Post Traumatic Growth:
Plenty of people have heard about post traumatic stress disorder. But did you know that stress is not the only possible side-effect of adversity and trauma? It turns out that some (roughly 50 – 70 percent of people, in fact) go through trauma and walk away from it stronger than before.
There are a couple of questions I had. First…do we have to experience trauma to gleam these benefits? Could we, for example, create a deliberate exercise to help us grow and increase our capacity even if we haven’t endured a horrific event? Second – let’s say I have endured a traumatic event…are there TOOLS I can use to optimize my chance of growing (rather than forever being a victim of the whims of my stress)? What are those tools?
These are the elements I cover in today’s podcast.
Embracing Your Inner Trickster: Reframing Adversity
Highly sensitive people are often more deeply affected by adversity. They feel all the feels…so it’s natural they would feel pain more acutely. BUT – highly sensitive people tend to also be more creative and more resilient than the average person. They are able to take difficult circumstances and create something beautiful from the ashes.
In this episode, I’m not going to talk about stress management. Instead, I’m going to talk about how to reframe adversity so that you have an entirely different relationship with it. In honor of April Fool’s Day, I am centering the conversation on how to cultivate your inner trickster. Your inner fool. Your inner beginner.
Finding Your Purpose in Dark Times
In my last episode, I talked about the importance of having a “something larger” to appeal to during difficult times. After my podcast, my boyfriend asked “but how does one go about finding their “something larger?” I promised I would think on it. A few days later, I facilitated a workshop on “navigating burnout” for HSP’s. After the workshop, someone asked…”yeah…but what if I have been DOING all those things you said are good for me, and I’m STILL burned out?” I realized that while each question was asked in a separate context (and were seemingly unrelated) they were really two sides of the same coin. When we are burned out and cannot go further, that is when we need our something larger. But that same burnout will make finding our “something larger” all the more challenging (if we don’t already have an idea in mind). In this episode, I cover what burnout is, and the common tools used to help ease our suffering around it. I talk about the importance of having, in particular, a “something larger”…and then I discuss the kinds of questions that might help us to find what our “something larger” is when we don’t currently have on in place (or at least don’t think that we do).
Highly sensitive people have a tendency to be adaptable. Copacetic. Harmonious. Why? Because we hate conflict. Duh. But sometimes, in life, we really need to be able to stand firm and be clear about what our needs are. This podcast is about identifying what our non-negotiable are and finding ways to articulate them effectively.
Highly sensitive people and introverts tend to like harmony. Calm. Pleasant and low-stimulus environments. Friction and conflict? No thanks. But might there be value in being willing to stand firm and endure the discomfort of friction? Is it possible that friction is a necessary ingredient for a meaningful life? For meaningful relationships? In this episode I’ll talk about how friction benefits our environment, our political landscapes, our relationships…and even can lead to personal growth within ourselves.
The Power of Honesty:
Honesty is the best policy. That’s what we are told. Except…is it? People who are honest appear to have better relationships and better health outcomes. But are there occasions when honesty is not the best policy? Should we all just be saying what we think at all times? Unfiltered? In this episode, we’ll cover the benefits of being honest…with ourselves and with others. We’ll also talk about the key ingredients you need to be both honest and effective.
How Much News is the Right Amount of News?
With a world trying to acclimate to a new normal with Covid, economic concerns, and in the case of the United States…an election…it’s tempting to keep hitting the “refresh” button on our news feed. But to what degree is that helpful? Is it better to just avoid the news altogether? Or is there a sweet spot we can reach where we are informed enough to do what we need to do…but not so inundated with information that we feel paralyzed by it?
Episode 63: “S” is for “Sensitive” Not for “Special”
When I say I work with “highly sensitive people” I often get one of two responses. I either get “oooohhh…that’s super cool! You mean those super special people that are unique and awesome?” OR I get “Eewwwwwe. That sounds gross. Is it contagious?”
My aim with this podcast is to simply create a conversation about what it is to have a more vigilant nervous system…one that NEUTRALIZES the trait. It comes with some perks as well as some pitfalls.
In this episode, I try and demystify what it is to have “sensory processing sensitivity” and I talk about our strengths…and our weaknesses. In particular, I talk about the importance of WORKING on our challenges to become more robust, well-rounded people.
Episode 62: How to Be a Healthy and Productive Sensitive
Highly sensitive people, contrary to what others might think, tend to be extremely productive. They are creative, intuitive, and capable homo-sapiens, I can assure you. The catch is that they really need to find systems for organizing themselves and their time that honors their specific needs and temperament. In this episode, I’ll cover a wide variety of examples that highly productive people have used in order to get a lot done, without feeling overwhelmed. I’ll also talk about how HSP’s can hack their system and get a lot done while keeping their health intact.
Episode 61: Collaboration and Leadership
What makes a country…GREAT.
In looking at this pandemic meets economic question mark, I’ve definitely been preoccupied with that idea. It’s easy for some of us to look to countries like China and say “daaaang. They really know how to pandemic. Why can’t we do that?!?” But does that mean China is the best country in general? I would argue not…but I’m also biased.
But shifting gears, is America the greatest? We certainly have the strongest military. We have a pretty strong economy (well…for now). We celebrate the individual and I would argue that’s a good thing. But when it comes to situations that require social cohesion…we often flounder.
How can we integrate both individualism alongside social cohesion? The answer, so far as I can tell, is with good leadership.
In this episode, I talk about social determination theory, motivation, and research surrounding what makes a good leader and what kinds of leaders are able to both hold the space for each person’s autonomy while also facilitating collaboration.
Episode 60: Being a Part of the Solution:
There is no doubt that we are in uncertain times right now…but the thing is – WE ALWAYS WERE. It’s just that now it is being presented to us directly. So how can we navigate these times effectively (not just surviving it, but being a part of the solution). And beyond that, how can we carry the lessons we learn from this experience into the future so that we can navigate uncertainty in ANY situation? In this episode I’ll talk about practical tips and tools you can employ to not just protect yourself, but ARM yourself. You will walk away with a sense that you can not just use this time to stay safe, you can use this time to flourish.
Episode 58: Work with a Capital “W”
David Whyte, in his book The Three Marriages, talks about how there are three commitments we hold as central in our lives: our work, a relationship to a significant other, and the relationship we foster within ourselves. In this episode, we will talk about that first one – our work. I invite you to consider what it is you love doing enough that you’re willing to put up with all the crap that comes with it. I discuss my own work marriage (my marriage with my writing) and share some of my work to give as an example. Ultimately, what I hops is that this is an invitation to consider doing the thing that brings you joy in the midst of celebration…and brings you comfort even in the darkest of times in your life.
Episode 57: Mindfulness:
When we think about being “mindful” we often think about being calm. Kind. Compassionate. All that might be a byproduct of mindfulness but that isn’t mindfulness, itself. In fact, sometimes being mindful might require being assertive. Sharp. Even cruel on the surface of things. Come as I turn some of our most beloved assumptions about mindfulness on their head.
Episode 56: Pacing Our Creativity
If you want to run a marathon, you can’t do it by sprinting all 26.2 miles of it. You need to know how to pace yourself. You need to know when you can push, and when you need to dial back. You need to know when you have to stop at the rest table and get a sip of water, and when you can push past them and get to the next rest stop.
It turns out the same applies to our work. Even (perhaps especially) our capital “W” work. Our passion project. Our practice. Our dharma. Highly sensitive people are a creative lot. They are tremendously productive. The trouble is that we sometimes allow our enthusiasm to override our need to recharge. We take on more than we should because we WANT so badly to do it all. Be it all. Help all the people. Write all the books.
In this episode, I’ll discuss the importance of learning how to pace ourselves – even in the things we love most. Or, rather, I’ll share my challenges with it and invite you to propose solutions should you have them.
Episode 55: Walk That Talk – Conversation with Katie Hodges
So often when we see people going off and daring greatly…we only see the fruits of their labor LOOOONG after they are a big success. We don’t see the long process it took to get there. We don’t see the trials and errors. In this episode, Katie Hodges (an entrepreneur, coach, mother, and bold leader in her community) jumps on the podcast with me to talk about living a creative life, being brave, and most importantly…being willing to be vulnerable and messy in the service of building something new. She’s my she-ro and I feel tremendously grateful to have had her on the show. I hope you enjoy our goofy, messy and very real conversation.
Episode 54: Making Failure a Practice
I’m all about supporting my fellow HSP’s and Introverts who want to live BIG…live their BEST lives (the trick being finding a way to do it that doesn’t drive your health to the pavement). But there is one complication that needs discussion: failure. As in…what if I put myself out there and fail?
Avoiding failure doesn’t really seem like a viable option. Any time you take a risk, you’re going to experience failure AT SOME POINT. Most people understand this. But HSP’s tend to have a particularly hard time with failure and criticism.
So what is to be done about it? How can we take risks without getting pummeled?
In this podcast I won’t talk about avoiding failure…instead, I’ll talk about how to fail better. This is a conversation about changing our relationship with failure so that we stop being afraid to fail, and instead embrace it as a necessary step toward success.
Episode 53: Discipline, Independence, and Detachment
Resolutions. Goals. Achievements. Dreams.
It’s lovely to talk about them and imagine what it might be like to bring them to life. But what does it really take to make it happen? And what if you work and toil only to discover that the goals you put in motion don’t manifest the way you thought they would? Or what if they don’t provide the joy you thought they would?
In this episode I’ll talk about how discipline can lead, counter-intuitively to freedom; and how the best way to achieve a dream may be to completely detach from it.
Episode 52: Goals
It’s not only a new year, but a whole new decade…not to mention an election year. It seems like a great opportunity to try new challenges. There is just one problem…did you know that 80 percent of people who have New Years fail to maintain them by February of that same year?
Sooo…what is that other 20 percent doing differently? How might you learn from their success?
Come and find out!
Episode 51: Christmas (do I have to?)
Many highly sensitive people report feeling ambivalent during the Christmas holiday. This is true regardless of whether one actually celebrates it. It makes sense. It’s an awful lot of sensory overload. Music and lights and traffic and shopping extravaganzas. It can feel a bit much. In this episode, I fess up to my personal ambivalence about Christmas. I also speak to the history of Christmas. You might be interested to know that celebrating in over-the-top ways has been a things for years. As in…hundreds of years. Long before we were celebrating as “Christmas.” If you are looking to find a way to possibly strike a truce with this famous (infamous?) holiday, join me!
Episode 50: Loneliness
Everywhere you turn, now, people are talking about “loneliness.” Not only is it a problem…apparently it’s a full blown epidemic!
In this episode I’ll talk in more detail about what loneliness actually is. I’ll discuss how it relates to our health and longevity. I’ll talk about how this relates to HSP’s in particular. Finally, I’ll talk about some of the things I have tried, personally, to reduce the sensation of loneliness when it arises (as well as the research that backs up its efficacy).
Episode 49: The Shadow Side of Being an HSP
You’ve probably heard it at least once: “You’re too sensitive.”
Can one actually be too sensitive?
In this episode, I discuss some of the shadow traits of many people with sensory processing sensitivity. I talk about why those traits are so common with HSP’s and what we can do to offset some of those less desirable characteristics and make improvements on how we navigate the world.
Episode 48: Emotions
We all know the story. In our brains, we are constantly fighting between our emotions and our rationality. It’s why we find instant gratification so alluring (our emotional brain is trying to win out). It’s why we are enamored with characters like Spock (he’s beaten out his emotions). But what if we are wrong? What if everything we thought was true about emotions and the way we express them are …false? What would this mean for research on highly sensitive people? In this episode, we’ll talk about Lisa Feldman Barrett’s research and her book “How Emotions are Made.” We’ll talk about what that means for highly sensitive people (both with respect to how we interpret our own emotions as well as how we interpret the emotions of others.)
Episode 47: Labels
Who are you?
That’s a question that has been plaguing philosophers for years (and one that still pulls at us even now). In this episode, I talk about the kinds of labels we use to describe ourselves (gender, race, class). I invite listeners to gently challenge the idea that any label can fully encapsulate what it means to be you. This is even true for the label of “highly sensitive person.” Use labels only so long as they are useful…and be willing to hold them very lightly.
Episode 46: Networking as an HSP
Okay…you’re an HSP. You’re an introvert. Or maybe you’re both. You’ve decided that you’ve got the stamina (emotional…intellectual…physical) to be an entrepreneur. Or to go after your big D “Dream” job. You’ve amassed all the education you need. Now if you could just find a way to get the word out…
Or maybe you’ve simply decided that your life is lovely and mellow enough that you’d really like to invite some new people into it. Maybe you want a new partner. Or you just want to create a more robust tribe.
My friend…you will have to network. To meet your people you will, in fact, have to meet them.
But how can an HSP do that successfully (without being miserable)? Come and find out.
Episode 45: Building Community as an HSP/Introvert
Many people (even some of us HSP’s) mistakenly think that community is not as important for highly sensitive people and introverts as it might be for extroverted types. But that just isn’t true. We might relish quiet time and solitude, but that doesn’t mean we don’t also need connection. So how do we satisfy both of these needs? How do we embrace what it means to be an introvert while also engaging in social events? How do we gently push the boundaries of our solitude bubble without feeling inauthentic when we do? In this episode we’ll discuss the challenges we face in this area as HSP and strategies that might help marry self acceptance alongside social connection.
Episode 44: Weight Management for HSP’s
What does it really take to lose weight and keep it off? Is it really as simple as “eat less and move more?” Is anyone ever successful at weight loss? What are the specific challenges that introverts and HSP’s face with weight loss? What assets do they bring to the table? These are the questions we cover in this week’s episode.
Still hungry for more information? Check out these articles!
Episode 43: I’m Just Curious…
Many self help books talk about how to get “happy,” but ironically…sometimes chasing happiness leads to more of its opposite. Instead, it can be more affective to look at how to develop a meaningful life. One that is rich with purpose. One that is interesting. In this episode, I’ll discuss how and why curiosity may just be the secret ingredient to having a truly rich life (and specifically why that might be important for HSP).
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Episode 42: Travel Like an HSP Pro
Do you ever find yourself in that weird conundrum where you WANT to travel…but you just cringe at the thought of what it will require of you? Well I have good news. You don’t actually have to get completely wiped out in exchange for a few days in a new place. You can even end up feeling relaxed at the end of the journey rather than merely exhausted. Come find out how (I’ll also share some of the tidbits I learned on my most recent conference trip in Boston!)
Episode 41: Setting Boundaries
It’s great to be open…vulnerable…available. But sometimes being too open can be a serious liability. It can lead us to feel overwhelmed. Overcommitted. Resentful. It leaves others around us feeling confused. What did they do? Why are you so upset? You never complained about doing this before…
This episode is about setting healthy boundaries so that you feel more productive, less stressed and so that you can have much more fulfilling relationships with other people.