May is mental health awareness month. For 2023, the Mental Health Awareness month campaign “is focused on how surroundings impact mental health, and we are calling for individuals to look around, look within.” In 1949, Mental Health America (MHA) designated May as Mental Health Month to raise awareness and “to spread the word that mental health is something everyone should care about.” This is an important theme for HSPs and Highly Sensitive Youth. Why? We are more impacted by our surroundings than anyone without high sensitivity.
“Look around and look within” and you will surely see the people, places, and things in your surroundings that are impacting your mental health. These impacts can be both healthy and problematic. Remember, we are better at healing. When we improve our surroundings… We get BETTER! Mental Health Awareness month is a time for us all to remember that we have the power to heal. We can heal and be healthy because we react to the good stuff even more than we react to the bad stuff. You can create the good in your surroundings, in your life, and in your heart and mind.
I often hear from HSPs who say, “I understand that sensitivity is a gift, but I just don’t feel it because I find myself having to isolate or be aloof in order to survive.” The truth is: We can’t underestimate how important our childhood experience is to how we feel and function today. HSPs who had a childhood that was more difficult or not supportive enough need a lot of support to experience the gift(s) of being highly sensitive. I’m one of those HSPs–A lot of twelve step work and a lot of therapy and a lot of exercise and a lot of meditation and a lot of the other kinds of self-care…And it’s still hard sometimes! The struggle is real! And so is our phenomenal ability to heal.
Guest Blog by Alane Freund, MS, MA. Alane is an International Consultant on High Sensitivity (ICHS) and family therapist who helps highly sensitive adults and youth focus on solutions through therapy, consultation, and speaking. Ms. Freund has developed and implemented programs for highly sensitive people, youth, families, and the clinicians who serve them. She holds Masters’ degrees in both clinical psychology and school counseling and is the parent of a highly sensitive young adult. Ms. Freund’s Talk at Google, Understanding the Highly Sensitive Person, is a widely recognized resource. In addition to her YouTube channel, Alane Freund LMFT, she hosts the twice monthly Are You Highly Sensitive LIVE membership workshops. Her innovative programs include HSPs & Horses™ and the online Sensitivity Circle topics: Parenting Sensitivity, Sensitive Youth, Wise Women & Wonder, HSProfessionals, HSPs in Relationships, and HSMen. Alane offers team building, educational workshops, and retreats at Heart and Mind Equine in California and across the globe, She can be reached for consultation or speaking through her website, alanefreund.com