You know the drill. You are sensitive and therefore it is assumed that you are unstable.
And so you get marginalized. After all, sensitivity means you are not tough enough. It means you are unreliable.
Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough discovered a link between sensitivity and self-discipline in their study about meditation. The study demonstrated that meditators were more accepting of their emotions which impacted their performance.
The Effect Of Meditation On Emotions
“Willpower … may relate to ‘emotional intelligence’,” said Michael Inzlicht, associate professor of psychology at UTSC. According to the study, meditators were more open to their emotions. This “emotional intelligence” has a strong impact on the ability of an individual to be disciplined on tasks.
When you meditate, and I am speaking from my 15+ years of experience with Transcendental Meditation, thoughts come and go. You do not attach to them. Sometimes they subside or stop. There is a flow to thoughts and feelings and the more you let the flow happen, the less likely you are to see them as part of your identity.
When you detach your identity from your thoughts and emotions, it is easier to accept them as part of the flow of life. You then take thoughts and emotions less personally and you become emotionally freer. Meditation promotes emotional freedom so that you can apply your energy to a task and stay with it because your emotions are not getting in the way so much.
Emotional Acceptance Trumps Mindful Awareness
According to the article, ” the researchers asked participants about their experience meditating, and gave tests that measured how mindful they were of the present moment, and also how aware and accepting they were of their emotions.
The researchers then hooked up participants to an electroencephalograph and gave them something called the Stroop test. In the test, participants are shown the name of a color written in letters of a different color – for instance, the word “red” spelled in green letters. Participants are asked to say the colour of the letters. The test requires them to suppress the tendency to read the word, and instead to concentrate on actual colors.
Meditators were generally better than non-meditators at the test… Looking further, the researchers found that the best performers were those who scored highest on emotional acceptance, and that mindful awareness – the more cognitive aspect of mindfulness – had less to do with success on the test. ”
Implications For Highly Sensitive People
Being highly sensitive means being aware of emotions. You cannot escape them. Being in touch with your emotions can be overwhelming and you quickly discover that you cannot respond to each one.
Although you have to process your feelings and make the wisest action choices that you can make, if you see them as part of the flow of life it will be easier to do so.
Whether you meditate or not, over time the practice of processing feelings and making decisions can become a practice that helps you develop both wisdom and self-discipline.
That is quite a gift from the supposed problem of being highly sensitive.