Monday, January 28, 2008
Recognizing oncoming overstimulation
Overstimulation, however, can take radically different forms, depending on the person involved. A friend of mine-- who is a very extraverted HSP-- actually gets terribly overstimulated and all out of sorts when she finds that she has 4-5 unanswered emails begging for her attention. And yet, she thinks nothing of going to a fair, with lots of people and carnival rides-- even riding rollercoasters. By contrast, I get dozens of emails every day, and think little of writing and sending 20 personal responses to people in the course of an afternoon. On the other hand, you'd have to drag me kicking and screaming to an amusement park... and I'd want to just find the quietest corner where I could watch from a distance.
We know that being Highly Sensitive is an inborn hard-wired trait-- not something that can be "fixed." However, what we can do is learn to manage our sensitivity, in large part by recognizing exactly what it is-- situations, people, activities, noise-- that most likely will lead us to become overstimulated. If we don't learn this, we run the risk of missing out on many things life has to offer, simply because we use the "I can't do this, because I'm an HSP" blanket excuse.
A good place to start-- an "exercise" of sorts-- is to sit down and identify the common threads of the last 10, 20 (or however many you can remember) times you felt terribly overwhelmed by something. The benefit of very specifically understanding your "triggers" is that it ALSO allows you to identify the fairly "out there" things you're perfectly happy doing.
Talk back: Do you recognize the specific patterns that cause you to get overstimulated?
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