1. Situation Selection — this involves choosing to avoid or approach an emotional situation. By removing yourself from a condition that elicits high emotional responses, you can avert an emotional overreaction. This is a conscious choice but does require a certain amount of awareness of possible situations and their likely outcomes.
  2. Situation Modification — involves either changing an external situation to affect emotional impact or altering internally via cognitive Change your reaction to the effect. This action could be putting physical space between yourself and the problem or injecting a change in the direction of a conversation to avert conflict.
  3. Attentional Deployment — May involve techniques such as distraction by diverting one’s attention away from the emotional stimulus, which aids in filtering out high impact content, rumination — although not a preferred strategy because it is the genesis of worry, it can serve to help down-regulate intense emotion, and finally some elements of thought suppression can stop incessant emotional content from dominating mind space, but this must be attended carefully.
  4. Cognitive Change — is the idea that we can change the way we appraise and react to an emotional situation via reappraisal or the reevaluation of the merits of the emotion, distancing or placing a more objective take on the feeling, or injecting humor or lighthearted takes on the situation to control an overbearing emotion.
  5. Response modulation — this is a direct attempt to suppress the expression of emotion. It inhibits the free-flowing expression of an undesirable emotion and is not often productive and can be interpersonally counterproductive. We, as HSPs, are often taught to suppress emotion to be more socially appealing. Perhaps in some situations where a virulent or violent temper tantrum may need to be controlled, but how effective suppression is as a long-term strategy is questionable.
  1. Self-preservation from the world. For HSPs, this hardly needs to be stated; we all know what the bombardment of stimulation from the world does to our nervous systems. If for no other reason, this should be at every HSPs top of the list.
  2. Self-protection from ourselves. We are hardest on ourselves, and we have the perception and the internal dialogue to do a lot of self-inflicted damage. Disciplining our minds and channeling emotion can aid us in avoiding this hyperactive and hyperbolic state of self-destruction.
  3. Living in the Present. This phrase gets a lot of airtime, but it is very relevant to living life in the moment. We HSPs are often caught in the past (rumination) or worrying about the future (anxiety) and should learn to slow down the mind to focus on the present. Emotional overwhelm can carry us off, sweeping us away like a raging river into either the past or future with no regard to where we are now. I like to take time each day, clear my mind and stand in the Wu Chi Stance and clear my mind.
  4. Finally, we need to create a balance between our emotions and our reason. Both are important and necessary. Emotion provides us with creativity and immediacy. Reason gives us perspective and wisdom.



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William Allen

William Allen

William Allen, the author of Confessions of a Sensitive Man, An Unconventional Defense of Sensitive Men , writes on male sensitivity at TheSensitiveMan.com.