Celebrations are an important part of our lives, and they offer numerous benefits for our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Celebrating can bring people together, create positive memories, and foster a sense of connection and belonging. Celebrations can also help us to feel more positive emotions, such as joy, gratitude, and pride, which we could all use a little more of these days. However, as a highly sensitive person, celebrating events or special occasions can be overwhelming or overstimulating. As HSPs we may feel anxious in social situations, or feel like celebrations are too loud or chaotic for our sensitive nervous systems, which may lead us to avoid celebrating at all. This is unfortunate because celebrating can be a powerful way to acknowledge and honor milestones, accomplishments, and important events in our lives. Without this acknowledgement, our accomplishments may feel less meaningful, leading to greater dissatisfaction in our lives.
The good news is celebrating can be whatever we want it to be, and we can learn to celebrate in ways that work for our sensitivity, not against it. Here are some gentle ways to celebrate that can help you enjoy the moment without feeling drained or stressed:
1) Celebrate in nature: Spending time in nature can be a calming and grounding experience for highly sensitive people. Consider celebrating in a park, forest, or beach where you can enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the natural world.
2) Celebrate with close friends or family: Celebrating with a small group of close friends or family members can be a more intimate and manageable experience for highly sensitive people. This can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed during the celebration.
3) Celebrate with quiet activities: The Oxford dictionary defines celebrate as "acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity." Enjoyable quiet activities such as reading, journaling, or painting can be a gentle way to celebrate. You can also consider listening to calming music, meditating, or practicing yoga to celebrate in a more relaxed and peaceful way.
4) Celebrate with your favorite food or drink: Treat yourself to your favorite food or drink to celebrate or go to your favorite restaurant. This can be a small but meaningful way to mark the occasion.
5) Celebrate by doing something you enjoy: Celebrating doesn't have to involve big parties or events. Doing something you enjoy, dancing, watching a movie, or spending special time with a pet, can be a simple but effective way to celebrate. When I got married, I wanted to have a bachelorette party that reflected what I enjoy, and honored my sensitivity, so instead of going out partying or to a club, my friends and I went to a special yoga class, had tea and then went out to dinner. I even scheduled time for a quick nap between events. I got so many comments that the event reflected who I was and not what a bachelorette party is “supposed to be.”
Remember, as highly sensitive people, we always need to tune inward to find what feels true to us, rather than automatically doing what might be expected. By celebrating in ways that are gentle and manageable, as highly sensitive people we can enjoy the positive aspects of celebrations without becoming overwhelmed. By finding ways to celebrate that comfortable, we can reap the many benefits of celebrations while staying true to our unique needs and preferences.