Fear looms large in the lives of many highly sensitive people, young and old. It turns out we can slide into fear because of deep processing, you know, thinking A LOT. Fear has its roots in your brain. In fact…

We aren’t actually afraid most of the time. Here is how it works.

I’m often afraid of things that you would probably think were ridiculous like emailing someone who copied my work and asking for credit. I’m afraid to commit to an AirBnB because what if it stinks? Some do! I know.

Of course I’m also afraid of going to the doctor or dentist for a million reasons related to deep processing, but I am not afraid of spiders. I am afraid to hurt them when I catch them to put them outside. I’ve thought a lot about it. They eat the mosquitos and gnats. I like them a lot, but I don’t like getting bitten at night. Some are poisonous, but I’m not sure I want to kill them either…

See what I mean? I’m thinking, thinking, thinking, and it might take some time, and that might look like fear. 

Sensitive children and youth are often labelled “fearful” or “cautious”. They even label themselves that way. Did you?

Guess what? Highly sensitive children are NOT more fearful than their peers. Are you surprised? Maybe you don’t believe it since you see these kids who often seem fearful. Or perhaps that was you as a child. Let’s talk about it.

Highly sensitive children often appear fearful because they stop and think about most situations. They have the behavioral strategy of being reflective and responsive. In the absence of time pressure, highly sensitive kids can be braver and more willing to try new things because they think them through ahead of time! When do we ever give our kids all the time in the world? Our world just isn’t structured that way. We are very busy. So are our children.

With help, sensitive children and youth are very successful at navigating challenging situations. I wish someone had taught me the…

Four D’s for Navigating Fear 

Deep Processing – aka Deliberation…Yep, our brains do it. It is a great thing, and it takes time. Sometimes we need to set a limit with our brains.

Discussion – Talk it out with someone else. Sometimes I even talk it out with myself. You might think I’m weird, but hearing it out loud can help even without a great listener.

Discernment – This means using the boss of your brain to understand the pros and cons of all that thinking.

Decision – Set a time limit and if necessary, flip a coin. If you don’t like the results, you know the other choice was right.

I remember standing on the high diving board at the public pool as a tween. The pressure of the line of kids waiting and jeering. I needed more time and less pressure. I wasn’t quite afraid, just thinking really hard about it! This was my High Dive Moment™. What was yours? 

Please share your High Dive Moment™ in the comments. That time you or those around you thought you were afraid, but you just needed the 4 Ds!

Wondering if you are highly sensitive?

Listen to a short talk on it.