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.

ESCAPE THE BONDAGE OF SELF

worry less now bondage of self gigi langer

One of my favorite prayers is the Third Step Prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous.

God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.

Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.

Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. 

May I do Thy will always. 

Note that I’ve highlighted the second sentence because this simple request has completely transformed me from a fearful, addicted woman to the peaceful, happy person I am today.

So, let’s pick it apart, shall we?   

RELIEVE ME OF THE BONDAGE OF SELF

What does the “bondage of self” look like? It’s the fear-driven self run amok, perpetually seeking love and security in all the wrong places. It wages a constant battle of self-sufficiency, all while crying, “I shall manage.” This “me, myself, and I” thinks it has everything handled, but it keeps failing, especially in relationships.

Faced with failure, it just keeps trying harder and harder to control people, places, and things. Such a mind suffers from the delusion that, if everything were different, it could finally be happy.

When in the grip of the bondage of self, we are often

  • angry and judging
  • dishonest (to ourselves and others)
  • selfish and inconsiderate
  • greedy for material and emotional security
  • unable to take responsibility for our actions (often blaming others)

Many refer to this driving fear as the “ego” because it “eases God out.” In short, the ego’s bondage of self shuts out higher power’s love—but only until we wake up and ask God to change our perspective.

THAT I MAY BETTER DO THY WILL

So, what’s God’s will, anyway? I believe it’s to love God and one another. Unfortunately, when the ego’s in charge, we’re anything but loving. And we certainly aren’t peaceful—the one state in which our minds are most receptive to inspiration and generosity.

When we notice ourselves bound by worry, fear, condemnation, and anger, we can ask our higher power to take over our minds. For example, when reading the news, I often become scared about my own safety. If I’m clear and honest with myself, I admit that I’m disturbed, and then simply ask, “Help me to see this differently.”  

Because our minds love to focus on the negative, I need to make this request quite often; but eventually, I find my body and mind at peace. As the bondage of fear is released, my spirit opens to giving and receiving loving care. As I join with others in growth and service, my life becomes joyous.

But, then something else will scare me, and I’ll feel the fearful self tightening its hold. When I tune in and notice that I’m tense, I can then ask to see things differently. I might say a prayer, meditate, call a trusted friend, or read inspiring lessons. Again, I’ll have to stick with it to recover my peace of mind and again trust spirit’s grace.

Perhaps the only error we make is in resisting the human experience by letting our ego scream “No!” to whatever we don’t like. But, over time, we relinquish our need for control by getting quiet and receiving healing, courage, and comfort.

The more we cultivate this conscious contact with a power greater than ourselves, the more we’re guided to the right attitudes and actions. And soon, we trust that, in spite of appearances, “All is well” in the realm of spirit. What a relief!

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 4.9 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.

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.