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What A Typical Day Is Like For Highly Sensitive People

What A Typical Day Is Like For Highly Sensitive People

Would you say you’re more emotional than most people? Do you like your alone time? Perhaps you find yourself worrying and agonising over small decisions – and don’t get started on the big ones.

If this sounds a lot like you, then you may be what’s called a highly sensitive personThis may sound like someone who cries at the slightest mishap or throw-away comment but it’s much deeper than that. Highly sensitive people have a lot of positive traits too including empathy and sensitivity towards others as well as being highly creative and deep-thinkers.

A Day In The Life Of Highly Sensitive People

The mindset and perspective of a highly sensitive person can be different from the ‘norm’ and shapes their day in an individual and distinctive way. If you feel you might be highly sensitive, see if you identify with this day in the life of a highly sensitive person.

7.00am – Drag yourself out of bed to go for a run

If you’re a highly sensitive person then getting yourself into an exercise routine can be quite challenging. You tend to put off looking after yourself physically and even skip meals because you feel you don’t have the time. Getting up for your run takes a huge amount of motivation and may feel highly uncomfortable.

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7.15am – Go for your run…alone

You like doing things by yourself and avoid doing things in groups. You dislike the sense that people are watching your every move even if they’re not paying attention to you whatsoever. Going to the gym is your worst nightmare – a place full of people watching what you’re doing and placing judgement? No thanks! You’d rather workout in the comfort of your own company away from any prying eyes.

8.30am – You take more time than necessary to pick out your outfit

Highly sensitive people tend to take ages making decisions – even the small ones. You ponder and dwell on whether you’re making the right or wrong decision even for small things like what clothes you’ll wear to work. You change your mind several times for minor reasons and feel uncomfortable in the whole process. It may even leave you a little stressed.

8.45am – You apologise profusely on your packed journey to work

You’ve started your commute to work and it’s busier than usual. The bus or train is packed and you have to stand for the whole journey. This in itself is making you uncomfortable because you’re hyper aware of how close everyone is to you and you to them, you notice the stuffiness of the bus, the unpleasant smells, the sounds and you try to keep yourself calm.

But this hyperawareness also extends to you apologising to others around you – maybe for accidentally knocking them when the bus braked or just being in someone’s way when it’s not your fault. Over-apologising is a common trait because you’re constantly aware of being a burden to other people.

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9.00am – Smile as you arrive at your enclosed office cubicle

Your company recently moved to new offices and instead of the open-plan layout, you now have your own cubicle – four walls cutting you off from the world around you. You were pleased with this because you hated being openly exposed to others and, like running, prefer limiting any stimuli around you.

You’d secretly prefer to be able to work from home or dream of being self-employed so you can get comfortable in your solo work environment but for now you are happy with your cubicle offering less noise and more privacy.

9.01am – Roadworks are going on right outside your window

Loud, continuous noises irritate you considerably. You can’t seem to block it out like other people do and you feel like you’re slowly going mad. Your stress levels rise and you try to turn the music in your headphones up to drown it out.

2.00pm – Finally finished writing and finalising your work proposal

You have the tendency to spend a lot more time than necessary finishing a project because you’re very detail-oriented and a complete and utter perfectionist. You know you should have finished your work proposal two hours ago (and skipped lunch in the process) but it was worth it for your peace of mind.

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3.00pm – You enjoyed your team meeting

You had a good team meeting today because, as a deep-thinker and a person who typically weighs up the pros and cons of everything, you work well in a team environment and add value to the discussions. However, you never like having to make the final decision because you’re a worrier and often don’t like the pressure that comes with making decisions (a bit like the outfit you had to pick out this morning). Luckily today you didn’t have to, so the meeting was enjoyable and a success.

3.30pm – Your boss points out a mistake in your proposal and it crushes you

Yes, as a highly sensitive person, any kind of criticism big or small will weigh down on you like a tonne of bricks – in fact it devastates you. After all, you spent more time than needed just to avoid any criticism in the first place. Going out of your way to avoid criticism is a common trait in highly sensitive people and this is achieved through major ‘people pleasing’.

6.00pm – You notice something’s up with your close friend or family member

You’re home and glad to be in the comfort of your own privacy. You decide to call your loved one but notice they’re a bit off with you. Being a highly sensitive person, this is on your radar almost immediately and you feel it affecting you more than it should.

Your emotions are always at the fore and you worry that someone else’s feelings and emotions may be down to you even though they may just have been having a bad day. It leaves you with a sense of sadness and may even cause you to cry – taking you a while to shake it off.

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8.00pm – You watch a horror movie and regret it

You fancy a change of film genre and heard good things about a movie a friend recommended. However, the problem is you’re highly sensitive to frightening and scary situations. In horror movies, you can vividly imagine the situation and put yourself in the character’s shoes. Your high ability to feel empathy and your brain being easily overstimulated, causes you to be far more affected by horror movies than others.

11.00pm – Go to bed and think over your day

Highly sensitive people tend to dwell a lot on what went wrong in a day. Small things have great impacts on you and it may take you a while to pass it and move on. But it’s all about how you deal with it – many things in life can be a blessing or a curse, both positive and negative but remember these are what makes you a unique person so embrace your day and wake up ready to tackle the next one!

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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