How to Cope with Anxiety as a Highly Sensitive Person
If you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP), anxiety might just be something that comes with the package of being you. Anxiety can be that nervous feeling you get when you start to sweat, your heart starts racing, and your stomach feels twisted into knots. Chronic anxiety and anxiety disorders can lead to these feelings all the time or even panic attacks. Highly sensitive people, in general, have very creative minds that tend to overthink in many situations, and this can lead to anxiety. So, remember you’re not alone.
Here are some ways to cope with anxiety as a highly sensitive person:
1. Remember, these feelings will pass, and feelings come and go. It is all part of the human package and for you, the HSP package. When anxious feelings arise, instead of berating yourself for being highly sensitive or having anxiety, focus on all of your positive traits. For example, you are probably very creative and good at the arts or very empathetic and a great listener. You can also try telling yourself over and over, “it will pass” or “I will feel better soon.”
2. Distract yourself. Often distractions can help you get over those uncomfortable feelings much faster. Talk to someone, get out of the house, go for a walk, clean, help someone out or hug a pet. Once you’re feeling a bit better, make a list of hobbies or things you can do when you feel anxious that can help you feel distracted and calm you down.
3. Discover the cause of your anxiety and use your overthinking nature to your advantage. Often anxiety arises because of an external or internal event. Have you been worried about a problem with a friend? Did you forget to eat lunch and your low blood sugar is causing anxiety symptoms? Stop and find your “why” and see if you can take steps to fix the cause of your anxiety. Often this will stop anxious thoughts and feelings very quickly once you find the cause. Don’t forget, sometimes there may not be a cause, or it can be hard to determine. Don’t let that get you down.
4. Try a relaxation technique to help you calm down faster. Try drinking herbal tea, meditating, doing deep breathing exercises, listening to calming music, watching Netflix, calling a friend to talk about what’s bothering you, seeing a therapist, or exercising. Find what works for you with a little practice.
5. If the source of your anxiety is a job, a relationship, or something you can change; do it. Find a new job, leave the relationship, or do what you need to do to feel better. This isn’t always easy, but sometimes it is necessary to set boundaries or change your circumstances.