others, so now all you need to do is to apply that compassion and love to yourself.
Commit to not speaking badly about yourself, ever. If you do, immediately rephrase what you said to something more positive and move forward. You’ll start to believe whatever you tell yourself, so tell yourself positive things.
Remove the unreasonable conditions around loving yourself. If you have conditions such as losing a certain amount of weight, getting a particular job or finding the perfect partner before you can love yourself, you may never feel worthy. Even if you reach those conditions you’ll find new conditions that need to be met before you can love yourself. Self-love must be unconditional.
Practice the affirmation: “I love and support myself no matter what.” Repeat this in times of distress as well as times of peace and clarity. Speaking badly toward yourself is an autoimmune condition because you are attacking yourself with your own negative thoughts. How can you love someone who attacks you? Commit to loving and supporting yourself no matter what.
2. Daily Practice –
In order to set yourself up for increased peace and comfort in life, it is important to have a daily practice that helps you stay grounded, find your center and reset after a busy day. There are many different practices to choose from, so the most important thing is that you find something that resonates with you and that you will commit to. Think of this practice as a mini vacation. Start with just ten minutes a day and notice the shift in your mind and body.
Daily Practice tips:
Practice a breathing exercise, for example, the 6:8 breath. Inhale for the count of 6, exhale for the count of 8 and repeat. The long exhale promotes increased relaxation.
Practice a restorative yoga pose, for example, legs up the couch. Lie down on a yoga mat or comfortable rug and put your legs up onto the couch. Rest there for 10 minutes.
Put on your favorite song and sing to it. I love singing to Ong Namo, by Snatam Kaur. Close your eyes feel the music and enjoy the moment.
Try one of these or better yet, create your own!
3. Protect Your Energy –
As a sensitive being, you may likely struggle with managing your energy. Your energy may be thrown off in big groups, around people who are negative or in pain, or even from doing things you don’t enjoy. It is important to have ways to help manage your energy so that you don’t burn out. Committing to your daily practice will help, but you also need to be aware of what your specific energy drainers are and how you can avoid them.
Energy protection tips:
Make a list of what drains your energy. If you can avoid any of these things, do so and if you can’t try to make sure you don’t do too many of them in one day. Think outside the box. Some of my more unlikely energy drainers include complaining, exaggerating, rushing as well as being out all day long. What are yours?
When you feel that your energy is compromised, use the affirmation: “I release all energy that is not of my highest and best interest.” I use this affirmation daily to help protect my energy, especially when I am with someone who is emotionally unsettled.
Follow the rule of the quick “no” and the slow “yes”. As a sensitive person, you likely get asked to do things frequently that you simply don’t want to do and don’t have energy for. When this happens, practice saying “no” immediately instead of letting your energy drain by not standing up for what you want. When you are not sure if you want to do something, then take your time to think about it before committing. When you take your time you’ll be much more likely to come to the answer that is right for you.
4. Believe in Yourself –
Sometimes there is just no feasible way to avoid an uncomfortable situation. In these settings, the best thing you can do is to set a positive intention around it and go through with it. When we head into a situation having already decided that we won’t feel well or we will hate to be there, we don’t leave ourselves any room for growth. It is important to respect your sensitive self, and to simultaneously also allow yourself the potential to succeed where you may have struggled in the past.
Believing in Yourself tips:
Before entering a challenging situation create a positive intention to repeat to yourself to help you stay balanced. Perhaps it is, “I intend to enjoy the experience for what it is, taking short breaks when I need to reset.” Create your own based on your experience.
Look on the bright side. When we have to be in an uncomfortable situation, it is easy to focus on the negative aspects of being there. When you learn to instead appreciate what is positive about the situation, overwhelm softens and you have the opportunity to even find a bit of joy where before you may have only found struggle.
Affirm your abilities rather than affirming your fears. Often, we do not like particular situations because we do not feel comfortable in them. If you have to attend a potentially uncomfortable social situation, instead of telling yourself for example that you are “too shy” to meet people, remind yourself of how kind, compassionate and supportive you are. When you feel more comfortable with yourself, many situations will become more comfortable for you. Focus on your strengths.
5. Express Yourself –
As a sensitive soul, you are likely an emotional being with lots of feelings moving through you. While sometimes letting them out may feel like a burden, it is actually extremely beneficial, because when we express how we feel, we can then let go of those feelings and move past them. Feelings that are felt but not expressed can literally get stuck in the body, causing unwanted symptoms to develop over time. What we resist persists. We need to learn as sensitive beings that regardless of what society says, it is ok to have emotions. We need to let go of any resistance to our feelings, allow our feelings to have a voice and then we will be able to move past them more easily.
Tips to express yourself:
Journaling is a wonderful way to express your feelings. I always find I have better access to my inner wisdom when I journal. You may even be able to completely resolve your issue just with pen and paper.
Speak to a trusted friend/partner. You may need someone to simply listen to your feelings while simultaneously sending you love. Do not underestimate the power of compassionate listening.
Speak to a professional. There are many times when we benefit from the unbiased support of someone who is not part of our lives to help us process what we are going through. This could be a coach, counselor, mentor, teacher or healer.
6. Press the Reset Button –
Sometimes even when you do your best to take care of yourself, life becomes just a little too busy and hectic and you lose your sense of balance. You may become extremely upset, fatigued, depressed or anxious. When this happens, your body, heart and mind need to reset and rebalance as soon as possible before it gets any worse. It is important to have a go to list of activities/practices you can do to help you come back into balance. Keep that list close to you so that you can refer to it in times of stress.
Tips to help reset:
Sleep. Sleep is a great stress reliever and way to rebalance. Your body will have the opportunity to heal and repair while you take a little break from being conscious.
Move your body. Moving is an excellent way to change how you feel. Consider yoga, walking, dancing or one of your favorite forms of movement. These activities can help take you out of your mind and into your body where there is the peace of the present moment.
Spend time outside. Going into nature helps to melt negative feelings extremely well. Breathe fresh air and feel the connection to the earth’s energy.