Being highly sensitive is one of the blessings of being a gifted adult. When the world for so many people is a dull and lifeless place, for us it’s full of excitement, energy and sensory experiences.
But what about when it gets to be too much?
Living with our senses on high alert can truly be very exciting. We notice things others don’t. We feel (emotionally), see, hear, taste, touch and smell things that lie under the radar of the majority of the rest of the population. So when we taste grandma’s chocolate chip cookies, for example, we really taste them, and they bring enjoyment to us on a wholly experiential level. And that’s amazing to say the least.
Sometimes though we can begin to feel bombarded by the array of stimuli that come into our space. A sound can become too loud or harsh, an odour can be very overpowering, or the sensation of the seat we’re sitting on can be unbearably uncomfortable.
So when this happens, what do we do?
It’s easy for us, especially if we happen to be under stress from something else, to go into meltdown mode. The ticking of the clock can be enough to drive us insane when it becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as they say.
The secret to keeping it all together is to:
- recognize that having these acute sensations is a common part of being gifted and that many other gifted adults feel the same way
- tune in to what exactly you’re sensing in your body by tuning out the rest of the world temporarily
- note what’s bothering you the most (there could be several things that are making you uncomfortable)
- remove that irritating stimulus or remove yourself from the location you’re in if that’s possible
- and if you can’t get rid of what’s bugging you, then purposefully redirect your attention toward something else more pleasing to you
Shutting off the way we feel isn’t the best idea because it creates other problems for us – sometimes in areas that we can’t visibly see. Managing it is a much better option.
So learning to recognize which sensory experiences motivate us and which ones disturb us is the first step in discovering how to manage our high sensitivities and keep us happily living on the super-energizing edge of our gifted lives.