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 GOD TAKE OVER OUR WORRIES!

stop our worries

“Over control is spiritually deadening. When we let God do the worrying, we find many possibilities open up,” (Touchstones by Hazelden)

Our Worries Deaden Our Spirit

“Spiritually deadening” is a great description of our worries, fears and overthinking. Lost in thoughts of the future and past, we’re numb to the beauty and love available in this very moment—the only one we actually have.

I must confess that I’ve been worrying for the past few weeks. I just couldn’t get myself to write the next blog or newsletter. So, I took a break from writing and promotion to restore my energy and enthusiasm.

Acceptance is the key to flowing with my varying levels of motivation. Instead of judging myself harshly, I consider what “good” reasons I have to be somewhat depleted. Certainly, autumn was pretty intense with getting the audio book launched and various presentations. Recognizing this gives me self-compassion and allows me to take a break.

What’s Really Bothering Me

But, I must admit, what’s really been kicking my serenity in the ass is this: my worries about my various aches and pains. Although they’re minor, they certainly do amp up my negativity and fear.

Physical pain takes me back to my past suffering with two frozen shoulders, surgery, back pain, etc. As I project into the future, I imagine it will be even worse than those experiences. Those fears cause me to try to control my pain by worrying about the problem rather than the (spiritual) solution (see blog)–thus the “spiritual deadening” I’ve been feeling.

It’s all too easy to fall into the illusion that, if I analyze the sources of pain, use ice, exercise properly, and avoid the “wrong activities,” I’ll be able to control it. But such preoccupations only keep me stuck in thoughts of suffering, And we all know this singular truth: What occupies our minds manifests in our lives. So, I knew things had to change.

Physical pain has often served my spiritual growth by getting me humble and on my knees. Eventually, I notice my mental misery and enlist a power greater than my fears to overcome them.

Solutions for Our Worries: Waking up Spirit

I can hasten my willingness to claim spiritual power by increasing my self-care: meetings, helping others, praying, meditating, journaling, reading, and talking to a spiritual advisor. It’s similar to filling up our mental “sanity bank” with wisdom and faith that dissolves our worries.

Of course breathing in spiritual strength and breathing out negativity is a great place to start. A quick “Help me to see this differently” or “All is well” can settle down our worries. The Serenity Prayer connects us to acceptance, courage and power when we’re imprisoned by doubt.

So, I’ve been following my own advice and using the tools presented in “Worry Less Now.” Who knew that I’d need to use them so often and so consistently throughout my life!?

It’s just proof that, as humans, we’re often tempted by our worries and fears. Fortunately, with experience, we learn how to return to sanity, trust, and peace of mind.

When we we awaken from the dreams we’ve been lost in, we can fully inhabit our life, savoring its present sensations. The feel of our breath filling our body. The smell of a gardenia. The beauty of a palm tree ruffled by the breeze. The taste of cilantro.

A Celebration!!

I’m so grateful to share the tools that have helped me discover my true, wise, god-self, even in the midst of life’s challenges. And, I’m grateful for something else, too!!

On Jan 11, I celebrated 34 years without a drink or drug. Many of you reading this have played a large role in my recovery. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

To celebrate, I’m still giving away free tokens for my audiobook of “Worry Less Now.” Just use the Contact Form here to claim it.

New Podcast!

If you haven’t listened to any of my interviews on podcasts, I think this is one of the best. Omar Pinto (SHAIR podcast) is a gifted interviewer and a wonderful guy. Listen to it here: PODCAST “Worry Less in Sobriety. “

Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer, a person in recovery, 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 at work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and Murphy, her cat.

worry less now

Get Gigi’s new book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking. available in audio, e-book, and paperback. 5 STARS! (Amazon) Click HERE

“Valuable, heartfelt manual.” — Publishers Weekly (BookLife)

“This book is a winner.” -Karen Casey, Hazelden author

Sisters are the Best!

This blog post is a bit late because I had the most wonderful week with my sisters and a good friend. They flew in last Monday from D.C. and Texas to stay with me. (Peter–wisely–escaped on a short trip out of town!)

It was so much fun to share with them the wonders of southeast Michigan! First we went to Ann Arbor, one of the premier college towns in the country. We had fun visiting the campus and shopping downtown. After a leisurely lunch, we came home and watched the Nationals beat the Brewers. Lots of baseball fans in my family!

On Wednesday we toured the revitalized city of Detroit. The Motown Museum was totally worth the low cost and we had an awesome guide for the one-hour tour. (If you go, you must have reservations). Woodward Avenue is so gorgeous now! My sisters had to check out the Shinola watch store in the beautifully renovated Shinola hotel. We finished the day at the famous Slow’s Barbecue in the Corktown. Yum!

On rainy Thursday, we had brunch at Anna’s House Restaurant and went to see the movie “Judy.” Our mom had been a great fan, so we had to see the bittersweet story of Judy Garland’s last years. Peter came back to town and joined us for dinner at Moro’s, a genteel Italian restaurant near Dearborn. Friday saw my sisters leaving, and I sure do miss them now.

There is nothing like sisters! But what if you don’t have any, or if you’re estranged? Well, there’s a simple solution: adopt them! Those of us in 12-Step programs have it easy with sponsors, sponsees, and recovering friends. But, most groups of like-minded people will bring you rich, caring relationships that can be counted on.

Let me know about the “sisters” you’ve discovered and the fun things you’ve done together. I’d love to hear…

PS: You may know that the Audiobook for Worry Less Now is available from Amazon, Audible, and i-tunes. Use this link to purchase it Adbl.co/2MqkjVL Be sure to get the comprehensive PDF/Workbook that comes with it.

ALSO, if you or someone you know has a blog related to recovery, audiobooks, or wellness, please refer them to my blog tour. They’ll get a free audiobook, the PDF, and a chance to win 2 Skype sessions with me. Registration closes Oct. 15. Click here

The Audiobook that Almost Wasn’t and How Meditation Saved the Day

I’m so pleased to announce that the audiobook of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now is now available! Get it from Audible, Amazon, or i-tunes!

Did you know that 50 Ways to Worry Less Now almost didn’t exist?

After I stated my intent to write this book, I experienced a period of turmoil and resistance. My whispered lies seemed to wake up and say, “What? This can’t be! There’s no way you’re going do that!” “You can’t get this honest about your life; people will think you’re neurotic,” and “You can’t handle it if people criticize you.”

Suddenly, I found myself unable to write.

A quote from Goethe sums up the coincidences that followed soon after: “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”

So, how did “providence” move me forward? I discovered a new tool that helped me write from my heart: Meditation.

Despite knowing about the many benefits of meditation, I had never been able to get the hang of it. I just couldn’t quiet my incessant thinking long enough to feel successful.

Here’s how providence let me know it was time to learn this valuable skill:

  • While at lunch with my friend Chris, who had just completed her first book, I shared my fears about my writing. She told me how meditating had calmed her mind and given her a connection to a source of wise guidance in her work.
  • Soon after, I made a new friend, Mara, who meditates for twenty minutes twice a day. I became envious of her unflappable sense of peace.
  • Later that month, a woman in my book club mentioned she recently began meditating as part of her treatment for shingles, and had not had an episode since.
  • After spontaneously deciding to attend a women’s retreat, I found that the topic was meditation! As the weekend progressed, I began to believe I could actually adopt this helpful practice.
  • Soon after the retreat, a friend asked me to join her for Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s 21-day online meditation challenge.

At that point, I looked up to the heavens, and said, “Okay, Okay!” and began to meditate most mornings. Within a few years, I had a solid first draft of this book. A few years later, in early 2018, I published the paperback and e-book.

Last year, when I went to the bank to set up a checking account for my new business, I mentioned to the gentleman that I had just written a book. He replied, “Can I get it as an audiobook? That’s all I listen to.” Wow! Was I ever surprised.

So, last fall, I began the process of learning all about creating an audiobook. You can see my journey in YouTube videos number one; two; three, four, five, and an overview in this Blog. The final video celebrating the completion of the audiobook is here.

So, how does meditation fit into my life today? I find if I skip my morning meditation, I have less serenity and bravery to deal with my challenges.

For example, I recently began my day by reading many emails about a committee I’m on. When I later went to my desk to piece together some new ideas for a workshop, I noticed I was tense and couldn’t find the right ideas. I then stopped, asked myself, “What’s wrong?” and remembered I had neglected to meditate.

Instead of criticizing myself, I gave myself kudos for noticing my tension. Recalling that it’ s never too late to start a day over, I did just that. As I entered the stillness, I could almost hear my body saying, “OK, the wise one is driving the bus now. We can stop the high alert.” I received a wondrous result: I found the exact inspiration I had been seeking.

So, if you have a dream you’d like to pursue, try adding meditation to your daily routine. I like Insight Timer‘s guided meditations. They’re free and address a variety of topics.

Give it a try and let providence show you what’s really in your heart to contribute to the world!

Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is an acclaimed teacher, author, and speaker who has helped thousands 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. She lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.