Who Are Highly Sensitive People?
15-20% of people are highly sensitive people. That is a huge number: as many as 1 billion people or more on the planet!
HSPs are different in many ways:
- they often see what others miss
- their deep processing skills help them see a need for change, or a tipping point before others do. HSPs can be process oriented.
- HSPs are holistic thinkers. They have a big picture perspective and therefore uniquely constructive solutions to problems.
- HSPs are also people who notice patterns and therefore how to change them, contributing in important ways to the evolution of the human race.
In our highly complex world, highly sensitive people are not only important but increasingly necessary if we want a world that works.
HSPs are also people who notice patterns and therefore how to change them, contributing in important ways to the evolution of the human race.
The Perspective Of Highly Sensitive People
HSP sensitivity makes them empathetic toward others. As a result, highly sensitive people have a natural transpersonal perspective and a preference for collaborative processes over adversarial ones.
Highly sensitive people are natural visionaries, peacemakers, creatives and humanitarians. One of an HSP’s greatest needs is to treasure their health so that they may play their important role in human life.
The highly sensitive trait is often transferred through the parents genes. Left-handedness in a family can be a sign that high sensitivity runs in the family.
The nervous system of highly sensitive people is more sensitive to all kinds of stimulus than the nervous system of non-HSPs. The sensory processing challenges that highly sensitive people face can create chronic overstimulation and serious health problems for HSPs.
The highly sensitive person can find themselves overwhelmed or uncomfortable around:
- bright lights
- uncomfortable fabrics
- electromagnetic devices
- noisy, frenetic social situations
- modern entertainment especially entertainment with violence.
Implications Of Highly Sensitive Biology
Since daily life involves more mental and physical processing for an HSP than others and because HSPs pick up more stimuli than others, HSPs must be mindful about the mental workload that they take on. Furthermore, because highly sensitive people are more right brained than left brained (holistic rather than compartmentalized) in their mental processing they work much harder to process the inputs of our left-brained world.
The hyper stimulated culture of the modern consumer society is difficult for HSPs because it magnifies the amount of physical and mental processing for an HSP’s mental and physical system.
Highly sensitive people have to develop an approach to all forms of stimulus that lets them function in an optimal way. Otherwise the highly sensitive person can become ill and dysfunctional.
Highly Sensitive People, Stress, and Immune Disorders
In 1999, the groundbreaking work of Elaine Aron raised awareness of the highly sensitive person as a different type of person.
Unfortunately many people do not yet self identify as an HSP, since knowledge about HSPs is still new.
As a result, many highly sensitive people suffer for many years if not all of their lives, trying to fit into a culture that does not recognize them or provide the support or treatment they need.
Long term unacknowledged needs for HSPs can lead to additional stress and contribute to immune and other
What this difference in arousability means is that you notice levels of stimulation that go unobserved by others. This is true whether we are talking about subtle sounds, sights, or physical sensations like pain… Elaine Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person
Dr. Aron’s work is foundational for understanding the highly sensitive person. Other researchers are investigating the highly sensitive trait as well.
David Richey’s developed a lengthy questionnaire to understand the anomalously sensitive person as detailed in his book, The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P. Understanding the Anomalously Sensitive Person. His work explores the brain and biochemical anomalies of the anomalously sensitive as well as some of the unique talents and the complex biology of these sensitives. His important research has also detailed some genetic and stress disorders that can affect sensitive people.
HSP Health Challenge
A thorough understanding of what it means to be a highly sensitive person along with a good plan for handling the demands of a sensitive, overtaxed nervous system is the beginning of quality of life for the highly sensitive person.
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