6 Strategies to Manage Anxiety as an HSP
Updated: Apr 12
If you are a Highly Sensitive Person who experiences anxiety, you are not alone and you are not broken. I’ve had anxiety on and off for as long as I can remember, as many HSPs do, in part due to our super responsive nervous systems.
As HSPs, our brains are wired to take in more information from the environment and sense subtitles that others don’t notice. This is actually a genetic advantage that members of over 100 other species share. As HSPs we use our exceptional sensory abilities and depth of processing to make smart decisions in new and unusual situations. We can sense danger more easily and this can help keep us (and our tribe) safe. The problem is, our modern world is nothing like the world our nervous system evolved in and can be quite overstimulating. Our daily bombardment of information and stress can cause us to take in more than we can process, be exposed to more bad news than we can bear and make us sense danger when we are actually safe. One of the important factors in helping release anxiety as an HSP is learning to recognize the safety that is actually here in the present moment. 6 Strategies to Manage Anxiety and Find Safety as an HSP 1) Allow the Anxiety– Our first step when we feel anxious is to notice we are feeling it and allow it to be there. What we resist persists, but what we allow can move through us. I always remind myself, “it’s okay to feel this.” 2) Orienting – Anxiety puts us into survival physiology, and this pulls us away from our sensations and the present moment. Orienting is a very simple practice that gets us back into our bodies as well as connected to the environment. We do this in three steps: 1) Ground in your body and feel the space around you 2) With your eyes open, scan your environment 3) Feel your breath and your body while you scan We practice orienting throughout my Flow to Release Anxiety Class. First class free. 3) Yoga – Yoga is one of the best ways to get us back into our bodies, connected with the breath and feeling safe in our environment. For a practice geared specifically toward anxiety, try my Anxiety Buster Slow Flow, Yin for Anxiety and Flow to Release Anxiety. 4) Breathing Exercises – There are many yogic breathing exercises (called pranayama) that help with anxiety. Try my Alternate Nostril Breathing, Sighs of Relief and Wave Breathing. 5) Be Your Own Inner Coach: To build our feeling of safety and confidence, we must learn to be our own inner coach. Rather than being overly self-critical, we want to learn to believe in ourselves and encourage ourselves. When you feel anxious, say something helpful to yourself like: “I am simply overestimating my ability to handle this situation. I am safe. I can do this.” Learn more about how to be your own inner coach with my online 8-week self-paced HSP empowerment program, Empowered Sensitivity. 6) Get Support – Getting support from a counselor, therapist, coach, or healer can make a dramatic difference in your ability to manage anxiety and feel safe. If you are looking for an easy virtual option with tons of resources, Online-Therapy was voted best online therapy tool for anxiety in 2022. To find other therapists and coaches who work with HSPs, recommended Julie Bjelland’s HSP practitioners directory. I also offer one-on-one wellness coaching for HSPs, and will be taking on new clients in the summer. Feel free to send me a message to inquire. With love and sensitivity, Christie