Have you ever been caught off guard by an intense, uncontrollable emotional reaction?
When you’re a highly sensitive person like me, you can get caught off guard by the intensity of your own emotions. This can be painful and embarrassing, especially if you’re with other people.
There have been many times in my life when my emotional reactions have caused confusion and shame. One occasion stands out more than the rest.
I had just joined a large soul-purpose discovery group, which was divided into smaller groups of four. A mentor for each small group scheduled weekly face-to-face online meetings.
In our first small group meeting, the mentor asked us to introduce ourselves, adding that we each had 6 minutes. My tension and excitement mounted as it came to my turn to share.
Speaking quickly, as I tend to do when talking about myself to new people, I started sharing my background and why I was there.
Before I could finish my story, the mentor interrupted me because my time had run out. Sudden, overwhelming shame came over me, and I could feel the blood rushing to my face.
Emotions flooded me like the rushing waters of a broken dam. I struggled to speak as I choked back my tears.
Somehow, I managed to get through the meeting, but was so emotionally off balance that I was hardly present at all. Later, I asked myself, What happened? Why did I react so intensely and uncontrollably for simply being interrupted?
The Hidden Reason I Became So Emotional
I realized the reason why I became so emotional was because I had been caught off guard. Since this group was a spiritual group, I had assumed the mentor would be sensitive and wouldn’t cut me off, even if I ran over the time limit a bit.
This assumption was why I neglected to center and ground myself prior to the meeting.
There was nothing wrong with me. It was just that I hadn’t prepared properly – energetically, physically, emotionally, or mentally. If I had, I would have collected my thoughts and words, and not run out of time. And if I did run out of time, I wouldn’t have reacted so strongly.
What a learning experience!
It reminded me what I needed to do before any group meetings or interactions, and, in fact, at the beginning of every day. I needed to center myself. Ground myself. Protect my sensitivities!
Many months later, I was scheduled to have another online meeting with a totally different group, one that focused on business training.
This time, prior to the meeting, I took five minutes to center myself using the grounding technique from my free guide on preventing emotional overwhelm.
3 Ways to Ground Your Emotions as an HSP
Based on the neuroscience of the mind-body connection, I did the following to center, ground, and protect my sensitive nature:
1. Belly Breathing – to trigger the relaxation response, to be calm and clear, and to feel grounded
2. Boundary Making – to ensure containment and protection, where I don’t give too much away and I don’t take too much in
3. Body Scanning – to be in the present moment and feel connected to my body and my wholeness, anchored to physical reality (as opposed to being completely in my mind and imagination)
These three practices always make me feel centered, secure, and self-possessed. I feel calm and alert. I feel like I’m able to have healthy and balanced interactions with the outer world.
No matter what happens in the environment, I only let what’s valuable and nourishing inside my boundaries. The rest bounces off.
Then the meeting started and while describing the project I had developed, the instructor interrupted me with something she wanted to say.
This time, it slid right off and I rolled with it. No shame. No self-recrimination. No biggie!
If you’re like me, and would like to prevent emotional overwhelm, I’d love to share a free cheat sheet on the three practices that will guide you through the grounding technique. They employ your natural abilities as an HSP.
A Gift for You
Download my Simple Guide for Preventing HSP Emotional Overwhelm and receive more tips and tools for enhancing your life as an introverted HSP.
You can learn to harness your sensitive introverted superpowers and make them work for you!
Julie Shieh has a M.A. degree in Holistic Health. After being a professor at a community college for 20 years, she now helps highly sensitive introverts harness their beautiful souls and superpowers to transform overthinking, emotional turmoil, and self-doubt into clarity, inner peace, and self-worth. Julie offers holistically oriented online programs, products, and coaching to help introverts and HSPs live a life they love. Contact her at Julie@EmotionalWisdomSystem.com to ask a question, connect, or get more information.