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Placing Overarousal on a Scale

Highly sensitive individuals feel and experience everything more deeply, so arousal can quickly escalate, more than for those who are not highly sensitive. Something that I have found helpful for both myself and my highly sensitive clients is placing the level of arousal on a scale throughout the day. Without being mindful of your arousal level, it can quickly add up to where one may feel a rating of 11 out of 10, without even realizing it. For people who do not recognize that they are so overaroused, the feeling is usually described as frazzled, overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, and oftentimes leads to a crash of some kind. Instead, I suggest mindfully checking in on your arousal level throughout the day, and placing it on a scale from 0 - 10. For myself, I would say 0 is no arousal at all (to the point where maybe getting up and doing something would actually benefit me), with a rating of 1-3 being calm and content, a 4-6 as a signal that my arousal levels are increasing, to a 7 and above as a sign that I may be too aroused or quickly getting there. You can adjust the scale to what fits best for you and how your nervous system works, but the main point is to start becoming more aware of your levels. The more you do this, the more you will be in tune with your body’s unique responses, and it will also lead to an increased awareness of the situations that may cause overarousal in you.

Also, if you find that you are at a 4-6, this is a great time to intervene with a self-soothing coping tool, compared to trying to intervene when you are at a 7-10. Chances are you will be more successful when at a 4-6. Try it! Start it even right now. After reading this post, how would you rate your arousal level? Something to remember: as a highly sensitive person, you are going to feel things more than the other 80% of the population who are not highly sensitive. The key is not to judge yourself, but instead have understanding. The more understanding you have for yourself, the easier you will be able to get through these moments of overarousal.


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