Should you trust your thoughts… or your feelings?

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Published in Happiness and Wellbeing Academy

“It all begins and ends in your mind – what you give power to has power over you, if you’ll allow it.” – Leon Brown.

It’s true – the human brain is an incredible organ that makes up our experiences; actually, it makes up our entire reality.

Kinda weird to think about, right?

I am reading a book right now written by a wonderful and hilarious Buddhist woman called Pema Chödrön. I am not necessarily a Buddhist myself but like all religions, I think that Buddhism shares concepts about the world and humanity that are extremely transcendent and universally true.

And, the three chapters I have read so far have all had to do with the mind. Our mind holds the ability to both trap us, and set us free. I have experienced times in my life that were full of worry and anxiety. I know all too well that debilitating cycle of thoughts that go around and around. You know – the ones full of uncertainly that consume you until you cannot make sense of what you really feel vs. what you think you feel …

That state is not a fun spot to be in, and it’s easy to feel helpless; but I bare good news, you can help yourself with the wisdom I am about to share.

Do you ever have thoughts pop into your head that make you feel terrible? Or confused? Do you ever think about the worst case scenario and let the frightened feelings those thoughts bring put a stop to your actions? Do you believe your thoughts enough to allow them to conjure your reality?

There is a pattern to the questions I just asked you. Your thoughts are creating your feelings in these situations.

Don’t listen to feelings that are born from your thoughts.

Thoughts are just thoughts. They don’t have any meaning unless we give them meaning, and they can cause you to feel things that aren’t true.

Let’s switch gears here to my second set of questions for you.

Do you ever look out at an open field and feel an overwhelming sense of freedom? Do you ever look at a puppy and feel giddy and playful? What about when you look into your lover’s eyes, do you feel butterflies? Attraction? Safety? Bliss?

The similarity between all of these questions is that they are examples of situations where feelings come before thoughts.

You don’t look at your mother and think “Oh, I love my mother” and then feel love, it’s the other way around. You feel first. All those feelings that come before thoughts are TRUE. Believe them.

And it’s as simple as that.

So again, the secret to remember about your feelings and thoughts is this: If the feeling comes before the thought, trust it. If your thoughts make you feel something, feel the feeling but then let it go, it doesn’t have to control your reality.

Love, Chelsie

How to own being a Highly Sensitive Person

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Hi everyone, this week Happiness + Wellbeing Academy published an article I wrote for them! Please have a read: How to own being a Highly Sensitive Person.

XO your fellow HSP,

Chelsie

I write deep things while listening to top 40 pop hits

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It’s true, I do. This morning I came up with the perfect topic for this blog post while listening to “Don’t let me down” by the Chainsmokers feat. Daya, and I was like, “Daya, you absolute gem! Thank you for inspiring me with that bridge you just owned, I know exactly what I’m going to write about now.”

One of the biggest internal struggles I have faced since beginning to share my thoughts and wisdom with the world is due to having somewhat of a black and white mindset. I have felt at points like maybe I am supposed to give up some of my old ways. Can I be a deep, reflective writer and still be the life of the party? Can I still be the silly one who is forgetful and makes all of her friends laugh and wonder why my hair isn’t lighter? 😉

Do I have to give up living the way I do, to become who I am becoming?

I’ve gone back and forth with this in my head; it has caused me anxiety because the idea of changing anything about they way I am now makes me feel sad. So why would I inflict this struggle upon myself?

Understanding that we always have a choice in how we feel is difficult to grasp, but once we do, it is incredibly freeing.

Even though I write deep things, it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the world on a day-to-day level. I am a soul searcher and a dreamer, but I also enjoy the simple things in life; wine and really cheesy pizza, craft beer with my main squeeze, crude jokes, and ridiculous YouTube videos. I shop at Aritzia and I love top 40 pop music…especially Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. Selena is pretty cool too.

One of the most beautiful things about deciding to live an authentic life is that you can choose what you fill it with. It’s never just black and white.

So who says I can’t live in this world and enjoy everything it has to offer, and still be deep and wise in my writing, too? The only person who tells me such a thing is me. So I am going to allow myself to have both.

I am choosing to embrace the newly expressed parts of me, without throwing out the old.

Thanks for reading again this week ~

XOXO, Love Chelsie

‘It is both a blessing, and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply’

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(Quote in title is by David Jones).

Dear community,

Thank you for welcoming me back, I have taken a bit of a break from writing. And admittedly I missed it, terribly. So here I am.

Over the past month, things have been slowly building for me. I have set some intentions and embraced new opportunities. I have spent a lot of time with my family and abundance of friends, for whom I am truly grateful to have in this life.

Actually, I don’t think they realize just how much my heart gushes for every single one of them.

Since I began sharing my journey of self-discovery as a highly sensitive, empathetic person about a year ago, my personal growth has been rewarding. But it’s been difficult too. Combating my anxiety in certain areas of my life has been a challenge. Self doubt crops up now and again, and so does the overwhelm and fear that comes from being vulnerable and exposing who I am to the world.

But more than all these challenges combined, I feel like I have grown a new set of wings.

It is hard to share the fact that I am a sensitive person with the world sometimes. I worry about things like: “what if my employer or co-workers see me as weak or less capable or fit to do my job?” I have had some fears around telling new people that I meet about my work and the community I lead for highly sensitive people. “What if they don’t see the value in what I am doing?”

Just as I work to lift you all up to see the positive characteristic of being sensitive in this world, I struggle with it sometimes, too.

But I also love myself. I love the way I am and who I am. And I am no different from you all; I am sensitive, so sometimes I need to take breaks. Sometimes I have bad days and doubt myself. But this doesn’t mean that I will stop following my heart and my calling to help others. And as I continue to grow, I will be there for you with my writing. You are all a reflection of who I am, and your support and your feelings mean the world to me.

I have noticed that over the past year, my capacity to do what I love: to help others, to lift them up, to make them see their beauty and believe in themselves has widened – it has deepened. The joy I get from this has also grown. My heart could just burst when I witness others discovering their true power and the simple, utter beauty in which they are.

I believe this is a result of loving myself more, and getting to know more parts of myself; weeding through the dark yucky parts, facing the truths and realities that I have buried.  Since I have spent more time and care and money on my mental and physical health than ever, I have also been able to find a partner whom I love on a level that I never knew existed.

I am making more careful decisions. There is always a grey area; something that I haven’t thought of before. My soul and my intuition are much better friends, and they are present in my everyday life.

But my capacity still has its limits. The delicate balance of a happy HSP’s life is fragile. It needs to be just right: enough love and friendship, downtime time, sleep, creativity, humour, passion, and sense of accomplishment on a perfectly balanced scale.

When I get busy, I tend to start putting others first and reverting back to my old habits of saying yes to too much. I had to cancel plans with two people this week which I absolutely hate doing, because I knew it was going to throw me too far off balance. The light in me would begin to die. Instead of enjoying the time spent with these people, I would feel flickers of frustration or resentment. Or I might have just broken down and cried – that is very possible, too.

I hope that my stories and accounts of personal growth inspire you, and motivate you to seek after whatever makes you burn and glow furiously inside.

We HSPs and empaths have a special gift because we often seek our desires out from a young age. We are intuitive and in touch by nature. We contemplate the meaning of life, and have depths inside of us that are as vast as the universe.

So keep exploring, keep being you.

 

With all my love,

Chelsie xoxo

 

 

 

Video Edition – How to Maintain your Calm During the Holidays

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Hello my lovely HSPs,

This week, I did a little video for you to watch. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to upload it to this site, but please head over to The Sensitive Trait’s community Facebook page and view it there.

Enjoy, and Happy Holidays.

Link to video here:

6 ways to maintain your calm during the Holidays

XO your fellow HSP, Chelsie

Expel your Guilt

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Ok, this week it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. It won’t be too bad though, I promise!

Guilt as it relates to people with the trait of high sensitivity is a new topic for me; something that I have only really begun to explore over the past few months. I have had a few HSPs mention their various feelings of guilt to me in the past… Some have explained a certain scenario in their life where they have felt significant, debilitating guilt, and others have told me they feel very guilty about choices they make on a regular basis.

Guilt is not a fun emotion to feel, so people (both HSPs and non-HSPs alike) try and avoid it at all costs. I also believe that much too often, we are feeling guilt for the wrong reasons.

Elaine Aron, Author of The Highly Sensitive Person, believes that HSPs are more prone to feeling guilty than the average person.

 I do agree with her.

Very often, HSPs have a sense of over-responsibility when it comes to ensuring that other people are pleased and happy. Because HSPs are highly empathetic, this sense of over-responsibility and need to over-achieve is almost like a protective mechanism.

Why? Because we HSPs feel the disappointment and pain of others SO deeply that even though the feelings are not our own, we internalize them, creating the aftermath emotions of guilt or shame when we know that our actions or choices have disappointed others.

In the same way, HSPs feel disappointment in themselves more deeply, and so the cycle continues.

Unfortunately, this is a very difficult part of being sensitive and empathetic, and I feel so much for those who take on guilt that stems from all these feelings. I empathize with you, and I want to help you – I want to lessen that burden.

Your triggers for guilt and shame may also root back to childhood. As I have explained in other posts, HSPs who have had difficult childhoods were probably extremely affected by them, more so than the average person. It’s possible that as a child you may have blamed yourself for “being too sensitive” (and maybe you still do), or “crying too much” or for your parents’ fights or stress. These feelings of guilt can live on.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios that may provoke feelings of guilt for an HSP more closely…

I think that if we strip these situations down and analyze the triggers for why we may feel guilty, we will see that feelings of guilt are surfacing for the wrong reasons.

We may feel guilt about…

Making a mistake at work and causing a delay.

Sure, it is natural to feel bad about this, but don’t torture yourself over it. HSPs are usually very hard workers, and mistakes happen. It may not be entirely due to your actions, either. Don’t be so quick to blame yourself. If your boss becomes upset with you, remember – you don’t make mistakes often, and your boss will probably be over it before you are. So don’t worry your head all weekend about it. Let it go, the mistake is in the past and now out of your control.

Don’t beat yourself up. Free yourself of the bad feelings!

Missing a friend’s party after a long, busy week because you need downtime.

In this scenario, HSPs might start to feel guilty about even considering missing the party. What’s worse, these feelings of guilt might even be scaring you into going. But think about this logically – you won’t be seriously harming anyone by not going, and you will be improving your well being if you choose not to go, because you will be doing whats best for you.

And, I bet that once you make the decision not to go and let your friend know with a sincere explanation, your feelings of guilt will subside.

There is no shame in that!

As a way to combat  feelings of guilt in these situations, try and set your emotions aside for a second, and ask yourself…

“If I don’t go to the party, will I be seriously wronging anyone?”

“Did I make a mistake on purpose to cause harm at work?”

“Will I be going against my own set of values if I make this decision?”

“If I don’t do this will I be committing a crime?”

“Did I consciously do something to harm something or someone?”

If your answers to these questions are “no,” then you are doing nothing wrong, and there is no need for guilt.

You can ask yourself these logical questions in any scenario that you may be feeling guilty about. This is a great way to check in with yourself, and expel any unnecessary guilt.

Through my work and writing to you, I not only want to empower HSPs to understand the gifts and talents they posses with their trait; I also want to help them work through anything that may be shielding their light so they can shine brighter than ever. Thank you for reading this week. ❤

Until next time,

XO, your fellow HSP, Chelsie

Exercise and Mental Health

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Even before I learned that I was an HSP, and before I fully understood how important mental wellness was for my life, I enjoyed exercise.

Now I know this isn’t the case for everyone…some people just don’t find it fun! (And believe me, some days I don’t either) but do read on – I have some tips and advice that may help because hey, whether we like it or not, it is good for us. ❤

Exercise has been an escape for me throughout my life.

If I had a bad day at school as a kid, I would go to rhythmic gymnastics practice after school knowing that I would have a very different experience there.

I would find a calm, centered place in my stretching, excitement and pride in my routines; it was just me and my body, and my determination…mind over matter a lot of the time.

As I grew up and moved away from gymnastics and dance, I discovered long distance running. Again, I found it to be an activity of solace, something in my life that I could take control over and give to myself. Perhaps it was a form of alone time for me before I really realized how much I needed it.

*Disclaimer:

As a typical HSP who thinks of all sides of the story, I would like to say that I am also aware that exercise can correlate with mental health in an unhealthy way too – i.e. over exercising, body image issues, etc. This is an entirely different issue than the angle of my topic today, though of course worthy of just as much attention.

Today, I would like to focus on how exercise can help improve our mental health and combat anxiety and depression. It is also a good activity for HSPs as we process our thoughts and experiences.

When I endure changes and have decisions to make in my life, I know that ideally I should be giving myself a lot of mental space and time to think and to process. I also feel this way about experiences such as a great weekend getaway, a fun girl’s night, a deep discussion with my partner or a good friend…

If I don’t give myself the time to absorb the aftermath and dive deep about certain points and moments, then I miss out, in a way… I don’t get everything that I could get from the experience… if that makes sense!

Exercise gives me the space I need to do this. I actually thought of this post while on a run!

When we exercise, we create space in our minds.

Sometimes while running or at the gym I am surprised at what comes into my head – little things that don’t seem significant. But hey, those are thoughts for you, and I don’t think thoughts should be taken so seriously.

They usually just need to be acknowledged and taken for simply a thought, and nothing more (it is when we let our thoughts turn into feelings and our reality that they can take control of us).

So, just recognize your thoughts as a thoughts, and let them drift away. What will you have left? A cleansed mind.

Exercise also naturally increases serotonin function in the brain which is a recipe for happier moods, ultimately combating imbalances that lead to anxiety and depression. For more details, check out one of the many articles on this topic here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/22590-effects-exercise-serotonin-levels/

Unfortunately, HSPs are more prone to anxiety and depression if they’ve had a difficult childhood or experienced trauma at some point in their life. Exercise can be extremely beneficial and effective for HSPs struggling with mental wellness issues.

And remember, your physical activity of choice could be anything: a brisk walk in the park, yoga, pilates, long distance running, hiking, biking, weightlifting, water aerobics, whatever you are drawn to! Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t like, take time to explore and find an activity that you enjoy.

I would like to tie back into one of the first posts I wrote for The Sensitive Trait: Self Care and Refueling for the HSP, for a moment. Exercise may fit well into your self care and refueling practices, but if you’re like me, you’ll need alone time and down time as well. 🙂

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I would like to take this opportunity to extend a special offer to all of my HSP followers:

As you may have seen from The Sensitive Trait’s Facebook page, I am holding a draw for you to win three FREE HSP Coaching sessions!

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The Details:

As an aspiring HSP Mentor & Coach, my intention is to help Highly Sensitive People not just survive, but thrive in this world and hone into their abilities and talents. I will be selecting three volunteers on October 27th, 2015 with whom I will conduct three FREE one-hour Skype or phone call sessions.

During these sessions we will discuss what being an HSP means for you and identify some areas where you would like to thrive instead of struggle as an HSP.

Why am I doing this and why is it free?

I am doing this in order to get more experience and to learn and grow as an HSP mentor and coach by helping others individually, one on one. So it will be a bit of an exchange – you will help me learn and experience this next step in my journey to help other HSPs, and I will do my best to help you in return.

To enter the draw, please send me an email at: thesensitivetrait@gmail.com with some words about why you feel drawn to this opportunity! I look forward to hearing from you ❤

Until next time,

XO your fellow HSP, Chelsie.