Because Beyond Blue readers seemed to appreciate the physical strategies I listed on my “Six Strategies to Calm Yourself Down” post (based on the suggestions Elaine Aron gives in her book, “The Highly Sensitive Person“), I thought I’d offer her psychological strategies as well.
1. Reframe the situation
In reframing, notice what is familiar and friendly, what you have successfully dealt with that is similar.
2. Repeat a phrase, prayer, or mantra that, through daily practice, you have come to associate with deep inner calm.
When repeating a mantra or prayer, if your mind races back to what is overarousing it, it is important not to get discouraged and stop. You will still be calmer than you would be without it.
3. Witness your overarousal.
When witnessing, imagine standing to one side, watching yourself, perhaps talking about yourself with a comforting, imaginary figure. “There’s Ann again, so overwhelmed she’s failing to pieces. I really feel for her. When she’s like this, of course, she can’t see beyond right now. Tomorrow, when she’s rested, she’ll be all excited again about her work. She just has to take some rest now no matter what seems to need to be done. Once she’s rested, it will go smoothly.”
4. Love the situation.
Loving the situation sounds pretty flippant, but it’s important. An expanded, loving mind, one that is open to the whole universe, is the opposite of a tightly constricted , overaroused mind.
5. Love your overarousal.
And if you cannot love the situation, it is vitally important and even more essential that you love yourself in your state of not being able to love the situation. [Got to be honest: I don’t really get these two. Or maybe I’m constricted and overaroused so much of the time, I don’t really know what I’m supposed to love.]
Aron adds the power of music, although this isn’t really a psychological strategy:
6. The Power of Music
Finally, do not forget the power of music to change your mood (Why do you think armies have bands and buglers?) But beware that most HSPs are strongly affected by music [I wrote about this in my “Play the Blues Away” post], so the right choice is essential. When you are already aroused, you do not want to stir yourself up more with emotional pieces or something associated with important memories (the music most people, being underaroused, cannot get enough of). Sobbing violins are out at such times. And, of course, since any music increases stimulation, use it only when it seems to soothe you. Its purpose is to distract you. Sometimes you need to be distracted; at other times, you need to attend carefully.