The other day I finally admitted to myself that I am a Highly Sensitive Person.
Can’t say I was against the thought – but it always feels a bit overwhelming to put another tag on oneself. I’d been carrying too much of these already, without properly knowing what’s underneath, so adding one more?
But, eventually, you come to terms with all of them.
And while being tagged under something isn’t necessarily good, it brings a lot of perks too.
Like knowing yourself better, finding out how other people deal with problems similar to yours, recognizing that things you count as “natural” are not the same for everyone.
For example, how often do you notice the color of the sky? Is seeing a cat playing with her kittens makes you giggle too? How often do you find yourself in awe of the way leaves are changing their colors?
I’m not trying to make it look like sensitivity makes my life better than anyone else’s. There are unpleasant sides to it too – but in this post I’m going to focus on some good stuff.
Good stuff I’ve been living with – and can now teach you too.
Not being a HSP, obviously. The thing is in our brains, so even if sometimes I wanted to claw it out – na-ah, it doesn’t work that way.
But there are a few tips I’m going to share with you that can make your life fuller and brighter. That can make you see more in your everyday life.
Of course, if you are ready to try.
How Sensitivity Can Be Helpful
First of all, let’s talk about why you’d want to be more sensitive to your surroundings. I mean, I just said that it isn’t always feels good, so, uh, why?
The answer is complicated, so let’s break it down:
- Mindfulness. Obviously. If you start paying attention to the things around you, you are automatically more aware of the present moment. You see, hear, feel more. Can’t really do it while worrying about tomorrow, can you?
- Relaxation. Direct continuation of the first point. If you stop worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, you can live more fully in the present moment. You can breathe out and enjoy every little thing around you.
- Inspiration. The more you experience every day, the more your brain has to process. The more your brain has to process, the more neural connections it creates. And that’s where an “Aha!” moment comes from. Teach your brain plasticity, and it will pay you back tenfold.
- Motivation. In our busy lives it’s easy to forget what things keep us going. Not something grand, like vision of the big house, respectable job or perfect relationships. But something smaller too – smell of coffee, morning exercise, new chapter of that book, or walk to the nearby park. We need to pay attention to little things too, because what our lives would be without them?
- Depression Cure. Not literal cure (it’s a medical condition, after all). But finding something to look at and smile every day is a tremendous progress in one’s battle. When you fill your life with pretty things – not by bulk buying but by actively changing your worldview – the life itself becomes more meaningful.
Also, if good effects won’t be as good for you, you can always just stop in your tracks and forget every step I’m gonna show you. It’s very easy to come back to your thoughts once again.
I do that too, sometimes.
Focus on my thoughts and feelings more than on the world around. Rarely brings me any good, but for sure, it’s very easy to slip back.
Now I hope that I convinced you that it is helpful to be mindful and a little bit sensitive to the world around. Shall we start then?
Spend More Time Outside
It’s the most beautiful place, after all.
Even if you live in the middle of a big city, there are still things to look out for and be amazed by. Imagine a tourist coming to your neighborhood – don’t you think they’d find something special?
No matter what exactly surrounds you, you can always see something pretty and inspiring.
The easiest one? Look above. The sky is always there for you.
But you can rarely see it – clearly and in its fullest – from the constraints of your apartment/room/house.
So, really, get out there. I’ve been talking about health benefits of going out in my other post (make sure to check it out if you haven’t), so now you have no arguments against it.
It’s pretty, it’s healthy, it’s good for your mind, and even 15 minutes can make your day that much better!
Look Around (Actually Look)
Be that tourist I mentioned before.
When you walk around, drive somewhere, just spend time outside – be curious about everything that surrounds you.
Of course, you are looking around when you’re walking, that’s, like, the minimum requirement.
But that minimum consists mostly of you automatically scanning your way for the things that can stop you, while your mind is actually deep in your thoughts, am I right?
Be mindful. For a few seconds, a minute, a few minutes. Intentionally bring your attention to the cars, trees, people, stores, everything around you.
I promise, everything feels that much more meaningful and pretty, when you start looking.
Don’t Be Shy to Pause
That one is something I was struggling with for quite a while.
I notice something pretty. I think “oh, I want to look at it closer”. I keep going – not because I have a place to be (usually), but because what will others think?
If I stop in the middle of the road to pick up that one leaf that caught my attention, what about that lady behind me? Will she think I’m weird, or childish, or ‘have nothing much to do but pick up things from the ground’?
But people around pay you no more attention than you pay – to strangers on the street.
No one really cares about what you’re doing with your time and attention, so better use it for something good!
At Home? Stay Open-Minded
Alright, alright, I’ve been talking about going outside, but we’re still in the middle of pandemic, right? Not everyone is keen – or even able – to spend much time strolling around parks and squares.
So, what should you do to find something beautiful in your own home?
Honestly, nothing special.
As I said, when you start paying attention, you can find beauty even in the most mundane things.
Of course, it’d be better if you had some plants, or pictures on the walls, or, maybe, colorful DIY crafts you made yourself. And if you don’t have ones, you can always make or buy something on your own!
But if you don’t have time, or can’t, or don’t want to – then just go with the flow. Try to sit with an open mind, first for a minute, then two minutes, five minutes, and see for yourself what your eyes will find in the room.
If you ever tried meditation, you know that calming your thoughts is not an easy thing.
It’s not gonna work in an instant – your mind is too busy, too used to be focused on you, not everything else – so start with a very small amount of time, and gradually increase. See what works best.
And don’t get frustrated! I know I do, sometimes, when I really really want to let go of my stress and just breathe for a moment.
But it’s okay to not have everything worked out. To have thoughts, and plans, and memories, and feelings flooding your mind, demanding attention. We all have these days too.
So, don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong. Try to focus on other things again. And, most importantly, don’t force yourself.
If you decided that today you want to be mindful for 5 minutes, and all these 5 minutes you keep being distracted by thoughts – it’s okay. Finish these 5 minutes and go on with your day.
Don’t stretch out for longer, because something isn’t working out. Maybe, tomorrow you’ll feel more ready?
And remember, progress from even five to ten seconds is already a progress!
So, what do you think? Are you ready to try and get through every step of this journey? Let me know how it’s going!