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.

WHAT? ME WORRY?? How to End Your Worrying

I used to be the “Queen of Worry,” biting my nails and stressing about everything. After I quit drinking, I found I still had a major “thinking” problem. When hardships arose, however, I couldn’t drink them away, so I had to learn other ways to deal with my fears and insecurities.

After several years of challenges and discoveries, I had built up such an effective set of tools that I rarely found myself worrying. In 2011, I grouped these tools into five simple strategies: HP-CPR. You can think of it as “Higher-Powered CPR” for the terrified heart and mind.

HP-CPR

HP-CPR: Honestly claiming a loving Power, we Choose our future and use Growth Practices to get there. Here’s a quick summary, followed by an illustration.

  • HONESTY: “Here’s what’s really going on inside me.” Admit that your worrying has kept you stuck in unhappiness.
    • POWER: “I claim courage and intuitive direction.” Claim a source of positive power to overcome your worries through your mind, spirit, and/or body energy.
    • CHOICE: “This is what I want and I’m going for it!” Choose a new future andcommit to do the necessary work to achieve it.
    • PRACTICES: “I’m actively connecting with loving power to grow as needed.” Consistently use a variety of tools to dissolve your worries.
    • RESULTS: “Here it is!” As you gain a peaceful perspective, you will act with wisdom, heal past wounds, repair relationships, and find true happiness.

HP-CPR At Work

One night, my friend Mary called and asked for my advice after meeting the affluent mother of her daughter’s friend. When the woman asked Mary where she lived, Mary didn’t want to say she resided in a small apartment with her three children, so she gave a vague answer. After this encounter, Mary began worrying about how she responded.

Honesty: Mary began our conversation by honestly describing the situation and her embarrassment. Together we identified her negative self-talk (whispered lies): “I’m a loser,” and “People will only like me if I match their standard of living.” She also admitted that her need to look good in the eyes of others was a long-standing problem.

Power: Mary felt powerless over her negative thinking and past efforts to correct it. By talking with me, a trusted friend, she began to claim the power and courage to overcome her fears. As we talked together over the next few weeks, I encouraged Mary to use prayer and meditation to connect with her source of loving power.

Choice: I asked Mary to write a statement of what she most wanted in her life as if it had already happened. She wrote: “I have freedom from my self-punishing thoughts and my family is economically secure.” She read the statement aloud as often as possible, visualized it as if it were already done, and felt gratitude for the anticipated results.

Practices: Mary used the following growth practices to overcome her worrisome whispered lies. 1) The Golden Key: Every time she noticed herself worrying, she shifted her thoughts toward any connection she felt with positive power. Because she had a religious affiliation, she chose to focus on God. 2) Gratitude list: Mary wrote a daily list of three things she was grateful for, without repeating any of the items listed.

My conversations with Mary began in January. During the next few months, she met with me, connected with her higher power, affirmed her life choices, and used the suggested tools. She even added some new ones; for example, she increased her participation in a support group.

Results: In March, Mary experienced what she described as “a miracle.” She was freed from her worries and self-judgment; and she found peace with her current living situation. A month later, Mary was offered a lease on a gorgeous three-bedroom home for very low rent. To top it off, just as I was revising this chapter, she called with news about her work promotion with a big pay raise.

Patience, Persistence, and Support

Notice that Mary’s changes did not come all at once. She followed the steps of HP-CPR with patience and determination.

Another of her crucial actions was joining with others. When we’re in the grip of our worries, seeking help is the last thing that occurs to many of us. By connecting with healthy others, however, we can explore questions such as, “How might I see this differently?” “What do I want as an outcome?” or “What growth tools might help me?”

How do you overcome your own fears and worries, and who supports your growth with encouragement and wisdom? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

(Excerpt taken from page 6-8 of Gigi Langer’s award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now. For another illustration of these steps, see this post.)

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a seasoned author and popular speaker who has helped thousands of people improve their lives at home and work. Gigi hasn’t had a drug or drink for over 30 years, although she does occasionally overindulge in Ghirardelli chocolate and historical novels.

Gigi’s book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now has gained rave reviews (4.8 on Amazon) and a publishing award. Get it HERE in paperback, e-book, or audiobook.

PODCAST: 5 MORE WAYS TO REDUCE WORRY!

CHECK OUT 5 MORE OF MY STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING NEGATIVE THINKING!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/otr-achieving-mental-health-for-real/id1485260458?i=1000485373316.

This is Part 2: The first 5 strategies are in Episode 10, 2/18/19

Thanks to Bob for your wonderful podcast, “Over The Rainbow: Achieving Mental Health for Real!”

PS The pic below looks like it can play the episode but it’s just a screenshot 😘

THE DREADED “SHOULDS”

How often do the words should, must, or ought go through your mind?”

For example:

  • My daughter should stop using drugs.
  • This person, (fill in the blank), must be nicer to me.
  • The mayor (or president, legislator, etc.) is wrong and ought to (fill in the blank).
  • I should be healthy and happy and never experience troubling situations.

Unenforceable Rules

According to Fred Luskin, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, these “shoulds” are examples of unenforceable rules: They demand an outcome you believe must come true, but over which you have no control. Such inflexible beliefs make us helpless, angry, hurt, hopeless or bitter.

Although holding an unenforceable rule may feel good–even noble–it doesn’t mean you can make it happen. In the first example, the daughter should stop using drugs, but no matter how persuasive the mother’s arguments, she doesn’t have the power to make her daughter stop.

The mother does, however, have control over her own choices and behavior. She can seek help from a therapist or Al-Anon, and claim a positive power to work in the situation. Then she might choose a goal for how she wants to act and feel, detach from the result, and use growth tools for her own peace of mind, regardless of her daughter’s choices.

Overcoming My Own “Shoulds”

One of my own unenforceable rules became clear as I was writing this book. When my mother passed away, I found it difficult to write and became discouraged by my lack of progress.

When I honestly faced the belief that I must complete the book by a certain date, I became willing to see it differently. After using Tool 6, Is It True? I turned my whispered lie around to “I will finish writing the book at the perfect time.” In turn, I became more flexible and kinder with myself.

The essence of happiness is peacefully allowing life to unfold. Nothing becomes a live-or-die situation because you know your loving power is working things out, with results that may far surpass your greatest hopes.

(Excerpt taken from page 56-57 of Gigi Langer’s award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now)

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a seasoned author and popular speaker who has helped thousands of people improve their lives at home and work. Gigi hasn’t had a drug or drink for over 30 years, although she does occasionally overindulge in Ghirardelli chocolate and historical novels.

Worry Less Now by Gigi Langer

Her book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now (available HERE in paperback, e-book, & audiobook) has gained rave reviews (4.8 on Amazon) and a publishing award.