How often do you do …. nothing? I suspect the answer might be somewhere between not very often and never? Well my lovely, here’s a permission slip if you need it: you need to rest!
Rest is an essential need for all human beings. But especially for highly sensitive people.
Rest is about stillness — the removal of stimulation.
Rest gives your nervous system a complete break from processing sensory data which is something that we highly sensitive people do deeply.
Don’t just relax, rest and do nothing!
Rest is different from relaxation. Going for a walk could be relaxing, but it is not rest because your sympathetic nervous system is activated — and required — for any movement. And even if you’re walking on your own in a peaceful meadow, your nervous system is still processing the sights, sounds and smells around you.
Similarly, while reading a book, or sitting sipping a cup of tea may be relaxing, it’s not real rest, because your nervous system is still processing what you’re experiencing: the words you’re assimilating or the taste and temperature of the tea as they change by the moment.
Rest is different because it aims to remove as much sensory stimulation as possible, so your body can rest totally. And in doing so, your brain and nervous system receive messages that indicate you’re safe so that you can move into a state of parasympathetic nervous system dominance, i.e. the rest, digest and heal response.
So, as an HSP, it is so essential for your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing that you find a restful, restorative practice that works for you.
Regularly giving yourself time truly to rest supports the body’s vital systems — those systems that are responsible for your health and vitality such as the immune system, digestive system, and adrenals.
The best way to rest
And the practice I recommend? Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra — or Yogic Sleep — is a practice of deep relaxation and meditative inquiry that helps to release challenging emotions and unhelpful thought patterns while also calming the nervous system. It helps you to develop a sense of an inner sanctuary of safety, wellbeing and serenity.
It’s an ancient practice, but there’s been plenty of research conducted on it in recent years. It’s been shown to facilitate the release of the effects of stress; the integration of emotional experiences; and to bring about profound healing and restoration for body and mind. It’s been shown to be of great benefit for people experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
It brings about a deep felt-sense of knowing that you have everything you need inside you now to find relief, peace and insight and to know that, fundamentally, you’re OK.
Yoga Nidra guides you to relax into just being.
So, how do you practise it? One: get comfortable by lying down or sitting on a supportive chair. Two: listen to a Yoga Nidra recording. (Check out ‘the next step’, below.)
Whatever you do, whether you just lie-down and take time out, or practise Yoga Nidra, it’s worth remembering that it takes an averagely relaxed person 15 minutes to move into the relaxation state so give yourself at least 20 minutes – in that extra five minutes you can really sink into rest and receive its healing power.
The next step
If you live in Hampshire, come along to one of my Essential Rest classes and spend some time simply being.
If you’re not local to me then there’s a Yoga Nidra for safety and inner peace included in my Stress Relief for Sensitives Tool Kit which you can listen to at home.
Also, the Yoga Nidra Network offers a large variety of free recordings.
Hi, I’m Stella Tomlinson and I guide highly sensitive women to live with peace & purpose.
I work with highly sensitive, intuitive women like you, who feel stuck, overwhelmed and confused and help you to reclaim your connection to yourself and feel more peaceful, whole and in flow with life.
I’ll guide you to reconnect to the inner intuitive guidance available to you through the sacred temple of your body; the wise whispers of your heart and soul; and the divine feminine energies of the seasons and cycles of life as a grounded spiritual practice.
And in doing so you’ll find clarity of mind, grounded inner peace, self-acceptance, a confident mindset, spiritual nourishment, and you’ll feel in flow with life.
I am a Priestess of the Goddess Brighid (in training), an experienced Dru Meditation & Yoga teacher, a writer (author of ‘Peace Lies Within’), and an energy worker/healer. I offer heart-healing meditation & yoga classes, and Soul Space for Sensitives events in Hampshire, UK. View of all my upcoming events here.