Ten Tips from the Stoics on how to Live our Lives

More timely advice from the Stoics to round out our Friday! This time we learn from Seneca, who is perhaps the most accessible of the Stoics and provides us with practical guidance about how to live life. And you thought philosophy was boring!

The ten tips in this video equally apply to ALL people, regardless of HSP or not, and it is advisable that we HSPs do not allow ourselves to feel so separate or different from other people. We are still people in the end with many of the same concerns and challenges in life regarding HOW to live our lives.

The Ten Tips

01. Exercise your mind daily
02. Heal Yourself
03. When Hungry Eat, When Tired Sleep
04. Seek your own Applause
05. Learn the art of contentment
06. Live for others
07. Boldly face the struggles of life
08. Find an anchor, be an anchor
09. Don’t just live long, live wide
10. Create your own philosophy

The “live wide” tip is perfect for HSPs and HSS/HSPs who really do need the breadth AND depth of continually improving knowledge and experiences, coupled with long reflection and context. Seneca advises us to become “students of life” and develop our own unique and personalized philosophies that mirror our true selves and not simply that parrots our cultures.

Which tip from Seneca resonates with you the most?

drtracycooper.wordpress.com

Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul

Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career

Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person

https://youtu.be/CK-fdRJD8Eo

Marcus Aurelius – How To Build Your Self Confidence through Stoicism

Stoic philosophy has so much to offer HSPs! It is striking how the same problems being addressed in ancient times were the same human problems that we have today. Lack of self-confidence will be a perpetual human issue.

I especially like the exhortations to move out of our minds and actually begin doing something. Overthinking can be quite a limiting factor for HSPs as we become paralyzed in inaction. Being cautious and careful has its utility but so does action and getting things done. We develop self-confidence by doing, not by thinking about doing.

In the topsy turvy world of 2020, we HSPs would do well to listen to the words of Marcus Aurelius and work toward becoming the best possible version of ourselves that is possible.

 

drtracycooper.wordpress.com

Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul

Cover image

Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career

thrive cover

Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person

Kindle cover 2019

https://youtu.be/yxcFKtupjL4

Leading with Anxiety

Feeling anxious as a leader? You’re definitely not alone and this article is chock full of great insights into how to manage it well in this challenging time. Many of us are high functioning anxious people who deal with anxiety by trying to control or plan for every eventuality. Anxiety in and of itself should be looked at not as a disorder but as a cautionary part of ourselves that is calling our attention to something important.

Rather than trying to stifle our anxiety, the best way seems to be simply thinking of it as a companion of sorts who is there to help us pause to think before acting. No, it’s not pleasant when we are feeling anxious because it is physically overstimulating as well as heightening our emotions and lessening our usual patience. Harder still when we are leaders and expected to be “in charge” and to know the answers at all times.

The best tip I see in this article is to have a support team of other leaders whose style is different than our own. If you’re a super anxious type, partner with someone else who is more grounded and less emotional, yes, even non-HSPs. The point is to question our perceptions with others who are capable of thinking calmly and rationally. Anxiety fundamentally will set our rational thinking into high gear but it will do so with the added fuel of emotion, which will lessen our ability to be truly rational.

By having one or two trusted and reliable friends or fellow leaders, who are unlike us, we can get a feel for the quality of our thinking and reframe it if we need to. Leaders do not need to feel like they are totally alone in making hard choices or in soothing those who work for them. We always have our team of fellow leaders and others we can turn to. Likewise, we should do the same for others when they are feeling anxious and unsure.

HSPs and HSS/HSPs may make terrific leaders but we do have to be advanced in our abilities to self-soothe, practice self-awareness, and reach out when we need to. Doing so makes us better leaders and more sustainable over the long term and through crisis’s like our present worldwide pandemic.

What are your go-to strategies for managing anxiety as a leader?

drtracycooper.wordpress.com

Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul

Cover image

Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career

thrive cover

Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person

Kindle cover 2019

https://hbr.org/cover-story/2020/05/leading-through-anxiety

Why are some people better at working from home than others?

If you have moved to working from home in this pandemic, and it is your first time trying to mesh your working life with your home life, here is an interesting article with a few good ideas to consider.

One of the key factors that determines how well working from home equals productivity is conscientiousness. I noted conscientiousness in my 2015 book, Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career, as the only known correlate to workplace performance. Conscientious people will be conscientious whether at home, in an office, or on a houseboat in the middle of a lake.

Highly sensitive people tend to be high in conscientiousness by the way, a finding backed up by my big survey for the same book where almost 97% of HSPs surveyed agreed with the statement “I am conscientious.”

It helps to be conscientious but it also helps to be comfortable without being in an office or needing the social energy of being out of the house. Introverts need socialization too but in lesser amounts and for shorter durations. Working from home can be the best arrangement for many more introverted HSPs.

The articles does raise the issue of being effective at creating and enforcing boundaries, both for others and for yourself. It’s too tempting to just get up and do something else at home and it is essential that we take work seriously and focus when we need to for periods of time. Some of us are very good at this and some need to work on it. Others may find it to be impossible to set those boundaries and need the structure of a workplace outside the home, especially extraverts.

I suggest to you that working from home, if this is your first time, will take some time to adapt to and you will need to give it some time and not rush to quick judgements. In some ways, working from home is infinitely preferable to a noisy, crowded, and busy office, but in other ways it can lack in certain ways that you will need to make up for with additional activities.

Many HSPs will love working from home, while others will seek to return to an office, or workplace. I have found working from home to fit seamlessly with my life and I can transition easily from non-work tasks to work tasks throughout the day.

How have you adapted to working from home, if applicable?

drtracycooper.wordpress.com

Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul

Cover image

Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career

thrive cover
Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person

Kindle cover 2019

Be the first to review my new book!

Be the first to post a review of my new book, Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul! If you find the new book to be useful, and it is extremely relevant information for both men AND women, kindly leave a review and tell others the particular ways it has helped you gain new self-awareness or awareness of how HS men experience sensory processing sensitivity. Too often, books like these are written from a deficit perspective where men are viewed as something in need of fixing but this book looks at men as sentient, free-willed, and fully capable of much more than the basics of learning how to be sensitive.

For the sensitive man in your life who may not know that he is highly sensitive yet. This book will empower without turning him off on SPS.

Death of the office?

Office-work takes up not merely the bulk of our time but the best part of it, the hours when we are alert and alive. Home, and its occupants, has the husk.”

The fallout from the pandemic of 2020 is only beginning as we reflect on the sudden switch from working in offices to working from home, for many. We are left to ask real questions that should receive real answers, such as, will office culture change? In what ways? And, will it be better for highly sensitive people?

Those questions are bound up in the history of offices, though we often seem to take offices as a fact of life as many of us have never known professional work to take place anywhere but an office. Enter the future, which is now, and enter the pandemic, which upended so many businesses and forced them to reconsider how to get work done, despite NOT being in offices.

In considering how we actually get work done, the inevitable sense of reflection alerts to the fact that many of us are more productive at home with fewer distractions, no commute times, and no lengthy and pointless meetings (if you are still suffering with lengthy video meetings your employer has missed this point). Taken as a whole, it will be quite interesting to note how working from home compares with office work, in terms of work completed at a similar quality and quantity level as office work. My guess is that workers working from home are at least as productive, perhaps more so, than when in the office. Particularly, for the high performing people who need autonomy, plus time and space to focus deeply, while they work on a project.

Looking ahead, we have to seriously consider how we might offer viable alternatives, for those of us who prefer working from home and there are some who do not, to employers in ways that begin to transform the culture of offices, indeed of work itself. Clearly, not all jobs or skills can be done from home as some are carried out using proprietary equipment or programs employers will be loath to allow in private homes, but for those jobs where work can be carried out to a similar degree of completion and quality what is the argument for forcing people to work in offices?

One answer suggests itself that employers simply do not trust their employees to work and not simply ignore their duties for which they are compensated to do. That paradigm has been around since the inception of offices and we will likely always find employers who remain stuck in a need to control their employees, while attempting to squeeze ever more productivity out of them. For others, the reasons are founded in a supposed “creativity” that happens when people are physically together and sharing a space, the closer the better in that view. Yet, we don’t see more creativity when people are forced into open offices, we see less as people experience more distractions and have less space and time to engage in the creative process, which most employers truly do not understand.

Many employers have subscribed to the notion that creativity can be squeezed out of people if you only provide the circumstances, but that view ignores the way creativity works as a process of intuition, autonomy, and a willingness to explore without judgment for a time. In the rush to innovate, creativity has been subject to linear thinking that confines it and seeks to quantify how and when it might be achieved. The reality is, creativity happens when people feel interested in their work and free to explore on their own. Some people may do better when in the company of others, in a creative sense, but when pressured to produce, produce, produce, the tendency is to go with the tried and true, rather than the innovative, which by its very nature, is a fundamentally disruptive process. Employers are afraid of real creativity and seek to confine it to the same office mentality as they do their other more linear processes.

How can you begin to shift the paradigm of working in offices? Employers understand when they see value-added processes, meaning they see greater efficiencies or profits from how you are accomplishing your work. If you can show that working from home is indeed sustainable and yields greater productivity in a shorter time, along with innovation here and there, you have a stronger case for working from home, at least some of the time.

As offices begin to reopen, it is likely that they will have to continue with the working from home model and that is where, for those who prefer this setup, you might truly have a choice! Speak up to your employer if working from home allows you to put work back in it’s proper context and value your family more, while still accomplishing your duties. Speak up in favor of working from home one or more days a week if it viable for your skill set. Employers will already be seeking ways to limit the number of workers in a space, so you literally have the floor here, so to speak, and can advocate for conditions that may work far better for you as an HSP than is possible in the office arrangement.

One thing is for sure: the office culture is being shaken at its’ core as employers are forced to reflect on the way they do business. How has your office adapted to the new paradigm?

drtracycooper.wordpress.com

Thrive: The High Sensitive Person and Career

Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person

Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul

https://www.1843magazine.com/features/death-of-the-office…

Release of Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul, a new book on hs men from Dr. Tracy Cooper

I am pleased to announce that my new book, Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul, is now available in paperback and eBook formats through Amazon, Smashwords, and their affiliates!

Cover image

This book partly relates my personal story as a HSS/HS man, while exploring topics not previously covered in other books on HS men. Topics such as anger, perceptions, and a broader revisioning of creativity as creating one’s life to become a fuller realization of who and what one might be, find places in this new book on HS men.

Other important topical areas in the book includes:

– an update on Sensory Processing Sensitivity (the underlying personality trait that all HSPs have)
• a survey chapter on the history of masculinity and how we can think of masculinity in different terms
• an examination of childhood for HS boys
• a huge chapter on career and HS men (as you would expect from me)
• self-care for the HS man
• the ever-challenging area of relationships
• plus, a chapter on parenting as HS dads.

Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul is a book about HS men and HSS/HS men written by a HSS/HS man in a way that is confident, compelling, and ultimately encouraging to all HS men.

This book is a complementary companion to my previous two books:

Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career
Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person

Available through Amazon and Smashwords and many fine retailers.

Drtracycooper.wordpress.com

Misophonia – when certain sounds drive you crazy

I’ve written about Misophonia before and in my upcoming book, Empowering the Sensitive male Soul, and I am always keen to see what writers say about it because they are often a little off. Here, the author describes Misophonia as a “condition” but we cannot fairly describe it as such simply because it does not exist as a recognized condition. We can fairly describe it as a phenomenon that about 15% of the total population experiences.

We can also say that Misophonia can be anything from a mild to severe issue for those who experience it and that there are good treatment strategies available to help retrain our brains and our behaviors when we encounter trigger sounds. By the way, I am a moderate category Misophonic so this is of great importance to me and I know to others, especially those who are in the severe category.

The best treatment strategy seems to revolve around a combination of three key aspects:

1) Cognitive behavioral therapy to reframe how we think about the producers of trigger sounds (that they are not intending to create these trigger sounds).

2) Progressive muscle relaxation to instantly react to a trigger sound by intentionally relaxing the muscles in our bodies that tend to clench up when we hear trigger sounds, combined with removing from the space if necessary and self-soothing strategies (breathing deeply or otherwise calming the body).

3) Gradual exposure therapy to lessen our sensitivity to trigger sounds, specifically, those that apply to us individually. There is a trigger tamer app that can be used to gradually expose us to our particular trigger sounds. Note that it is crucial that you do not expose yourself to full volume trigger sounds! For obvious reasons, start out at a lower volume and increase over time.

HSPs, if you can imagine, are not only already highly sensitive to stimuli that others miss, but a likely similar 15% of us also must contend with Misophonia! Our sensitivity to subtleties, one of the four core aspects of sensory processing sensitivity, combined with our tendency for overstimulation, can require a real addressing of Misophonia if we are to function well in the world.

It is important, if you decide to seek help with Misophonia, to locate a specialist because it really does take great expertise and long experience to help a Misophonic. I suggest browsing the Misophonia Institute’s website for much more information and for help with locating skilled professionals.

https://misophoniainstitute.org/

The good news is Misophonia can be mitigated to a large extent but it does take work and long-term effort. I have experience as a moderate category Misophonic and my spouse is a severe category Misophonic. We have developed our own strategies that work for us with regard to how we will react if one of us hears a trigger sound unexpectedly and they are always unexpected! Much like learning to allow high sensitivity to be one aspect of our lives, we also allow for the presence of Misophonia. The more you know and the more self-aware you are, the better you may more effectively live your life without feeling too limited by Misophonia.

drtracycooper.wordpress.com

https://theconversation.com/misophonia-when-certain-sounds-drive-you-crazy-94353