So I guess plenty of Beyond Blue readers are HSPs (Highly Sensitive Persons)! I loved some of the suggestions found on the posts (“Defining High Sensitivity,” “The Good and Bad News About Being Highly Sensitive,” “Six Strategies to Calm Yourself Down,” “Perverted Elmo and the Gospel of Luke,” and “Are You Highly Sensitive?”) which addressed various aspects of being highly sensitive, (a concept I learned from Elaine Aron’s bestselling book, “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You“).
Here are some of the comments and suggestions from readers:


I first heard the term “highly sensitive person” a few years ago and it finally defined what I’ve experienced all my life. I remember even as a child over-reacting at the slightest strain or stress around me and not being able to filter out other people’s emotions very easily.
I find time with my pets to be a source of stress relief too, although I’d have to say that unless you’re a true pet lover, caring for animals might be an added source of stress for a person.
I get frequent massages of various kinds as a way of gaining stress relief. I had to teach my husband to do it, though, because being touched too much by relative strangers can make me even more tense. This has become something we do for each other.
I’ve learned to avoid arguments about politics, religion, and social issues, too. Usually, people want what’s best for everyone…they just argue about how to get it accomplished. When you think of it that way, it seems pointless to argue about such things.
But, I pray, practice relaxation exercises I learned from a psychologist, eat nutritiously and get enough exercise. All great for handling stress. –Gina 

Find out what works best for you. Find your worse offenders: visual? noise??sugar? caffeine? stress? pain?
Even though I’m partially deaf, loud voices (or base) can push me right over the edge.
Sugar and caffeine doesn’t bother me, but overeating (even a little) does.
I love water, but when I’m in pain a shower is too much stimulus; a tepid bath is much better.
My clothes are almost all cotton, and the tags must come out. My sleep shirts are worn inside out. I can’t tolerate the seams on my shoulders. I wear strapless bras because the pain in one shoulder over a year after surgery won’t tolerate anything else.
Odors that others claim not to smell can make me too nauseous to walk. –CJ

Thanks for great suggestions. I find that a stressful demanding job that takes everything out of me sometimes has taken its toll on me. At work, I find that retreating to my classroom, locking the door, and listening to music or watching videos for 30 minutes relaxes me.
I want to suggest a couple more things to the ladies: 

Have lunch with a friend, paint your nails, (even its clear polish), give yourself a facial, and the ultimate luxury

go for a pedicure. My favorite is a mother and daughter day, when I take my only daughter out for a manicure, go to the mall and have lunch. It sounds superficial, but when you do something all day for others, then come home and care for your family, you deserve to do something for YOU. –H.G.

Re-framing a mind picture of great joy brings a refreshing smile and release to my very pain filled life at this time. The mind picture of the face of my granddaughter sleeping, a “pile of playful puppies” all on top of their “big dog” mom, a soaring eagle–wings outspread, riding the wind. It is the thoughts we treasure that will see you through the “step back, take a breath and don’t speak until you can think clearly” times. I have survived 64 years doing …not very well sometimes but better as I practice what works for me. -Sherry Roberts
I always thought I was malfunctioning when my ex-husband screamed at me and my mind couldn’t function anymore and I couldn’t think or speak, only sit and look pitiful. It has happened all my life in overly stressful situations. I’d just shut down. I always felt it but didn’t understand it. Thank you for the article!

I would like to offer some help. These things help me daily:
1. Take a deep breath and think… “RELAX, RELAX” …over and over again. “This shouldn’t bother me this much. It’s just part of every day life. What’s the big deal? What will happen if you get upset? It won’t help.” It will just stress you more and make you sick. Stay calm and deal with it.
2. Don’t take it personally. Look at the situation as if you don’t care. It will help you to realize that you shouldn’t be taking it so hard. You will always care, of course, but not to the point of making you crazy. Look at the big picture.
3. Sometimes you have to let go and things will work themselves out. You can only do so much. Sometimes when people see that you have let them go to make their own mistakes, they see your wisdom more clearly and listen better. Give them the tools, but you can’t make them use them, short of imprisoning them. –Donna
Balance and moderation in all things works for me.
These are a few things that work for my personality: Running six times per week, light weights, centering prayer, volunteering in food pantry and local county prison, prayer together, getting outside in nature and outside of myself, being concerned for others’ needs and listen, a week long or a long weekend at a monastery–Gethsemane is unique. And also remember we are each special and our gift is needed for the health of our community. –Mike
We all have the capacity and potential to get over the many hostile challenges and antagonistic situations in this life. Acting on impulse does not help. It is very important in life to seek time alone for psychological preparedness and refreshment. This enables me to handle issues of life with maturity and the inner strength. –Makuwa Chiwisha-Zambia
Walking works the best for me–also cleaning! Cleaning is like a form of meditation for me demanding concentration and mindfulness.
My autistic daughter is going through some really difficult times right now with eczema outbreaks that seriously abort her usual joy in life. Not only do I have to find creative ways to deal with her behaviors, I am challenged to find “that place” to go to for myself. Getting respite care and going to a movie with friends helps a lot. Or meditation. Or taking her to the beach (we live 20 miles away from a great beach): putting her in her wheelchair (when she is concentrating on the pain and itch on her skin she does not like to walk), and strolling up and down the long strand of sidewalk by the ocean, with stops to rest and read, helps both of us to maintain our sanity. –Chana
Yeah this stuff sounds like it works– I do some of them now. The other day, my cousin was asking me about why I would not chose Obama. She badgered me, told me this is why the family can’t get along with me, why wouldn’t I go for a black candidate. I calmly closed my eyes and let it all bounce off of me. I continue my stance. She cursed me–could not see my reasoning. I kept calmly telling her that I loved her and politics will not control my feelings or contribute any more to arguing my point or making others happy. When she could not calm down, I promptly excused myself kindly from the conversation. She called back later to apologize, told me how she always wanted to be just like me, and she was watching a “Spike Lee” movie while drinking, and she got carried away. She thanked me for dealing with her like that and said she admired how I do not let others get to me the way they used to. I told her that I’m learning and it’s all love. –Tarsha
Praying the “Prayer of Jabez” each morning and doing a bit of meditating are, for me, calming and give me strength for whatever the day may bring. We all have the right to ask God for what we need – he has given us this right to seek the best for ourselves. -Barb
To calm myself I would picture myself someplace very peaceful, for me it is the lake in the forest. –Renee’
I highly recommend water therapy any and every way you can get it–the more the better. It’s an unbelievable force. -Nancy
I’m one of those people who tries to avoid “toxic” people–those who are constantly finding the negative in ANY situation. I either close off myself from the person (as I often do at work) or simply lose touch with them. I choose to be happy. I have a 3 ring binder with positive articles from women’s magazines or from this website. They aren’t organized, simply placed inside for those moments when things just don’t seem right. I also take an inventory everyday of my “grateful moments” of the day. -Sherry
I totally agree with the healing magic of nature, and what the mother earth can do for us. I’ve just returned from a three-day, Native American vision quest, which involves spending three days out in nature by yourself praying and fasting. So therapeutic, so much garbage cleaned out of myself, I feel like I have a new lease on life! Thank you, Creator! -Robin

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