Strategies for Dealing with Overexcitabilities

Updated: Jan 12, 2019

By Regina Hellinger.

Recently I wrote an article for the SENGvine, “The Gift of Emotional Overexcitabilities.” The article received a lot of attention on Facebook and other social media sources. Many expressed their relief at being seen and understood. Others were concerned about what this reality would look like for children; would highly sensitive children be perceived as mentally unstable or would they be bullied for their sensitivities?


The intention of this follow-up is to provide strategies to embrace the gift of being highly sensitive. I have devised a strategy called the BERRY Approach, which is a combination of strategies that work together to authenticate and empower. The BERRY Approach is an acronym for the following strategies:

· Being With IT

· Experience E-Motion: Energy in Motion

· Recognize the Saboteur

· Resonant Choice

· Your Compelling Purpose


The description of these strategies is as follows:


Being With IT: The first strategy is to be with the experience of an emotion without judging it or thinking of it as a problem.


A coaching tool that I use with clients who want to be with their emotions can be explained in five steps:

1. Notice the emotion: recognize that the feeling is there

2. Drop the resistance and let it be without judgment

3. Welcome it

4. Treat it with compassion

5. Notice what happens once you allow yourself to be with it


This acceptance allows for the next step to occur.


Experience E-Motion: Emotion is a form of energy. If we allow ourselves to fully experience that emotion we can allow it to be as it is meant to be: energy in motion. We get into trouble when we bottle up this energy or internalize it. Emotion is a sensation that is meant to pass through us, like weather passes through the atmosphere. Knowing emotion is meant to flow through us, both in and OUT is very empowering. The only way we can allow it to flow out is to let it run its course. When we suppress our emotion we are stopping it midstream.


Two misconceptions often cause us to suppress the natural flow of this energy.


· The first misconception is that we think we are better off fighting against the emotion than allowing ourselves to experience it. Being afraid of feeling the intensity of the emotion can lead us to bury it and avoid it. However, it is still there, and we are using a lot of our energy keeping it contained within us. The fear of facing the emotion is worse than the act of being with it.


· The second misconception is that we confuse our identity of being highly sensitive to emotional experiences with needing to hold onto that emotion to be a compassionate or empathetic person. While being a sensitive person may be something that defines a core part of our being, the feelings themselves are not owned by us. Hanging on to these emotions does not make us more empathetic or compassionate. It only stops the motion of a process that is meant to stay in flow and actually takes us away from being fully present to others because we are confusing our identity of being a sensitive person with being consumed with a particular emotion.


By allowing our emotions to be in flow we experience more spaciousness within us, literally more room within our physical beings to breathe and to experience other emotions like the deep experiences of joy, love, gratitude, and connection.


Recognize the Saboteur: Saboteurs are our inner voices that prevent us from living our most fulfilled lives. Emotions are natural experiences, but our personal interpretation of what they say about us can turn these emotions into negative experiences and cause us to feel bad about ourselves as p