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What A Typical Day Is Like For Highly Sensitive People

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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 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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