ARE YOU A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON?

For years, people told me I was too “thin-skinned” or “highmaintenance.” When I looked around at others, they didn’t seem to take things so personally, or to be bothered by loud noises and bright lights. What was wrong with me? About ten years ago I discovered the answer: I’m a “highly sensitive person” and I’m NOT alone. Indeed, about 20% of the population shares this trait.

What Are Highly Sensitive People Like?

Dr. Eileen Aron’s 25 years of research indicates that highly sensitive people:

  1. are quite sensitive to external stimuli,
  2. prefer quiet, less chaotic surroundings,
  3. worry excessively,
  4. are easily overwhelmed,
  5. reflect on things more than others, and
  6. feel things very deeply.

You’ll be happy to hear that these characteristics are quite respected in many societies where the sensitive ones become advisors and sages.

But, in our Western culture, being highly sensitive isn’t always understood or valued. That’s why some of us so often feel on the outside looking in.

So, if you think you might be a highly sensitive person or have a loved one that is, take the quiz on Aron’s website and check out her blog, “Comfort Zone.”

The healthiest path for us sensitive folks is to value who we are and take good care of ourselves.

Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People

If you can relate, here are a few suggestions for self-care.

  1. Reduce your exposure to loud, dramatic input: news programs, social media, argumentative friends/family, etc.
  2. Schedule downtime to rest, meditate, read, and renew after a busy day or after lots of social activity.
  3. Sleep enough, eat well and limit caffeine intake.
  4. Treat yourself to the enjoyment of beauty: take a walk, savor a sunset, etc.
  5. Hang out with loving people who like you exactly the way you are.
  6. Avoid bright lights and loud background noise (if they bother you).
  7. Remind yourself that your sensitivity makes you creative, empathetic, and loving.

If, like me, you are highly sensitive, please share a few of your insights here. Thanks!

In Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews: Amazon 4.8 stars.

Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

LET’S BE AT PEACE . . . Come What May

Hello from southwest Florida. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.  Our golf community just had its first case of the virus, so we’re in quarantine, just like so many of you. 

As we listen to government warnings, gossip, and TV experts, it’s all too easy to lose sight of hope and tolerance–just when we need them most. So, when we find ourselves captivated by fear, let’s seek peace of mind instead.

Today, I offer you these words of love and peace, plus two powerful tools to help us face this challenge together.

Gratitude Brings Peace of Mind

I thank God (literally) for our food, water, and electricity. Not to mention my fun, steady husband of 30 years (need I remind you, he’s my 4th?). And let’s not forget our very social and entertaining cat, Murphy. 

But, most of all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect my heart with yours across space and time. More than ever, I’ve been joining with loved ones through prayer, positive thoughts, social media, and internet-based gatherings. (A friend just texted me, “I wish I had bought stock in Zoom!”). These connections are, most definitely, my life-line (remember, I’m the former “Queen of Worry!”).

If you’re feeling uncertain, take a moment to make your own gratitude list— truly a mental/emotional game-changer (and, I often do need to change the “game” in my head!)

Two Truths: Take ‘Em to The Bank!

During challenging times, I believe (right down to my toes) two things:

  1. We are all connected in spirit, and by joining together, our loving power can get us through anything
  2. My job is to replace my fear and panic with peace of mind, so I can reach out to others with love, encouragement, and care. 

Tool 19 from my book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now, will help you find your own center of peace, wisdom, and courage.

Loving-Kindness Practice

This Buddhist practice (also called metta) calms your mind, opens your heart to goodness, activates the power of your true self, and dissolves whatever may be blocking your love for others.

First, say the affirmation for yourself:

  • May I be at peace.  May my heart remain open.
  • May I awaken to the light of my own true nature.
  • May I be healed. May I be a source of healing for all beings.

Now, say it for your loved ones and the entire world: May we be at peace. May our hearts remain open; May we awaken to the light of our own true nature. May we be healed. May we be a source of healing for all beings.

Finally, and this may be the most important of all, say it for someone you worry about or dislike: May you (name) be at peace; May your heart remain open. May you awaken to the light of your own true nature. May you be healed. May you be a source of healing to all beings.

I have memorized this Loving Kindness affirmation and say it often. Give it a try. It really works!

Blocks to Love: Judging, Resenting, Condemning

Why is the last version of this prayer so important? Simply put, hatred and judgement block our ability to give and receive love. Seeing people with forgiveness rather than condemnation is the most healing choice we can make–for the whole world.

“Dear God, please help me to see this differently.”

Join me in asking our higher power to help us see all others with love rather than criticism, and to fully open our hearts to one another. This is, after all, God’s will for us.

gigi langer worry less now

Gigi Langer, 34 years sober, holds a Ph.D. in Psychological Studies in Education and an MA in Psychology from Stanford University. Through her writing, coaching, and speaking, Gigi has helped thousands of people improve their lives at home and work. A former professor of teacher education at Eastern Michigan University, she lives in Michigan and Florida with her husband, Peter, and Murphy, her cat.

worry less now audiobook gigi Langer

Get Gigi’s new book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection” (5 Stars on Amazon). Available in audio, e-book, and paperback Click HERE for special offers.

  • “This book is a winner.” Karen Casey, Bestselling Hazelden author
  • “Valuable, heartfelt manual.” — Publishers Weekly (BookLife)

REV UP YOUR SPIRIT WITH 12 POWERS

12 meditation

Given the state of the world, I think we all could use one of the most powerful meditations I know, The 12 Powers Meditation by Charles Fillmore of Unity church. It’s one of the most powerful meditations I know.

I use this body-mind-spirit practice whenever I have safety and health concerns; and it never fails to bring me strength, wisdom, and the power to trust life as never before.

Try The 12 Powers Meditation Now

Each of the 12 Powers has its own color and body location to visualize as you say the affirmation. I’ve memorized them in groups of four:  Faith, Strength, Wisdom, Love —  Power, Imagination, Understanding, Will — Order, Zeal, Elimination, Life. Give it a try now, breathing calmly and deeply as you visualize each color and say each affirmation.

BEGINNING AFFIRMATION: There is one presence and power in the universe, God, and I am one with it as the light of God surrounds me.

  1. FAITH: Indigo Blue at Crown of Head. The Christ** in me now activates Faith. I trust God**, knowing God’s will is for my highest good. I give thanks for the gift of Faith.
  2. STRENGTH: Pale Green at Lower Back. The Christ in me now activates Strength. I am strong and unafraid. Strength surges through me, giving me energy, endurance, and vigor. I give thanks for the faculty of Strength.
  3. WISDOM: Yellow at Solar Plexus, Under Rib Cage. The Christ in me now activates Wisdom (Judgement). I perceive beyond appearances, and am guided by Divine intuition into wise and perfect ways. I give thanks for the faculty of Wisdom.
  4. LOVE:  Pink at Heart. The Christ in me now activates Love. I am a radiating center of Divine Love, loved and loving to everyone (including myself). I give thanks for the faculty of Love.
  5. POWER:  Purple at Throat. The Christ in me now activates Power. My thoughts and words vibrate with spiritual power. I give thanks for the faculty of Power.
  6. IMAGINATION:  Pale Blue at Forehead. The Christ in me now activates Imagination. I see creative, new ways to do what is mine to do. New opportunities to experience God’s good are coming into my life. I give thanks for the gift of Imagination.
  7. UNDERSTANDING:  Silver at  Front of Head. The Christ in me now activates Understanding. God is present in all situations and in every relationship. The perfect outworking of every situation is being revealed to me now. I give thanks for the faculty of Understanding.
  8. WILL*:  Gold at Center of Head. The Christ in me now activates Will. Not my will but God’s be done in my life. God molds me and uses me as God wills. I give thanks for the faculty of Will.
  9. ORDER:  Dark Green at Belly Button. The Christ in me now activates Perfect Order. My spiritual path unfolds in its proper sequence. Divine timing and order are now established in my life. I give thanks for the faculty of Order.
  10. ZEAL:  Saffron/Orange at Back of Head. The Christ in me now activates Zeal. I am enthusiastic and excited about life. I feel good pouring through me and I experience miracles in my life. I give thanks for the faculty of Zeal.
  11. ELIMINATION:  Brown/Rust at Lower Abdomen. The Christ in me now activates Elimination (Renunciation). I am free of the past, and release all false and useless attitudes, emotions, and reactions. I am at one with God and with life. I give thanks for the faculty of Renunciation.
  12. LIFE:  Red at Reproductive Organs. The Christ in me now activates Life. Every cell in my being is charged with the pure, restorative life of God. I give thanks for the faculty of Life.

CLOSING AFFIRMATION: There is only one Presence and Power, God the good, omnipotent. Father/Mother God and I are one.

If you use this practice regularly, you’ll be amazed by your calm, trusting outlook on life—even when things appear scary and uncertain!

NOTES

*I changed “Will” to the color Gold (as in The Golden Key by Emmet Fox); and “Understanding” to Silver, as that’s how I first memorized them.

** You may wish to substitute your own terms for the words “Christ” and “God.” (“Christ” refers to your divine, true self; and “God” is your higher power as you understand it.) Also, you might say the affirmations in your own words.

7 Ways to Help Your Spouse Feel Secure During Your Depressive Episode

By Guest Blogger, Rebecca Lombardo

depressive episode

Many people have asked my husband and me how we’ve stayed together for so long with my mental illness looming overhead.

It’s a fair question; I know many couples that have ended up divorcing because one or the other couldn’t handle the added pressure of mental illness. I think in our case, that added element of pressure only made our marriage stronger.

Hope During a Depressive Episode

I don’t doubt that some people with depression or anxiety say to themselves, “I can barely take care of myself during a bout of depression; how am I supposed to worry about someone else?” To that I say, “I understand, and I’ve been there,” because I was diagnosed nearly 25 years ago.

I know from experience that when you stick together during the bad times, the good times are so much sweeter. On the day we got married, my husband said, “Well, you’re stuck with me now.” But I didn’t always make it easy for him.

Of course, at the beginning we struggled. We struggled a great deal, but we knew that we loved each other enough to keep working on the relationship.

If you truly love your spouse, you can gather enough strength to show you care for them, even when you don’t even have the energy to get out of bed.

Communicating During a Depressive Episode

It’s essential that your partner be made aware of what you’re going through. You can’t just shut down and isolate. The next time you go looking for their support, they may not be there because you’ve made them feel alienated.

Once I learned to utilize the seven methods listed below, we began to communicate better, even in the darkest of times. For many, these techniques may be common sense, but for those of us with a mental illness, sometimes we need to get out of our own way and just focus on the basics..

I’m not suggesting that you jump into the list with both feet. Take your time and find what works best for you and your spouse.

  1. Talk to your spouse and tell them what you are feeling. As soon as you feel yourself falling into a depressive episode, let them know, even if you’re having trouble coming up with the why and the how,
  2. Assure your partner that they are not the cause of your mood. Sit down and tell them point blank that they have nothing to do with how you’re feeling. You have no idea how powerful something so simple can be.
  3. Tell them that it’s okay that they can’t fix the situation. This was a big one for my husband. He loves me and he didn’t want to see me in pain. So, he often felt as if he had to do something to make it better for me. Unfortunately, most of us need to work through things in our own time before we feel better.
  4. Offer them simple options to help you feel better. Maybe you’re having a craving for chocolate or you just really want a tuna fish sandwich. Ask your spouse to pick up one of these items for you. When they bring it home, genuinely let them know that they’ve helped, even if it’s just a little.
  5. Try to make sure you don’t take anything out on them. One of the biggest stumbling blocks early on was my temper, and because my husband was the only one around, he got to feel the wrath. This goes hand in hand with communication. You might simply say, “Look, I’m not doing well right now and it may seem like I’m taking it out on you. I’m sorry if I do, it’s not your fault.”
  6. Thank them for being there for you. Many times, the only real remedy for a situation is a “thank you.” It’s a rewarding feeling to know you’ve helped the one you love. Once your partner feels appreciated, they’re more likely to be supportive more often.
  7. If you’re having trouble giving your feelings a voice, write put them in a letter. This is valuable on many levels. It can help the situation in the present, but if your partner is anything like my husband, he’ll keep it and read it when times get hard again. If you’re truly transparent and honest with your emotions, it could be the best thing to happen to your relationship.

Give It A Try

I hope you’ll consider trying a couple of these the next time you feel like you’re sinking into a depressive episode.

You can have a strong relationship with a solid structure while enduring mental illness. It doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Believe me when I tell you that having a stable partnership takes one of the heaviest loads off your back in a dark time. Suffering through depression is exhausting enough, but knowing that your relationship is falling apart around you makes it ten times harder.

Do yourself a favor and just try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Rebecca Lombardo is the author of “It’s Not Your Journey” where she details two years of her twenty-five year battle with mental illness. As she recovered from an attempt to take her life, she wrote the book to purge her pain and raw emotions. Rebecca offers the reader support and guidance as she begs them not to follow her path.

Rebecca and Joe Lombardo host a podcast, Voices for Change 2.0, Live on Saturdays. Learn more about Rebecca at www.rebeccalombardo.com allthatwax2019.scentsy.us Tw: @BekaLombardo