Are You Highly Sensitive?

Are You Highly Sensitive?

Do you feel overwhelmed in crowded spaces, by too much noise, bright lights, strong smells and lots going on around you? Do you need lots of time alone to recover when you have been exposed to such stimuli? Are you very affected by other people’s moods?  Are you very sensitive to the needs of others? Are you often right in your hunches about things? Growing up, were you often told you that you were too sensitive or that you thought too much? Do you spend lots of time thinking about the meaning of life and death and other big philosophical questions? These and more are traits associated with being a highly sensitive person (HSP).

 

Being highly sensitive has to do with hyperarousal of the nervous system. We all need a certain level of alertness in order to function well. Conditions in our environment communicate with our nervous system and by their intensity create higher or lower levels of arousal. The challenge for HSPs is that it takes very little for their nervous systems to be aroused beyond a comfortable level, causing them to become overwhelmed. Most HSPs are born that way, some develop high sensitivity through certain types of early life experiences.

 

HSPs seem to make up about 15-20% of the population in any society, including among several other animal species. They are more sensitive to stimuli because they perceive things with more intensity. They notice levels of stimulation that go unobserved by others, such as subtle sounds, sights or physical sensations like pain. HSP’s do not have better eyesight, hearing, etc., but their brains process this information more thoroughly. This greater awareness of the subtle is responsible for HSPs’ more intuitive nature. Other characteristics common among HSPs are creativity, deep thinking, insightfulness, enjoying time spent alone, a rich inner life (often seen by others as shyness). HSPs are also very sensitive to the effects of substances like caffeine and alcohol and often perform poorly under pressure.

 

Being an HSP is not popular. It is being the ‘cry baby’, the child who gets bullied in the school playground for being weird or a nerd. Most HSPs grow up being made to feel inadequate about the way they are, that there is something wrong with them. Because HSP’s are only 15-20% of the population, they are in the minority and therefore judged by the majority, including the mainstream of fields like psychology, to be maladjusted and their trait sometimes even deemed a pathology. This majority view on HSPs has an effect on the mental health of many, as they grow up with a sense of being flawed in some way and can develop low self-esteem and even mental health problems, like depression and anxiety as a result. Because of that many fail to develop and use the positive aspects of being an HSP for the benefit of society.

 

What the concept of HSP does is it helps people who are highly sensitive understand as well as accept themselves and their life experience. It also helps them begin to see the value of their trait for themselves and those around them. While society does not value the characteristics of HSPs, they are very needed in society. As mentioned in the previous post, HSPs are our healers, our mediators, our thinkers and artists, our advisors and those who keep the more aggressive impulses (also needed for certain purposes) in the mainstream in check.

 

If this sounds like you and you would like to learn more about how to make it in this world as an HSP, I highly recommend you pick the book Highly Sensitive Person, How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms you, by Elaine Aron.

1 Comment

  1. Perpétue on February 7, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    I wish to read this book!

Leave a Comment





Join Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Facebook

3 days ago

Yema Ferreira

When was the last time you took yourself out on a date? Where would you go or what would you do if you did take yourself out on a date? What would feel absolutely delightful and indulgent? Can you give it to yourself? #SelfCareWednesday ... See MoreSee Less

When was the last time you took yourself out on a date? Where would you go or what would you do if you did take yourself out on a date? What would feel absolutely delightful and indulgent? Can you give it to yourself? #SelfCareWednesday

5 days ago

Yema Ferreira

Today I bring you a little prayer of gratitude for help in those difficult times, from Sonia Choquette's Uplifting Prayers to Light Your Way.

Holy Mother-Father-God,
Divine Loving Light and Heart of the Universe,

Thank you for lighting my way through the darkness and for keeping my heart open to your love and guidance. I feel your presence in my heart and in my bones, clearing and cleansing the old and making way for the new. I am grateful for your love.

Amen and with infinite gratitude.
#TGIM
... See MoreSee Less

Today I bring you a little prayer of gratitude for help in those difficult times, from Sonia Choquettes Uplifting Prayers to Light Your Way.

Holy Mother-Father-God,
Divine Loving Light and Heart of the Universe,

Thank you for lighting my way through the darkness and for keeping my heart open to your love and guidance. I feel your presence in my heart and in my bones, clearing and cleansing the old and making way for the new. I am grateful for your love.

Amen and with infinite gratitude.
#TGIM
Load more

Twitter

Self-awareness is the first step to meaningful change. Are you highly sensitive? What does that mean for your mental health? What does it mean for who you want to be in the world?
https://t.co/GsUxfS1ZKN

"Those of us who are healers in these modern times and contexts... are reduced to going about it in the only conventionally acceptable way: getting a Western education as doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychotherapists and other helping professions."

Yema Ferreira on Twitter

“What is a therapist anyway? In today's blog post I offer one perspective. #Healing https://t.co/5b7cZZSWWa”

twitter.com

Load More...