The world can be a rough place.
The daily news cycle is a constant barrage of negativity and social media can be a maelstrom of emotionally charged posts.
It can be hard not to let this affect us.
People are often self-absorbed, unkind, and actively pursuing the means to their own ends.
It doesn’t really seem like there is much consideration for the more sensitive among us.
Because, yes, some people really are more emotionally sensitive to the goings on around them.
They attach more emotional significance to events and to the interactions they have with other people.
They feel things more deeply than others and may act or react based upon these feelings.
It’s true that these people may even allow their emotions to get the better of them at times. They might take things personally, let events weigh on their mind, and allow their emotions to affect their relationships.
Is this ringing any bells for you?
If so, how can you be less emotionally sensitive? How can you keep from being overwhelmed and harmed by the events and people in your life?
Here are 5 strategies you can use.
1. Protect Your Space By Limiting Negative Influences
Your brain is much like a field. What you fertilize it with and what you plant in it will determine what grows there.
You are going to have a much harder time finding a peaceful, positive life if you surround yourself with negative, toxic people.
The more negativity you pump into your brain, the more it is going to wear down your defenses for dealing with negativity.
And that’s not just people. That includes what you read, listen to, and watch.
What are you putting into your mind? Do you read or watch things that are full of anger, negativity, and sadness?
Social media is one of the worst offenders for this. It is a constant barrage of advertising meant to not make you feel good enough so you’ll buy a product…
…it’s full of opinion pieces meant to inflame and draw the eyes of readers by playing on their fear and anger.
…and people fighting with one another as if it means anything at all to win an argument on the internet.
That’s what people plant in their mind.
No wonder so many of us are depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed.
Protecting your space should be a priority.
You can’t always avoid negative circumstances and people. Sometimes you may be related to them and can’t put any meaningful distance between you and them.
What you can do is choose not to embroil yourself in unnecessary negativity, which will give your mind a chance to process and calm down from the assault of stimulation it is constantly under from external sources.
It’s also worthwhile to do an audit of the circle of people you spend your time with.
Are they positive influences? Are they your cheerleaders? Do they help you grow? Do you do the same thing for them?
Or are they negative? Takers? People who show no consideration for your feelings and well-being?
It may be time to let some of those negative people go.
You become less emotionally sensitive by virtue of distancing yourself from those situations in which you feel emotionally charged.
2. Accept That You Are Only Ever An Observer Of Others
Personal relationships and friendships can bring a lot of negative feelings that cause turmoil in your mind and life.
People tend to be messy creatures with a lot of positive and negative traits about them.
But, no matter who the person is in your life, whether they are a friend, sibling, lover, parent, or child – you are only ever an observer of their life.
You can’t make their decisions for them, you can’t shoulder their confusion and pain, and you can’t spend your time beating yourself up about their decisions.
The only thing that you can do is provide support if asked and try to guide them toward a positive, successful resolution.
Ultimately, for good and ill, their choices are their own.
It takes time and practice to successfully adopt this kind of mindset, but once you do, the words and actions of others start to have less emotional impact on your own mental state.
It’s understanding that no matter what you do or do not do, the other person is going to do what they feel is best for them, which may not always be a positive choice or come from a healthy place.
Sometimes those bad choices come from fear, insecurity, or personal problems they haven’t resolved within themselves.
Whatever it is, you still have no control over their thoughts and feelings. And people are going to make bad choices at times.
3. You Don’t Have To Have Opinions About Everything
The more you engage, the more emotional energy you are bringing onto and creating within yourself.
In this age of social media, where it seems like everyone has an opinion on something, it can be much healthier to abstain from formulating opinions on every single little thing that people are talking about.
On the surface, that may seem just like straight apathy, but it’s not.
Delving deeper into any subject matter, you’ll find that there are usually a lot more details and considerations that people either don’t think are important or decide not to include because it derails their own argument.
Sometimes, a single detail can change the entire context of an argument or disagreement. It’s very difficult to have an informed opinion about anything and everything.
Abstaining from having opinions about unnecessary things and practicing silence about emotionally charged subjects brings with it much greater peace, which gives you more energy to deal with the things that you have no choice but to deal with.
Silence is a tremendous tool for inner peace.
Not just because you’re not making noise, but because you’re not getting sucked into unproductive arguments.
You no longer feel the need to defend your position.
You no longer feel like you should be attacking the position of someone else.
And you no longer waste precious emotional energy on things you cannot affect.
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4. Work To Limit Overthinking And Runaway Thoughts
The quality of one’s emotional peace coincides with how they think.
A person who overthinks situations or lets their thoughts run away into distant speculation is taking on more emotional energy than is necessary.
This wears down one’s natural defenses and ability to shrug off the tangible problems that they will experience.
Yes, one should definitely consider possibilities and try to think of the way situations can go in their life – but there is a line where that kind of thinking crosses over from productive planning to unproductive speculation.
The practice of reining in overthinking is relatively simple, but it’s not easy.
It gets more complicated if you have mental or emotional health issues that perpetuate overthinking.
Controlling those thoughts should get easier with time and practice.
If you do have mental or emotional health issues that pull your mind in those directions, you may need medical assistance to help bring them under control.
A simple way to work to eliminate overthinking is through planning and distraction.
If you have something you need to think about or work on, schedule a specific block of time for it, do it within that block, and then force it out of your mind after.
Ways you can force it out of your mind come down to distracting one’s own thoughts and immersing yourself in something that requires more of your mental focus.
That can be hobbies, learning, reading, art, whatever.
Just something that will require mental focus that you can pour your energy into instead of the thoughts that you are overthinking about.
5. Expose Yourself To More Discomfort And Explore Other Perspectives
A great way to reduce the emotional impact of the things that bother you is to dive into them to see what they are all about.
That requires exposing yourself to more uncomfortable situations and things.
These things can hold a great deal of fear and anxiety over your head when you don’t fully understand what they are about.
But once you do, you can start seeing things more for what they are and less for what you or others think they are.
Furthermore, this also helps you see through the emotions of other people more effectively.
Why are they feeling the emotions that they are expressing?
Why are they doing what they are doing?
Why are they in conflict with you or others over this thing that they are passionate about?
It can be a great way to learn more about what motivates and drives other people while helping to get things calmer in your own mind.
But, and of course there is a but, this path is not an easy one and it’s not one that pays off quickly.
It takes time to really dive in, let yourself know you’re okay with the feelings that you’re experiencing, and find a way to sort through what is happening around you.
Avoiding the things that make you most emotional is often worse because the act of avoiding becomes an anxiety-inducing experience of its own.
It can be much better to seek out criticism and explore viewpoints that differ from yours to gain familiarity and strip those things of their power.
It also teaches you that not all criticism is valid.
Sure, some can be. Constructive criticism is always a good thing, because it means that person has given you some of their time and attention to try to help you grow and improve.
But a lot of criticism is not constructive.
Sometimes it’s just someone blowing hot air or talking to hear themselves talk – and that kind of criticism should be ignored.
And you learn pretty quickly that these types of people aren’t worth wasting your valuable time and emotional energy on, because they will rob you of your peace if you let them.
If you want to stop being so emotional and reacting to things in such an emotional manner, you can do a lot worse than to follow the advice above.
While you do have to come to terms with your sensitive nature to some extent, the 5 tips above can help you to manage that sensitivity so that it doesn’t affect your day-to-day life so much.