I took this free masterclass to understand why anxiety is high in Highly Sensitive People (HSPs).
Julie Bjelland – a Psychotherapist specializing in High Sensitivity and the creator of the Sensitive Empowerment Community, teaches the class.
I learned several things from the masterclass, including the following:
- Six reasons why anxiety is high in HSPs
- Five natural ways to reduce anxiety
- Three brain differences between HSPs and non-HSPs.
You may need to take the free class yourself to appreciate its value.
But for now, read this post about the eleven things I learned from taking the masterclass.
I have split the post into two sections.
The first section shares six reasons why anxiety is high in HSPs, while the second is about five ways to reduce anxiety.
Let’s dive in.
- 6 Reasons Why Anxiety is High in HSPs
- 5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety as an HSP
- Final Word on Why Anxiety is High in HSPs
- You May Also Like:
- Free HSP Resources
6 Reasons Why Anxiety is High in HSPs
1. Negative Labeling of Sensitivity
Highly Sensitive People have often been called shy and introverted, mainly because of the influence of their culture and family experiences.
But, according to research, 30% of HSPs are extroverts, and while the HSP trait is inborn, shyness is not.
Another issue with labelling High Sensitivity is when people tell HSPs to stop being sensitive or toughen up. This language implies that sensitivity is a weakness, and as a result, many HSPs struggle to fit in and develop anxiety.
2. Feeling Misunderstood and Different
Growing up in a family or society that doesn’t understand High Sensitivity makes it easy to feel misunderstood and different.
It’s also easy to wonder why you’re the only one affected by crowds, bright lights, little sleep, multitasking, cloth labels, office parties, and other issues many HSPs face.
And it’s easy for these feelings and worries to lead to anxiety.
3. An Overloaded Nervous System
By design, Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) have a more sensitive nervous system than non-HSPs.
So when an HSP encounters an environment with so much to take in and process, the nervous system becomes overloaded.
And if the HSP hasn’t learned how to calm a sensitive nervous system, they can fixate on everything going wrong and develop anxiety.
4. Not enough downtime for deeper processing
Another reason why anxiety is high in HSPs is the lack of or little downtime.
Being an HSP means you take in more detail from the environment than a non-HSP. It also means you process those details at a deeper level than others, making you more prone to overwhelm.
And this may require more time to unwind and recover.
So, when your current situation doesn’t provide the needed time, an inability to rest and recover can cause your body and mind to fight back.
And this internal war can easily lead you, as a Highly Sensitive Person, to develop anxiety.
5. Too much sensory stimulation
When your body takes in more details from the environment, your senses are more active than others. It means you are hearing, tasting, seeing, feeling and smelling different elements.
Unfortunately for you as an HSP, the fact that you process stimuli deeply means you are taking in more sensory information than your system can handle at a given time.
So, you experience sensory overload and start to become anxious as a result.
And then, if you haven’t mastered how to reduce sensory overload as an HSP, repeated events cause you to develop anxiety.
Many HSPs are victims of wanting everything in their life to be perfect. They want to be flawless as a partner, parent, child, employee, sibling, and other roles.
And as an HSP, you may nod yes to what I just said.
But being perfect isn’t an attainable goal, especially as a Highly Sensitive Person.
Because you see, the fact that you are detail-oriented means you’ll take longer than others to finish the same task.
It also means that some tasks will remain unfinished, and you will start to feel like a failure. Or, you may feel like you need to be better.
As you may already know, these feelings are a huge catalyst for anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, self-doubt, and many other negative states of mind.
If you remember nothing, remember this:
These six reasons why anxiety is high in HSPs are to help you understand the connection between High Sensitivity and Anxiety.
They help you identify the elements and habits in your life that may be causing you to struggle with anxiety. So you can know what to do about them and finally learn how to reduce or become anxiety-free.
And this brings us to the second section of this post.
5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety as an HSP
This free masterclass by Julie Bjelland is a helpful resource for anyone wanting to learn more about High Sensitivity and Anxiety.
In this section, learn about the five ways to reduce Anxiety as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).
1. Understand the HSP Trait
Understanding the Highly Sensitive Person trait is the first step towards reducing anxiety.
By learning how external and internal stimuli affect your sensitive nervous system, you can learn to control and calm it.
Download this free letter explaining High Sensitivity to understand your HSP trait.
You will learn what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person, the advantages and challenges of being an HSP, and a list of go-to resources for your sensitive journey.
2. Balance Your Nervous System
Being a Highly Sensitive Person means you have an overly sensitive nervous system. It also means you get overwhelmed easily from too much processing of information.
And because you live in a fast-paced world with so much happening around you, your nervous system is always on overdrive.
So, to avoid overheating and suffering from constant anxiety, learn how to balance your nervous system.
You can do this by scheduling daily alone time, being in nature, meditating, practising mindfulness, and having these tools to help calm a sensitive nervous system.
3. Process, Rest, and Restore
Dr. Elaine N. Aron, the pioneer of the HSP trait, uses the acronym DOES to explain the main characteristics of a Highly Sensitive Person. The acronym stands for the following:
- Depth of Processing
- Emotional Reactivity & Empathy
- Sensing the Subtle
These are the elements that define a Highly Sensitive Person.
And because, as an HSP, you process information deeply, you also need time to rest, recharge and restore. Failure to do so will cause you to be highly overwhelmed and anxious.
4. Train Your Brain to Recognize and Reduce Anxiety
Did you know that the brain is another part of your body that you can train to do what you want? And that with repetitive exercises, you can tone it into submission just as you would your abs and thighs?
If you didn’t know, now you know.
Take this brain training course for HSPs to recognize and reduce anxiety in as little as two weeks. This course is an 8-week program sharing practical techniques and exercises you can implement today.
5. Spend Time With Other HSPs
Being part of an HSP community can make a difference between a struggling HSP and a thriving HSP.
Because when you are working hard to make sense of your HSP trait by yourself, another HSP shares how they overcome HSP challenges in their community.
If you were part of such a community, you would learn how to deal with common HSP issues, like reducing anxiety and overwhelming emotions.
The Sensitive Empowerment Community by Julie Bjelland is one such community. It shares various HSP resources, hosts live workshops and has seven smaller groups you can join and contribute to. You might find it the right place to spend time and engage with fellow HSPs.
Final Word on Why Anxiety is High in HSPs
Anxiety sucks! And it doesn’t matter what type of anxiety you are dealing with.
What matters is learning why anxiety is high in HSPs and how to reduce it so you can overcome it.
The five ways are a starting point to help you reduce anxiety and overwhelming emotions. The six reasons are to educate you on their connection with being an HSP.
And I learned about them by taking this free High Sensitivity and Anxiety class.
So, take the class today to learn directly from Julie Bjelland. And remember to share what you learn with other Highly Sensitive People (HSPs), just like I did in this post.