By Dr. Anya Hricko, Ph.D
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the world around you? Is it sometimes hard for you to know what
feelings belong to you and what feelings belong to others? Do you experience everything so much more intensely than other people? If so, you might be a HSP or highly sensitive person.
As challenging as it can be to be highly sensitive, it is also a wonderful gift. You have the capacity to experience life in vivid color and with a richness that others might miss. However, when you don’t know how to manage your sensitivity and master your gifts, it can feel like a burden.
An important key to mastering your sensitivity is knowing how to listen to and understand the language of your body. Your body holds your emotions, intuitions and wisdom otherwise unattainable. Yet, we are not taught how connect with the wisdom of our bodies. In fact, in modern culture we are often distracted away from our bodies and the messages they have for us. Part of this is reliance on technology and absence of connection with the natural world. Do you notice how you feel different when you are in nature? Perhaps calmer. The energy and vibration of nature is more aligned with our body and allows us to slow down and tune in. Without learning the language of the body, we are missing so much; especially help in managing overwhelm and sorting out emotions which live in the body.
Our bodies talk to us in sensation and intuition. Have you ever felt a strong gut instinct to take a certain action or to not do something? You may have noticed that when you listen to that impulse, it is often the right action for you. One challenge HSP’s have is knowing how to tune into their own unique GPS and not the world at large. Since HSP’s are deep processors and get overstimulated easily, life can feel overwhelming. This makes sorting your own intuition or even your own feelings tricky. Too much sensory information, too fast can cause HSP’s to leave their bodies, to disconnect.
The Benefits of Embodiment and Somatic Practices for HSP's
As a Somatic Therapist, I have noticed how difficult it is for my clients to enter the realm of embodiment. This is so understandable as body sensation can seem to add to the overwhelm. However, when one learns how to hone the instrument of the body, it can be a huge resource. When we shut off connection to the body and sensations, we are also disconnecting from positive sensations such as joy, pleasure and inner knowing. As Judith Blackstone, PhD said, “Inhabiting the body develops a sense of self-possession, and a sense of there being ‘someone at home.”
Being at home in your skin, in your body has a lot of advantages:
Embodiment increases the body/mind connection and can help you ground sensitivity and calm the nervous system.
Embodiment brings you into the present moment and helps with overwhelm.
Coming home to your body connects you with your intuition so that you know what is right for you in any moment.
Embodiment gives you a felt sense of your true self so you can feel what is yours and what is not. This strengthens your emotional and energetic boundaries.
Being in the body can be a refuge of safety where you can settle, slow things down and take your time processing life. It is just a matter of knowing how to create that safe space inside.
You can learn how to embody qualities you want like trust, safety, confidence, spaciousness. Our brains learn through experience and when you anchor a felt sense through your body, the brain gets it much easier than thinking your way through it. This is positive neuroplasticity and when you add both thought and embodiment together, you have a winning combination. So much more is possible.
Here's a Simple Experiment to Begin to Tune into the Language of Your Body. It is Also Very Useful for Making Good Decisions!
When you are struggling with a decision and not sure what way to go, call on your embodied wisdom. For, intuition lives in your body.
Let’s experiment finding your unique YES and your NO through felt sense.
When you have a strong sense of what feels like a full-bodied YES to you and a full-bodied NO to you, life and decision making becomes so much easier.
Take a few moments to sense your body. Feel your feet on the floor, feel your breath flowing in and out. By the way, the breath is a bridge between body and mind and is another great tool to tap into the body/mind connection.
When you have landed home in your body. Try telling yourself a simple untruth, like my name is and then say a name other than yours. Now notice what your body does. Do you feel a tenseness, constriction, even a sense of pulling away? There is no right answer, this is unique to you. To me, I feel almost a shutting down as if my body knows this is a lie (which it does).
When you get a good sense of a NO this is not true. Shake it out, then try telling your body your real name. For example, my name is Anya. Notice now what happens inside. For me, I feel an ease, an openness, no resistance. Truth often feels more open and spacious in your body.
If you practice this a few times, you will get a strong sense of your unique barometer for what feels right to you, your YES and what feels wrong for you, your No.
This is just the beginning of what is possible when you tap into your body’s intelligence and wisdom. It is also exceptionally helpful for HSP’s to sort out the overwhelming amount of information that they deal with daily.
Stayed tuned for more tips on somatic practices that help HSP’s. if you’d like to work more personally to really begin to integrate the body’s wisdom into your life and master your sensitive gifts. Visit www.dranyahricko.com There you can contact Dr. Anya or Book a Free 20 minute consult.