Highly Sensitive Refuge
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Things to Say ‘Yes’ to as a Highly Sensitive Person

Highly sensitive people usually have a hard time saying “no” — but there are certain things they should be saying “yes” to more than others.

If you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP), you’re all too familiar with being empathetic to others’ needs and often putting them before your own. Although this is not necessarily a “bad” characteristic to have, if we say “yes” to others all the time, it can get exhausting. 

This is where we need to look at our people-pleasing tendencies and boundaries. We need to learn to say “no” to others more so we can say “yes” to ourselves more.

But I know: It’s not easy uttering that powerful, freeing word: “No.” But once you do — by setting boundaries — you’ll learn to say “yes” more… to yourself. 

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4 Things to Say ‘Yes’ to as a Highly Sensitive Person

1. Say “yes” to your sensitivity.

To say “yes” to anything at all, you must say yes to the first thing you’ve said “no” to your entire life — your beautiful, sweet, sensitive nature. 

Now, if you have not fully embraced being an HSP yet, this may be a challenging task, since many of us have grown up at war with ourselves, feeling like we had some kind of disorder and were “different” than the rest of society.

Fortunately, studies have shown that we are perfectly normal — in fact, just more attuned to our environment than others. And with nearly 30 percent of the population identifying as highly sensitive people, it’s more common than you think it is.

So, once you say “yes” to your sensitivity and embrace it — whether that means accepting how you get overstimulated (and emotionally ‘flooded’) easily or how it adds to your creative nature — the better you’ll feel.

2. Say “yes” to more alone time.

Whether you were aware of your sensitivity or not, in your early years, you probably weren’t oblivious to the fact that you always yearned for alone time to cool off and process your thoughts. (Plus, to decompress from all the stimuli you’d encountered throughout the day.)

Well, it turns out you were on to something — needed time to yourself. Due to how we can easily get overstimulated by lots of information, we need solitude to help us process every bit of this information we have absorbed, wind down, and be in our element. 

Amy Morin, psychotherapist and international bestselling mental strength author, believes that solitude increases productivity, sparks creativity, and helps build mental strength. 

Similarly, Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D.,  explains, “Constantly being ‘on’ doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. It’s an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.”

As an HSP, I can say that a little alone time goes a long way, so seek it as much as you can — even five minutes here, 30 minutes there.

For sensitive people, solitude is not a luxury, but a necessity — for both our productivity and our mental health. Meditation, yoga, or working on your favorite hobbies are great ways of winding down after a long (and no doubt, overstimulating) day.

Want to reduce stress and thrive as a highly sensitive person? We recommend these online courses from psychotherapist and sensitivity expert Julie Bjelland. Click here to learn more.

3. Say “yes” to self-care.

Self-care is one of the most important ways of ensuring a balanced mind as an HSP. Mental Health America suggests a few key ways to take care of yourself — live healthily; practice good hygiene; see friends; do something you enjoy every day; and engage in relaxing activities (such as meditation, yoga, or getting a massage). These are all effective ways to take care of your physical, spiritual, and emotional health

So don’t wait! Call up that one friend who “gets” your sensitivity. Save up and travel to a place you’ve never been. Learn a new hobby. Above all, do not forget to be compassionate and kind to yourself. You deserve it!

4. Say “yes” to less social media.

The rise of social media has brought about phenomenal changes around the globe. We can connect with anyone without worries with just a smartphone and sufficient data. 

But research has found that this same phenomenal changer is the infamous reason behind many a mental breakdown and depression. Plus, for highly sensitive souls, social media is full of negative news, which stays in our brains longer than others’.

So instead of turning to your phone during your free time (or as a work distraction), there are some ways to limit your social media usage. Trust me, you’ll feel better as a result.

  • Turn off your social media notifications. There is the “Do not Disturb” button for a reason, especially when you need to cross off items on your to-do list. You can find this button on your notifications screen. So give yourself some love and click on it.
  • Limit social media screen time. This can be done by setting the amount of time you would like to spend on social media, and sticking to it faithfully. Setting a reminder can help you log off at the appointed time. Plus, this way, you will have more time and energy to complete other tasks (for work or for fun).
  • Get a hobby. HSPs tend to be creative and there are so many artistic outlets we can pursue — painting, crocheting, dancing, writing, playing music… whatever it is that makes you happy. Or, begin to learn something new. This, too, will be a helpful distraction from social media.
  • Connect with friends and family offline: Choose to communicate without the use of social media. You can simply call, or call and arrange for a physical meeting where you catch up.
  • Leave social media completely. This is for people with a single-minded commitment to be social-media-free. Go on your phone and computer and delete them all: Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp… all of them!
  • Put your apps in folders. This is for those of you who aren’t sure about bowing out totally. Put all your apps into folders so you don’t have to see them all the time. This can help curb the temptation to click on your favorite apps.

Saying “yes” to yourself in these areas, whether you are an HSP or not, are effective ways to keep yourself happy, as well as productive, at home, work, and within society as a whole.

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