8 Ways to Stop Being So Sensitive and Toughen Up Already

Self on 06.20.12
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Photo: axmai/Creative Commons

I've been plagued my whole life with over-sensitivity. To some degree, it's a good thing for people to be in touch with their emotions. When you burst into tears at a snide comment, however, it's getting out of control. As I matured I was largely able to outgrow the whole crying thing, but even as an adult I find myself saddened at minor comments or occurrences that really should roll off my back. Whether you find yourself empathizing with my plight or you have a child who's prone to emotional sensitivity, here are some easy ways to thicken the old skin and stop taking everything so seriously:

1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone insults you, it hurts. Take a beat to recognize the offensive comment and then resolve to get over it. If you let them ruin your day, they win.

2. Consider the source. It's completely true that some people attack others because they're jealous or unhappy with their own circumstances. Even though it can be really difficult to do so, try to put yourself in their shoes.

3. Go to your 'happy place.' No, I'm not talking about some woodland meadow in your imagination. When you're down, go someplace you enjoy. Happy memories or new positive experiences will override whatever has your undies in a bunch.

4. Call your cheer squad captain. We all have one person who magically knows what to say to make everything better. Put him or her on speed dial for those times when you need a pep talk. Just don't forget to return the favor -- no one likes a one-sided relationship.

5. Write it down. It often helps to put down on paper (or laptop) the situation that has you feeling blue. It's a very cathartic experience, plus when you look back on it later you'll likely end up wondering what all the fuss was about in the first place.

6. Do your research. If it's an experience that has you flustered and upset, do whatever you can to educate yourself beforehand. For example, if you're pregnant and overcome with worry about postpartum depression, print off a list of symptoms and ask your spouse to closely monitor your behavior after childbirth.

7. Be realistic. Even five star employees get yelled at by their bosses from time to time. It happens. It doesn't define you as an individual, so take it with a grain of salt and move on.

8. Don't be passive aggressive. If someone pisses you off, confront them rather than hiding your feelings and stewing over it. There's no need to scream at them or anything, but you should calmly explain how their actions or words make you feel.

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