Jacquelyn’s Top Eleven Ways to Thrive as an HSP

Jacquelyn’s Top  Eleven Ways for HSPs to Thrive
by Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC, HSP

A WomenOutdoors Adventure with Lydia Puhak 2007

A WomenOutdoors Adventure with Lydia Puhak 2007

1. Search for ways to live a balanced life, including spiritual, occupational, social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and creative.

2. Finding a creative outlet to express our deep perceptions of the world around us is crucial in supporting our unique HSP selves.

3. Examine all your environments – work, home, social, friends, and become aware of those which are supportive of your HSP trait, and those which are not. Protect yourself by setting firm boundaries in environments which tend to drain you. You can do this unobtrusively by simply removing yourself quietly from unsupportive environments, and by simply saying “No thanks” I think I’ll be heading home now ~ no further explanation needed.

4. Seek employment which values not only who you are as a person, but your unique set of skills as well. This may mean taking a “craft” job which pays the rent and honors your self-care plan, while also honoring and allowing time for your authentic and passionate self outside of work. Refer to Dr. Barrie Jaeger’s concepts of drudgery, craft and calling in Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person.

5. Become familiar with personality and value assessments such the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory, the Enneagram and a general values inventory. Having a strong sense of self, and knowing what is most important to you can help make adjustments to your own (or other’s expectations) of you, whether that be in the amount of money you make, the number of hours you spend working, or simply how you spend time in your daily life.

6. Become aware of your unique needs ~ whether this be sleep, dietary, emotional, spiritual, physical or psychological needs …Adopt the motto from the HSP Gathering Retreats™ “Focus on Needs, Not Approval”  and ask your loved ones to do the same. It is an amazingly freeing concept that has worked amazingly well in my family. Identifying your needs serves as a guideline for setting healthy boundaries – an absolute must for we HSPs!

The 12th HSP Gathering Retreat, Estes Park, Colorado~ June 2007

The 12th HSP Gathering Retreat, Estes Park, Colorado~ June 2007

7. Seek out like minded friends or community to be with. Isolation, or being invisible, is the bane of an HSP’s existence. Find someone with whom you can share your keen observations and depth of perception with – preferably another HSP. This works well because our depth can sometimes unduly burden our non-HSP friends to “get” us. The many on-line HSP message boards can sometimes serve this need.

8. Find your optimal level of arousal – being under stimulated leaves us bored and lethargic – being over stimulated increases the cortisol in our systems, and can lead to illness if not checked. Being outdoors in nature seems to be the optimal state of arousal for me – and it is also the place where I can find solace, wisdom and clarity.

9. Become intimately familiar with your current and/or past traumas – whether they be traumas with a capital “T” or traumas with a smaller ‘t’. Remember for HSPs any trauma can be deeply felt.  Seeking professional help may be necessary to assimilate this trauma and to heal fully.

10. Try to spend at least 10-15 minutes outside in the sunshine. This not only increases natural Vitamin D in our systems, but can also help increase our serotonin levels.

A Spiritual Place of Comfort, Solace and Quiet

A Spiritual Place of Comfort, Solace and Quiet

11. Find, cultivate and nurture your own unique spiritual life and practice. This could include yoga, meditation, prayer, gratitude walks in nature, or being part of a local church community your choosing.  Try to seek comfort, solace and quiet in your spiritual place at least once each day, even if briefly.

Doing all of the above will eventually lead you on your own unique path of HSP self-care and thriving.   It may look different for all of us, but self-care is of primary importance in thriving as a HSP.

I like to call this plan “My HSP Owner’s Manual.”

Jacquelyn Strickland, is a Licensed Professional Counselor based in Ft. Collins, Colorado. In 2001 she and Dr. Elaine Aron, co-created the HSP Gathering Retreats™. She can be reached at jacquelyn@hspgatheringretreats.com   This material is copyrighted….please use only with permission of the author.  Visit her website at : www.lifeworkshelp.com

Jacquelyn is committed to harmonious personal and social transformation aimed at creating inclusive environments of mutual respect; individuality and belonging; self-discovery and healing; positive regard and good will…


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4 Responses to Jacquelyn’s Top Eleven Ways to Thrive as an HSP

  1. Tammy Junker says:

    HI Jacquelyn;
    I am curious what it would take, on my part- to co-organize an hsp retreat? I am in Victoria/BC Canada. I understand there has been retreats on Salt Spring Isl. I have emailed you previously, in regards to a teleclass. I have also started up an hsp meetup in our area. I see the need to keep the knowledge flowing, esp. in reaching our community of sensitives. What would it look like, if I was to take on a task as bringing a retreat to Victoria?
    ~much love & appreciation for all you do on your website & newsletter, Tammy

  2. Marlies, Amsterdam, the Netherlands says:

    Love this ‘manual’ – will share with my hsp friends.

  3. Kris Hughes says:

    At the risk of being provocative, I think number 4 is at once a wonderful piece of advice, and yet it also assumes a level of privilege that more and more of us lack. I speak as someone who had the “perfect” HSP self-employed, creative career for a long time. However, as the economic environment becomes less and less forgiving, maybe it’s time to re-frame that one.

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