Anxiety or Highly Sensitive?

Highly Sensitive or Anxious

The phrases ‘anxious teen’ or ‘anxious child’ seem to be more and more prevalent in our society. The numbers have increased and sufferers are getting younger and younger. My own experience has shown this – more teens are coming to me for EFT, more students at the school I used to work at were suffering from anxiety but also my own daughter, niece and nephew, all show signs of ‘being a bit anxious’. It really sparked something inside of me and made a part of me rise up to try to find an explanation. 

Less than 6 months ago I found out I was Highly Sensitive, and more than that an ‘Intuitive Sensitive’. And it changed my life. Heidi Sawyer’s book ‘Highly Intuitive people’ and then Dr Elaine Aron’s book ‘The Highly Sensitive Child’ literally opened up a whole new world to me.

If you’ve ever felt lost in the world, if you’ve ever been labelled as anxious, shy or introverted or even just ‘sensitive’, you might be one of the estimated 15-20% of the population who are highly sensitive, intuitive and empathic. Seen as a personality type rather than a disorder or medical condition which needs medical intervention.

For years I’ve felt different, alone in the world, absorbing others energies, being sensitive to smells, sounds, people, getting overwhelmed and tired out easily. I intuitively know and sense when something is wrong, intuitively knowing and noticing more about the world and people than anyone else seemed to. I see problems before they arise and sense when something is not right. 

It was and is overwhelming, tiring, anxiety inducing and confusing. I often felt ‘neurotic’ and struggled with life, social situations, friendships, relationships and my own confidence. Now I know that I wasn’t ‘neurotic’, my brain and sensitive nervous system were simply over stimulated from trying to meet the demands of a non – sensitive world.

I’m not here to say that all people who suffer anxiety are in fact, ‘just’ highly sensitives. Having experienced mental illness in my own family, I am well aware of the damage that trauma and bereavement can have on mental health, resilience and brain integration. 

What I’m here to propose is that some of the 1000’s of children, adolescents and adults who feel as though they suffer with bouts of anxiety, extreme worry or feeling a sense of unease, might actually be in fact, something much simpler.

Something much more manageable, something which when understood, can be a gift – something which the world and human race actually needs. Something which is seen in many species of animal and is a method of survival.

Being an intuitive sensitive sets me apart from the world. It’s a gift and I’m so happy that I’m one, that my daughter is one and that many of friends and family are too.

The future world needs sensitives.

Why? Well they “think before they act, notice potential dangers sooner than non-sensitives and realise the consequences” but they are being forced from the modern business world by the non-sensitives “aggressive decision-making and emphasis on short-term profits or flashy results” modern world. Dr Aron suggests that they are “discounted in the modern business world, as they appear to have less influence and their health suffers due to them needing calm work environments and reasonable work schedules and they end up being forced out and quit” – me included (I was a secondary school teacher and my physical and mental health suffered from the endless pressure and workload). But sensitives are more likely to be the “scientists, councillors, theologians, historians, doctors, nurses, teachers and artists”; and we need these kinds of people right? 

From my own experiences and my own research I’ve found similarities between anxiety and high sensitivity –  albeit preliminary. As I was reading, writing and learning about both areas I had this strong gut reaction which wouldn’t let this go. I feel strongly about promoting high sensitive personalities. I feel strongly about promoting the work of Elaine Aron and Heidi Sawyer, and I know that if more people understood high sensitivity, it could prevent a lifetime of pain, discomfort, awkwardness, worry, fear and potentially anxiety for 1000’s of people.

It could help parents deal with ‘fussy’ and sensitive toddlers, help teachers, parents, care givers and community workers some guidance to deal with the adolescents they work with and it could help adults and other high sensitives realise who they are too. That’s the main reason I just couldn’t let this go; I’ve had to step out of my ego to write this!

My own experiences of parenting my own child and witnessing the parenting of other obvious sensitive children, even my time as a teacher, have shown me that it’s so important to nurture our sensitive children and not force them to fit into the current world.

Elaine Aron supports this in her book (The Highly Sensitive Child) stating that “parenting will decide whether the expression of sensitivity will be an advantage or a source of anxiety“, and that “sensitives thrive when they are nurtured and not forced to do what they don’t like.” We need a world of confident sensitives, not hidden and anxious ones.

What are the characteristics of Highly Sensitive?

High sensitive individuals appear shy or introverted. However they are not, they are observers, taking in their surroundings very carefully before proceeding and integrating or socialising. They are easily irritated, over stimulated and appear fussy.

They seem to feel deeper than other people, being sensitive and empathic noticing the distress of others. They are sensitive to noise, pain, foods, busy places, emotions and odours. Shouting or forceful punishment simply doesn’t work for them – gentle correction or a nurturing communication approach works much more effectively. They get overstimulated easily and require a lot of down time and rest. 

Dr Aron suggests that because sensitive children notice more about the world and  environment they become over stimulated easily – this over stimulation can result in rage, depression, withdrawn behaviour, stomach or head aches and in my experience, an increase in sensitivity traits (for example, my daughter becomes more irritated by clothing and more fussy about foods/smells/tastes when overstimulated), making life very demanding and stressful. 

I find the most troubling trait of being a sensitive person, especially as you become older and move into adolescence is that sensitive people are intuitive and empathic – feeling and sensing the moods of people around them. Often feeling something there that isn’t being spoken about; my 8-year-old niece said recently – “so and so was upset today at school, she wasn’t acting upset but I could tell she was“, whilst my 3-year-old daughter instinctively distances herself from children who aren’t happy, positive or confident. They simply pick up on people’s energy and have a strong gut feeling – which is always right. As adults and children, this is one of the hardest traits to live with.

Sensitive children have a hard time in school because they are surrounded by other children – each child having their own set of issues/problems/emotions. A sensitive child will find it hard to know how they feel because they are constantly evaluating and monitoring the emotions of these other children around them. This makes them confused and unsure. From my own experience I don’t ever remember feeling a solid feeling of how I felt – ever. I was constantly monitoring the feelings of others and being empathic. Most of the time I knew what was wrong emotionally with people before they had even uttered a word. Confusing, overwhelming and a little bit weird.

Dr Aron suggests that when children or teens are fussy, ill, withdrawn, overstimulated, stressed out or depressed the last thing which is thought of is sensitivity.

When researching anxiety for my own interests and personal practice (I have found an increasing number of teenage clients were approaching me saying they were anxious and the term social anxiety was mentioned a lot) I found that social phobia – the fear of performance situations, was replaced by the term social anxiety disorder in 1994 – so in medical terms this is a relatively new thing. 

Social anxiety disorder is defined as “marked and persistent fear of one or more social performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or possibly scrutiny of others” another definition is given as “irrational fear of being watched or judged or evaluated, or embarrassing or humiliating themselves.”

Now at this point my sensitive brain was joining the dots. I could sense and see so many similarities between SAD sufferers and sensitives.

People with Social Anxiety sufferer intense feelings of fear of situations where they don’t know anyone, sensitives fear meeting new people as they are scared of new energies.  Past experiences of meeting new people has been overwhelming – they learn that they don’t want to meet new people, it’s too tiring and worrying. 

People with Social Anxiety fear new situations when they perceive they will be judged – sensitives take judgements personally, it hurts them deeply if someone dislikes them and they sense people’s disapproval and therefore can tell if people don’t like them without the other person uttering a word – confusing and painful. The truth hurts. Sensitives can build up a fear of being judged because they feel it so deeply. 

High sensitive people feel emotions more deeply and intensely that non-sensitives, which could explain why Social Anxiety sufferers have anxiety about being embarrassed or humiliated. Being high sensitive would mean you feel these emotions very deeply.  They would cause physical emotional pain, for example a gut-wrenching churn, or a heart-stabbing pain. And I can see here how an extreme anxiety could be built up in sensitives. It’s simply more ‘painful’ for a sensitive to be embarrassed or humiliated than a non-sensitive.

People with Social Anxiety will also fear that others will notice their anxiety and can exclude themselves from social situations – this is a huge fear sensitives have, especially intuitive sensitives. “Being found out” –  Intuitive Sensitives know they feel different from other people, it’s often isolating and lonely, being able to sense and feel people’s emotions before they’ve even opened their mouths, therefore being found out is a huge worry for a sensitive. 

Sensitives are also targets for sociopaths, people who feed off sensitives’ energy and actively seek them out. This could also contribute to the trait anxiety sufferers face of a fear of being targeted and ridiculed because of their anxiety by people because it’s happened in the past.

Now I have used Social Anxiety in this instance as it was most prevalent for me, researching other forms of anxiety, I can also see similarities and explanations in other forms. Please know that I am not an anxiety expert, and do not claim to be. 

My experience.

It’s a simple fact that sensitives can have a horrible time understanding life and themselves if that high sensitivity is never discovered. From my own experience, I went through 31.5 years of my life being in the dark and wondering why I felt so different and agonised over what was wrong with me. At really tough times in my life I certainly thought I had mental health problems. I often labelled my own feelings as  ‘neurotic’ and totally irrational.  I felt on edge and exhausted constantly.

My ultimate aim is to help more sensitives and intuitive sensitives find their way home. I hope to give men, women and children an alternative to a life of anxiety. I hope to raise awareness and shine the light on our future generation of sensitives, because we need them and we need them to be nurtured and thriving and not anxious and hiding. 

It wasn’t until I discovered I was a sensitive that I truly started to find ‘me’. I finally understood why I got so annoyed around certain people, why I felt uneasy in some people’s company, why I felt exhausted after a busy noisy day, why I hated perfume, why I have to have the lights on, why I avoid embarrassing situations, why I followed the crowd and hid myself away for fear of being exposed, why I felt so deeply and why I cry at X Factor. 

At my lowest I was over stimulated on all levels, I felt a buzzing anxious energy inside of me all the time. I felt like I was going mad and that I was totally alone. I was verging on neurotic. Up and down each day,  tears and I mean LOTS of tears, angry outbursts, shrieking, crazy destructive behaviour. Pretty crazy. I did this for years. Drowning it all out with alcohol and nicotine.

It was such a discovery that it changed my whole life. I finally saw why my childhood experiences were so emotional. Why I felt so isolated and alone. Why I needed so much down time.

But the difference between me as a teenager and teenagers today is the term ‘social anxiety’ didn’t exist. Well not to me anyway. No one ever used the term anxiety. I didn’t have the Internet or chat rooms or blogs to read. I didn’t have people talking about their anxiety on YouTube. I only had the solace of my own head. Nothing fed my worries. My friends and I didn’t talk about ‘anxiety’ or our emotions. I used to write in a diary about how I felt but no one ever saw it. I never gave my fears and worries the chance to grow.

Now I have a 3-year-old I can see the similarities between us. At first I thought it was nurture. But after time I saw the same traits in her as I did in me. Down time. She needs loads of it. She gets over-stimulated easily,  appears painfully shy, gets overwhelmed when other children cry or shout, she startles easily and the moment I bought her in her first Halloween costume she cried for hours. She refuses to dress up in scratchy dresses preferring smooth action figure ones. 

I thought she just wasn’t a dressing up kind of child,  a bit of a tom boy, didn’t like dresses.  The more I see now that she hates the scratchy frills and they annoy her. It’s that simple. She’s sensitive.

Children who are highly sensitive notice more,  feel more and sense more. So become overwhelmed easily and can appear shy, withdrawn and fussy. They observe rather than joining in straight away.

They can be awkward and even a bit annoying to a parent, who sees other non-sensitive children getting on with life, taking risks and having fun.

But learning to nurture my own sensitivity and that of my child has been groundbreaking. All its taken is a simple understanding, compassion and communication and love has flourished, she has flourished and so have I.

I finally now own my power and I’m teaching my daughter how to own hers too.

So basically I’m proposing the idea that if you suffer from anxiety of any kind, you may also have aspects of being an empath or being highly sensitive within your personality.

And there is nothing wrong with being an empath or being HS, it’s not a disorder or an illness and children, teens and adults that learn more about these personality traits can learn about themselves and how to look after themselves. 

If every lost, alone and anxious HS empath knew how to take care of them self and knew how to protect their energy, maybe they could lower and self-manage their anxiety.

Maybe the world could accept and nurture our very special 15-20% of our population and when the world needs them  – they will be right there. Intuitive problems solvers, creatives, forward thinkers, careful observers and intuitive healers and educators. 

About the Author: Kathryn Pearson

Kathryn Pearson is an EFT practitioner, coach and blogger specialising in helping sensitive teens and young women combat stress, fear and worry. Her mission is to give the next generation the confidence and tools to break free from negative thinking and be able to follow their dreams, using Emotional Freedom Technique, Teen Yoga, and successful positive mindset practices and strategies. Aiming to empower and inspire her local community, her wider community and young women everywhere. 

Visit her website or contact . You can also watch Kathryn on YouTube.



It’s too bad your daughter is already learning to shun other children who are not “happy, positive, and confident”.
Those children, who may be highly sensitive themselves, will feel that rejection. So begins the trajectory into social withdrawal, depression, and yes, neuroticism.
As a life-long sensitive, introverted, neurotic, depressive, I have never fit in. Now in my early 50’s, I no longer care to try.
Any “gifts” I might have given to “the world” were subverted by my emotional turmoil.
I look forward to not being here any longer.


It is refreshing (beyond belief, lol) to read about the strange, yet beautiful, qualities of yourself after perceiving the world as a cruel desolate island that seemingly only shares copious bouts of heartache. As a child this is how I encountered life, due to a lack of understanding. As I transcended through childhood and reached the adolescent era, I slowly withdrew myself and could not figure out why everything seemed so off-balanced for me. Transitions are hard, and harder for most hsp’s. I understand this now. And my sometimes eccentric behavior and peculiar mindset, though not completely explained by hypersensitivity, are now known.

The withdrawn and confused teenager I was, though an extreme extrovert, had always puzzled me to the point of major immobilizing depression. I often asked questions in my head that left me very empty. Why didn’t my friends and others at school understand how unfavorable and hostile their words, actions, and overall ideals/beliefs were? Why am I exhausted, though I’ve been reclusive with my clan of friends ALL day? Why does this sad music touch me in ways that don’t seem to affect the rest of my family? And why on earth are there tears seeping from my ducts when there is nothing substantially sad in regarding to a show, or a poster, or even a pencil falling?

It was difficult to hear any criticism without it tearing my heart. When family relationships were rocky and unstable I had such hurt feelings that I feared to express them, knowing my family would not understand, and because I myself couldn’t figure it out. Pure rage flowed from the end of each hair follicle on my head to the tips on my nails on my toes…when I was hungry or didn’t have snacks throughout the day. Candy and chocolate were always passed up, for they created a rush that was too much. I would often feel sad because my inner world was is so ebullient and the real world seemed lacking. It was laborious to watch scary movies. I would JUMP out of my skin as though it were my own life afflicted with killers and spontaneity. The sound of yelling voices, doors slamming, pans clanging, and people chattering was always so intense… it hurt. Friends would love to laugh at my startled reaction and would sometimes go out of their way to sneak up behind me or make a loud sound.

I can not only feel the “weight” of emotions and energies (among many other things); my emotional receptors consume and hungrily devoured each change in my current environment, miniscule or not.

My critical years of growth were hindered by all these things. Many people would lean on my shoulder and listen to my canny advice and float away with a new sense of understanding. Meanwhile, I was left drained and unheard while also very extremely alone.

My love for the public libraries and settings of nature went against my personality. I was often told I was being hypocritical for my current thinking and speaking while expressing my current emotion and feeling. It was difficult for everyone around me, and created rather abysses.

The sense and longing for home, though will never leave me (note I am adopted), makes just a little more sense now. Of course in a world where a majority of the population are unfortunately insensitive and unaware of the beauty disclosing them it will be rare to find a true place of belonging.

So I thank you immensely and with all of my heart. For years I have felt all of these “things” and did not know how to take care of myself, nor did I ever believe there would be a piece of my world where others also occupy. I loved reading the comments and connecting with those who have felt distraught and different. I loved reading your piece as each part was relatable or I had experienced myself. I wish you and your family happy days and great luck.

As well as the rest of you readers.


ps I did not proofread this piece, it’s quarter after two in the morning and I don’t have the energy! 🙂


So, how do i know if the child is simply highly sensitive or that he has anxiety disorder and get help for that from a therapist? Thxxx


I realised I was a highly sensitive person when I bought the Elaine Aron book to help me deal with my sensitive son. Reading it gave me an epiphany moment and so many ‘quirks’ started to make sense, like feeling on edge and angry when my husband plays his computer games or has music on just a bit too loud. I’m a doctor and often feel totally overwhelmed after a day of feeling everyone’s emotions (and also struggle sometimes to manage the sheer volume of work with more piling on constantly). In the past couple of years I’ve been able to have down time without feeling guilty, knowing that this is what I have to do to be able to cope with the sensory overload of home and work. It’s hard to explain to others who don’t have a sensitive personality, so many thanks for this excellent article.


It’s good to know that it’s not a bad thing. Whenever something triggers me, and I breakdown, my mother just says that I’m over sensitive and that I must get over it. I’ve always been that person that always looks for the good in people regardless of their reputation, I feel sorry for people and try my best to help them, but I always forget about myself. I’ve always been made to feel that being sensitive to things, is being weak. But I can’t change that about myself. It’s a part of who I am. My mom who had a tough upbringing which has made her the strong person she is, shouldn’t expect me to be like her right? I’m glad I’m not crazy or weak. I will own my power.


Hi Kathryn,

After reading your article, I learned one thing: I am neither crazy nor neurotic. Yet, I have been targeted by bullies both in the workplace and at school. I get told to “lighten up,” so much because I either “take things too personally” or I “worry too much.” Yet the criteria you laid out describes me to a perfect T. I need so much down time and I have not only accepted it, I have even embraced it! To me, my alone time is just as important as the air I need to live. Without it, my spirit can’t breathe.
I currently work in health and human services but plan to use my Humanities degree to begin a career as a reference librarian. I thrive much better and am actually in my element when choosing a career where there is little to no drama.
I am also a part-time freelance writer and entrepreneur and enjoy the work I do in those areas because it’s self paced and involves creative problem-solving.
Again, thank you for letting me know that I am neither crazy nor depressed, only Highly Sensitive. You are one of a kind!


You’ve just described my lovely daughter, whose high level of sensitivity means the secondary school environment is a nightmare for her. She is stressed, anxious and sad. What do I do first?

Eric Tomlinson

Great article! I’ve dealt with this most of my life. I notice everything going on around me. I analyze every word out of people’s mouths. I read micro expressions on people’s faces. I’ve used it to my advantage in business, but the flip side is the pain you discuss in the article. I have also always had a very high interest in Sociology. I think it’s because I understand it more than most folks.
Thanks for a great article,
Eric T

Leena Collins

I have been hypersensitive all my life. It’s so refreshing to know that someone in a respectable position doesn’t judge me.
My anxiety has manifested itself in the former of stomach aches, crippling anxiety, and sensitivity to bright lights, food, and clothing textures. In fact, my mother tried to make me wear jeans but I couldn’t stand how they felt.
People in general are frightening to me. So yes, your article speaks volumes. Thanks for the enlightenment!


I told my husband last night that I thought I was more intuitive than most people and he said, “‘you’re not”. I analyse everything even tv ads and shows. I was caught by my husband one day crying over Leave it to Beaver (sitcom). That was embarrasing! I don’t have friends because I am sensitive to their body and facial movements that show me what they are thinking. I like people, but I can’t stand the anxiety of a prolonged friendship.
I seem to know ahead of time the impact of world changes that other people don’t seem to see.
If only I could bottle this intuitive way about me, I could take it out when I need it and put it back when it causes me trouble. Ignorance is bliss!
P. S. I can’t spell because I over think the words and how they sound.
Am I sensitive like you or just crazy?


Hi Kathryn,
This blog is right on point .Im a highly sensitive person myself with anxiety I feel people out I don’t like to judge but my intuition goes off for the good people and the toxic people .I think people like us people think we’re weak but we’re not we just care to much. I have a daughter who has the same thing but it’s from being bullied


I cant even tell you how much this article helped me. I have read it over and over and its like everything just makes sence. I have ALWAYS felt different and have always been told by people im ‘different ‘special’ but they cant understad why, and niether could I.

All li can say is thank you


Thank you for writing this article. It was like it was written specifically about my daughter. I would love to have a follow up article on recommendations schools could incorporate to support these students. My 9 year old daughter dreads school every night and every morning. I think the schools feel lost in how to help students and with most emotional/mental health issues. There seems to always be a frame of mind that kids should just get over it and be like every other kid unless they fall under some sort of funding category for special education. My daughter is drowning in the education system because every child should love noisy classroom environments, embrace cooperative learning, and be a polished public speaker. HELP! How can we help schools become a healthy environment for our kids.


Hi Laurie, I’m so sorry it’s taken this long to see and reply to this comment. I’m so sorry you daughter struggles so much. In terms of what the school can do – they really must know about sensitivity. Tell them, show them the book, print them some stuff off the Internet – even this article! I think awareness is key. It would be hugely beneficial to know this as a teacher. In terms of you helping your daughter – again awareness, tell her about her sensitivity and give her ideas about how she can escape and recharge when feeling overwhelmed. I will be sending my daughter to school with her own protective crystal – such as labradorite, black tourmaline or turquoise. I have found they help me SO much. Much love Laurie.


This is me. And my beautiful, gifted, struggling son. I have intuitively known for years that there is nothing “wrong” with us, but struggled with finding a place for our personalities in the default world. I am RUNNING to the store to buy this reading, and looking forward to learning a language that allows us to own and share our unique skill set and experiences with our loved ones who keep seeming to want us to be different somehow. I am so hopeful this will allow us to truly be accepting of ourselves, acknowledge and value our gifts, and shrug off the burden of anxiety that burdens our hearts so heavily.
Thank you for your thorough and personal story. It is amazing to finally find something that exactly describes our experience, resonates with truth and compassion, and shows us a way toward acceptance.


Ahh Rebecca, you’re SO welcome!! The whole time I was writing this article I had to battle with my ego thoughts (who’s going to want to read this?) and push through the fears and listen carefully to my inner whispers, telling me that people need this!

Thank you for your comment – it convinces me that my inner whispers should be followed and not ignored! Good luck with your sensitive journey; may yiu and yiur son flourish xx with love xx


I have slowly realised over the last few years that I am highly sensitive. I always felt a bit “different” and although I had friends growing up I always felt that little bit out of step with others. I now know I can’t handle a lot of noise or a lot of emotion from others in a day – it simply exhausts me. I need down time and I am coming to accept that it is ok to not socialise all the time. I have condemned myself for years wondering why I couldn’t be like others but all it does is make me more anxious!!! I am getting better at letting things go and making sure I have quiet times – in a house with two sons that is not always easy but they are great and I suspect one of my sons may be similar but camouflages his personality by being the clown. I worry about how best to nurture him. Thank you Kathryn for your wonderful article – it’s such a good feeling when you know others “get” you!!!


Ah Carolyn, thank you for your comment! I struggled for years not having a clue what was wrong with me compared to ‘the norm’, I totally empathise. Honour your unique sensitivity and know that you’re never alone. Don’t worry about nurturing your son – nurture yours and he will learn from you xx With love xx


Thank you for this timely (for me :)) article, Kathryn. A reminder that I am not alone 🙂 coming at a time when I am feeling very isolated. There ARE more of us highly sensitives out there! And it IS OUR perfectly normal way of being. Think I’ll party with a cup of tea, soothing music and a good book. 🙂


Ah Morgan… I’m so sorry you feel isolated – you are NOT alone! I think it’s a sensitive ‘thing’ to feel that way. Harness your inner power and go forth. The tea party sounds FAB – throw in an Epsom salt bath for added chill 🙂 with love xx


Dear Kathryn, Thank you so much for sharing such valuable information! I have always known that I was ‘different’ but didnt’ know what to call it. My daughter is just like me as well. I believe this is a gift to nurture, encourage, and inspire those around us. I love your openess, your work, and your heart. Sending you warm hugs of love!


Oh Wendy! Receiving your warm hugs! Thank you for this comment; I’m so happy for your openness to your sensitivity; nurture that daughter – the world needs her! Xx with love xx


I’m highly sensitive/introverted? myself and so is my daughter who (unlike me) witnessed my distress at an early age and has had what I believe to be secondary mental health & anxiety issues. She is quite well now but understands her need for alone time etc.
I also work with people with Asperger’s syndrome, who have some similar issues with sensory sensitivity.
It seems so complex trying to sort out how to be sensitive and the issues it creates with M.H. and medical labels /diagnosis etc .
I prefer the term highly sensitive if it seems to fit.


Julie, the aspergers similarities have come into my radar this week… it’s very interesting what you say. It’s great that you have nurtured your daughters understanding of her own sensitivity. I do too, much prefer the sensitive label rather than to think of my ‘querks’ as anxiety or mental health problems. Thank you .


Yvette! NO lovely lady you’re not! Your fabulously sensitive and to me this means your normal!! Hurrah!!


I have often felt hugely connected yet out of step with the world. Thanks for helping me feel more “normal”


Dearest Carolyn, you are most welcome. It’s my joy to help people with great potential and power (aka sensitives and empths) realise their greatness and feel important in the world. Thank yiu for leaving a comment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

‘Brave’ doesn’t always feel like certain, or strong, or ready. In fact, it rarely does. That what makes it brave.♥️
#parenting #mindfulparenting #parentingtips
We teach our kids to respect adults and other children, and they should – respect is an important part of growing up to be a pretty great human. There’s something else though that’s even more important – teaching them to respect themselves first. 

We can’t stop difficult people coming into their lives. They might be teachers, coaches, peers, and eventually, colleagues, or perhaps people connected to the people who love them. What we can do though is give our kids independence of mind and permission to recognise that person and their behaviour as unacceptable to them. We can teach our kids that being kind and respectful doesn’t necessarily mean accepting someone’s behaviour, beliefs or influence. 

The kindness and respect we teach our children to show to others should never be used against them by those broken others who might do harm. We have to recognise as adults that the words and attitudes directed to our children can be just as damaging as anything physical. 

If the behaviour is from an adult, it’s up to us to guard our child’s safe space in the world even harder. That might be by withdrawing support for the adult, using our own voice with the adult to elevate our child’s, asking our child what they need and how we can help, helping them find their voice, withdrawing them from the environment. 

Of course there will be times our children do or say things that aren’t okay, but this never makes it okay for any adult in your child’s life to treat them in a way that leads them to feeling ‘less than’.

Sometimes the difficult person will be a peer. There is no ‘one certain way’ to deal with this. Sometimes it will involve mediation, role playing responses, clarifying the other child’s behaviour, asking for support from other adults in the environment, or letting go of the friendship.

Learning that it’s okay to let go of relationships is such an important part of full living. Too often we hold on to people who don’t deserve us. Not everyone who comes into our lives is meant to stay and if we can help our children start to think about this when they’re young, they’ll be so much more empowered and deliberate in their relationships when they’re older.♥️
When we are angry, there will always be another emotion underneath it. It is this way for all of us. 

Anger itself is a valid emotion so it’s important not to dismiss it. Emotion is e-motion - energy in motion. It has to find a way out, which is why telling an angry child to calm down or to keep their bodies still will only make things worse for them. They might comply, but their bodies will still be in a state of distress. 

Often, beneath an angry child is an anxious one needing our help. It’s the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. As with all emotions, anger has a job to do - to help us to safety through movement, or to recruit support, or to give us the physical resources to meet a need or to change something that needs changing. It doesn’t mean it does the job well, because an angry brain means the feeling brain has the baton, while the thinking brain sits out for a while. What it means is that there is a valid need there and this young person is doing their very best to meet it, given their available resources in the moment or their developmental stage. 

Children need the same thing we all need when we’re feeling fierce - to be seen,  heard, and supported; to find a way to get the energy out, either with words or movement. Not to be shut down or ‘fixed’. 

Our job isn’t to stop their anger, but to help them find ways to feel it and express it in ways that don’t do damage. This will take lots of experience, and lots of time - and that’s okay.♥️
The SCCR Online Conference 2021 is a wonderful initiative by @sccrcentre (Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution) which will explore ’The Power of Reconnection’. I’ve been working with SCCR for many years. They do incredible work to build relationships between young people and the important adults around them, and I’m excited to be working with them again as part of this conference.

More than ever, relationships matter. They heal, provide a buffer against stress, and make the world feel a little softer and safer for our young people. Building meaningful connections can take time, and even the strongest relationships can feel the effects of disconnection from time to time. As part of this free webinar, I’ll be talking about the power of attachment relationships, and ways to build relationships with the children and teens in your life that protect, strengthen, and heal. 

The workshop will be on Monday 11 October at 7pm Brisbane, Australia time (10am Scotland time). The link to register is in my story.
There are many things that can send a nervous system into distress. These can include physiological (tired, hungry, unwell), sensory overload/ underload, real or perceived threat (anxiety), stressed resources (having to share, pay attention, learn new things, putting a lid on what they really think or want - the things that can send any of us to the end of ourselves).

Most of the time it’s developmental - the grown up brain is being built and still has a way to go. Like all beautiful, strong, important things, brains take time to build. The part of the brain that has a heavy hand in regulation launches into its big developmental window when kids are about 6 years old. It won’t be fully done developing until mid-late 20s. This is a great thing - it means we have a wide window of influence, and there is no hurry.

Like any building work, on the way to completion things will get messy sometimes - and that’s okay. It’s not a reflection of your young one and it’s not a reflection of your parenting. It’s a reflection of a brain in the midst of a build. It’s wondrous and fascinating and frustrating and maddening - it’s all the things.

The messy times are part of their development, not glitches in it. They are how it’s meant to be. They are important opportunities for us to influence their growth. It’s just how it happens. We have to be careful not to judge our children or ourselves because of these messy times, or let the judgement of others fill the space where love, curiosity, and gentle guidance should be. For sure, some days this will be easy, and some days it will feel harder - like splitting an atom with an axe kind of hard.

Their growth will always be best nurtured in the calm, loving space beside us. It won’t happen through punishment, ever. Consequences have a place if they make sense and are delivered in a way that doesn’t shame or separate them from us, either physically or emotionally. The best ‘consequence’ is the conversation with you in a space that is held by your warm loving strong presence, in a way that makes it safe for both of you to be curious, explore options, and understand what happened.♥️
#mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #parenting

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This