Archives For stress

I often get into conversations with parents of sensitive kids who don’t know how to help.  They were never given the tools to manage their own sensitivity or they don’t have the same sort of sensitivity. I was a sensitive kid.

Some people are simply born with more sensitivity to the energies around them. They have natural empathy, feeling what others feel. And frequently get drained, overstimulated or emotional in response to their surroundings.  They don’t yet know how to recognize when what they are feeling is not their feelings, or how to create healthy boundaries.  Sensitivity has two main roots:

  1. Nature
  2. Trauma

Trauma based sensitivity is a result of conditioning. Many highly sensitive people had childhood trauma. Their sense of safety required heightened alertness, “reading” people in order to minimize abuse or manage stress. A survival skill to navigate home life or societal traumas such as war.

I’ve recently identified a new branch on the trauma root that previous generations did not experience. Sensitive children conditioned by the stress of over stimulation. Constant stimulation has particularly deep impact on developing minds.

What we experience in childhood sets the baseline for normal throughout life.  Trauma that heightens sensitivity doesn’t have to be first hand.  Frequent exposure to unpredictable violence through the media can traumatize a child. Make them feel unsafe at school or other environments where a sense of safety was previously the norm. How a child learns to manage it shapes their life forever.

My parents were sensitive too. Like most of us they were taught or found ways to suppress their sensitivity when it got too uncomfortable. There are a lot of ways we suppress sensitivity:

  • Substances that alter our state of sensitivity, from coffee to alcohol or pharmaceuticals
  • Checking-out, habits that detach us from feeling, TV, internet, video games
  • Staying busy, not allowing enough time to process experiences
  • Eating for comfort
  • Using the mind to deny what one senses

Now that you understand a bit more about the roots of sensitivity and how it is typically suppressed, what can you do to help yourself or your sensitive child?

The first step is to shift from thinking sensitivity is bad. Sensitivity is heightened awareness. It is a skill. Even a gift when we get comfortable with it. Getting comfortable with it is the tricky part.

Second, you learn to notice when it’s happening and identify it as something you are experiencing in response to your environment rather than your own emotions or thoughts. To do this ask yourself or ask your child to ask themselves a few questions:

What do I feel? Is it “my” feeling? Is it something I feel around me? What or who around me is feeling like this?

This begins the process of getting clear on what you sense that is your energy and what isn’t your energy that you feel in your environment.

Once you know that something you feel is not yours, you are free to consciously give your Self space from it. You can do this by visualizing the emotion, thought or physical sensation moving into a rose or a pretty rock. Somewhere separate from your body. As you are practicing you might want to have a clean-out rock or crystal that you use for this and periodically soak it in water with Epsom salts to clear the energy.

Over time your awareness of the sources of your sensitivity becomes clearer and your ability to separate from the energy that isn’t yours is a habit. Then you will experience your sensitivity as a tool or a gift to help you navigate life.

The magic of sensitivity is revealed when you are not suppressing it, turning it off or denying it but can see it as valuable information. Then you are free to apply the understanding to your choices in a given situation.

In times of intensity, self-care always seems to fall to the bottom of the list. A simple morning routine of journaling, walking and centering meditation gets overtaken with sleep to make up for the prior days late night. A series of long overly-full days in which everything that was expected of me didn’t get done.  The day starts off without inner-alignment and quickly progresses to the state of too much to do and too little time.

Without filling my physical and spiritual cup I have little to offer in the face of other’s needs.  As I neglect my own needs, saying yes when I should say no, expecting myself to do more than can be done in the time available, I begin to have negative thoughts, resentments of the things that normally bring me fulfillment.

In a moment of self-reflection, I decided to reclaim my commitment to self-care with my own version of Timothy Leary’s famous advice, “Turn on, tune in and drop out.”

  • Turn On my psychic tools to navigate the demanding energies.
  • Tune In to my intuitive guidance.
  • Drop Out by consciously detaching from expectations and demands that don’t serve me.

Even if I don’t have time for the morning routine that sets my energy for the day, I turn on my tools in the midst of my day to create healthy energetic boundaries with demands and put life’s various choices in a healthier balance. Prioritizing my own health and inner-peace, and making time for me.  This means that I notice when other people’s energy is in my space creating expectations that aren’t balanced and consciously see myself move their energy out of my vibrational field.  I also use my tools to mock-up or imagine support and the sense of ease in an experience.  Energetically I “own” my space, acknowledging that others also get to own their space too but not mine.

With my space cleared of energy that’s not mine, I tune in to my truth. Pay attention to what I believe and want. I direct my actions, thoughts and emotions toward creating the experience I want, rather than going along with the fears or designs of others.  Tuning in can help me see whether those I’m interacting with are being honest with me and themselves.  It gives me direction when I’m facing alternatives.  Allowing me to make choices that take me down a path that is aligned with my highest good.

Having used my energy tools to create space and hear my intuitive guidance, I become more neutral to the demands of others, thus I drop out of the prevailing fear that drives the collective of humanity to stress and over-extend, compromising health and inner-peace to survive.  I choose a different truth and find that when I do what I have committed to, in a balanced way, I enjoy it and even succeed in all of the aspects of living.

In every moment, while on a phone call, walking to my car from the store, pumping gas, sitting on a flight or making dinner I can access support simply by intending it.  In the blink of an eye my entire experience shifts when I turn on my psychic tools and see that there is energy in my space which is not mine. Demands, expectations, needs, and deadlines that I feel pressured by.   Some I may have to comply with, some I don’t. When I notice my choice, I give myself some space. I re-gather my energy, tune in to my inner-guidance and have greater access to knowing what I want and need.  It helps to visualize it, see the demand energy move out of my body into a bubble and float to a faraway place.

The final step of drop out is a point of empowerment through neutrality. Letting go of the stress that comes with needing to control the future or comply with others belief systems when they differ from my own. By detaching from the beliefs that allow the demand to control me or harness my energy and direct it toward an agenda, I reclaim my power to create the life I want.