Archive for December, 2010

December 30, 2010

The Highly Sensitive Person Part 2

by Dandy

If you have ever been told, “you are too sensitive,” or “you need a thicker skin,” chances are you are a highly sensitive person.  Those of us who are highly sensitive have heard these comments all our lives.  It is very difficult to get a person who is not highly sensitive to understand what it is like to have our kind of experiences.  It would be like asking an elephant what it is like to be a butterfly.  That elephant could spend its long life studying butterflies, maybe even try to get in touch with his inner butterfly self.  An elephant cannot stop ever being an elephant and a highly sensitive person (hsp) cannot stop being highly sensitive.  Some people may view this innate ability as a weakness, because there is no therapy, exercise, or pill to fix it.  There are some of us hs individuals who do not wish to “fix it” anyway.  One reason being is that the non-highly sensitive person can benefit from our compassion.  Compassion is just one of many wonderful traits the hsp possesses.  Other benefits are creativity, intuition, right brain intellect, and strong multi-tasking abilities among so many others.  A person not being able to understand the hsp doesn’t mean that they cannot learn how to treat us with kindness and love.  The example set out by Jesus is proof.  In my opinion Jesus was a hsp and he encouraged and inspired great love and compassion from others. 

Hsp make excellent healers, counselors, advisors, and leaders in part to our intuition and ability to read people.  We pick up on the emotions of others very, very easily.  Hsp have strong artistic, musical, and writing abilities.  We have an appreciation for art, animals, and children.  We can read people by their tone of voice, body language.  We also feel deep, profound sense of justice and fairness, hence the reason why we make great leaders and authority figures.  We have a keen attention to detail and fastidiousness.  We have a strong connection to nature and the spiritual world.  Many people who have psychic abilities are hs.  We revel in peace, quiet, and calm and have the ability to get into deep meditation.  Our relationships are usually deep, meaningful, and can last a very long time, because we are loyal people.  When we fall in love we usually fall fast and hard.

There is a flip side to being hs.  We are easy to hurt and can become quite isolated and cynical.  We are slow to heal from trauma and it is crucial for the hsp to be taught to appreciate and how to work with our sensitive natures.  Since the publication of Dr. Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person over 10 years ago, acceptance of the hsp has been gaining in the psychological community and in our culture.  There are now educators, therapists, psychologists, and life coaches who specialize in working with hsp.  More and more books are being written to help people who are highly sensitive.  If you have a hs child, you owe it to them to educate yourself about this, especially the younger they are.  It may even take a hsp to point out that a child is hs to a non-highly sensitive parent.  It is also important for the hs child to appreciate their unique traits and learn how to keep themselves from being overwhelmed.  Children often do well with yoga and meditation.  It is important to not label them as overly sensitive.  There is no such thing as being overly sensitive.  There is such a thing as a sensitive person being overwhelmed with too much stimuli, and unable to handle it.

I remember as a child the noise and chaos of my 1st grade classroom.  One particular day the high-pitched voices, overly bright lights, the heat of the classroom, the noise coming from a record player in the background became all too much.  I needed a moment to put my head down in all this stimulation.  So that’s what I did.  I covered my arms over my head to block out the excessive stimuli.  I see now that what I was trying to do was center myself, only of course being 6 years old, I did not have the vocabulary to explain my needs.  My teacher Mrs. Johnson was worried I may be ill.  She brought in another teacher to see about me.  I couldn’t explain myself to them.  But having these 2 large adults stand over me made me feel there was something wrong with me.  None of the other children needed a break from the chaos like I did.  I felt alone.  It was the first time in my life I felt defected.   Fortunately with Dr. Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person these situations do not have to happen.  I believe it should be a required read for every teacher.

It’s taken many years for me to realize that being a highly sensitive person really, truly is a gift.  By no means is it a defect.  I was just surrounded by people who didn’t understand it.  I love having insight into problems that others do not seem to have.  I love having a perspective that others do not.  I love hearing from people, “oh, I didn’t think of it that way.”   Many, many times in my life I’ve been told I have a strong and unique insight.   So despite the hurtful and confusing moments of my early years, I would not change being a hsp.  I choose to see the pros over the cons.  I’ve stopped apologizing for being sensitive.  I’ve honed in on my gifts and am aware of how it benefits me and others.

The world needs all sorts of people.  We need the straight talking, tell it like it is sort.  We need their tenacity and strength.  People who don’t need to contemplate and deliberate, they get in and get the job done.  Those are wonderful qualities.  The world needs the sensitive types as well.  We need insightful people who just seem to “know” things.   People who bring forth great compassion and understanding.  The world is complex and so are the people who are in it.  Isn’t it extraordinary?

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December 20, 2010

The Highly Sensitive Person part 1

by Dandy

There can be a multitude of descriptions and definitions of the highly sensitive person.  It is agreed that the highly sensitive person, or hsp for short, experiences a deeper and higher level of sensitivity and have different nervous systems than those that are not highly sensitive.  Incoming information is processed and reflected upon so deeply that we are more likely to become overwhelmed and over stimulated than those who experience a lesser degree of sensitivity. 

The causes of hypersensitivity are not known to be biological, but rather an evolutionary trait inherent in a particular gene that has been with us since humans started walking this earth.  There have always been people of a strong spiritual nature.  We were known to be healers, saints, prophets, shamans, and philosophers – people known to be deeply rooted in their souls.  We are people who are able to access wisdom, knowledge, and love that comes from the sensitivity to the world around us.  Hsp are blessings to this world filled with chaos, violence, and injustice.  Highly sensitive people have access to parts of their brain that others might not experience.  Hsp use over 10% of their brain and filter out less reality through the optic nerve, so more reality is experienced.  Hsp notice energy fields and chakras can sometimes be seen.  According to Dr. Elaine Aron, who wrote the revolutionary The Highly Sensitive Person, hsp take up 15 to 20% of the human population.   The following are some common traits:

  •  Ability to perform deep processing of information.
  • Picks up on subtle details while in the learning process.
  • Are not able to learn effectively when over aroused.
  • Are known to be thoughtful, sentimental, and loyal.
  • Are able to accomplish tasks with great accuracy, detail, and speed.
  • Gets more affected by caffeine and other stimulants.
  • Can stay still for a longer period of time than others.
  • Has more right brain activity.
  • Creative by nature.
  • Highly imaginative.
  • Takes time to come out from the effect of some kind of stimulus.
  • Can understand human emotions more deeply than others.
  • Does not give their best while being watched.
  • Tends to mix less with others.
  • Does better work when the environment is relaxed, calm, and quiet.
  • Prefers to feel and experience quietly by themselves.
  • Are great organizers.
  • Are more loyal and hardworking than others.
  • Strongly compassionate and caring.
  • Are inclined towards spirituality.
  • Strong aesthetic sense.
  • More in tune with nature and elemental forces.
  • Notices subtleties in appearances, physical sensations, and placement of objects.
  • Prefers to work and play quietly.
  • Asks deep thought-provoking questions.
  • Gets easily disturbed by noise.
  • Reads the moods of others with great accuracy.

So as you can see by this long list of information the perception of things are magnified; therefore, the feelings and emotions are stronger in a hsp.  The hsp can strongly benefit from yoga, meditation, chanting, and/or deep breathing exercises.    Because the hsp is prone to become over stimulated and stressed it is of the utmost importance that coping techniques be learned and applied.  We are more sensitive to chemicals; therefore, a diet as free from chemicals, preservatives, and dyes should be sought.  We are more inclined to sleep disturbances so leading a disciplined life of proper sleep and relaxation is crucial.

Hsp are more open to negative fields.  We absorb people’s negative energy and emotional toxins.  We can feel a person’s psychic chaos very easily.  Physical symptoms can show in us such as chronic colds, allergies, sinus troubles, headaches, sore throats, stomach upset,  and breathing difficulties.  On a positive note, we are just as open to a person’s positive field.  Which is why it is imperative for us to surround ourselves with healthy, loving people.  Children who are hs are particularly sensitive to energy fields and are strongly susceptible to the physical ailments.

December 13, 2010

Do you get lost in a relationship?

by Dandy

It happens.  Even strong people can lose themselves in a relationship.  We can become so happily wrapped up in our partner that after a while we feel something is amiss within ourselves.  Where did we go?  When we are in love our partner gets high on the  list of priorities.  That’s ok.  They are supposed to be on that list.  Their time schedule, their hobbies and interests, their priorities, it all becomes our own priorities.  It’s when we get lost in them we become unbalanced.  How do we hold onto our selves and have a healthy relationship?

To have a healthy relationship you must be a healthy person.  A symbiotic relationship is an unhealthy one.  One person is needy and dependent.  One person has power over the other.  The result of this is the loss of integrity of both partners.  A healthy relationship is one where there is maturity, peace, and stability.  Both individuals have plenty of room to be themselves and there is genuine acceptance.  In a symbiotic relationship one partner is driven by fear that the other will leave.  In a healthy relationship, each individual is free to take up room in the others life and each person has balance in their own life.  A person will choose rather than be driven to give love to the other partner. 

  We have all seen negative, sick, grossly unhealthy relationships.  Many of us don’t even have much of an idea of what a healthy relationship even is.  In a healthy relationship we give our love freely, with no conditions and expectations.  Many of us have learned through our observances of other relationships, that to give love means to “give up” or “give away”.  In essence creating a deficit in our own selves.  We also learn to give only as much as we expect to receive, so that we don’t feel cheated by giving more.  In a healthy relationship, giving is very different from these types of messages we have received.

In a symbiotic relationship one partner gives up a significant part of themselves in order to keep the peace.  This unhealthy individual is ruled by a fear of being alone and they will give away parts of themselves for the sake of staying in the relationship.  So while short-term conflict is avoided, the status-quo will be maintained.  In the long run the price paid is high.  The price is the precious loss of self.  If one partner sacrifices themself too much then the other partner has more power and control over the entire relationship.  When there is an unbalance of power the relationship will feel very unsatisfying for both individuals.  The price paid for not being alone is to give up who and what they are, their wants and needs. For not wanting to be alone the individual will ultimately feel alone. 

To have a healthy relationship we have to love ourselves.  To give up ourselves or shrink it down to make room for the other partner, will haunt us.  We will feel resentment, regret, and anger.  Therefore, the relationship will deteriorate.  We all need relationships, but we also need to be fulfilled within ourselves.  When we give up pieces of ourselves for the sake of a relationship we do so at the cost of our identity and personal growth.

Our lives should never totally change when we enter into a relationship.  We have to maintain our individuality and personal goals.  We need to maintain and continue to develop our friendships, hobbies, careers, and interests that we had before we met our partner.  If we give these up, we give up our uniqueness.  Maintaining our individuality will enable us and our partner to build a healthy relationship.  We will also be more interesting for our partner.  They will want to stay with us.

Symbiotic relationships fail in many ways because they are unsatisfactory.  When we enter a relationship and give up all the wonderful things that make us who we are we aren’t giving ourselves the love we need.  We have to love and respect ourselves first before we can give love to another.  The loss of self, identity, authenticity, whatever you wish to call it is a profoundly sad loss.  It is devastating.

We also must not confuse identity and individuality with flexibility.  Identity is about all the great things that make us who we are.  flexibility and compromise are crucial to a healthy relationship and will always be necessary in any relationship.  To compromise we have to be committed to honest communication of our feelings and needs at all times.

Neither you or your partner should give up what makes you unique and the special person you both are.  It’s up to you and your partner to create and maintain a balance.  Healthy boundaries will accomplish this along with loving ourselves.

December 6, 2010

Deep breathing techniqes for well being

by Dandy

There are so many benefits to deep breathing.  It can help with physical pain, sleep disorders, anxiety, asthma, depression, etc,.   Just because we know how to breathe doesn’t mean we are taking advantage of all the great things that can come from it.  Most of us breath in a very shallow and aimless manner, with stataco jerks.  We are so used to this that it takes mindfulness to alter the breath.  But it is easier than you may think to develop an unconscious habit of mindful deep breathing.  Once we gain attention to our breathing and make an effort to stretch and lengthen our breath, we easily start breathing deeply.  However, as soon as our minds start to wander in some other direction we return to the shallow breathing.  But there is a remedy.

The first method is known as the Pause Breath method.  This is a simple, but powerful technique.  All you need to do is concentrate on the two pauses that occur while breathing, the inhalation and the exhalation.  Just by doing this you will start taking continuous deep breaths.  When you inhale deeply, you will need to exhale deeply.  Try this now.  You can do this technique anywhere and everywhere.  Just observe your breath.  So it for 5 minutes.  Start focusing on these breathing pauses twice a day for 15 minutes each.  Try to do the session of pause breath in a quiet, peaceful place at first.  As you do this, you will find that even when you stop focusing your attention on the pauses, you will still be breathing deeper.

The second method is called the Pavlov method.  We use “conditioned reflexes” for this method. There is a long list of things we do everyday without fail, like driving, getting dressed, reading the newspaper, internet surfing, etc,.  we will use these activities as external stimuli to train our nervous systems (minds) to automate the process of deep breathing.

Let us take walking as an example.  We walk to the bus stop, or the bosses office, or down the supermarket aisles.  We do all of this with purpose.  So all you need to do is choose one of these daily walks.  Just one.  Now when you walk for that purpose give attention to your breath.  Be aware of the pauses.  Try to breath deeply.  For this one walking purpose always breath deeply.  For all other occasions of walking, forget about it and take in breath the way you normally do. 

So suppose you choose to do this every morning you walk out to your car.  Always do this deep breathing.  After you are in your car you can breathe normally again.  You are not required to do deep breathing all day long.  Just to the car.  You will be unconsciously training your mind to start associating the process of deep breathing while walking to the car.  The simultaneous process of walking to the car and deep breathing will become automatic.  You’ll see that when you forget to breath deeply while walking to the car, your mind will remind you and your body will respond.  A “conditioned reflex” will be created!  You can apply this to other daily activities you do, like taking a shower, or washing the dishes, or checking your email.

If you do this several times a day during your daily activities, you can be deep breathing for 3 or 4 hours daily.  Just imagine all that pure oxygen running through your brain and body!

Do you practise deep breathing?  How has it benefited you?

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