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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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