I recently wrote about 10 tips for highly sensitive people. As a highly sensitive person (HSP) myself, it’s great to learn about all the different things I can do when I find myself in a noisy, overstimulating environment.
An important part of coping effectively as an HSP is knowing how to soothe your senses. HSPs aren’t just sensitive to loud sounds; we also might be sensitive to bright lights, TV and computer screens, strong odors and certain foods (and their temperature).
For the article I spoke to Ted Zeff, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide. Zeff includes a helpful chapter in his book on what you can do to calm each of your five senses.
Here are some of those valuable tips.
- To tone down jarring sounds, play soft music at your work or home.
- Pick tunes that calm you, such as classical music.
- Buy a white noise machine.
- Listen to relaxation CDs or visualization guides.
- Wear earplugs.
- If you live in a noisy neighborhood or city, try to have your office face the backyard.
- Whether you’re at work or at home, take a few minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- Look out the window to enjoy nature, which is especially relaxing for HSPs.
- Buy large pictures or posters of natural landscapes.
- Buy nature-inspired wallpaper for your home.
- Have plants and flowers in your home and office.
- Spend time in nature, whether you’re walking or sitting silently on a bench.
- Surround yourself with calming colors, such as white, green or blue.
- Adjust the lighting.
- Put up heavy drapes to block out harsh light.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Wear an eye mask.
- Buy an air purifier (also good for masking noise).
- Wear a mask.
- Buy essential oils, such as lavender or rose.
- Burn incense such as sandalwood or rose.
- Buy a pillow packed with calming herbs. (Zeff suggested this website in the book.)
- Get gentle massages from a masseuse or loved one, depending on your preference and comfort zone.
- Give yourself a massage.
- Take a warm bath, and add lavender essential oil, which is calming.
- Have a comfortable chair to sit in at home and work.
- Pay attention to how the temperature of different foods and beverages affects you. For instance, one HSP felt calmer having hot cereal in the wintertime vs. cold fruit.
- Drink calming herb teas, such as chamomile tea, and warm milk.
- Curb your caffeine intake.
- Be aware of your body’s reaction to alcohol.
Check out more tips at Ted Zeff’s website.
If you’re highly sensitive, how do you cope?
What are your most effective strategies? Please share in the comments.