Crying at the drop of a hat. Taking things people say to heart and mulling over them for hours. Feeling out of control when it comes to your emotions.
If you’re wondering how to be less sensitive, it’s likely that you’ve experienced some of these things.
Sensitivity in people isn’t a bad trait, necessarily, as we need that sensitivity to foster compassion and to help encourage others to feel deeply and share emotions.
However, there are some times when being too sensitive can be a hindrance and reflect more on your negative self-image or self-esteem than the world around you.
It’s not exactly pleasant to go through life feeling like you will fall apart at any moment if someone so much as looks at you the wrong way, and it’s equally hard for the people around you to feel like they’re always walking on eggshells.
Becoming less sensitive is something that happens over time, not all at once, but if you use these helpful tips on how to be less sensitive, you can start to be more in control over your feelings and be able to interact in a positive, healthy, and confident way.
1. Build Your Self-Esteem
Oftentimes, when someone is too sensitive, it’s because they’re adding other people’s negative comments or remarks to the negative things they already think about themselves.
If someone forgets to text you back and that upsets you in a serious way or makes you incredibly sad, it usually means that you believe or fear that you’re a person not worth texting back, for instance.
“Build your self-esteem” is one of our go-to tips for many emotional problems that people face, but that’s because it works.
Your self-esteem is your core self, the belief in how worthy you are of love and of human connection or of many other positive things.
When we believe in ourselves and build up our self-esteem, we find it easier and easier to not crumble at the most simple signs of someone wronging us or saying something the wrong way or taking behaviors personally.
In fact, you might be too wrapped up in yourself and your own self-esteem to worry that much about other people, which can be a huge blessing for someone who is too sensitive.
2. Go to Therapy
The reasons for your sensitivity can often be addressed in therapy, and learning how to be less sensitive is something that many therapists can help you with while also helping you build your self-esteem.
Therapy isn’t just for people with serious problems.
It’s a great way to learn how you work, and to get advice based on your specific personality and life experiences on how to navigate the world more confidently.
If you specifically say to a therapist that you’re looking for help in not feeling so sensitive all of the time, they’ll unpack your thoughts about sensitivity, where your over-sensitive nature might have come from, and address many of the root problems that are causing you to feel like you’re too sensitive.
3. Use Logic, Not Emotion
Sensitive people are often people who rely on emotion over logic.
Many people do this, and again, this helps the creatives, the artists, the poets, the singers of the world express themselves and really tap into that emotional state.
Emotions aren’t a bad thing. By no means are we suggesting that you just shun all emotions.
However, sometimes emotions can rule us, and we don’t want our emotions to rule us.
We want to be in charge of our emotions and our reactions.
In the case of people who think they are too sensitive, turning more towards logic can help battle some of these inner demons over time.
For instance, if you’re not invited to an outing with your friends, though you normally are, someone who is too sensitive might cry.
They might feel absolutely crushed, dwelling on how much this hurts and being angry at their friends or distraught that they weren’t invited.
But what if we looked at the situation with logic.
What are some logical reasons that you might not have been invited?
Was it someplace that your friends knew you didn’t like going?
Was it on a day that they thought you were busy?
Do you live the furthest away and the people who lived closer to the venue were invited?
Did someone invite you, but the message was lost and the text wasn’t delivered or they thought they invited you, but didn’t?
Even if none of those things are true and your friends really just didn’t invite you, can you logically think of another time you didn’t invite a friend to something and what it meant?
People don’t have to invite all their friends all the time to every event, and logically, if you’re usually invited, there’s nothing wrong and no one meant to slight you.
Try and work out what is happening, logically, before you put the emotion in, and you might start to see the world from a more objective perspective which helps you not react too sensitively to every perceived slight.
4. Try to Understand their Intentions
Intention is everything. We’ve all heard people say, “Sorry! That wasn’t my intention!” and oftentimes people will go, “it doesn’t matter! It still hurt me!”
This might be a hot take or unpopular opinion, but we’re of the belief that we do need to take the intentions of other into account and not get too upset if their intentions were good.
An example of this might be someone who gets so worked up about the way their partner said something to them.
They took it as a slight, but after talking it over, their partner really didn’t mean in that way and their intention wasn’t to hurt or offend you.
Now if they said something like, “I hate you,” well, then, this doesn’t apply, but if their tone was “off” in the way they asked you what you wanted for dinner, chill out.
Try and really understand what someone’s intention was in any given situation before you feel sensitive about it. Was their intention good? Then, at least for the first couple of times, let it slide.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a great way to learn to have control over your emotions and what goes through that brain of yours.
If you’re too sensitive, you might have a jumble of thoughts or racing thoughts about what people think about you or various negative comments about yourself.
You might be so in tune with the world around you, but not in tune with your thoughts, which means you’re being hit with all of this external stimuli with no real way of processing it.
Mindfulness teaches you to sit with your thoughts and to identify them as “just thoughts.”
You don’t have to act on a thought, or make a thought more than a thought or turn a thought into an emotion. It’s just a thought.
Not turning thoughts into emotions is one of the strongest ways that mindfulness can help people who are too sensitive, because even if you have the thoughts (“this person must hate me,” “I’m so upset because she didn’t invite me to her party,” “he must be so mad at me based on how he asked me that question”), you don’t have to do anything with those thoughts than let them float in and out of your head.
6. Know It’s Not About You
Sensitive people tend to be a little self-absorbed.
We know, we know.
It’s not a nice thing to hear, but think about it: sensitive people often take everything personally.
Every tone, every look, every behavior from someone else becomes about them, and that’s what makes them upset.
Try and take a step back and know that 99% of the time, it’s not really about you.
It might not be about you at all, and you’re just thinking that person is scowling at you when really they’re busy worrying about their presentation they have to give in the office tomorrow.
Or it could be about you in the moment, like if a partner takes their bad day out on you, but you can work to understand that it wasn’t really about you anyway and was about them not being able to handle their own emotions about their bad day (this doesn’t excuse bad behavior towards you, but can help you rationalize it and be more matter-of-fact about it rather than collapsing into a pile of tears because she came home and didn’t immediately give you a kiss).
7. Turn Your Attention Outward
When we’re doing things for other people or focusing on other people and what we can do for them, we start to worry less about what they think of us or feel that we have time to be sensitive about things.
Turn yourself into someone who sends your attention outward, rather than inward, and see if the positive focus on other people helps you not internalize so many things.
8. Respond with Kindness
Sensitive people are often kind people already because they know what it’s like to feel hurt, but how can you focus even more on that kindness to eliminate some of your issues stemming from your sensitivity?
This goes along with the “it’s not about you” tips, but really try and respond with kindness even if someone is mean to you or takes out their frustrations on you.
For instance, if someone at the office gets sharp with you when you forget to turn the printer off, you don’t have to collapse within yourself and think about how terrible you are or how sad you are that they approached you with a harsh tone.
Instead, put on a smile, go and turn the printer off, and say “Gosh, I’m so sorry, it completely slipped my mind. How annoying! Thanks for letting me know!”
Firstly, they’ll be caught off guard anyway and will probably instantly change their tune, but if you take it one step further and go over to them at the end of the day and say, “Hey, Tony, I just wanted to say I hope you have a great weekend.
I know things around the office have been a little stressful and you’ve had so much work on your plate and I really hope you get a chance to relax with your family.”
Say it without a hint of sarcasm, and with full, genuine kindness, and boom – you’re less focused on your own sensitivity and more focused on being kind to them, and it’s highly likely they in turn will feel like a jerk if they were genuinely mean to you and apologize.
9. Distract Yourself
It’s okay if the easiest thing to do in the moment if you’re feeling too sensitive is to distract yourself.
Sometimes, sensitive people engage in a kind of rumination that keeps their mind turning over and over the thing they’re sensitive about.
You don’t always have to engage the self-help tips.
Sometimes you can just put on a movie or TV show or call a friend to talk about something else or sing aloud to your favorite song.
The feelings will often pass without you dealing with them directly.
10. Ask What You Would Say to a Friend
There’s nothing better to get you out of your sensitive ways than to start asking yourself what you would say to a friend in the situation.
What we say to our friends, our best friends, is often honest, but mostly impartial.
We’re giving advice out of love, but we can see the bigger picture in their scenario because we’re not the ones living it.
If you’re feeling too sensitive about something, try and ask yourself what you would say to a friend if they were in your shoes.
What angles would you get them to look at? Would you think that maybe they were potentially misreading the situation?
Even if they weren’t, wouldn’t you just tell them they’re awesome and not to worry about whatever that person said or did?
Of course, you would!
You wouldn’t engage them in any sort of negativity or overly sensitive behavior because you want them to feel better and to know their worth.
Tell that to yourself next time!
11. Use Breathing Techniques
Often, being too sensitive involves being someone who cries easily.
This can be difficult to manage, as it is a physical manifestation of our emotions, but it can really give us problems in life, in the boardroom, or in the checkout line.
To combat this, try using breathing techniques like counting in for 1 long breath for 4 counts and out for 4 counts, or just doing a repeated loop of breaths and focusing on the breathing.
This helps to get your mind off of your thoughts, which can help stop the crying from beginning or help it go away.
The key here is really that focus on the physical sensation of the breath.
It’s hard to think about that and why you want to cry at the same time, and if your body is too busy focusing on breathing, it won’t have too much capacity left to also focus on crying (at least until you’re in a better space for it).