Let the Great Resignation Awaken Your Inner HSP

I resigned my job in October of last year. The reason I gave my employers was that I wanted to have time to focus on writing my book, which is true. But underlying that compelling choice was a yearning for something more.

When we were asked to work from home in March of 2020, I had mixed feelings. But I soon began to thrive. Becoming more productive and more contented than ever before. When we were forced to return to work in August of 2021, I was not ambivalent. I was discouraged. I did not wish to return.

I enjoyed working in solitude. Not having to close my door to the many interruptions that passed by and sometimes stopped to enter my office. Avoiding the 45-minute drive into work and 45-minute drive home in rush hour traffic. The nature of my work required that I make one trip a week into my office to drop off and pick up work product, materials, etc. I could handle that without angst.

At home I was free to use my breaks to walk our dogs, taking in the nature that surrounds our home. I thrived with the additional time to myself. And I became more productive in the home environment. I am an introvert-HSP so the occasional Zoom meeting with colleagues was all I needed to supply my need for human interaction outside of home.

Image courtesy of Pexels on Pixabay.

I am not the only person who has decided to forsake the typical career life for something more tailored to my personal needs. The pandemic has spurred people, many of whom are Millennials or Gen Zers, to search for a more personally satisfying work experience.

So why is the Great Resignation an opportunity for HSPs to nurture their unique qualities?

We Seek Growth

We strive to be the best that we can be. The Great Resignation gives us an opportunity to explore those areas of ourselves that need attention. The parts of ourselves that are questioning what we are, what we believe, what we want to be. Within a global change like this, we have the impetus to find like-minded souls; people who support, encourage, and add to our knowledge, because they are going through the same process.

We Seek to Contribute Through Our Unique Qualities

We possess qualities that are rare (1 in 5 people or 20% of the population). Those qualities are vital to forward-thinking strategies for the future, intuiting present circumstances and how those circumstances should spark change, and mediating disputes, just to name a few. The Great Resignation is an apt time to make a change to a profession that is more suited to you and your unique qualities.

We Seek an Environment in Which We Can Nurture Ourselves

We need to work in an environment that is comfortable for us. That environment often does not look like the historical work setting. The Great Resignation affords us an opportunity to find the most wholesome backdrop to our purpose. As we seek to grow and contribute, we must take care of ourselves. This means finding the surroundings that allow us to prosper and evolve.

The workplace is in a state of transition. More and more employees are speaking out against an antiquated system by leaving their current positions. This transformation is your vehicle to awaken the previously denied parts of yourself that can flourish at this time of change.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Is There Such a Thing as an Intuitive Empath? My Question to You

Decades ago, I was driving home from work just shortly after noon on a Saturday. The Interstate I was travelling was nearly devoid of other vehicles. It was a balmy autumn day. I was happy to have finished my required Saturday morning shift at the law firm I worked for. Feeling happy, I drove peacefully along. Then, suddenly, without any obvious provocation, I was hit with a strange sensation. It was a combination of physical and emotional foreboding — a strange electricity and shift within me, like someone gripping me from the inside. That was accompanied by a profound shift in mood. A knowing. An internal jolt. An awareness of movement from one realm to another. Death.

It was unlike anything I had sensed before. It stunned me so much that I looked at the clock to mentally record the time (12:21 pm). I finished my trip home and attempted to go about my day. I could not concentrate on the household chores nor any other activity that afternoon. In exasperation I finally grabbed my shopping list and headed for the grocery store.

As I was walking back to my car after getting my groceries, I spotted my aunt and cousin across the parking lot. A sudden and weighty sadness hit me. They continued in my direction and I stopped dead in my tracks. As they approached, I could see their pained faces more clearly, and felt the heaviness of grief grow as they came closer.

They had tried to contact me by phone, but did not reach me (pre-cellphone days), so they drove to my home. Since they did not find me there, they headed back and spotted my car in the store’s parking lot. Now, standing still with my cart in front of me, they gently took me aside and informed me that my brother had passed away in an automobile accident.

Image courtesy of Bluemount_Score on Pixabay

My brother was my only sibling and we had always been very close. This devastating news nearly brought me to my knees. The last time I saw him was when the family visited me at my new apartment one week prior. During that visit, I had glanced his direction and gotten a flash thought. “He’s going to die.” it said to me. I pushed the offending thought aside and chastised myself with “Don’t think such awful things.”

As HSPs, we are accustomed to sensing what others cannot. One of our highly sensitive traits is what seems like an overabundance of empathy. Someone is thought to be an empath if their empathy goes beyond that of normal empathy to actually feel what that other person is feeling. Often, HSPs feel such deep empathy for people that they can take on another person’s illness (physical empaths) or absorb another person’s mood (emotional empaths). The connection between high sensitivity and empaths is strong.

These traits have been studied and are becoming accepted as true occurrences. But in her book, The Empath’s Survival Guide, Life Strategies for Sensitive People, Dr. Judith Orloff defines another type of empath – an intuitive empath.

Dr. Orloff asserts that this empath is sensitive to phenomena beyond that of the everyday. Plumbing the depths that science has yet to understand. I am slow to call myself telepathic, but the incident and accompanying feeling seem too much to chalk up to coincidence. And I have had more than a few more incidents happen to me that I can’t explain. Premonitions too precise to attribute to accidental cause. Impressions to my mind that I would never consciously think to predict, happening, sometimes years later.

I would love to hear how you see this situation? Is it extraordinary coincidence? Something else? Or is there such a thing as intuitive empath capability? Have you experienced something similar? I’d really love to know.

As an aside, my brother’s death certificate listed his passing at 12:19 pm that day.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Dealing with Frustration as an HSP

Putting away groceries the other day, I surprised myself. I was emptying potatoes into a bag in the pantry when the bag slipped and all the potatoes flew in every direction. I let out a grunt – a half-scream, guttural cry. Frustration. It had been building since I got home. I knew I had many other demands on my time which were taunting me throughout my grocery store trip. Tasks that needed to be done, all of which I prioritized as high. But the need to replenish our food supply took on greater importance as it represented survival.

As an HSP, I am well acquainted with a wide range of human emotion within. Most HSPs, being more in tune with their emotions, are. While this gives us a more intuitive perception on our world, we can only take advantage of that if we keep our awareness keen. I allowed myself to become distracted.

What I experienced was frustration. Frustration and anger are closely related. Anger often results from a wrong committed against you. Frustration results from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs. The feeling that results from these causes, an intense displeasure, is also similar. Frustration can also produce or be accompanied by anxiety or depression. Our intense empathy can sometimes stand in the way of our ability to recognize and accept these negative emotions.

We must be careful. Due to our different physiology, we experience these emotions more intensely than our fellow humans. We, as empaths, also absorb them from those around us. That intensity can be overwhelming, especially during times of great unrest and stress. And they can sneak up on you, like they did to me during the pantry incident.

Here is how I am dealing with my frustration. Hopefully these tips will help you too.

Take Care of Yourself

Your number one responsibility is to yourself. When times are tough, the first person we tend to forget to take care of is ourselves. This can be a problem for most of us most of the time, but is especially difficult during stress. But making sure that we continue to exercise, eat a proper diet, make time for quiet contemplation and alone time, and put these activities first and foremost is absolutely necessary. When we do this, we are better able to deal with the negatives.

Keep Your Awareness Sharp

I allowed myself to focus on the many things I needed to be doing, instead of focusing on the task at hand. When you zone in on what you are doing, you keep your mind sharp and you get your task done sooner and with great efficiency. Then, you are free to move on to the next. Staying aware keeps your mind on the present and how you are feeling at that moment.

Find a Way to Release Your Frustration

Newly arisen emotion needs release. You must allow those emotions freedom to express themselves. When you do, you free them to move on, and you can move on also. A great way to release those emotions is to talk to a trusted friend, someone who is a good listener. Yes, you usually take on that role, but you also need that kindness shown to you on occasion. If you are uncomfortable with talking it out, or have no one to turn to, journaling or writing down your frustration is also a good release. HSPs relate well to writing. Our need for solitude has heightened our ability to “talk it out” with ourselves.

Frustration is part of life. It can sneak up on HSPs if we let it. But being kind to ourselves means that we deal positively with negative emotions like frustration. I hope you will resonate with these suggestions and that they give you peace.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Four Strategies for Taming HSP Overwhelm When Hateful Forces Rule

Do you, as an HSP, feel extreme overwhelm right now? You are not alone. Negative aggressive forces are coming at us in record numbers and intensity. From political unrest, self-absorbed people demanding their “rights” with no regard for others’ rights, to impending wars and military chaos, we face multiple challenges on a daily basis. These circumstances show no evidence of resolving anytime soon, so it is necessary that we adapt in order to protect ourselves.

Life is stressful for everyone, but much more so for the highly sensitive person. Candace Pert in her wonderful book Molecules of Emotion, illuminated the new discovery of how emotions interact with the bodymind. Every emotion is expressed as a neuropeptide in the body. To summarize very quickly, these chemicals in a normal environment work their way out of the body. When allowed escape, they cause no harm. When our systems are bombarded with stressors, these biochemicals get stored without means of elimination, causing harm and disease. To understand this more fully, read this article recapping one of Ms. Pert’s talks on the subject.

Image courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay.

This process happens in all human physiology. Imagine how much more imposing this can be in the highly sensitive person’s body. Below I share with you tips that I am using right now to limit any possible clogged biochemicals, thus reducing the harm they may cause.

Start Grieving Now

Today, we are experiencing tremendous trauma. We are incurring great losses in our lives, routines, and ways of life. We will need to grieve those losses. Our lifestyle will suffer. Any loss requires grief to move forward. Don’t wait for it all to pile up. Acknowledge that change is coming. Feel your sorrow and grief. Allow it expression. Rely on a trusted friend or loved one to talk it over. Talk to a professional if it is too overwhelming to shoulder yourself. This is a natural process, and a necessity.

Take Care of Your Health

These days it is even more important to be as healthy as possible in order to combat the inevitable onslaught. The healthier you are, the better your ability to cope with negative energy. Prioritize your diet, exercise, quiet time, and self-care.

Discern, Don’t Judge

One of our strong traits is to be super conscientious. We see the evil that exists more readily than most people, and it hurts us. We suffer within. The atrocities that occur half a world away resonate within us and cause us pain. You must put these into perspective. It is important to witness, without judgement, the events that cause hurt, pain, and suffering. In this way, you see those results without assigning blame. When you discern (do not assign blame), the act itself takes precedence over the person or people perpetrating the behavior. You can then do what is possible to alleviate or change the behavior (for instance, peaceful protest or joining a prayer gathering) without letting the negativity paralyze you.

Don’t Take It Personally

View world or personal events with discernment over judgement. As you do, it will become easier to see it is not directed toward you. The person or people who perpetrate such maliciousness are facing issues within themselves that are even greater than the ugliness they exhibit outwardly. Protect yourself from living in their nightmare. When you take it personally, you are the one to cause more harm to yourself. You’ve allowed them to infiltrate your own perspective about yourself.

When hateful or rageful forces occur around you, there is a strategy you can use to protect yourself. Be kind to yourself and take positive steps to ward off those harmful effects.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Why It’s Important to Include Laughter in Your Life

I found myself feeling low the other day. Too much of the world’s negativity had found its way into my psyche. I’d become overwhelmed by the amount of entitled people in the news, the political craziness, and the continued strain of going anywhere during a pandemic. Life’s stressors gaining a foothold into my good humor.

I needed a quick fix. I headed for a favorite Internet site for some comic relief. There I spent about 40 minutes laughing out loud. I lost myself in the humorous routines I was watching. With a busy schedule, this seemed like an unnecessary indulgence at first. So, I looked into it.

What I found was this. Laughter is very important to the health and well-being of everyone. It is especially important for the highly sensitive.

Regaining Balance

As highly sensitive people, we are bombarded by stimulants on every level. As we laugh, we are able to recharge and increase our energy. We distract ourselves away from the negative energy flowing our way as we load up on endorphins.

Laughter alters our perspective. As we develop a lighthearted attitude, we are able to change how we view a threat, seeing it more as a challenge. As we do, our balance can return to normal.

Image courtesy of V10g on Pixabay.

Increased Immunity/Stress Relief

In our normal population, it is well known that laughter provides stress relief and increased immunity. It is so crucial to a highly sensitive nature that it is imperative that we include it in our self-care regimen. Stress becomes harmful far sooner than it does for the normal person. Our systems are exposed to increasing level of stimulation, causing overload far sooner.

Laughter has been found to be so therapeutic that it has been included in the mental health field as a mode of therapy for depression, anxiety and insomnia.

One such form of therapy is Laughter Therapy developed by Dr. Madan Kataria. It combines laughter exercises with yoga breathing techniques. What a great way to get the benefits of both at the same time.

Creativity Booster

One of our enviable traits is our creative ability. That creativity can become stifled when our balance is off and our stress is high. Removing those things alone helps strengthen our creativity. But laughter also sparks creative flow. Laughter lightens our mood, allows us to relax, and shifts our perspective. Which in turn allows our creative forces to move more easily.

Laughter shares a great deal with creativity. Surprise is a component of both. The success of any humorous exchange relies in some part on that element of surprise. Creativity leads us to a new, innovative end product. It is not creativity if it does not surprise our senses in some way.

A good belly laugh or even a chuckle helps us deal with unkind side effects that can accompany our highly sensitive natures. And even support our good traits. Acquaint yourself with this easy, enjoyable and free means of healing. It’s worth your attention.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Five Steps to Finding and Keeping Your Purpose

Everyone on earth has a purpose, a calling, a reason why we are living here and now. For the HSP, that purpose is vitally more important than the average person. Your gifts are rare. They need to be put to important use.

You, as an HSP, already have a strong desire for meaningful purpose. You are deeply conscientious, spiritual (not necessarily religious, but can sense a deeper meaning to life), and process all of life’s questions fully within yourself. You’re not one to party your life away. You want that life to matter, to stand for something.

But you also might not have a clue what that purpose is. If you do not, definitely read on. If you do know your purpose, that’s great. You still might find this information supportive in carrying out that purpose. Here are five steps to ensure you get and stay on the right path.

Encourage an Openness Mindset

Keep an open mind to what comes into your awareness on a daily basis. Be grateful for what you have, but open to new experience. Develop your sense of awe and curiosity. Look into other points of view that may seem foreign to you now. Use your incredible empathy to delve into ideas that are unfamiliar.

Image courtesy of Pexels on Pixabay.com.

Explore Your Interests

Your purpose will always be embedded in the interests that you have. What drives your passions? What topics get your juices flowing? What activities do you love? Where do you derive satisfaction? You may have many routes that together form a more generalized purpose. Or, you may have one intensely burning enthusiasm for solving a particular problem. Sit down with paper and pen. Start exploring your possibilities. Even if you think the project you are driven to is too large, let yourself dream. It may be that you are meant for a leadership role. HSPs make wonderful leaders.

These interests are the roots of your purpose. They grow into seedlings as you nurture them. Giving attention and energy to them is like exposing them to sunlight and water. They begin to grow and thrive.

Pursue Your Passion with Care

As you start living your purpose, keep in mind both your positive and negative traits. DOES is the acronym that Dr. Elaine Aron uses to describe these traits. D = Depth of Processing, O = Overstimulation, E = Emotional Responsivity/Empathy, S = Sensitive to Subtleties. Your gifts are special features that only you can contribute to a cause, but remember this. HSPs have a tendency to overextend themselves when pursuing their passion. Take care to tend to your own needs as you do.

Live With Determination Every Day

Each day is a gift in itself. Start your day with the determination that you will waste none of it. As you wake, remind yourself that today matters. Move on with confidence.

Readjust as Needed

Your life may have one purpose. It may have many. And it may take time to find your true purpose. Give yourself permission to change as you feel led. If you complete a project, you have been working on, get started on another. If you want to explore your purpose through different avenues, dip your toe in each one until you find the one that fits. Feel confident that this is just part of the process.

HSPs have a strong need for a purposeful life. If you are feeling somewhat unsettled, it may mean that you are not currently living your purpose. Don’t be hard on yourself. But take some time to explore how you can turn that uneasiness into a meaningful aspiration.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Banishing the Echo in Your Heart, 5 Steps for Healing

Last week’s post identified the personality trait known as echoism. Echoism is on the extreme opposite side of narcissism, but both are destructive. Narcissism is destructive to those who come into relationship with a narcissist, and echoism is destruction caused by narcissistic abuse. While getting help from a good therapist is the most effective way to rise above the damage of echoism, there are some steps that you can take by yourself to begin the healing process.

First: Make a Commitment to Your Healing

Traits of echoism include low self-esteem, poor boundaries, and a desire to be invisible. You are not a mistake of nature. You are an exceptional person. Your job is to allow that distinctiveness to come to the surface and flourish in the face of the wrong that has been done to you.

Image courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay.

Second: Allow Your Anger to Surface

  • The behavior that formed your echoism was a gross injustice to you, befitting of justifiable anger.
  • Getting angry allows you to express buried emotions and motivates your healing process.

Third: See the Situation for What it Truly Is

  • Start to identify and recognize what has been done to you that is toxic behavior.
  • Recognize and record your awesome qualities. You have many to start with, but you’ve also developed others due to your experience. You are a survivor – that in itself is a truly amazing feat. But being a survivor facilitates your developing additional empathy, patience, kindness, a loving nature, and many other admirable qualities.
  • Reclassify your perceived weaknesses into the strengths that they are.

Fourth: Celebrate Your Specialness

  • Allow yourself to feel good about who you are and your accomplishments. You deserve it. Being the best you can be is not consistently giving of yourself. It is when you give and take with honest recognition of your own capabilities.
  • Celebrating your specialness lets yourself and others know that you also recognize your worth.

Fifth: Record Your Journey in a Grief Recovery Journal

  • Start your commitment to your healing off right. Get yourself a lovely journal that you feel good about writing in. Make a pledge to yourself to write faithfully.
  • In the beginning your recordings will be the incidents where you were treated badly – the wronged actions that led you to believe things about yourself that are not true. These help you with the next two steps, getting angry and seeing the situation for what it truly is.
  • Record your emotions, no matter how ugly they may seem to you. Remember – this journal is for your eyes only.
  • As you begin to heal, you will start to record your insights into the behavior that damaged you, how you were deceived, and how you now see the truth.
  • Be sure to record your victories, your positive changes, and the attributes that make you unique and special.

As you heal, the anger will burn itself out and you will benefit from the growth that came at such a hefty price. When you slip backward, revive your journal and read how much you overcame. Feel good about yourself. You deserve it.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Recognizing the Echo in Your Heart

In Greek mythology, Echo was the nymph whose cursed life came in contact with Narcissus. She fell in love with Narcissus but her love was not returned because he was incapable of loving anyone but himself. Over the last few decades, we as a society have come to recognize the destruction that narcissistic people release on us as a whole, and individually. Only recently has the archetype of Echo been recognized as a personality. And a disadvantageous one at that.

Echo’s curse was to be silenced. She could only repeat what other people said. Her voice was lost, never to be heard again. Echoism, a term coined by Dr. Craig Malkin, lies on the spectrum opposite narcissism. Self-effacing, disempowered, voiceless, Echo lacks the ability to even see and acknowledge her own needs, much less assert them.

The Making of an Echoist

One of the traits of an Echoist is extreme empathy. A child comes into the world as a highly sensitive person. When that highly sensitive child finds him- or herself as a child of Narcissist(s), their empathy gets subverted to accommodate the needs of the parents.

An Echo blends into the background. Image courtesy of Kellepics on Pixabay.

As children, when we are raised with our needs being met, we develop a “healthy” narcissism. As we find that we are loved and cared for, we learn to love and care for others in a healthy way. Typically, in a toxic environment, the caregivers shut down certain emotions that they find offensive – anger, despair, fear, indignation, etc. An Echo is never able to develop the “healthy” narcissism it takes to address his or her own needs.

Warning Signs You Might Be An Echo

Extreme sensitivity

While in and of itself, extreme sensitivity is not a unique sign of echoism, it is a starting point for exploitation. Being highly sensitive means that you have abundant empathy. When born into an environment where caregivers use that empathy to shame or punish you for having needs, the stage is set for lifelong exploitation.

Self-effacing Manner with Low Self Esteem

Another trait of a Echo is a self-effacing personality accompanied by low self-esteem. Throughout their lives, Echoists have learned that everyone else comes first. They eagerly support others’ feelings while pushing their own aside. Losing themselves in the needs of others, often unable to even identify their own needs. Showing love, to an Echoist, means sacrificing their own needs to others in their lives. They are most comfortable when the spotlight is off of them.

Fear of Becoming Narcissistic

It’s very ironic, but another trait of an Echoist is a fear of becoming narcissistic. Ironic, because the Narcissist and the Echoist are on the extreme opposite sides of one another. Both are sensitive. The Narcissist is sensitive to his/her own feelings being hurt; the Echoist is sensitive to everyone’s feelings and emotions. The Narcissist has little to no empathy while the Echo has vast amounts of empathy.

Are you an Echo? If so, you will benefit greatly from a skilled therapist who is qualified in this area. In the meantime, my next post will give you some advice on how to address the issue yourself.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Why are People Still Defending MSG?

I’m going to put the disclaimer up early so you know – I am sensitive to MSG. I know this because MSG will send me to bed for a week with headaches so wretched that I have prayed to end it all before enduring one more minute of pain. I am not suicidal, but I consider it a good thing that in those moments I was way too sick to consider further such a drastic solution.

Still, I read so many commentaries on how MSG’s reputation is undeserved. And I wonder why people feel so compelled to defend it so violently.

Studies have been done that show MSG as harmful. Yet, defenders suggest that not enough studies point toward harmful side effects. How much scientific evidence do you need? Here’s one to consider.

Appetite Stimulant

For your health . . . just say “no.”

My surprise at actions like the one above doesn’t end there. The food industry seems to have a love affair with MSG. Food manufacturers put MSG in almost every processed food you can find. Seasonings, salad dressings, sauces, lunch meat, canned vegetables, and soups. Anything that comes to you in a can, a box, a package of any kind will more likely than not contain MSG.

Why is it necessary to add it to every product they put on the market?

Here’s my theory. MSG increases appetite. There is evidence to support that. If you eat their product, then you find yourself longing for more. Hence, you buy more. Instant boost in sales.

Misdirection

It’s bad enough if it ended with that simple ploy. But add to that another little anomaly. MSG is not simply monosodium glutamate anymore. It can be found listed under numerous pseudonyms. In fact, I have compiled for myself a list of almost 100 “alternative” names for MSG. Here is a sample list. Ask yourself why they feel the need to do this.

When I first discovered this fact, I went through my kitchen looking at labels. The only place I could find “MSG” listed as an ingredient in my kitchen was an old spice bottle (which was tossed immediately). Yet, this was not the only suspect food that I tossed, as those foods had ingredients on my pseudonyms list. I know to be very, very careful with the ingredient list of any food at the grocery store other than straight-from-the-field foods.

Real Food Tastes Good

The processed food industry has done the public a huge disfavor. Claims of healthy benefits like vitamin fortification, low fat, low carb, etc. are misleading. Foods like baked goods and fried foods contain trans fat. According to the Mayo Clinic, trans fat hits you with a double whammy for heart health. Increasing your “bad” cholesterol while lowering your “good” cholesterol at the same time.

These are foods that have been put forward as good for you, yet they are far away from the way nature has prepared them for our consumption. We have been slowly pulled away from the kind of basic eating that nature intended by the food industry. And you can bet that a majority of those items are made more enticing by MSG.

The truth is that if we could break away from the temptation of processed foods and get back to basics (minus seasonings that contain MSG), we would find that the foods nature intended are just as delicious.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Because of my sensitivity, my body feels the ill effects of MSG so strongly that I have changed my diet back to the one nature intended. If your body has a sensitivity, you probably have too. To those who don’t feel it so strongly, the motivation is not so obvious. But it still produces harmful effects. Your choice may be harder to make. I hope this reminder will help you say “no” to the MSG defenders.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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How to Deal with Rageful People

Several years ago, I needed to pick up glasses from an optical dispensary desk. The open room was part of a larger space that included a busy reception area, doctors’ offices, and large glass cases of sample eyewear. There were many people waiting their turn in the small section in front of a counter where two workers were assisting customers.

A path cut across the dispensary’s portion of the room where the carpet was worn. I approached the area and stood in the high traffic path for a moment, until I noticed people walking directly toward me. Deciding I was in the way on this much-used path, I made one step into the crowd so the people on the path could move past me. Immediately, a women close by yelled so loudly that people in the crowd turned to look at her, “Hey! No cutting in line.”

Being an HSP, this rattled me to the bone.

Aggression courtesy of Matryx on Pixabay.

We live in an angry world. People, afraid that something or someone is going to get the better of them, are lashing out at any perceived slight without restraint. And they are doing so with great intensity. Creating volatile situations.

As highly sensitive people, we abhor violence of any kind. The force with which angry people attack can throw us off balance and overwhelm our already stimulated nervous systems. Here are some ways that you can prepare for the inevitable.

Get Yourself into the Right Frame of Mind

You can’t avoid rageful people. There will always be rageaholics in our midst. But there are strategies that you can use to minimize their effect on you. If you are prepared, you can reduce their effect on your mind and body.

A calm state of mind and practice will satisfy this first component. Here are some articles that you might find useful in achieving that calm state of mind:

The second part of this formula is practice. As you deal with people using your strategy, you will become more proficient. There is no shortcut for experience. Remain patient, follow your plan, and it will get easier.

Determine if You are Dealing with Legitimate Anger or Lashing Out

There is a difference between someone becoming angry with you because of a legitimate cause and someone who is “dumping” on you their accumulated rage. Rageful people typically fall within this second description. If you are the target of misplaced anger in the form of rage, you must have a strategy to confront that danger.

Create an Effective Strategy

An effective strategy has some crucial elements: controlling your reaction and confronting the issue in a noninflammatory manner.

  • Master Your Reaction: Get and stay calm. If you have previously created a tranquil state of mind, you’ll already be there. Pause to gather your thoughts before moving onto your response. Resist the impulse to mirror their rage.
  • Face the Situation Directly but Without Hostility:  Be assertive, but not aggressive in your manner of response. Speak firmly, but respectfully. Keep your voice low-key while stating your point. This in itself can trigger a de-escalation of the situation.
  • Refuse to be Drawn into Fierce Conflict: If the rageful person continues on their destructive path, ask them to leave or leave yourself. Nothing can be gained from continuing to allow yourself to be raged at.

My strategy in the above situation was to pause for a moment as I calmed myself. This gave me the ability to look her directly in the eye and answer calmly but firmly, “I was simply getting out of the way. You’re still ahead of me.” To which she made no response.

In a perfect world, we would not have to be around rageaholics. Since this is impossible, our best defense is to have a strategy in place to deal with them. My hope is that the above advice will help you find peace with the rageful people you encounter.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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