Archive for hsp

Feb
24

Hidden Stressors-Part Two

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In a previous post I wrote about how my symptoms were beginning to flare, and how I prayed and got some insights into why.

The first was that I wasn’t honoring my sensitive nature enough, i.e. that I have the inborn trait of Sensory Processing Sensitivity: a nervous system that’s more finely tuned than 80% of the population. That makes me a Highly Sensitive Person.

The second insight was related to the first, but with more of an emphasis on recovery: Your nervous system needs to recover from the traumas you’ve been through.

I have known for a while now that Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) characterized my past, ever since I came across Dr. Jonice Webb’s excellent books, Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect and Running on Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships with Your Partner, Your Parents and Your Children. (You can take the CEN questionnaire on my Free Tools page.)

I believed that I had overcome it all by now, between The Healing Codes and some therapy.

However, when my mother died and I had to deal with settling her estate with a co-executor (sister-in-law), I saw just what my family of origin really was like. A plethora of traumas revealed themselves—though a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought of them as traumas.

That’s the thing—what our nervous system interprets as trauma might not be what our adult minds interpret as trauma. Read More→

Feb
18

Hidden Stressors-Part One

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All your physical issues are from stress,” my doctor told me. They were the last words I would ever hear from her; she passed away shortly after.

But haven’t I been working on reducing stress for all these years with The Healing Codes?

The answer is yes. And they have helped tremendously. I honestly don’t think I’d even be alive now if I hadn’t been doing all I’ve done since I got my various diagnoses before The Healing Codes (osteoporosis, IBS, GERD, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, PTSD).

The Healing Codes, Halo, the c.Balance (now upgraded to the HOLOS) have all helped me not be hampered much in my daily life by these diagnosed conditions.

Now, however, the symptoms started popping up again, worsening. Why?

As always, I prayed for insight into this. Were there hidden stressors of which I wasn’t aware?

What came up surprised me.

  • You haven’t been honoring your Highly Sensitive nature enough.

  • Your nervous system needs to recover from the traumas you’ve been through.

  • You are finally ready.

Part One: The High Sensitivity Piece

I’ve known for a while that I have this trait around 20% of all species share, in which the nervous system is wired differently. Dr. Elaine Aron explains in her ground-breaking book, The Highly Sensitive Person, which put this trait on the psychological map, that HSPs are like a different breed. Great Danes and border collies are both clearly dogs, but they are quite different. So, too, HSPs and non-HSPs are human, but they are actually quite different in many ways.

(Find out more about whether you’re a Highly Sensitive Person here.)

Maybe for you, sensitivity isn’t the issue. Maybe it’s some other kind of “diversity” that is part of your nature that you’ve not been honoring.

Maybe it’s that you’re an introvert who gets energy from reflection and alone time, and you’ve always been pushed to be more outgoing. Or vice versa. Maybe it’s that you have ADD/ADHD and your brain works differently than others.

Whatever it is that may set you apart a little, so that you tend to push it away rather than honor it, could be a hidden stressor for you.

I’ve known about being Highly Sensitive, but I haven’t been living it.

I hadn’t been honoring my need to process things deeply and thoroughly, for one. The last few years have been particularly stressful for me. On top of all the stress of the pandemic (and HSPs, by the way, are more susceptible to Emotional Inflammation), there were several personal traumas: dealing with a mold issue in the home; settling my sister-in-law’s estate out of state and fending off a crook; breaking my foot; 16 months of hell settling my mother’s estate (with all the family of origin issues that brought up); and a devastating diagnosis of a close family member.

If you’re Highly Sensitive, you need to realize that such stresses affect you more deeply than other people. You take in more information than most people. You are more sensitive to subtle stimuli than most people. And then you absolutely need to process all that you are taking in!

I’ve written about my current focus on subtraction. As a HSP, I need to be aware of (and limit as much as possible) the amount of information that’s coming to me. More information = more needed processing time. When life piles up, and I don’t get that processing time, my symptoms seem to flare.

So ways I’m trying to honor my HS nature more is to limit the amount of information I take in, and then making time to process it completely.

This often means saying no to social engagements, no matter how enticing they seem. I have to stand strong when someone tells me why it would be so good to attend X. (Ever notice how many people think they know what’s right for you? Often, what’s right for “most people” isn’t right for an HSP.)

I’m also the kind of HSP who seeks a lot of mental stimulation and loves to learn. I need to resist the temptation to sign up for yet one more masterclass or telesummit. I have to revisit my own goals often and tell myself, “My commitment to (my goal) is more important than this (distraction) right now.”

Honoring my HS nervous system also means changing my environment. I’m finding that clutter really gets to me these days. I subtract as much from my environment as I can. Someone said every object in your home has a “to-do list” or a message attached to it. So true!

  • The pile of papers cries out, “Pay me, file me, check me for sales!”
  • The unused clothes in your closet castigate you: “When will you lose weight so that beautiful outfit will fit you again?”
  • The old computer monitor in the spare room? You might need it someday, if you current monitor goes out.
  • And what about the files and photos on your phone or computer? Shouldn’t those be organized so you can find them more easily?

Guilt, anxiety, feeling like you’re “not enough” or not doing enough creep in with these messages. If you’re HS, not only do you feel those things—you also feel them more intensely!

Perhaps these things don’t overwhelm you like they do me. But if they do, know that doing even a little clutter control every day will help you feel calmer and more organized.

I need the downtime to process. I need more sleep than I’m getting. I need to allow myself to feel. I need to be aware that I take in a lot of information and to do what I can to both limit it and manage it.

I need to honor my sensitive nature. Without, I might add, feeling guilty or “less than” because of these needs.

If you have seen a flare up of symptoms you thought you had healed, know you’re not alone. Many of my clients and friends are also experiencing this. Whether you’re Highly Sensitive or not, there are likely hidden stressors that are chipping away at your resilience.

Do what you can to identify those stressors, and heal what you can.

In future posts I will explore more about hidden stressors: how to identify them, what to do about them. Including hidden traumas—the second piece of the insight that was given me.

Stay tuned!

 

On one of my routine checkups, my doctor reminded me of four pillars of health: sleep, nutrition, stress management, exercise.

When I googled “pillars of health” I came up with anywhere from 3-12 suggestions.

Most of them mentioned, in one way or another, “connections.” It is this that has taken the biggest hit with the pandemic, yet it’s so crucial to our emotional, spiritual, and even physical health.

So today I’d like to guide you to explore what your “crucial connections” are, if and how they’ve become disconnected during the pandemic, and how you can reconnect.

Read More→

Dec
21

Gifts from My Mentors

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From Thanksgiving to Christmas, I like to acknowledge the people who have enriched my life during the past year.

This includes, of course, my personal friends and colleagues. But you don’t know them. You can know and benefit from some of my “virtual mentors,” and those are the ones I want to tell you about.

As I reflected on those whose work has enriched either my spirit, soul, mind or body through sharing their expertise, several people came to mind.

Spirit. The most influential–and healing–approach I have ever come across is the Immanuel Approach, developed by Dr. Karl Lehman, a psychiatrist and the author of Outsmarting Yourself and The Immanuel Approach (which we Immanuel Prayer ministers, and he, refer to as “the big lion book” because it’s exhaustive at 759 pages!). From Outsmarting Yourself, I learned about “implicit memory” and how we get triggered, and how to calm body and mind. Dr. Karl Lehman’s work is all about how to let God come in and be with you in the pain, and thus heal it.

I was trained by Margaret Webb and Jessie Handy from Alive and Well in Immanuel Prayer, and continued with training from Dr. Karl Lehman through his Advanced Training seminar and meetings in which local prayer ministers gathered to watch and discuss a video of Dr. Lehman facilitating someone in Immanuel Approach. I also meet regularly with other prayer ministers to give and receive Immanuel Prayer.

Now I run group sessions I call Immanuel Connections, in which we meet once a month to connect with Immanuel and allow him to show us what lies we are believing, and what the truth is, among other things. These are very powerful sessions! I invite you to sign up below to download information on how it works, and receive an invitation to the next call as my guest.

Read More→

Dec
06

Settling into the Energy of “Enough”

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My daughter asked me the other day, “What can I get for you for Christmas and your birthday?” (which happen to be one and the same day). It was Cyber Monday, you see, and she wanted to shop online.

She had asked me the same question on Black Friday. As I thought then, and the other day, about what I needed, I was coming up blank.

For the past few months, I have been “editing my life” by eliminating things that were not truly essential or important to me. This arose from a feeling of chronic overwhelm, which I was working on healing. I realized part of the answer to overwhelm lay in subtracting clutter of all kinds that had somehow accumulated when I wasn’t paying attention.

So when my daughter asked me what I wanted or needed, my first thoughts were of things that you can’t find in a store or online, things you can’t wrap and put under a tree.  A greater sense of margin in my life. Hope that the future will be better, for myself and the world, despite many signs that things are going in the opposite direction.

I realized as I pondered what my daughter could joyfully give me, and I could joyfully receive (for gift giving is my primary “love language“), that I already have all I need. Anything she or anyone could give me would just be icing on the already-sweet cake that was my life.

I have a wonderful husband, two amazing, loving adult children who are on their own and who enjoy being with each other and their parents. I have a home that, while it could use some updating by the world’s standards, suits us very well. I have plenty of clothes (still getting rid of some), I know how to cook wonderful and healthy food. I have a reliable car (which I seldom need to drive because I work from home). I have work I love, many people I love, and I’m (finally) part of a caring community, both in my church and a smaller, more informal group that loves to connect with Immanuel and grow in grace.

I am in the process of understanding and healing the wounds of my past, and I have amazing tools that help me get and stay healthy. I am also coming to better understand my (and my husband’s and son’s) trait of High Sensitivity, and am learning to thrive as an HSP and help others to do so as well (a huge percentage of my clients are Highly Sensitive People, and The Healing Codes are particularly well suited to the deep healing HSPs need).

Is my life perfect? No, not by a long stretch. There are secret sorrows as well as the frustrations most people face in this modern world. However, when I dwell on the things that matter that I mention above, the “less than ideal” aspects fade into the background of gratitude.

CC BY by kevin dooley

What do I need, what do I want? All I need was given by the One whose coming I celebrate on December 25, the One whose birth was announced by angels with a song about “peace on earth, good will toward humankind.”

Settling into the energy of “enough,” I’m finding great peace.

One of the “Truth Focus Statements” I like to use when working on healing my “not enough” issues is: “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough. I know enough. There is enough.” I have added this to the Truth Focus Statements that are available here for free.

Oct
26

How to Fully Process a Feeling

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Do you know how to fully process your emotions?

I sure didn’t, for most of my life.  I grew up in a family where emotions were never talked about. (I now know it’s called Childhood Emotional Neglect.) Sometimes people were angry or sad (hardly anything else), but I never saw anyone work through any of it, not even when something really tragic happened. I got the sense that feelings were a great inconvenience to other people. So I just stuffed them.

Making things worse, for me, was that I was born with the trait of High Sensitivity Processing, shared by 15-20% of the population. One of the four main aspects of the trait is “emotional responsiveness.” As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I was literally wired to be emotional. Yet it was a language that wasn’t spoken. No wonder I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere!

It wasn’t until I met April, in my twenties, that I got a clue that emotions might actually be useful. April was the first truly emotionally healthy person I had ever met up to that point. 

I got to know April really well from being in a small group at my church with her and her husband Bob, among others, for many years. She would regularly ask, “How do you feel about that?” or “How are you really?” And you knew she really cared, so you opened up to her. No surprise that she went on to become a licensed social worker, and a very successful therapist.

I recently saw April, and she spoke openly about what it’s been like to grieve the loss of her wonderful husband, Bob, with whom she had been in love since they were both 13. Bob was very special to my husband and me, as well.

Talking to April again, seeing how thoroughly she was processing her grief, reminded me how important it is to know how to feel and work through emotions so that they are fully processed. I hope what follows will help you in your own healing work. Read More→

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I wrote already about a course I took with Julie Bjelland, about how to embody the gifts of High Sensitivity, otherwise known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity.

I am thrilled to announce that Julie has started a very reasonably-priced membership site, Sensitive Empowerment.

This global community will not only give you a way to continue to get some of Julie’s best teachings, but also to learn from experts she will interview. For instance, a naturopathic doctor will be talking about “How to Care for Your Highly Sensitive Body.” Replays of interviews, QA with Julie will also be available.

Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of membership, however, is the community you will connect to. Validation of our trait is one of our main needs as Highly Sensitive People. Read More→

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Tonight I met with my first client from China to do a Coach-Guided Healing Code.

It got me to thinking about the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with over the past 9 years of being a certified Healing Codes Coach-Practitioner, and what I’ve learned and observed.

First, I have the most wonderful clients in the world. Surprisingly, the vast majority of my clients are also Highly Sensitive. It’s surprising only because Highly Sensitive People only make up around 20% of the population, yet they comprise at least 80% of my clients. Perhaps it’s because The Healing Codes are so attractive to HSPs. It is a gentle process that involves meditation–an approach well-suited to HSPs.

With only one exception (more on that below), all of my clients are remarkably motivated to heal. Many of them have had overwhelming obstacles to overcome–abuse of all kinds, tremendous health challenges, financial hardships, and difficult relationship issues.

Yet they are not giving up! They are not victims. And, because of their commitment to their own healing, they do overcome. Many have dramatic breakthroughs.

These clients bolster my faith in the human spirit. Most people do want to be healthy and happy. God put that desire into us, and I believe he works with us to bring that about. With that commitment and help from God, it’s amazing how much people can overcome.

The one exception? A client with ALS whose doctor brought him to me as a last resort. The doctor warned me that she had little hope of his recovering, and soon I learned why. The man was completely devoid of love for anyone, including himself. I think we got through two sessions. I doubt he ever did his custom codes. He died of his illness within a few weeks of when I talked to him. His doctor said she wasn’t surprised, but had hoped that something could break through to him. Without his commitment to himself, however, no help could get through. Read More→

Aug
14

Your Personal Trainer for the Brain

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I recently attended Julie Bjelland’s class, “7 Steps to Embody the Gifts of Your Sensitivity” and I have to say, it has caused some major positive shifts in me.

Rarely has anything had this kind of effect on me so quickly. Putting into practice just a couple of Julie’s suggestions has also helped my husband (who is also Highly Sensitive). So I just have to tell you about this.

Julie calls herself a “personal trainer for the brain,” and it’s refreshing to see her science-based approach. In the first class, Julie explained how the HSP’s brain is different (more activity in amygdala and insula, which is why we process things so deeply, feel and perceive everything), and how to activate the calming centers in the brain.

She gave us very specific but easy things to do to “drain the container” of all we take in–which is much more than non-HSPs. She explained why we need to process our experiences, how to do that–and what will happen if we don’t. Read More→

Dec
08

How “Selfishness” is Helping Me Heal

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When I was a child, I somehow got the idea from my family that I couldn’t have what I wanted.

When I asked for gymnastic lessons, my mother couldn’t be bothered with taking me back and forth to lessons.

When I asked if I could learn to play the piano, she said crossly, “Where would we fit a piano in this house?”

I’ve written about how I was triggered on Fourth of July by memories of never getting a helium balloon at the parade, and how that and other things led to my forming the beliefs, “I can’t have what I desire. Other people will think I’m selfish and reject me if I do or ask for what feels right for me.”

Which eventually led to a feeling of guilt and shame for even desiring anything pleasurable. Which eventually shut me down.

Hearing teachings by various spiritual leaders only reinforced the idea: It’s selfish to seek what I desire, wrong to seek pleasure and avoid pain. One renowned religious radio teacher even said repeatedly, “If you have a choice between the easy way and the hard way, always choose the hard way” (because it will build character).

Being part of the 15-20% of the population whose nervous system is programmed differently only made things worse. Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) are literally wired to feel both pleasure and pain even more acutely than others. To deny us the pleasure and say we shouldn’t avoid the pain cuts us off from the essence of who we are. Also, to shame us when what we desire or need is different is also very damaging. (I was called “Little Miss Fuss-Budget” by my father because things bothered me that didn’t bother other people, like scratchy clothing. I was supposed to endure things that bothered me because I “wasn’t supposed to” be bothered by them.)

Was it any wonder that I had trouble feeling joy, or indeed, anything?

And was it any wonder that I developed poor boundaries, allowing other people to take advantage of me because I was ignoring the emotions that warned me to avoid pain? (Uneasiness, anxiousness, outrage, disgust.)

Well, I’m healing from all that. Here’s what I’m doing.

Steps to Healing

The first step is to recognize the lies.

As human beings, we were created to seek fulfillment, to go after pleasure and avoid pain.

We seek the pleasure of eating, so we are nourished. We seek the pleasure of relationship, so we seek community, we bond and procreate.

Of course we can seek pleasure in ways that are ultimately destructive. When we seek only our own desires, at the expense of others, we harm them and ourselves. We can try to avoid pain through destructive means, too. But that doesn’t negate the validity of  seeking to fulfill our desires and avoid pain in legitimate ways.

In fact, I believe God puts desires into our hearts so that he can feel the pleasure of fulfilling them.

Think about how how you try to find the perfect gift that will really make the recipient feel loved, special, known. Isn’t that what God does for us? I believe he finds joy when we receive his gifts with pleasure and joy. (I wrote a whole book, Abundant Gifts, about the transforming power of looking for and receiving God’s gifts.)

And doesn’t God try to warn us to avoid things that will cause us pain? The Word of God is filled with cautions not to do certain things because he knows they would be bad for us.

The second step was to renounce the lies, and embrace the truth. I did Healing Codes to heal the memories that led to my believing the lies. I infused the truth that it’s OK and good to let my legitimate desires and needs be more of a priority, and to take better care of myself.

The third step was to incorporate the new beliefs into my everyday life. I made a list of things that give me pleasure, and I incorporate those into my life whenever possible. I focus on savoring the simple things.

Not surprisingly, I’m finding my stress load lessening dramatically. My joy is increasing.

Also, I took a good look at what was causing me pain. A couple of key relationships that now felt toxic to me came to mind. Painful as it was, I cut off those relationships.

Again, my stress load lessened by quite a bit. I did Healing Codes to help heal the grief of letting go of the relationships.

I believe that a big part of healing and mastering the stress in our lives has to do with seeking pleasure and avoiding pain in life-giving ways.

The key is recognizing temporary vs. more lasting pleasure and pain, and to find life-giving ways to do both.

Life-giving is key. It often means we may give up a temporary pleasure for a more lasting satisfaction. We’re still seeking pleasure, but it’s a more permanent pleasure. And sometimes that includes embracing a little pain, but again, you’re exchanging temporary pain for lasting pleasure.

An example might be teaching your child to clean his room. He may act ornery, and as if he hates you even, but you are willing to put up with that because you set your gaze on the more lasting pleasure of having a child who knows how to take care of things. (And in the long run, it means less work for you.)

If you can relate to what I’ve been saying, I encourage you to list what gives you pleasure, what is causing pain. Look at the beliefs you might have that are blocking you from embracing pleasure and/or avoiding pain in legitimate ways. See if you can identify memories attached to those lies. Use The Healing Codes or healing prayer to heal those memories.

Then, add as much pleasure, avoid as much pain as you can. Life has enough suffering that we can’t avoid. Let’s not let guilt or shame or a false sense of what it means to be a “good person” keep us from embracing the abundant life God has for us (John 10:10).

And if you need any help with identifying and healing those lies and memories, I’m always available for custom coaching with The Healing Codes at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

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