Anticipatory Stress Busters for Highly Sensitive People
Highly sensitive people are naturally hyper-perceptive, which means they readily pick up subtle stimuli around them. They might be empathic, or able to easily sense the emotions and energy of others, and tend to get more overwhelmed by anticipatory stress before important events.
If you’re a highly sensitive person prone to anticipatory stress, these tips could help:
1. Be mindful of what you stress about in an upcoming event.
People usually feel more relaxed when prepared. Since sensitive people, in particular, tend to be very detail-oriented planners, try to think about only as much as you need to plan the particulars. Obsessing on the details can turn into anxiety and will soon overwhelm you.
2. Remind yourself that you are prone to anticipatory stress.
Simply being aware that you are prone to anticipatory stress is helpful. It’s the same as how some women who experience PMS are aware of how their cycles affect their moods. Knowing yourself and expecting your patterns can put everything in perspective.
3. Imagine a happy, calm, or neutral outcome.
Visualizing a stressful conversation with your boss going smoothly ahead of time, or imagining yourself feeling confident while giving a presentation will help you feel more relaxed, less emotional, and less reactive when the event actually happens.
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4. Avoid worrying about perfection.
Sensitive people can be extra nervous about getting something wrong, which makes them more prone to perfectionism. They usually want to avoid causing negative emotions for others because they themselves don’t want to have those same emotions. Remind yourself that worrying about how to make things perfect can have the opposite effect.
5. Learn how to tune out the emotional reactions of others.
Sensitive people usually expect to feel the same uncomfortable emotions of those around them at the event, which can get overwhelming. Stressing about deadline day at work might partly be caused by thinking about how stressed your co-workers will be that day. Sensitive people do not have to be tied to the energy or emotions of others — tuning into people is indeed the empath’s default mode, but you can also learn how to mindfully tune out at will.
6. Surrender your worries.
Sensitive people are quite open to the notion that there is a larger, benevolent force that we are all part of. You might find it easier to surrender your worries about an upcoming event to something or someone you believe in.