How to manage your emotions if you are hypersensitive?

This article is published in partnership with Quora, a platform where Internet users can ask questions and get answers from other experts in the field.

Question of the day: “What can help highly sensitive people not get too emotional?»

Answer by Marine Lefebvre, psychologist/psychotherapist:

At the neurobiochemical level, we have learned that hypersensitive people have below average levels of serotonin. However, serotonin acts as a stress filter. Thus, the hypersensitive will come away with problems managing their emotions and managing their stress.

They would also have an executive brain function that would work less well.hidden braking. This feature aims to automatically put into the background information that the brain considers “inappropriate”. However, it turns out that hypersensitive people do not have this function. This means that all information becomes equally important. You see a joyful mess … As if everything was taken apart by hand.

Which doesn’t mean that nothing can be done. Although emotions are more intense and last longer in hypersensitive people, by their very nature they can direct the flow of information and sensations.

Automatic thinking

First, emotions arise almost instantly with automatic thought, that is, with the meaning that we attach to what happens to us. In the know or not. When this is not realized, the analogical brain will compare what is happening with what it already knows and sometimes send out an “automatic program” of a reaction without our knowledge.

Not to believe everything I tell myself, not to accept elements of my inner discourse as truth.

We can challenge this automatic thought, challenge it, pass it through a sieve of greater objectivity. Being honest with yourself.

It’s not always easy or simple, especially in the beginning. Then it can become a habit, even a game: not to believe everything I tell myself, not to accept elements of my inner discourse as truth.

Subjective view

In the same way, all my emotions do not refer to objective reality. If I feel guilty, it’s not necessarily true, it could just be an interpretation. Just because I’m worried about an upcoming event doesn’t mean it won’t go well. Many situations put pressure on still open wounds and force us to react. We can act on these wounds to deactivate them. This is for our “automatic programs”.

On the other hand, when it is conscious, we can “catch” the automatic thought, identify it, and then correct it. Everything I say to myself will have a direct impact on my emotional experience. This is where we can act, changing the interpretation of the situation, expanding perspectives, choices.

We can also take a step back in consciousness, like a hamster getting off a wheel and watching it turn. We can learn to relativize the process of our emotional reactions even more. “Yes, here, I am deeply saddened or worried, I look at my emotion and feel it with my body. Yes, this emotion tells me something. What?” Looking for what? But this emotion I’m bathing in doesn’t match reality, and I’ll watch it break through and go. Not clinging to it, not telling me it’s true, not making a drama out of it. She too will pass.

Emotions are part of the life of each of us, especially hypersensitive people. They give color and depth to our lives. They bring us messages. But we shouldn’t take them so seriously, let alone identify with them.

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Don’t try to fight them, you will only make them grow. On the contrary, accompany them with benevolence, hindsight, objectivity, and pay more attention to the thoughts that accompany them, in order to make them develop if necessary.

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