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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

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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