In my practice, I tend to attract clients who, like myself, are extremely sensitive. Hypersensitive, perhaps. Often both physically and emotionally.
I believe this extreme sensitivity is a gift, but it comes wrapped in a challenging package. It is not easy to manage.
One of the challenges of living with deep sensitivity, particularly in a busy city like Los Angeles, is the propensity to overload. It is so easy to allow our nervous systems to become overloaded with stimuli. And when that happens, we tend to shut down (or deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as addictions).
After a recent conversation with a client, I felt compelled to create a list of tools that I use to manage what I experience as “system overload.”
my top ten tips for an overloaded nervous system:
1). Breathe. It’s deceptively simple, and so powerful. Breathing deeply and slowly will encourage the parasympathetic nervous system to take over. The parasympathetic system is the “rest and digest” system. It’s the opposite of “fight or flight”. And we can encourage it to turn on by simply deepening and lengthening the breath.
2). Find your feet. This was a technique that my energy work teacher taught me, and I use it almost daily. Bringing your attention to your feet is an instant grounding technique. Simply bring your awareness into your feet, becoming aware of them and feeling them on the ground, supporting you.
3). Donna Eden’s energy balancing work: this deserves a post of its own, but suffice it to say that Donna Eden is one of the most masterful and visionary energy work teachers of our time. Her pose titled “wayne cook posture” is a seated pose that brings instant calm to the nervous system. It is practiced as follows: sit in a chair with the right ankle resting on the left knee. Place the left hand on the right ankle, and with the right hand reach over and clasp the bottom of the right foot. (I know, it sounds a bit like twister, but bear with me because it works). Holding this position breathe steadily in and out. Repeat on the opposite side.
4). Water. Epsom salt baths are fantastic for grounding, releasing excess energy, and relaxing the whole system. If it’s practical to be in or near the ocean, even better.
5). Protein! Keep your blood sugar stable with sufficient protein- your body will thank you for it, and your system will respond in healthier ways to stressful stimuli.
6). Meditation. An always powerful tool, relaxing the mind and bringing the focus to the breath will center you and help release the excess energy.
7). Journaling & gratitude lists- I keep notebooks full of them. Being hypersensitive means being sensitive to positive stimuli as well, and taking 5 minutes to journal about the positive things, people, events, and sensory input in my life has effects for miles.
8). Be in nature. Connect to the grass, feel a tree bark beneath your hands, breathe the fresh air, look into the night sky. remind yourself of your place in the universe. Let it bring you back home into your body.
9). Let your senses rest on whatever makes you happy. colors, music, fabrics, whatever sensory input brings your system moments of joy- find those, and keep a list of them.
10). And lastly, be present. Be in the moment, as difficult as it may be. Know that your sensitivity is overwhelming, and it is also wonderful. Be present with it. Be alive.