emotional regulation

Sensitivity Tuning Dial

Day 3: Sensitivity

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Most of the time I consider my sensitivity to be my super power.

It’s something that I was born with.

I care deeply. I feel deeply.

As a child I remember with my close friendships, the closeness I felt was all encompassing. I was either having the best time ever playing with a friend, or I was crushed because they were upset with me.

As I look at how it serves me today, I believe that it makes me an amazing coach. I care deeply about my clients. I spend time outside of our sessions considering how to coach in a way that will be most helpful for them.

I show up for my friends and family because I care.

I have a deep appreciation for nature and animals because of my sensitivity.

High quality doesn’t miss me. I appreciate quality time spent, nice quality fabrics, good quality food. I believe my sensitivity is a part of the reason why. I am sensitive to quality. I notice it.

With all this good there for sure come some challenges.

I can’t watch a scary movie with my family if I tried. Too intense.

I hate the feeling of conflict. It is an almost instant physical reaction for me. I know it’s necessary and even helpful, but I have to work really hard at not reacting to things as a way to prevent conflict. (Hello fellow #peoplepleasers of the world!)

Because of being sensitive to conflict, I tend to avoid having tough conversations. Or I sensor myself before speaking because it feels like I can unknowingly and unmeaningly (is that a word?) make people close to me upset.

It can be an exhausting way to live. I’m working on it. I’m working on being ok with me being me, and allowing others to react however they want to without thinking I should have, could have said something differently so they could feel better.

I’m sensitive to loud, unexpected noises.

I’m sensitive to clothing. Especially the tags! I tend to tear them out.

What I’ve been practicing is turning my sensitivity dial up and down.

When I want more sensitivity, really focusing on creating more by thinking thoughts like.

“I want to give them 100% of my attention.”

“All that matters right now is being present.”

“I wonder what they’re thinking.”

“What if there was nothing to defend?” (when I feel defensive).

When I want to be a little less sensitive in a situation, I’m practicing dialing down my sensitivity and speaking up. Thinking things like,

“I get to choose how I want to feel about this.”

“How do I want to show up right now?”

“Speak up and stop sugar coating the truth.”

I’m also going to start picturing a giant sensitivity dial in my mind that I can tune to the exact setting that I’d like it to be at in any given circumstance.

In my mind, it’s a type of muscle, or skill really, that I can build up.

Do you consider yourself a highly sensitive person (HSP)? How does it show up for you? Reply in the comments. ~

~Shaun



You Never Have To Feel Overwhelmed Again

Day 10: Overwhelm

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Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you felt stuck and had no idea what to do next?

I remember clearly a time when my day to day activities came to a screeching halt.

Overwhelmed.

The feeling was so hard to manage.

It felt like I was juggling balls while spinning ceramic plates in the air. Slowly I could anticipate each plate dropping one by one while I stood by helpless. Unable to prevent them from hitting the ground.

The feeling felt tight and closed off, like I was holding my breath and clenching my fists.

I could literally hear the sound of plates breaking as they dropped in my mind.

It felt like I didn’t have enough hands to catch them all.

My brain was frozen and no solutions were in sight.

Another image I had during that time was of me floating in an ocean, no land in sight. I didn’t have a life preserver and the water was deep and choppy. It felt like I had been floating for days. I couldn’t tread water any longer. Every now and then I’d sink under and then suddenly bob up gasping for air. It was such a heavy and terrifying feeling.

I remember having both of these images come to me during the day. It was like a daydream (nightmare really). My thoughts were all consuming.

I couldn’t focus.

It felt like tears were on the verge of appearing all of the time.

The pressure was just too much.

I tried to come up with solutions, solve some of the problems.

I thought I just had too much to do and that I needed to adjust my schedule. Cut some things out.

What I know now is that overwhelm is a feeling.

It’s caused by the thoughts that I think.

When I feel it now, I get curious about what I’m thinking. Things like:

*I’ll never get all of this done.

*This feels impossible.

*I’m in over my head.

*I’m losing my mind.

*I’m so overwhelmed.

These thoughts do nothing to help me.

In fact, they keep me spinning.

No matter how much is happening on any given day I can choose how I want to feel about it.

Overwhelmed is never a feeling that I choose on purpose.

Determined, capable, persistent, organized, clear headed, focused.

These are all feelings that bring me forward motion.

How do you want to feel the next time your to-do list is too long?

Hope over to my Facebook page and let me know in the comments!

~Shaun

Magnifying Pain With Our Minds

Day 9: Suffering

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A few years ago I began having headaches fairly regularly.

My eyes were constantly dry and itchy.

I’d catch myself rubbing my temples in the middle of the day.

This persisted for a number of months.

I’d think - maybe I have allergies.

Maybe I have dry eye sydrome (it’s a thing)

Then it morphed into…

Maybe I have a brain tumor.

Maybe it’s cancer.

Something’s terribly wrong.

I’m not sharing all of this because I’m proud of where my brain went.

In the moment I was terrified. Scared to go to the Dr. Too busy to get to the Dr.

My brain invented all of these stories about what my headaches and symptoms meant.

My brain filled in the blanks where I didn’t know any better.

The unknown is scary and our brains ultimate dream is to become the best horror film writer of all time.

It’s default setting is doom and gloom.

Because it wants to protect us and prepare for the worst.

When I finally went to the Dr., he congratulated me on “officially joining the older and wiser club".

What was wrong?

I needed reading glasses.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve joined this club too.

My brain took it to an extreme because I have a constant low level of “trying to be protective” anxiety at all times.

The pain was literal. My head hurt. My eyes hurt. My eyes were tired.

The suffering was optional. All of the worry I brought on by my unhelpful thoughts.

We do this all the time.

With our kids, our businesses, our spouses, our money, our parent, our siblings, our bosses.

We worry ahead of time about what may be ahead.

We have whatever is going on in the moment that feels like a painful experience, and then we amplify it by thinking things like:

“This shouldn’t be happening.”

“If they loved me this would be different.”

“Why do things like this happen to me?”

All of that is optional.

Look, life is painful. For everyone. In one way or another. It really is. Nobody gets out unscathed.

We don’t have to suffer through the pain. We get to choose how we want to feel about it.

Not sure if you believe me? Let’s talk.