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13 Things to Remember if You Love A Sensitive Person

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13 Things to Remember if You Love A Sensitive Person

Being a sensitive person can oftentimes feel like a mixed bag filled with blessings yet also curses. On the one hand, our nervous system is highly wired to detect the smallest nuances in life and also to freak out over them. It’s quite a conundrum, and one that I have been struggling with since I was a tiny human being. When I was growing up, there was no “Highly Sensitive Person Guide To The World” on the internet. In fact, there was no internet. I hadn’t even heard of the term “Highly Sensitive Person” until I stumbled upon Elaine Aron’s self-test online. It explained so many things. Why I jump every time a car honks leaving me feeling like one of those trembling greyhound dogs. Why I simply cannot abide loud eaters and feel spectacularly uncomfortable in open-plan office environments. Whilst being a sensitive person can feel like being encumbered with a set list of unusual nuances, we are also great people to have in your lives for these 13 reasons:

1. When they feel, they really feel

Being so highly attuned with their nervous systems means that sensitive folks feel emotions in a very real and complex way. It is almost as if they are tuned into a different radio frequency than the rest of humanity. When their emotions are triggered, they cannot simply ignore them. Much like a passing storm, they need to work through any upsetting feelings before they can even begin to appreciate any silver linings.

2. They shed many tears

It’s important to know that in loving a sensitive person, you will learn to love their tears. They can cry at the drop of a hat at seemingly the silliest things. Witnessing random acts of meanness can set them off, but so can a litter of cute puppies. Those infomercials raising money for starving children in Africa typically get them every time, and they probably shouldn’t be in the room when those Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercials start playing.

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3. They are in touch with their emotional mind

Emotions are generally sensitive people’s closest companions. They feel, think, and act on an emotional level and therefore can be wonderfully considerate. They can also be moody as hell. Whilst the majority of people experience the ever-shifting sands of emotion, sensitive people tend to shift these sands at lightning speed. One minute they can be laughing at something you said and the next minute the laughter is gone, to be replaced by a frostier vibe. It’s important not to take any of this personally and just let them get on with it.

4. They can pick up the subtlest vibes

Being so highly attuned with their emotions means that they can intuit the emotions of others pretty perceptively. If they walk into a room and the vibe is off, they will feel it in an instant. This can be overwhelming for some people, since it’s hard to distinguish between their own moods and what they are empathizing from someone else. Yes, thats right. Sensitive people can literally take on someone else’s mood without even realizing it.

5. They are incredibly empathetic

There’s a reason why sensitive people often make wonderful teachers: they tend to have huge reserves of empathy for others. Its just harder for them to walk past an upsetting situation playing out on the street without coming away with some residual emotion. It’s important to know that they simply cannot just turn off their feelings. They are natural empathizers and can sometimes transmute the pain of others.

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6. They can come undone when witnessing extreme behavior

One of the singularly most upsetting things for a sensitive person is violence towards others. That’s why you probably won’t see them lining up for the latest slasher movie on a Friday night. (They’ll be the ones getting ready for a good cry at the latest Nicholas Sparks movie.) Violence and extreme behavior Freaks. Them. Out. Whilst others might enjoy watching a serial killer torture his victim on the big screen, those sensitive people will already be cowering in the restroom.

7. They need more downtime than most

All this empathizing and deep feelings mean that a sensitive person’s need for downtime is non-negotiable. Because they operate an overactive nervous system, they need time to decompress and spend time with themselves. Once they have recharged their emotional batteries, they will be ready to face the world again. But it’s paramount to respect their need to just be.

8. They dont deal well with criticism

Be careful when you feel the need to critique your sensitive friend, family member, or lover. Being so in tune with themselves means that they are usually their own worst enemies, so anything negative you have to say will likely already have been realized by themselves. This doesnt mean you have to live in a world of unicorns and lollipops when you hang out with them, but use some tact. A good way to approach criticism with them is to spread it on both sides with love; a critical sandwich, if you will. It will be far easier for them to swallow.

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9. They may forgive, but they dont forget

If you serve them a hateful sandwich instead, be warned. They might eventually forgive you, but they will never forget what you did. They are almost elephantean in their ability to recount all of the wrongs harbored against them, and it can be incredibly hard for them to shake it off and move on. There will be no firework show of fury, since they feel their emotions deeply and quietly.

10. Their are connected with their creativity

Their unique mode of perception allows them to develop a strong appreciation for nature, music, art, and literature. This can lead them into successful careers as artists, where they can give themselves permission to express their unique view of the world through a creative outlet.

11. They enjoy connecting with the natural world

The solitude that nature affords us means that sensitive people are drawn to surrounding themselves with the natural world. Their sensitive nervous systems can easily become saturated by the bombardment of sights, sounds, smells, and speed of modern life. An afternoon spent hiking or even reading in the park provides a sensitive person that precious time to reboot and recharge so that they feel ready to face the world again.

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12. They engage with their senses

Whilst some of us are more connected with one dominant sense, sensitive people tend to engage all of their senses. Not only do they feel emotion on a deep level, but they can also be highly attuned to strong tastes, noises, visuals, sounds, and touch.

13. They make for wonderfully caring friends

One of the hallmark characteristics of highly sensitive people is the ability to feel more deeply than their less-sensitive peers. This can make them fabulous people to know. Their deep level of concern for others leads to a sense of empathy and concern for their friends’ well being. They may also have more concern about how another person may be reacting in the face of a negative event, meaning they will likely be one of the first people to reach out in times of adversity.

Whilst sensitive people are too often perceived by others as being weak or lacking backbone, it’s important to remember that to feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness. Loving a sensitive person might be complicated, but it’s also important to remember that they hold some truly wonderful characteristics that will make having them in your life a truly unique experience.

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Featured photo credit: We Heart It via weheartit.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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