Do people constantly tell you that you’re overreacting? Do you often catch yourself acting irrationally and wonder how you can be less sensitive?
While sensitivity is an amazing quality to have, it’s wise to dial it down at times.
That’s why today we bring you powerful brain training strategies on how to be less sensitive.
Let’s dive in!
1. Learn Self-Acceptance and Self Compassion
The more you fight your sensitive nature and the situations triggering it, the more you blow up in oversensitivity. That’s why you need to accept who you currently are and learn to treat yourself kindly while focusing on becoming less sensitive.
So how can we do it?
Here are self-acceptance statements for HSPs:
- “I am a sensitive person and that’s okay.”
- “Someone might call me “reactive” or a “crybaby” and that’s okay. Although I personally don’t describe myself in such terms, I can say am a highly sensitive person.”
- “I’ve discovered that my high sensitivity makes me a better friend and helps me perceive the world more deeply. However, I understand that it can be overwhelming for others at times.”
- “I tend to be emotionally triggered by several things which is normal for highly sensitive people. However, I’m gradually working on becoming less sensitive for more balance.”
- “Although I’m working on becoming less reactive as an HSP, I can never become an entirely different person – I wouldn’t want to anyway. I simply want to become the best version of myself.”
While accepting yourself as an emotionally sensitive person, you must be compassionate, treating yourself as you’d treat your friend. This way, you can learn fast how to wisely manage your emotional sensitivity for more productivity.
2. Practice Assertive Communication
Assertive communication is expressing yourself directly and clearly while remaining respectful to others. Don’t we all want that?
However, highly sensitive people tend to go aggressive or suppressive on their emotions. If you’re one of them, you can confirm either of these statements:
- You often feel misunderstood or unheard or unappreciated and find it hard to express these feelings to others since you’re trying to not hurt their feelings.
- You oftentimes overreact to situations.
- You avoid conflict altogether since you don’t know how to express your needs without things getting dramatic.
This way of living is really frustrating, isn’t it? Well, there’s a better way.
If you communicate with someone assertively, you can start handling conflicts like a pro without having to change who you are. And here are tips to help you out:
- Use “I” instead of “You” statements: For instance, instead of, “You’re always on your phone while we’re supposed to be having just “Us” time!” say, “I usually feel abandoned and undervalued when you constantly check your phone while we’re together.” Less confrontational and gets the point across powerfully.
- Validate other people’s needs and your own: Take your time to analyze highly sensitive situations and come up with validating statements such as, “I understand you need the work done before tomorrow but unfortunately I’ve known about this too late and need to meet my family for dinner.”
- Practice working out win-win solutions: For the example above for instance you can add, “How about I come early in the morning and work on the project?”
- Relax your body and tone so that your words match your body language.
You can learn more about assertive communication by checking out our guide on assertive anger.
3. Use This Rare Insight to Stop Obsessing over What Others Think
Since you notice most things in your stimuli, you might notice disapproving looks and passive aggression way more than those with low sensitivity.
But this trait also comes with a downside. You end up obsessing over what others think of you which worsens your sensitivity and takes a toll on your self-esteem.
However, you need to realize we’re all affected by the spotlight effect – the tendency to overestimate how much people notice and remember about our looks and behavior. Therefore, those looks you get don’t mean the people around you notice your every move. Nor do they remember the blunders you did as much as you think.
So when tempted to ruminate on some thought that people are thinking ill of you because of your hyper-sensitivity, remember you’re probably being fooled by the spotlight effect and that just as you’re thinking of how people are viewing you, others are thinking about themselves and therefore don’t have time to think about you.
May this insight liberate you.
Related: Emotional Reactivity – 5 Ways To Be More Mature
4. Learn to Take Time Outs
Plunging directly into an emotionally charged situation only heightens your sensitivity rather than lowering it.
So to deal with something rationally, you need to calm down first. Timeouts help you not only cool down emotional sensitivity but also help you analyze a situation for a more balanced response.
So when you feel upset – like you’re about to do something irrational, walk out of the situation. You might need to excuse yourself to the bathroom, simply tell someone you need some time to think, or do whatever you have to do to take time out of a situation.
After some practice using time outs, you can master smart emotional sensitivity for better emotional well-being and healthier relationships
5. Remove the Labels
“I’m such a crybaby! Why can’t I just stop crying!”
“Everyone is right, I’m a sissy, Why do I need to be so sensitive as a man!”
You know the labels you give yourself whenever you’re frustrated by your oversensitivity. And these labels do you no good but only bring negative emotions. And these emotions instead of making you less sensitive, make you overly emotional.
That’s why you need to ditch them. You have to tell yourself:
- “I’m not a crybaby/ weakling/ whiner/ freak/ failure, I’m simply highly sensitive.”
6. Choose Restraint over Reaction
When someone triggers an emotional response in you, it takes strength to restrain yourself from reacting.
However, to learn how to manage your high sensitivity, you must master restraint. So in the heat of the moment, how can you exercise restraint?
- Take time out: When you sense overwhelm in a situation you can say something like “I need some time to think about this. Give me 15 minutes” to excuse yourself.
- Ask questions: Slow down your reaction with questions that help you focus on what’s being said instead of what’s bubbling beneath you.
- Take deep breaths: This helps you slow down the flow of your emotions and expand your ability to think clearly.
- Ignore your gut reactions: When faced with an emotionally tense situation, think of what you’d say or do instintictively. Reject such decisions. Move on to what is hard for you to do but is wise and choose to do it.
You’ve probably heard of these tips before and that’s the thing: the power of these strategies is in their simplicity.
Always remember, a little restraint goes a long way.
7. Use Reflection Breaks to Process Your Interactions
The solution for highly sensitive people interactions is mainly: reflection. With reflection, you can:
- Discover the reality of the situation rather than the distorted reality formed by emotions
- Understand why you felt certain emotions
- Understand the the other person’s perspective
- Help you know what you need to improve on
- Help you come up with the best way to work out a situation
This is why you need to take reflection breaks whether:
- During an emotionally charged situation (i.e you can excuse yourself to the bathroom and reflect on the situation you’re dealing with in real-time)
- After a situation (you can reflect on how you carried out an interaction so you can improve on being less sensitive)
- After the day’s over (you can process how you fared during the day and track your emotional sensitivity).
You can do self-reflection daily, weekly, monthly, and so on to determine how you’re doing as far as your goal to be less sensitive is concerned. You can use journaling to help process and track your emotional wellbeing much easier.
8. Welcome More Criticism
The common behavior of highly sensitive people is to avoid criticism. But the brutal truth is that the thing that scares you most is the thing you need to face most if you want to overcome your insecurities and control your emotions better.
Here’s how you can welcome criticism more and leverage it to become less sensitive:
- Separate your mistake from your identity: When someone criticizes you for a mistake you’ve done, step away from the mistake and see it for what it is instead of making it your identity. This helps you not take things personally.
- Analyze the criticism: Step into the shoes of the one giving criticism and try to get their perspective.
- Ask questions: To get the most out of criticism, ask for clarification where you don’t understand. This helps you stop assuming it is a personal attack and helps you also see when the criticism isn’t genuine.
- Set goals to improve: Even if you feel bad, the way to welcome criticism is to set an action plan to change.
- Request more constructive criticism: Did someone give you amazing feedback? Ask them for more. Also, this attracts more genuine feedback rather than hate comments – which boosts your confidence and lowers your sensitivity.
9. Challenge What Offends You
This is about facing your fears too.
The mistake of many highly sensitive people is that they avoid anything that gives them negative feelings – for example conflict. While this is good to an extent, it doesn’t promote growth in many aspects.
You have to ask yourself,
- “Why do I hate it when this person does X”
- “Why do I feel sensitive when I’m around Scott?
- Why do I get defensive when Dana gives me that look?
When you know why you’re offended by anything, you can spot insecurities and deal with them which helps you get less sensitive.
10. Stop Exaggeration in Its Tracks
With the gift of high sensitivity comes the curse of exaggeration.
Since highly sensitive people can see through many lies, read through people’s words, and perceive many things the average person cannot, they tend to overthink rather mild things with their wild imaginations. However, this tendency burdens them with stress and anxiety.
Therefore, if you notice your mind spiraling into negative thoughts around something you aren’t certain about, stop it.
11. Explore Your Emotions without Judgement
If you’re one of the HSPs, you probably have the tendency to suppress your emotions because you’re judging yourself through them. But this makes you more reactive.
Especially when reflecting, just sit and observe your emotions as if you’re a child observing the world for the first time.
Non-Judgemental emotional exploration is about accepting how you feel since feelings tell you about how you view the world. Avoid telling yourself, “You should feel X” but instead with compassion say, “It’s okay that you feel that way.”
When you understand how you’re feeling, you can then seek to understand why you feel the way you feel.
12. Celebrate Yourself
If you often strive to fetch compliments and feel bad when people don’t notice you or when they criticize you, then you probably need to be less sensitive.
Instead of striving to get other people’s approval, firstly get your own approval and enjoy it.
- You need to compliment yourself on your strengths and achievements.
- You need to take a break and just take care of yourself
- You need to practice self-care in all its forms
- You need to do stuff that makes you extremely happy just for you
Celebrating yourself gives you enough self-confidence that you won’t need to be sensitive about another human being giving you or denying you any validation.
13. Confidently Embrace Your Progress in Patience
Last but not least, becoming less sensitive needs patience.
You’ll succeed on many things, some would be super hard (those that are easier said than done like restraint), and some might mess up your way of doing things beyond recognition. But you must embrace the messy progress instead of seeking to arrive at perfection at once.
Some days it may seem like you’re moving nowhere when you break down like before.
But trust me when I tell you, every step you take in these tactics to become less sensitive is worth it. That with every move you make, you’re making progress.
And remember, being sensitive isn’t bad, but being unable to control your emotions is dangerous. You need to manage your highly sensitive nature much better with these strategies.
Becoming Less Sensitive Q&A
Looking to know more?
How do I toughen up emotionally? How to be less sensitive and emotional
We’ll recap what we discussed earlier. These are the strategies you can use to become emotionally strong:
- Learn Self-Acceptance and Self Compassion
- Practice Assertive Communication
- Use This Rare Insight to Stop Obsessing over What Others Think
- Learn to Take Time Outs
- Remove the Labels
- Choose Restraint over Reaction
- Use Reflection Breaks to Process Your Interactions
- Welcome More Criticism
- Challenge What Offends You
- Stop Exaggeration in Its Tracks
- Explore Your Emotions without Judgement
- Celebrate Yourself
- Confidently Embrace Your Progress in Patience
How can I be less sensitive and more confident?
To be less sensitive and more confident, you need to learn assertive communication while protecting yourself from outbursts by using timeouts and reflection breaks to help you ground your emotions. We discuss all this in detail above so you can learn to be less sensitive once and for all.
How to be less sensitive in a relationship – How to be less sensitive as a man
To be less sensitive in a relationship, learn to communicate your needs assertively while validating the needs of your partner to form middle-ground solutions. Instead of suppressing your emotions and opinions, reflect on them alone and continually build more balanced emotional responses.
How to become less sensitive in the workplace
To thrive as an HSP in the workplace, you need to first work self acceptance before you start managing the sensitivity for more emotionally balanced decisions. Mainly, learn to communicate assertively to your workmates as we explained above and master wiser ways of dealing with your daily situations in the workplace through self-reflection.
Remember, these strategies are to help you manage your sensitivity for more emotionally balanced decisions and actions – not to change you into an entirely different person.
You are amazing the way you are and just need some work to become the best version of yourself.
So, which strategies do you think would work best for you? Let us know in the comment section below! And don’t forget to share this piece with HSPs in your circle to help change lives.
Thanks for reading!