Overexcitabilities. Those pesky little traits that make your friends roll their eyes, relatives recommend medication and neighbors head home early. Maybe you talk fast and often about your passion for stackable brain specimen coasters. Maybe you cry over the Facebook video of the adorable four year old telling his mother why he must become a vegetarian. Maybe you can imagine 100s of ways your child could be abducted by aliens on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe you can’t sleep because the room is too hot, the sheets are too rough and the gentle breeze is too loud.
Life in the rainforest mind is intense. You may feel like too much on so many levels. Too emotional. Too sensitive. Too analytical. Too verbal. Too enthusiastic. Too idealistic. Too curious. Too smart.
And if you’re a male, well, this too muchness can be particularly humiliating if you’re trying to “man up” or “not be a sissy” or impress your former-high-school-football-star-race-car-driving-ex-Marine boss.
What, then, can you do? Are you supposed to shrink? Dumb down? Toughen up? Become a football-star-race-car-driving-Marine?
- Understand that you aren’t too much. You’re gifted. Your emotions and sensitivities are as vast as your intellect. This can feel overwhelming to others and to yourself.
- Learn the difference between repressing your emotions and containing them. Decide where it’s safe to be fully yourself and where it’s not. Then, practice ways to gently contain your intensity– through mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, exercise, visualizing an actual container, or writing– when needed.
- Find people with whom you can geek out: book groups, meetup groups, university classes, conferences, mountain bikers, chess clubs, hikers, art-makers, etc.
- Practice self-soothing techniques to calm your nervous system and your anxiety especially if some of your intensity comes from painful childhood experiences. You may also need these techniques if your empathy is running amok, which it probably is.
- Use your sensitivities in your job or at home to understand your colleagues/children, create a more compassionate climate, gain insight, and solve problems more holistically.
- Imagine how the world would be a better place if more people were deeply sensitive and empathetic. Be a role model for the children. Your too muchness is a strength, not a weakness.
Instead of shrinking, get larger. You heard me. Go more deeply into your heart and feel yourself expand. Get as large as the universe. Feel your connection to all things. Let that connection hold you and love you. Become the Universe.
Then, go out and buy those stackable brain specimen coasters.
To my dear bloggEEs: How do you cope with your intensity, your emotions, and your sensitivities? How might you see them as strengths? (If you’d like a more detailed post on this topic, click here. Caitlin F. Curley’s blog post includes great ideas plus ideas for helping your sensitive, excitable kids.)