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It’s RSD – Not me.

By Sherry W.

Recognizing when our inner critic takes over and how to stop it.

In the clinical world, RSD stands for Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. For those with sensory
processing sensitivity due to their brain structure, emotion is a part of that sensory system.
When RSD takes control, it causes emotional and physical pain as a result of perceived or
real rejection/criticism from others.
RSD doesn’t stop attacking from a distance. These thoughts become invasive and
internalized. RSD causes a negativity loop’ in our subconscious that our conscious brain
picks up and slams us with, lying to us.
There is hope. It begins with identifying when your subconscious starts lying to you. It takes
our active participation to stop it from happening.

Identify feelings of shame, embarrassment, criticism, rumination of past
(perceived/real) mistakes, defensiveness, irritation and feelings of being observed or

When this happens, take a deep belly breath – sigh out the breath. Bringing your brain and nervous system together to know it is safe, and then ask the following questions.

Brains become used to this RSD loop. The pattern will not only repeat, but as the nervous
system carries increased cortisol due to the stress, worry and anxiety attached to the
behaviour, it can cause other illnesses within the body and mind.
Once we identify and interrupt the moments RSD attacks us, we should talk ourselves
through each instance.
Just as the nervous system adapts to the negative loops, our brains will do the same with positive ones. The difference is that instead of cortisol, which makes us feel horrible, the nervous system and brain will share a new series of feel-good hormones—dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.

Our brains respond to us working things out with them, out loud. Talk to someone about
your process or to yourself. It is healthy to speak to yourself when working out a problem.

There is one more step in being free from the grip of RSD: nervous system and emotional
regulation. Making sure your brain and nervous system are both working together to help
you feel safe is the best way to maintain your feelings of calm and balance.
Our vagal nerves are the primary nerves that travel from our brain stem throughout our
nervous system to every organ and life-giving system in our body. Ensuring this section of
the nervous system is toned and functioning to the best of its ability will assist in a
balanced brain/body connection.
Vagal toning will be achieved by regularly doing the following:

When we become emotionally regulated, we will find our RSD will become less intense.
Over time new neuro pathways are built due to our strengthened nervous system.

Once you clear out the negative messages within and about your body, your brain will be able to help you on your journey to healing. Working together is how it was intended.

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