5 effective habits for highly sensitive people to build a happier life
Do you want to improve your life as a highly sensitive person? Implement these 5 habits to achieve happiness and create the life you need.
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“Here we go again: another health coach who is trying to get me hooked on their services,” you must think. This is not the case. I am no coach, I do not have a PhD and my professional background is definitely not within psychology. However, I am a highly sensitive person with great passion for my trait and a strong interest in how to apply the gifts of sensitivity in the best possible way. For those of you who don’t know about the trait yet, highly sensitive people are people who “have a sensitive nervous system, are aware of subtleties in their surroundings, and are more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment”.
A year ago, I was the most unhappy (highly sensitive) person. In fact, I was struggling to get out of bed in the mornings and experiencing symptoms of a burnout. It was the aftermath of what had been a tough year where several dear ones died, my house almost burned down and I was unsatisfied with my career path. For people who aren’t highly sensitive, these events already feel deeply upsetting, so you can imagine what it did to me and my mental health. I was exhausted and experienced a desperate need to recharge my energy. Something had to change and I knew that I was the only one who had the power to realize this movement within me. Hence, my transformation began.
In fact, it all started with a book called ‘The universe has your back’ by Gabrielle Bernstein. This book gave me the faith that everything that I dream of, is possible to achieve! For me, who at that point was not religious or spiritual at all, this book was a game-changer. While reading this book, my spiritual journey began and I started to realize that I have the potential to change my life and live my dream. By taking good care of myself and applying certain habits, I managed to courageously start on building the life I always had dreamt of: a highly sensitive people-friendly life. Now, I want to share these habits with you, because I believe that all highly sensitive people have the potential to achieve a happier life by implementing these 5 habits:
One of the first habits I implemented, was to apply positive psychology to my daily routine. According to Shawn Achor, it is a common misconception that success fuels happiness. In fact, he claims that it is the other way around. By training our brains to think happier thoughts through the power of positive psychology, we will be more engaged, creative, motivated, resilient and productive at work. This change of mindset contributes to you attracting the right people and opportunities! Sounds perfect, right?
I experienced it myself when I started to train my brain towards positivity. Whereas I first felt burned out and depressed, I recognized that new doors were opening up for me. Like-minded people entered my life, I got new career opportunities and most important of all, I felt less anxious! I trusted that everything that would be right for me, would enter my life eventually. And it did! So now you might wonder “How on earth do I train my brain towards positivity”?
What I did, was to apply the 1-3 rule: for each negative thought that entered my mind, I had to think of three positive ones. While it was tough in the beginning, I eventually recognized that it got easier after a while. In addition, the amount of times I had to do this exercise decreased, because I was generally more positive about everything. Isn’t that amazing?
So when I first started to recognize a more positive mindset within me, I of course wanted to remain on this level of happiness. Your mental health needs to be maintained, just like your physical health. Many people underestimate that. Therefore, I searched for methods that would allow me to improve and maintain my health. Hence, creating healthy habits in relation to positive psychology became my priority for quite some while. I tried out several free apps and found that gratitude is an amazing way to feel positive.
As a highly sensitive person, I have a tendency to enjoy the little things. Things that other people walk by, I recognize and feel joyous about. This is a common trait of highly sensitive people. So when I first started to apply gratitude in my daily life, I felt amazed by its effects. Whereas I first only managed to write down a few things that I felt grateful about, I could mention hundreds of gratitudes after a few weeks of practicing! And I felt amazing effects from it!
Studies have shown that gratitude enhances empathy and decreases aggression, improves your self-esteem, increases your mental strength and improves your overall psychological health. In fact, I experienced all of these benefits when I started to apply gratitude into my daily life.
Although gratitude is wonderful to maintain a positive attitude, it is impossible to be grateful and positive about everything all the time, right? At least that was how I felt when I first started my spiritual journey. I did not want to neglect the negative feelings from past traumas. Moreover, I found it important to heal from them. Therefore, I dived into the world of meditation and created habits that included meditating.
Meditation offers many benefits such as reducing anxiety, improved self-control and less stress. I experienced all of these positive aspects when I started to meditate in times of need. Whereas I still would confront my demons, I would stress out less about them and generally feel more at peace. Also, meditating provided me with great insights upon these issues and helped me to heal.
Now, I try to meditate on a daily basis as a way of maintaining my mental health and part of my spiritual journey. Meditation has helped me to generally be a more happy highly sensitive person and I definitely recommend you to try it out!
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to surround yourself with people who are good for you. This was one of the most significant habits I implemented in my life; to look who is good for me and who isn't. Especially when you are highly sensitive and/or an empath, you attract toxic people or energy vampires. These are people who only take, take, take and never give back. After interacting with a toxic person, you will feel empty, exhausted and drained. We all know someone like this and we should not judge them, as they are on their own healing journey. However, it is important to protect yourself from toxic people. By maintaining your level of positivity, you will manage to block some of their negative vibes.
After I started to protect my energy field and vibrate on a higher, positive frequency, I attracted more like-minded people without even trying! In fact, highly sensitive people entered my life and we helped each other in our growth. It felt like magic and as if they were sent into my life to learn from, to laugh with and to grow together. When you take care of yourself, create a more positive mindset and generally feel more happy about yourself, you will attract your tribe. This tribe will help you to realize your dreams and it will feel truly amazing, trust me. If you'd like to connect with other highly sensitive people right away to find your tribe, why not join this Facebook group?
Highly sensitive people are known to seek meaning in everything they do and find it highly important to have a purpose. I do, too. My purpose has always been to help people in some way and to be able to be creative at the same time. When I looked at my life a year ago, I realized that although I knew what my purpose was, I did not do anything to fulfill it. That made me realize why I felt so unhappy about my career.
I sat down, looked at where I would like to be in the future and made a plan that fit my purpose. In fact, that was when I realized that I wanted to write for highly sensitive people and connect them with each other. Ever since I took actions to live my purpose, I have felt completed. Waking up each day with the idea that your work contributes to something bigger is great and I can highly recommend it. So, grab a paper, sit down in an inspiring environment and ask yourself “What is my purpose?”
When your purpose is clear, you can start to create a plan. This plan should support your purpose under any circumstances. Create small goals and define actions to achieve these goals. Every step counts, remember that! Finally, put your plan into action. When your actions support your higher goal in life, you will feel completed. Even if you haven’t achieved your end goal yet, you will feel fulfilled, because what you do has purpose. Believe me, purpose matters to highly sensitive people and is crucial for their overall well-being.
I truly hope that you got inspired by my experience and I can imagine that you might think that this is impossible to achieve happiness by changing your mindset. A year ago, I thought the same. However, by implementing these habits into my life, I have become a happy HSP! Take it one step at a time and you will get there, believe me! I have faith in you, and so does the universe!