Highly Sensitive People and Change

I had a lovely dinner with my boyfriend in a restaurant followed by a movie night. Yes! I finally get to see what I waited for- Bohemian Rhapsody! We skipped the snacks as we were stuffed and head straight into the theatre. Perfect night. It feels like I am seeing them live. I follow their journey. I notice my heart is racing. Why? There is no reason, so I try to rationalise and breathe. It doesn’t go away. In fact, I get worse. Am I having a heart attack? I Feel like passing out! What? But why? Ok, calm down, calm down. No, it doesn’t go away and I start to feel detached from myself.  I need to get out. I turned to my boyfriend and said we need to leave. Now! I stumble down the stairs trying not to trip or cause a scene. I walked into a bathroom because I didn’t know if I will get sick. My hands are shaking. What is going on?

Highly Sensitive People (HSP) experience everything in greater scale. Our five senses often cause sensory overload that our extrovert society cannot relate to. HSP deal with a change extremely hard. It doesn’t matter whether we move locations, deal with a break- up, or lost a loved one. We feel overwhelmed with different emotions all at the same time. Fear, anger, sadness, grief, excitement, joy, and on to top it all off- a massive amount of stress.

Later that night I came home and read about my symptoms online. I had a full blown panic attack. I spoke to my friend about it and she said, “Well, what exactly do you expect? You are changing jobs, moving and swapping campuses in college!” That made me realize that I need to take a step back. Slow down… I am experiencing a major change in my life about which I felt confused. My mood was up and down in a matter of minutes.  All these different emotions left me worn out and my sub consciousness responded to it resulting a panic attack.

HSP and change doesn’t go well together but here are ways to help us to ease up these transitions.

1. Talk to someone.

 Whether it is a trusted friend, family member or a therapist. It is always a good idea to say out loud what you feel. You need emotional support. Therefore when talking you are not only sharing your story, but clarifying your own emotions too.  Talking may not always solve all the problems but it is a good way to relieve some of the stress.                                                                          

2. Exercise.

Don’t sit at home. Go for a walk, jog, run- it doesn’t matter.  Clear your head! Exercise is a good way to feel connected to yourself.  Plus it releases dopamine in your brain which improves the mood.  Be creative! If walking or running doesn’t suit, try swimming, cycling, or gym. Exercise classes are also a good way to redirect the mind from stress. How about a dance class?        

3. Emotional release.

Talking to a friend and exercising is a good way to let out steam, but sometimes it is not enough. I feel stress on my shoulders and joints, so often I need to so stretching to release some of this energy.  And remember, it is ok to cry. Don’t bottle it up like me, you will explode.  In my case neglecting my emotions caused me to have a panic attack.  Express yourself in ways that make you feel better, for example art, music, writing, or just organizing your environment.                                                                                                 

4. Reflect.

This post is a form of reflection.  I hope it helps you as much as it did me. Reflection is a good tool and a form of learning.  We need to go back over our stories and see what worked out and what didn’t. In my case, bottling up my emotions is no longer an option.  We need to ask ourselves, what did our situation teach us? Reflection is important for understanding ourselves and personal growth.  Journaling is great way to notice our behavior patterns in different situations.  So, pick up your pen and start to write.

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