Aug 232014
 

I’ve never shared publicly about my own struggle with having a sensitive stomach before, but more and more I’m noticing that many of my highly sensitive female friends and clients are dealing with the same experience.

Since I’ve been researching this area extensively for years now, and constantly looking for ways to soothe my own sensitive stomach, it seems like a good time to share what I’ve been learning.

Here are my Top 3 Tips

And here are a few more:

1)    Wait 3 hours to lie down after eating (at least one helps).

 

2)    Wear loose clothing.

 You may not want to wear loose clothing all the time, but it might be helpful to plan to during periods where you expect to feel more stress and possible digestive symptoms.

 

3)    Stick with warm foods and beverages rather than cold.Rosemary Tea

Warm foods and beverages are more soothing and can ease any inflammation caused by your symptoms and stress. If you do want to have something cold, pairing it with something warm will help.

Ex. Warm chicken in a cold sandwich or a cup of green tea with sushi

 

4)    Eat several small meals throughout the day rather than the typical three large meals.

You could try having three small meals a day along with three small snacks, for example.

 

5)    Chew food slowly.

Taking time to enjoy your food and honor this time as a sacred experience will help you relax and digest your food more easily. It is also a great way to create more pleasure throughout your day.

 

6)    Breathe deeply from your stomach.

We actually swallow more air when we breathe quick and shallow which can cause gas. This style of breathing is often accompanied by stomach tension which can cause acid reflux.

 

~ Foods to Avoid & Foods to Enjoy ~

Here are some recommendations of foods to avoid and foods that are soothing. These are particularly important to pay attention to when you’re feeling stressed. I pulled these from various web sites, recommendations given by digestive dietician Emily Rubin, RD, and from personal experience.

These may vary a little when you look at similar recommendations on other web sites—I used what seemed most consistent. Also, keep in mind that some recommendations apply more to gas than acid reflux and vice versa. And of course, everyone is different!

Foods and Beverages to Avoid

  • Fried and Fatty Foods

    10514228_10202531296668920_4643632295108537273_o

    This is a burger I made–it was delicious but it did upset my stomach. It turns out raw red onions are *not* a good idea :(

  • Alcohol (certain types are better than others, may depend on the person)
  • Citrus products (lemon or lime squeezed in water can be soothing to your stomach, though)
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Caffeine (not always necessary to avoid, depends on the person)
  • Dairy products (dairy products for lactose intolerance or supplements can help)
  • Pastries
  • Gravies
  • Cream Sauces
  • Butter
  • Pineapple
  • Raw Vegetables (particularly broccoli and cabbage)
  • Potato Chips
  • Cream Soups
  • Shrimp
  • Cashews
  • Watch out for gluten allergies in wheat products
  • Lunch Meat

 

Soothing Foods and Beverages

  • Pretzels

    10336662_10202447676938479_4782129301918551792_n

    Tea on the other hand, is almost always a good idea…

  • Chamomile Tea
  • Peppermint Tea (helpful with gas symptoms, but may cause acid reflux)
  • Herbal Tea (anything with cinnamon, fennel, licorice, or rose is particularly helpful)
  • Green Tea (better than coffee)
  • Chai Tea
  • Ginger Tea
  • Alcohol (white wine might be easier to drink than other types)
  • Low Fat Foods
  • Wheat Bread (if you’re not allergic to gluten)
  • Cereals
  • Muffins
  • Crackers
  • Angel Food Cake
  • Low Fat Cookies
  • Yogurt
  • Lactaid Free or Low Fat Ice Cream
  • Low Fat Dressing
  • Fruit (especially blueberries, apples, melons, papayas, bananas, and grapes)
  • Applesauce
  • Lean Meats, Fish
  • Low Fat Cheese
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Pasta (preferably wheat if you’re not allergic to gluten and can use pesto sauce or olive oil instead of tomato sauce if necessary)
  • Vegetable or Chicken Soup
  • Water (can mix with apple, lemon, or lime juice)
  • V-8 Splash
  • Cooked Vegetables
  • Brown Rice
  • Corn
  • Nuts (almonds and peanuts are good choices)
  • Energy Bars (Special K, Kashi, Clif, Luna, Balance, Zone, Quaker, and Kind are good)
  • Popcorn
  • White Chocolate
  • Baked Potato Chips
  • Aloe Vera Juice
  • Digestive Enzyme Supplements can be helpful
  • Probiotic Supplements can be helpful

 

What do you think? Are you a Highly Sensitive Person with a Highly Sensitive Stomach as well?

If so, I would love to hear about your experience!

Leave a comment below and share your own experience. Let me know if you’ve found any of these tips useful. Also please share if you have some additional tips to add!

If you know someone whom you suspect is having a similar experience, please share this information with them. I want people who aren’t experiencing 100% relief from their symptoms to know they’re not alone, and there other things they can try that might help.

If you’d like more support with learning how to manage your stress and sensitivity to soothe your sensitive stomach, check out my Tranquil Tummy Healing Package (you have to scroll down the page to see it).

May 092014
 

Meditation 1

Highly sensitive people *especially* benefit from taking time the to meditate, because it offers a break from too much sensory stimulation, and the space to be at peace with what is left over.  It is one of the most powerful tools available (and free!) for creating a life of magic and miracles, while on the journey to fulfilling the soul’s purpose.

Check out my video with meditation teacher and yogi Steven Inghram. We’re talking about using the Buddhist Four Radiant Abodes as a meditation practice, and how meditation can make you a *more* sensitive person while also helping you to be truly present with your sensitivity.

Plus I share my own emotional experience, after taking a meditation class with him!

 

Here is a practical summary table of the Four Radiant Abodes meditation practice Steven is talking about in the video. The idea is to meditate on these topics while mentally focusing on the related phrases:

4 Radiant Abodes PhotoAnd here is the poem I mention in the video. I wrote this as a reminder to myself to return to a state of mind of relaxation and bliss when I forget:

Backyard Poem 2

Does meditation help you manage your sensitivity? Please leave a comment and share!

Mar 182014
 

Empowered SensitivityHighly sensitive people are a small percentage of the population, so it’s easy to be regarded as “different.” And being regarded as different can easily lead to feelings of self-doubt.

For those of us who are highly sensitive, it’s tempting to undervalue our sensitivity by throwing ourselves into our work (or choosing the wrong work) only to burn out much sooner than if we paid attention to our internal guidance system.

The best way to start honoring the Self and benefiting from it is by celebrating who we are as sensitives. That’s why I wanted to share this article—full of empowering benefits of being a highly sensitive person!

Want to find out if you are a highly sensitive person? Check out the article: Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? How to See it as a Gift and take the Quiz.

The mind of a highly sensitive person works differently. Nobody has all of these traits, but if you are a sensitive person you are:

 1) Aware of the Subtle:  You are aware of subtleties in environment—the moods of others, the friendships and enmities of people in the room, the freshness or staleness of the air, or the personality of the person who arranged the nearby flowers (some of these examples here and below come from Elaine N. Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You.) Your sensitivity means you are taking in a lot more information than most people around you!

2) Detail –Oriented: “You sort things into finer distinctions like machines that sort fruit by size.” “ You are better at noticing errors and avoiding making errors” (Elaine N. Aron). This is a skill you bring to your work, and it often means creating highly detailed and beautiful art.

3) Highly Conscientious: You are always striving to do what is right and do your best. This is an excellent trait that will help you excel in any career, and it’s a benefit to the people around you.

Meditator

4) A Meditator: You are able to concentrate deeply, which means that you find meditation easier than most (although admittedly it can be uncomfortable at first for anyone). In order to concentrate, however, you do need to be in a space free of distractions. Your version of meditation/concentration may be a state of flow–the kind that happens when you feel swept away by doing something you love like sculpting, acting, or writing.

5) Ready for an Emergency: You are more easily aroused from sleep, which can be an important life-saving skill! You are most likely to be the first to notice if there is an emergency. This was true of psychologist and writer Elaine N. Aron who shares in her book how she was the first person to wake up in her household upon “sensing the first flicker of firelight on the ceiling during a house fire.”  Being ready for an emergency also means that you are good at tasks requiring vigilance, accuracy, speed, and the detection of minor differences.

6) Are a Visionary: Highly sensitive people tend to be visionaries which also encompasess artists, inventors, and other creative people. You are more likely to be right-brain dominant, which means your thinking is less linear and more creative in a synthesizing way.

7) An Empath: You are affected by the moods and emotions of people around you. This can be overwhelming and at times unwelcomed, but it also means that you have a greater capacity to empathize with the feelings of others and make connections with people. This is especially helpful if you are a therapist, healer, or an artist who wants to convey depth of emotion. You can learn more about emotional empathy here (towards the end of the article) and take this quiz to see if you are one!

8) A Linguist/Communicator: You are better at learning languages than most people, and are able to learn without being aware you’ve learned (which is a very natural way to learn a language). Being able to speak more than one language means that you can reach more people using other highly sensitive traits (like empathy) in communication.

9) A Stage Performer: You have a knack for fine motor movements and are good at holding still—both very helpful skills if you are a stage performer, whether it’s as an actor or dancer. Many highly sensitive people are also introverts who feel uncomfortable on stage in front of large groups of people. But highly sensitive introverts who love performing don’t care!

10) More Sensual: Being highly sensitive means that you experience all of your senses more vividly whether it’s touch, scent, or a beautiful view. You have a more sensual experience of life physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

sensual

11) Intuitive: You are more intuitive than most, which means you pick up and work through information in a semiconscious or unconscious way. You “just know” without realizing how and are more likely to have had powerful synchronicity experiences.

Here is a quote about the intuitive powers of the sensitive from Marie-Louise Von Franz who worked closely with Carl Jung:

“The introverted intuitive type has the same capacity as the extroverted intuitive for smelling out the future…But his intuition is turned within, and therefore he is primarily the type of the religious prophet, of the seer. On a primitive level, he is the shaman who knows what the gods and ghosts and the ancestral spirits are planning, and who conveys the messages to the tribe…He knows about the slow processes which go on in the collective unconscious.” <3

12) A Royal Advisor: Highly sensitive people traditionally serve as royal advisors (as opposed to warrior-kings who more aggressive and impulsive). They are the writers, historians, philosophers, judges, artists, researchers, theologians, therapists, and teachers.  They create sacred space. They are ritual leaders creating experiences which can only take place within a ritual, sacred, or transitional space.

sacred space

The ritual leader marks off and protects the space, prepares others to enter it, guides them while there, and helps them return to society with the right meaning for the experience (Elaine N. Aron).

Think shamans performing  initiation ceremonies, the leader of a spiritual retreat or workshop, a coach or psychotherapist creating a safe, healing and empowering space, or a yoga instructor leading a class. This is the ancient and modern work of the sensitive Royal Advisor.

~

So there you have it—being highly sensitive is not something to be ashamed of.

Consider this quote from Victor Frankl (also likely highly sensitive) who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning about his experience in a Nazi concentration camp:

“Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain (they were often of a delicate constitution), but the damage to their inner lives was less. They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom. Only in this way can one explain the apparent paradox that some prisoners of a less hardy make-up often seemed to survive camp life better than did those of a more robust nature.”

Action Step: If you are a highly sensitive person, what is a specific  sensitivity trait you can honor more in yourself and share with others?

Leave a comment below and share! Acknowledging your gifts and what you will do with them is a great first step in taking action.

As for me, I favor being intuitive, living a more sensual life, and having a greater degree of empathy to share with others. It can be difficult to always follow the voice of intuition (when it doesn’t seem rational), but I’m happy when I do. This is something I continue to remind myself.

 If you don’t consider yourself a highly sensitive person, do you know anyone who is that would benefit from this article? Please share!

Much love,

Christina

HSP6

Feb 202014
 

Highly Sensitive Person

Why Sensitivity Matters

Many people who are interested in the things I talk about here on my blog (finding your purpose, making money following your passion, following your intuition, living magically, etc) are highly sensitive people– like me.

If you think you might be a highly sensitive person too, this article will help you discover and honor this trait–whether it’s in yourself or someone else.

So why is this trait so important?

Well sensitives are different—not just any job is right for us, and we are uniquely wired to serve the world in a way that is different from the rest of the population.

That’s why finding our specific purpose in life is so important to us. And we want to be able to make money doing it!

We know that working in a noisy environment, having too many things to do at once, or doing something we don’t feel an emotional connection with is draining (because at the end of the day it’s passion for something that makes all that over-arousal worth it!)

And we especially need to be doing work where we have support—we need mentors who know how to navigate success as a highly sensitive person and a feeling of community with other people like us. (If you’re looking for support from someone who understands the unique needs of a highly sensitive person, check out my Coaching page).

So how do you know if you’re more sensitive than others?

You Might Be a Highly Sensitive Person If…

Some studies show that red heads are more sensitive

Some studies show that red heads are more sensitive

Maybe you were told you were too sensitive growing up, as many of us are.

It could be because you cry easily—during almost every movie or when you hear about a tragedy on the news.  Or you don’t “bounce back” as easily after a disappointment and spend a long time processing and feeling into your experience when everyone around you thinks you should “get over it.”

Maybe you’ve noticed you’re different from most people in that worrying about a situation is sure to make you physically sick or more susceptible to a cold. It might be that you can’t eat certain foods or even drink alcohol without having a reaction (digestive, psoriasis, headaches, etc.) Or maybe you’re more sensitive to sound, temperature, or loud noises…

What’s annoying is that people around you tend to perceive you as “weak” and believe you are “going to become sick or die” if you continue being affected in such a sensitive way. They make you feel like there is something wrong with you that has to be “fixed.”

Well I am here to tell you that if you are a highly sensitive person, there is nothing wrong with you. You don’t have to change who you are. If you know how to care for and respect yourself, you don’t have to worry about becoming sick and dying from your sensitivity either.

If you think you might be a highly sensitive person, you’re in good company. It may feel like you’re alone, but there are many of us!

You can think of being a sensitive as a gift in service to your community. It turns out that having sensitives is necessary for a thriving community, and we evolved for a reason.  Sensitives notice subtleties others don’t notice and have been traditionally regarded as “trusted advisers” or “royal advisers” as psychologist Elaine N. Aron calls them. Think consultants, healers, creative artists and musicians. Even though it may feel like a curse, I want to share with you why it’s actually a blessing.

Studies show that 15-20% of the population is considered highly sensitive (50 million in the US alone) and there’s evidence that this trait is genetically inherited.

If you’re not a highly sensitive person, that’s okay too. Sensitive people are not “better” than other people. If after reading this, you decide that you’re not a highly sensitive person, maybe this article can help you better understand someone in your life who is. Nurturing and supporting each individual’s unique traits is what helps our community thrive the way nature intended.

My StoryMA10-2

I’ve been highly sensitive for as long as I can remember. I noticed that I cried more easily than others growing up and was constantly being told that I was “too sensitive.”

As I grew older, I compensated by stuffing my feelings down and making decisions that went against what my intuition and emotions were telling me. At times, I may have even seemed “less affected” than expected from outside observers. After all, I had been encouraged not to show my feelings so easily. I got pretty good at hiding them from others and eventually even from myself.

This is never a good idea. Unprocessed emotions find ways of reeking havoc—for me they transmute into tension and digestive issues. For others it’s different—headaches, allergies, reactions to certain foods, susceptibility to colds, etc.

It’s been a journey of self discovery. It started with acknowledging that I’m an introvert. Many people are surprised by that, since I’m very social and I enjoy parties and spending time with groups of people. I do have an extroverted side! But it turns out that what makes a person an introvert is the desire for space and time away from people on a regular basis in order to gain energy.

After embracing my introverted side, I started learning more about intuition and discovered that some people are emotional empaths—sensitive to the experiences of others to the point of actually feeling their emotions and even physical symptoms.

It wasn’t clear that I had this experience right away for several reasons. As a sensitive, I had become pretty good (out of necessity) at keeping myself away from “emotional vampires.” But once I learned about emotional empathy, I started to notice it in my life. I began to notice that sometimes I was experiencing the anxiety of people around me—even if I didn’t have anything to be anxious about! I had to learn to pay attention to those subtleties and ask myself where my feelings were coming from.

A few months later I decided to read a book called The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron to learn more. It was then that I truly acknowledged and embraced my sensitivity for the first time.

This has been a relief! Now I don’t pressure myself to go out and be social as much (that being said– the degree to which I do go out and socialize may still seem to be excessive to many people). But the difference is that I now see it as a necessity to give myself a few days a week to just stay home and nurture myself with rest and quiet. I’m also more gentle with myself when I find myself reacting to situations that other people may feel are “overreactions.” I’ve learned to take time for self-nurture and care (this is also known as reparenting) without the shame of “You shouldn’t be feeling this upset about it!” Now I simply acknowledge my sensitivity and give myself what I need.

Are you wondering if you might be a sensitive?

There are 3 ways to identify as a sensitive. All of them have something to do with being sensitive, but it’s possible to only be sensitive and not fall into either of the other categories. These are the highly sensitive person, the emotional empath, and the introvert. In my case, all 3 describe me!

3 Ways to Identify With Sensitivity

The Highly Sensitive PersonSensitive Quiz

A highly sensitive person is simply someone who has a more sensitive nervous system. Everyone feels best when neither too bored nor too aroused. Highly sensitive people just have a lower threshold and feel aroused more easily. Many are also very intuitive, because they are more sensitive to subtle information. In some cultures, this trait is revered as a gift.

Please know that you can be a highly sensitive person without being an emotional empath or an introvert (discussed below).

Want to know if you’re a highly sensitive person? Take the quiz!

 

The Emotional EmpathEmotional Empathy

Emotional empathy is a specific type of sensitivity–it is the ability to feel the emotions and physical sensations of other people. If you are a highly sensitive person, you may also be an emotional empath.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff’s book “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life explaining emotional empathy:

Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. The trademark of empaths is that they know where you’re coming from. Some can do this without taking on people’s feelings.”

An emotional empath experiences the emotions and/or physical sensations of people around her as if they are her own. When thin, they’re more vulnerable to unpleasant emotions in others and may overeat to compensate.

An empath’s sensitivity can be overwhelming in romantic relationships–it’s very important for empaths to learn how to manage their emotional boundaries and discuss their unique needs with their partner.

Here is another quote I love from Dr. Orloff’s book: We’re not sissies. Our systems are just more permeable. Also realize that the fact that you’re the only person feeling something doesn’t invalidate your perceptions.

Maybe you’re the only person feeling sensitive to the neighbors’ band practice or a family member having the TV on too loud. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, and you have a right to ask for what you need.

It may seem strange, but I can enjoy dancing to loud music at a night club, but my ears might feel really sensitive to the sound of the TV first thing in the morning.

 2 Tips for Emotional Empaths:

1) Avoid energy vampires

·            2)  Breathe through emotions if you notice they are coming from people around you. Experience the emotion like a wave from a detached, observing perspective. If the emotion or physical sensation is too intense, it may be necessary to physically distance yourself from a person.

Do you think you might be an emotional empath? Take the quiz to find out!

 

The IntrovertIntrovert

This is the one most people are familiar with. If you’re like me, you may feel that you’re equally both introverted *and* extroverted. Or you might think you’re definitely not an introvert if you love being with your friends and going to parties.

The important distinction here, however, is about energy. Extroverts get their energy from other people. They thrive on being in crowds and rarely feel the need to “get away from people and recharge.” They feel energized when they’re around other people.

Introverts give energy. They regularly feel the need to get away from people and have some quiet and “down time.” This is how they replenish—by spending time alone. So as you can imagine, introverts do tend to be therapists, teachers, writers, etc. People that are listening, giving, or doing solitary work. In fact, many are public speakers and performers, and you would never guess they are actually introverts! They are perfectly capable of charming a crowd and being sociable—it’s just that later they need to have some time alone.

So even if you’re friendly, sociable, and enjoy going to parties with your friends—if you regularly need time alone to rest away from people, you may be an introvert!

Being an introvert means that you are more sensitive to stimulation, but it does not necessarily mean that you are intuitive or an emotional empath.

Like highly sensitive people, introverts are often made to feel bad or like something is wrong with them for being different. One third to one half of the population is introverted, showing that most people are extroverted. Until recently, studies have focused on proving that extroverts are happier, and the benefits of teaching introverts to be more like them.  I haven’t read the book Quiet (it’s on my reading list!), but my understanding is that it’s part of a revolution, honoring introverts as having valuable qualities much like highly sensitive people do. We are living in an age defined by embracing our truths and gifts and living as authentically as possible—which is awesome for anyone that falls outside the norm!

~

Around the time I discovered that I’m a highly sensitive person (last summer 2013), I also started to notice more highly sensitive people around me, including clients.  After all, like attracts like without us necessarily realizing it!

As I became more perceptive to the nuances of being highly sensitive (becoming overwhelmed easily, more physically affected by stress, etc.), I noticed how I am uniquely able to help my highly sensitive clients.

The first step I take in working with highly sensitive clients is to acknowledge their sensitivity and help them accept and embrace it.

The next step is sharing how to manage sensitivity and setting goals that complement and empower this trait rather than drain it. For sensitives, it’s even more important to strategically break down large goals into smaller steps and do less work with greater impact.

In future articles I will be sharing the benefits of being a highly sensitive person and goal-setting for the highly sensitive person will follow.

Share! :)

Do you identify as being a highly sensitive person, emotional empath, or introvert? If so how do you manage it?

Leave a comment below and share your tips for managing sensitivity and communicating about it with others–your experiences may be helpful to someone else in the community!

Coaching for Highly Sensitive People

If you think you may be a highly sensitive person and want to work on managing your sensitivity and setting goals that don’t overwhelm you, I can help you with that! I love working with other sensitives and showing them how to use this trait for empowerment.

I offer a limited number of free Discovery Sessions per month. Email me at Christina@CoachingWithChristina.com for more information.

Feb 202014
 

Empathy

Do you find yourself reacting easily to the moods of others around you?

If so, you may be an emotional empath.

Some highly sensitive people are also emotional empaths–they feel their own emotions and physical sensations more intensely than most, and also absorb those of the people around them.

If you’re wondering if you could be an emotional empath, here is a quiz to find out. It was created by Dr. Judith Orloff, an Intuitive Psychiatrist who is also an emotional empath. This quiz is from her book “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life.”

Quiz: Am I an Empath?

Ask yourself:

Emotional Freedom Book

* Have I been labeled as “too emotional” or overly sensitive?

* If a friend is distraught, do I start feeling it too?

*Are my feelings easily hurt?

* Am I emotionally drained by crowds and require time alone to revive?

*Do my nerves get frayed by noise, smells, or excessive talk?

* Do I prefer taking my own car places so that I can leave when I please?

* Do I overeat to cope with emotional stress?

* Am I afraid of becoming engulfed by intimate relationships?

Scoring: “If you answer yes to between one and three of these questions, you’re at least part empath. Responding yes to more than three indicates that you’ve found your emotional type.” ~Dr. Orloff (There are several emotional types Dr. Orloff discusses in her book–I’m only focusing on this one here as it relates to being a highly sensitive person).

How did you score?

I can relate to all of these to some degree except for the overeating. My sensitivity makes it more difficult to eat enjoyably when I’m feeling stressed.

Also, I’ve noticed that I’m more likely to absorb anxiety from people around me, because I’m more sensitive to that trigger (happiness and good feelings are contagious as well, of course!). But I haven’t noticed myself absorbing other unpleasant emotions or physical symptoms like many emotional empaths describe, including Dr. Orloff.

How did you score? Is emotional empathy something you’ve ever considered about yourself or noticed before?

Leave a comment and share your score!