Stress And Self-Care Needs Of Highly Sensitive People

Because of their nervous system’s susceptibility to stress and the damage it causes, highly sensitive people need stress reducers to minimize and prevent HSP disease. Stress is something that anyone can withstand on a short-term basis. However, stress is often long-term and chronic in a sensitive person which can result in severe physical deterioration and eventually chronic disease.

Quality self-care is critical for HSPs in the short-term as well.  Illness can manifest quickly in a highly sensitive person because they have fewer natural defenses against the overstimulation that causes their system to become out of balance.

Self-Protective Self-Care

According to the ancient medical system of Ayurveda, disease develops in a six stage process:

  1. the body accumulates toxins. For the HSP, stresses to the nervous system are toxic and so great
    that an HSP has no choice but to intervene at the source of the problem to have any chance at health.
  2. the body starts to become aggravated by the spread of the imbalancing toxic factor in the body
  3. the aggravating imbalances spread into the body
  4. the beginning of structural damage
  5. the manifestation of illness
  6. the development of a chronic disease due to unattended imbalances over a long period of time, a situation that an HSP can minimize by learning to eliminate imbalances.

See this MAPI Newsletter.

Great self care requires that we take the disease process into account. Although high stress levels can interfere with attempts at self-care by HSPs, highly sensitive people have an advantage and disadvantage in this disease process. Their advantage is that they become aware of the imbalance earlier than most because they are able to feel imbalances. The disadvantage is that the chronic overwhelm of their nervous systems can make it easier for them to become sick and therefore HSPs must make lifestyle changes for their health that others may not understand or validate. This can present social and work problems.

The upside for HSPs is that they have the potential to create good health for themselves if they are able to manage their sensitivities and engage in good self care.

Self Care After Abuse And Trauma?

Not all illnesses will be created by toxins in the external environment. One of the challenges for HSPs is their tendency to mentally reprocess injuries and dilemmas to learn or understand them better.

This reprocessing stems from the fact that HSPs use their considerable right brained capabilities to understand the world better including injustices they see and experience. You could say that HSPs have a need for insight and are often interested in rectifying and changing situations that create injustice.

Some of the mental reworking of past injuries will be an attempt to resolve emotional and physical abuse from childhood. Childhood abuse is particularly problematic for HSPs and many sensitive people ruminate on past events.

The imprint of abuse can remain in the body for a long time after it occurs. Relaxation techniques and various forms of energy medicine can help release the block energy of long term abuse and enable an HSP to heal the past and are a necessity for HSPs if they want to release themselves from a painful past.

“The silence inside us is the key to the quantum mechanical body.  It is not a chaotic but organized silence.  … The secret of life at this level is that anything in your body can be changed with the flick of an intention.”

Deepak Chopra, Perfect Health, Three Rivers Press, New York, 2000, p. 16

All of the mentally processing associated with trauma and abuse can also throw the HSP system out of balance. HSPs need rest and relaxation, and if possible, need to learn meditation and other relaxation techniques to provide themselves with mental rest.

Self Care for the Nervous System

Memories play a very important role in our mental health. Meditation works on the nervous system to release the hold of memories of the past. Meditation is gentle and non invasive and provides a gradual healing process for the meditator. It is a wonderfully gentle practice that can be very beneficial for the highly sensitive person.

There are other energy healing practices from EFT to reiki to yoga all of which can help a sensitive person release stuck energy. Alternative health energy practices are worth investigating to find the method that best heals the particular health challenge that is manifesting.