HSC: unwinding highly sensitive children. 12 Tips!

In this blog I would like to share 12 tips to unwind your highly sensitive child (HSC) when he or she is overaroused.

Overarousal occurs when your HSC:

  • Has spent too much time in one space with many people
  • Was to be found in that space without parental guidance or someone who is familiar to the child
  • Has too much activities after one another
  • Has not eaten on time or enough
  • Has been exposed to new surroundings and/or activities
  • Has experienced or witnessed injustifiable behaviour

I have gathered the tips below based on my own experience raising two highly sensitive children. My daughter has turned zeven this summer and my son is nearly 21 months.

  1. Let them play outside

Playing outside frees the mind, body and soul. It relaxes. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like; feel the wind, the rain and the sunbeams on your skin. Children are still so close to nature. Let them experience nature whenever they need it. The moments they need it, is after school or another social activity. Especially schools where children need to sit tightly behind their desk to do their chores make a good reason to release your children in nature. I’ve seen to many parents taking their HSC directly from school to another activity. They need time to unwind before taking up another activity. Even running around at the school’s playground will suffice to release some of the school’s impulses they took in.

2. Have an after-school-routine

After having runned around with friends we go home and my daughter gets something to drink and a snack. Whenever I have the time and energy I prepare a homemade snack. She truly appreciates that kind of gesture. Especially the taste. Help them organize their school stuff and perhaps get them to dress differently in order to change the school-energy into being-home-energy.

3. Make them feel loved

When highly sensitive children are overaroused they can get really nasty. They don’t want to eat what you serve, they don’t want to listen, they are grumpy, silent or they only want to sit behind a screen to watch cartoons. They can get into each other’s hair. Make them feel loved. Put extra care in the food you offer. You could put different colourful and healthy snacks on one plate. Make it a feast. Hug them or keep your distance depending the childs wish, but stay close so they can come to you. In case of the one bothering the other: take them apart, but don’t scold them. They were only expressing their needs in a negative way. Instead give them what they need: drink, snack, hugs, reading to both of them, sing, dance.

4. Giving space to anger

When your highly sensitive child is angry; starts screaming or throwing things, the best thing to do is stay calm and have an open attitude. Acknowledge their anger. Make the anger feel welcome, but be clear about your physical and emotional bounderies. They are not allowed to throw things at you nor verbally hurt you. Tell them they are allowed to feel angry, but not to project the anger onto you. Bring it back to the core emotion instead of punishing them for having hurt you.

5. Accept their pace in sharing

Highly sensitive children need time to digest the experiences that have hurt them or made a huge impression. Many times my daughter told a full story on how she felt the same evening, the following day or even two days after. It was difficult for me to accept her pace. Especially when I noticed she felt really bad about something. But from experience I’ve learnt to not ask about it further when she doesn’t respond the first few times.

6. Shower or bathe

This is a very important tool to unwind overaroused highly sensitive children. Most children have a positive reaction towards water. My children drop everything they are doing when I mention the word “bath”. For a while, when my daughter came home exhausted from school we explained to her that showering and bathing would be part of the after-school-routine. It helped her to wash away negative energy of children teasing other children, when injustice happened in her point-of-view, when friends didn’t listen to her or get rid of the warmth she had experienced in classrooms.

7. Do something creative

We, parents, are always busy and we want the best for our children. I believe we could definitely opt more and plan quality time with our children. Perhaps you could have your dinner already prepared so you can spend half an our colouring and crafting. Children thrive when they feel you are fully present.

8. Prepare dinner together

Get your highly sensitive child participate in preparing dinner. It’s a healthy way to disconnect from digital life and get your body and senses moving. Reconnecting in this way also boosts your HSC’s selfesteem. Be sure to give your HSC physically and verbally space and room to express her/his creative cooking eye. On the verbal aspect; stimulate their initiatives and avoid critisizing their actions. Make it a time to remember. Put your HSC’s favourite music on. Dress up: cooking hats and skirts.

9. Give a massage

Giving massages is next to showering and bathing a relaxing way to get back into your skin. Our children imitate everything we do. My daughter also likes to give massages so one of us (parents) is the lucky one to receive or her little brother. Our son has picked up this practice too. Another great way to get your HSC connecting to their body is holding their feet, hands or cover their ears with the palms of your hands. When I hold my daughter’s feet she instantly starts to yawn.

10. Alone-time

Actually we didn’t have to stimulate alone-time with our daughter because she initiated this for herself. She loves to read. Reading helps her to unwind. She also likes to dress up in her room and comes out to show her different outfits. But sometimes when she is whirled up too much we stimulate her to do something else. Something which helps her to release energy instead of taking in more information.

11. Balance social activities

Two birthday’s in a row is not done in our highly sensitive household. In addition, when we attend a birthday party we stay a maximum of an hour and a half. That’s quite enough celebratory impulses to unwind afterwards. One children’s birthday and an afternoon-family visit is too much. Receiving friends during the week around dinner time is also not done. Only if friend(s) and family blend in our household it’s doable. By that I mean that they take up a chore or give attention to one of the children.

Recently my daughter did a classical ballet try-out and after class she was fuelled up with adrenaline, grumpy and she couldn’t come up with normal phrases to indicate what she wanted. Based on all these signs I had to give back to her that she wasn’t ready to take up an after-school activity. She agreed. To acknowledge her need to play we agreed that we would plan play-dates when she feels energetic enough to enjoy playtime with her friends.

12. Plan recharching time

Continuing on the previous tip: yes, we try to plan as much as one after-school social activity during the week for my daughter. This means at least four after-school days are spend recharging for the next school day. My son gets his daily social boost with his dad in libraries, supermarkets and wherever day go and play. During the weekend it also comes down to mostly one social activity (spending time with family and friends) for the kids so we have one day left to recharge and do what we feel like doing on the spot. Sometimes we (parents) have more than one social activity, but one of us stays with the children and spend time in a slow way.

Hopefully a couple of these tips will help you unwind your highly sensitive children. Now let’s hear it from you. Please leave a comment below to share what your HSC parenting challenges are and what works for you to unwind your HSC.

Let’s continue to cherish our sensitivity!

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HSP: share your sensitivity

Share your sensitivity!

Be the highly sensitive person you are, share how you see the world through your senses and soul’s mission. Are you ready to take the next steps with your emotional and spiritual development?

The people I coach are the writers, singers, visual artists, speakers, entrepeneurs, top-level managers, psychologists and people working on different levels and positions in organizations with all one thing in common: their strong desire to be at peace with themselves. Your inner peace is your starting point, it’s from where you fly of to share your vision to contribute to a better world.

A big challenge for super creative highly sensitive people is to live of their talents. How to succeed in a world with so much creative competition? Why would I improve my skills in photographing? There are so many great photographers out there, I don’t think I’ve got the talent to squeeze myself into that world. And what about setting foot on ground of actors and comedians?

It’s hard work. It doesn’t pay the bills, it’s actually eating up my savings.

Let me tell you how I think about competition and what success is all about. If you think about it, there is no competition. If you keep on focussing and enjoying what you most like to do, you won’t even have time and energy to look at the competition. It’s about building your world one step at a time. It’s not about what others do. It’s about what you want to achieve in your own pace.

And about success: write down your own definition of success and live by it. To me it’s waking up in the morning and looking forward to what the day will bring. Among other things: laughter of my children, joking with my partner and father of my children and coaching and rebirthing highly sensitive people.

Let’s say goodbye to the struggling-through-life mentality and change this into let-love-flow attitude.

We are all naturally self-confident. Close your eyes, breathe, feel how your mind struggles to surrender, but slowly it will surrender in order for your body to be heard. Because you want to live life to the fullest. You want your voice to be heard. And you definitely want to wake up each day knowing that you are contributing to a better and more loving world. Mind, body and soul will be aligned in the process of emotional and spiritual development. Inner peace will surface and you will feel who you are, what you want and how you will achieve this.

It’s so much easier to lead a creative lifestyle when you have tapped into that abundant resource of inner peace and self-love.

For more on Orchid of Life HSP Coaching & Rebirthing, please click here to visit my website. 

Are you interested in an introduction session? Click here for more information…

HSP: how to get unstuck. 3 Tips!

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Today’s session with a highly sensitive young woman inspired me to share the following tips on how to get unstuck on a physical, mental and emotional level. I pointed out the physical level first, because this lady experiences that feeling of being stuck through her body. It feels like she is floating above the ground, her head is full, loss of concentration and finding herself in a social setting getting all nervous and insecure. Actually it was her asking me after a coaching and rebirthing session: ‘Can you tell me how to get unstuck when life brings me to this uncomfortable physical state again?’

I shared the following with her:

1. Cry

2. Take a shower or a bath

3. Sit in front of a fire

That feeling of being stuck comes from energy which is whirling inside of your system, but the energy can’t find a way out. You need to help that energy to get out of your system; your head, your body. That energy could be sadness, anger and fear (or a good mix) that you are holding onto, because you’ve never learnt how to express and let go of these emotions.

Cry
Well, first of all, what I’ve learned in my coaching practice is that many highly sensitive people find it difficult to cry. Even when they are at home alone. It could be out of shame of being heard or having to acknowledge that something or someone touched you. It could be out of fear, because you don’t know what will appear next when you actually start crying. Panic, hysteria, powerlessness, loneliness. I know one cool fact on fear: it’s not real. (not when you are standing in front of someone who is about to hit you, but the fear which tortures the mind)

Even when you think you don’t cry easily, there could be moments that you feel comfortable and safe enough to do so. For example when you are watching a movie that really gets to you or a song or while reading a passage in a book. Perhaps you have a partner or a dear friend in which you confide. When you feel stuck, reach out to what works for you so you can give that energy a little push to leave your system.

Apart from other people’s emotions, your own, energy from the land and buildings, highly sensitive people are moved by so many things such as beauty, arts, kindness. Feel your emotions and let your voice be heard. Keep the energy moving!

Take a shower or a bath
Lots of highly sensitive people pick up and absorb different emotions and energies, but somehow they are living their lives from out of their heads; planning, organising, thinking about what to do next. Residing mostly in your head instead of your body signals that most likely you are driven by fear. A question which pops up along these lines is: ‘What do I feel?’

Root of this problem is to be found in what trauma’s highly sensitive people have been through. One of the family dynamics that could be the cause of how troubled you feel now about what you feel versus what others feel is the following situation.

When you are a child you need parental guidance to feel what is yours and what is theirs. When parents are going through their own issues and matrimonial issues this puts a huge weight on the shoulders of the most sensitive child in the family. This child is conscious of the tension and stands up to help out, guide their parents or sisters and brothers. While the child is playing this rol of mediator he or she won’t have enough space to develop their inner emotional world. That is to say: they are always on the look out for what needs to be done instead of feeling how they are wounded by the family problems.

Being on the look out is simply being afraid of what’s next. What fight, discussion will arise? I know I took a deep dive in psycho land by sharing this with you, but this is how it is. On a daily basis we might not know why we feel stuck, but taking a trip down memory lane will give you answers. But to keep my tip low profile, when you feel stuck, but you can’t put your finger on it, then I would like to encourage you to take a shower or a bath. It cleanses your energetic body, it brings you back in your body, back in the now. If you need several showers or baths in one day, just do it.

Sit in front of a fire
Same goes for sitting in front of a fire. The fire cleanses your energetic body. Moreover it calms down your mind. Just simply stare at the flames and you will feel the effect. If you don’t have a fire in the house, you could buy a bunch of candles. Put these close to each other and let these flames do the work. If you’re lucky to own a garden or have friends with gardens you could buy a fire pit and make a fire outside.

Of course there are many other ways to get unstuck: get out of the house to get fresh air and take a long walk, write, manual work, sports, yoga, massage, crafts, meditate and simply sit down and breathe. In this blog I’ve put forward ‘crying, taking a shower or a bath and sit in front of a fire’ because up until now people I guide in my coaching practice were so happy to receive them. I hope these tips will work for you too.

Website: Orchid of Life ~ HSP Coaching & Rebirthing 

Are you curious to what a coaching & rebirthing session can do for you? Make an appointment for an introduction session. Click here for more information. 

I feel anxious and impatient about the house search

I am guiding highly talented people. They are highly sensitive and are in the process of fully embracing their sensitivity. It’s a shame most of them have a hard time acknowledging their talents. I am happy to help out guiding their emotional development. This week there was one lady in particular who experienced a major breakthrough during a coaching and rebirthing session.

Picture this: she is sitting on the couch and telling me they have to move again. It will be their third time in The Hague. She and her husband are expats. She didn’t smile, her facial expression was quite neutral. Since the previous weekend they started their house search together. After the weekend she continued the house search and set aside her own things: applying for jobs, an online course and being kind to herself as part of her path towards living from her talents. She didn’t look happy with her change of focus, but reassured me she was calm and positive towards finding a new home. I listened, took it in, but didn’t believe her.

When one is trapped in limiting beliefs and behaviour at some point you will feel trapped.

Instead of asking any further I invited her to lay down on the air mattress. Start breathing, start aligning with your body and soul. Start awakening your emotional body, because it will tell the truth.

When she was like 15 minutes in the conscious connected breathing she felt a huge pressure on her chest. It felt like an elephant stamping on her chest, she felt anxiety. She started sharing: I feel anxious and impatient about the house search. My husband is working full time and because of this I feel I need to do more, I feel like a 90% responsible whereas this could be a lot less if I would share more of my thoughts and feelings with my husband. It’s me, he is really nice and thoughtful and tells me to focus on my own things.

But I feel selfish if I would do so, focusing on my own things.

I stimulated her to pick up the conscious connected breathing. After 15 more minutes she felt lots of tension in her arms and hands. It hurt her. She asked if she could stop. Of course. And then, while feeling her body it sank in: that voice in her head, it’s not her own, it’s her mother’s voice telling her she is selfish. (and even more: that she needs a lot of attention, that she makes problems out of nothing, she is difficult)

From the moment she realised this, the tension slowly, but steadily left her arms and hands. She felt so relieved.

The coaching and rebirthing sessions I guide are both emotionally intense; it provided the space to process deep-rooted pain, and practical. This lady left the session with homework: involving her husband more in her world of thoughts and feelings regarding the house search, a good talk would do the work so she could focus and enjoy her own work again.

If you’re interested in an introduction session, click here for more information and to make an appointment. 

HSC: birthday party fun without hassle

Photo by Ouxu Cheng

My two kids are highly sensitive. I am highly sensitive, my husband is highly sensitive. As a highly sensitive family we keep on learning how to listen and react to each others needs to thrive in this world full of entertainment. Last weekend we went to a birthday party in Amsterdam. The preparation for the birthday started in the car, my youngest fell asleep immediately and my daughter was relaxing by holding onto her big bear friend. No music, no cartoons, no talking.

This birthday party was definitely highly sensitive proof.

  • The birthday lady was walking barefoot,
  • They served sugar free goodies such as banana egg pancakes with whipped cream, blue berries, strawberries and marmelade, coconut-date bonbon and a chocolate banana egg cake,
  • People withdrawing to other rooms to look up some quite time,
  • Moms breastfeeding,
  • No music.

We had loads of fun. I love socialising and meeting new people, but at the same time I like to blend in the crowd by talking to friends we hadn’t seen for a while. That feels much more comfortable than immediately making small talk with someone I don’t know.  Same goes for my daughter.

Amé stood close to me, observing the room and the people. The best thing about a party, according to my daughter, is eat the foods they serve. Though she didn’t dive in immediately, she needed some time to land. After having encouraged her to choose her pick, she took her plate to the balcony where the other kids were playing. Instead of connecting to the kids she focussed on her plate. Afterwards she wanted to go outside, because inside it was too warm for her. Arnold and I decided to split up, he went outside and I stayed in with Dían.

Dían also needed his time to get used to the house, the atmosphere and the people. He sticked with me or Arnold. After Amé got back from playing outside she started playing with a girl. They went from room to room and finally I found them sitting with a lady who drew images on their arms. I talked to her earlier and Amé, at that time still taking her time to get accustomed, apparently eavesdropped. To her big surprise she found out this lady is a professional illustrator. Amé took the opportunity to ask her to draw tattoos on her hand with the tattoo pens she had brought with her in her handbag. Afterwards Amé said:

I was perfectly prepared for this party by bringing my tattoo pens.

We arrived quite early at the party, one hour and a half, after it had started. Slowly, new guests were arriving and the noice of people talking to each other got louder and louder. When I started breastfeeding on the balcony it was still doable. New guests joined us on the balcony, Dían was ready drinking, he sat on my lap and made screeching noises. He wasn’t happy at all. I understood and we went to a spare room. He immediately revived. He started smiling and moving around the room. He is fifteen months and I am so happy with our communication.

From the moment he crawled out of the spare room I knew he was ready for more action. I have seen him playing with a friend of ours who was playing with him and interacting with the cat under the table. Meanwhile we were socialising in the open kitchen. I still had an eye on him, that’s my mommy-mind, but I was super proud of him being at ease. Later I caught him playing alone, but not for long, a new friend came along. This twenty-something young male was autistic and loved to connect with Dían.

We had a wonderful time.

Both kids dealt differently with their birthday experience. Driving back home they both stayed awake. Around eight Dían fell asleep without any hassle, but it took Amé more time to fall asleep. The next day Amé slept in and Dían took his nap earlier than normal and slept for like an hour and a half. This is how they recovered. And of course we provided them the time to recover. We had no other appointments than being in and around the house organising and cleaning.

In retrospect, I am very happy and satisfied we took this last-minute decision to stay in The Hague in stead of going up North visiting family. This way we definitely have enjoyed the birthday party in full in stead of being super tired by travelling from one place to another.

 

When life gives you lemons…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I love this phrase. This phrase contains sadness and happiness. It directs the reader to make something fun out of something sad. In some strange way this phrase led me to some of the rebirthing sessions I’ve guided this week via video skype.

While this lady over fifty was crying her heart out over not even feeling she has a choice in different situations, she suddenly burst into laughter. Laughter changed into crying again. I was looking at my screen, a bit in doubt, because I wondered if she was laughing or crying. She cleared my doubt by sharing she was laughing. I commented that laughter heals, she totally agreed. I forgot to ask why she started laughing in the first place.

Another lady in her thirties started and finished the session off with laughter. In between she cried her heart and eyes out. She was able to direct her anger towards her parents in stead of down talking herself over and over again. She let out this destructive energy by stamping her feet, throwing her arms around, screaming the hell out of her and jumping up and down.

And this mixture of laughing and crying showed me these ladies were making lemonade. It shows a huge strength when you’re able to laugh when you’re feeling completely miserable.

The lemons given to the highly sensitive people I guide are diverse:

  • Being brought up by parents who are not able to communicate about emotions,
  • Being fired away as a kid by an angry and dominant parent,
  • Too be sensitive is to be weird, dreamy, a crybaby, shy, fearful, anti-social in the eyes of others,
  • Because of childhood trauma’s still living out of fear, anger, sadness, shame and guilt as an adult,
  • Growing up in an environment in which natural born talents were not seen nor stimulated,
  • Living up to parent’s expectations in stead of discovering your own path in life.

It’s up to you to make lemonade out of these lemons. It’s not easy, but it is sure doable. And you will finally fully enjoy your home-made lemonade!

Choosing to emotionally develop takes you to different surprising tastes of lemonade:

  • Embracing your highly sensitive self; yes, you are spontaneous, yes you are quirky, yes you are dreamy, yes you are a “mind & heart”-reader, yes you are attentive to the needs of others, yes you are creative, yes you are … (fill in the blanks yourself),
  • Attracting jobs, relationship(s) and friends which and who resonate with your soul,
  • Feeling safe, loved and appreciated on a daily basis; from self-love comes greatness,
  • More physical and mental energy to do the things you like,
  • Able to choose easily for the situations in which you will thrive and easily turning down the proposals which will drain your energy level,
  • Living your own path and feeling natural self-confident about the steps you take.

If you’re interested in finding out what life coaching and rebirthing can bring you, I invite you to make an appointment for an introduction session, either in my coaching practice in The Hague or via video skype. Click here to read more about the introduction session. 

HSP: when perfectionism meets self-love

Photo by Hans Jongman

Do you know those people who want to do everything perfect? Who put lots of time and energy in investigating what stuff to buy or which holiday to book? Their minds are unstoppable, they go over different scenarios in little time. They have high standards and  if the product or service doesn’t live up to the standard you will definitely hear from them. Or they feel a strong need to change it themselves when they have the knowledge and skills to do so.

For example, this newly wedded couple went to Ireland for their honeymoon. They booked their 5-star honeymoon through a travel agency. From the moment they passed the doorstep of the hotel an awkward feeling crept up this man’s back, the perfectionist. When he saw a glimpse of the bathroom he almost jumped out of his skin. He was outraged. The shower was very basic plastic and it looked unclean. The toilet tank was constantly running. He was very disappointed. His mind flooded with thoughts of making a fuss with the hotel manager, fixing the bathroom flaws himself, pulling his hair  out of his head and filing a complaint at the travel agency. He didn’t put any of this in action, because of their newly wedded state. He didn’t want to make matters worse.

But meanwhile he had to calm himself down. If it was for him he would never ever book a trip like this anymore through a travel agency. He would rather book all the separate parts of the trip himself. He needed to control things. The need to control is certainly one of the characteristics of a perfectionist. In his mind he is, in most situations, the one who will do the job better. Because of this and because he want to see a certain outcome he feels the need to control others as well. As for receiving criticism, a perfectionist will take this very hard or won’t be bothered at all, because he himself is his worst critic.

Perfectionist usually don’t take time to relax. They use up all their time to perfect outcomes. Behind this behaviour there are different emotional needs hidden. There is this need to be acknowledged for who he is, for acceptance, for receiving compliments and enthusiasm for his input. He has a strong emotional need to be applauded, because up until this point his ego is his motor. If he doesn’t fuel up his ego he will collapse, because his soul is weakened and sad.

There is always this fight between the ego and the soul. What would fear do? Fear wants to flee or want to continually work on better performance. What would love do? Love would be happy with the path and the outcome as long as you had fun doing it. Don’t we all want to feel self-confident in a natural way? Perfectionists are insecure, cause who they are and what they do are not enough.

In order to heal from perfectionism I am strongly convinced these people need many encounters with love, unconditional love. If you are a perfectionist and you are reading this, ask yourself this question ‘What do I get when perfectionism meets self-love?’ Below I present to you the answers.

  • Transformation of the critical voice into a loving voice
  • Be a fun person around others when things don’t go as planned or when other people mess up
  • Imperfection: being ok with failing
  • Less thinking, more trusting on gut-feeling
  • Less energy in research, more into creating
  • Being able to receive compliments and give compliments
  • Being satisfied with whatever you accomplish
  • Being able to ask for help & delegate

I have seen these outcomes while coaching highly sensitive men who regard themselves as perfectionists. It’s pretty confronting, but if you had enough of your critical mind and you are curious and motivated to work towards building a natural self-confidence, it will be worth your time and effort.

Are you interested in an introduction session? Click here for more information and to book an appointment.