Meditation Increases Self Discipline And Self-Acceptance

Mantra © by j / f / photos

You know the drill.  You are sensitive and therefore it is assumed that you are unstable.

And so you get marginalized. After all sensitivity means you are not tough enough. It means you are unreliable.

NOT SO!

Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough discovered a link between sensitivity and self discipline in their study about meditation. The study demonstrated that meditators were more accepting of their emotions which impacted their performance.

The Effect Of Meditation On Emotions

“Willpower … may relate to ‘emotional intelligence’,” said Michael Inzlicht, associate professor of psychology at UTSC. According to the study, meditators were more open to their emotions. This “emotional intelligence” has a strong impact on the ability of an individual to be disciplined on tasks.

When you meditate, and I am speaking from my 15+ years of experience with Transcendental Meditation, thoughts come and go. You do not attach to them. Sometimes they subside or stop. There is a flow to thoughts and feelings and the more you let the flow happen, the less likely you are to see them as part of your identity.

When you detach your identity from your thoughts and emotions, it is easier to accept them as part of the flow of life. You then take thoughts and emotions less personally and you become emotionally freer. Meditation promotes emotional freedom so that you can apply your energy to a task and stay with it because your emotions are not getting in the way so much.

Emotional Acceptance Trumps Mindful Awareness

According to the article, ” the researchers asked participants about their experience meditating, and gave tests that measured how mindful they were of the present moment, and also how aware and accepting they were of their emotions.

The researchers then hooked up participants to an electroencephalograph and gave them something called the Stroop test. In the test, participants are shown the name of a colour written in letters of a different colour – for instance, the word “red” spelled in green letters. Participants are asked to say the colour of the letters. The test requires them to suppress the tendency to read the word, and instead to concentrate on actual colours.

Meditators were generally better than non-meditators at the test… Looking further, the researchers found that the best performers were those who scored highest on emotional acceptance, and that mindful awareness – the more cognitive aspect of mindfulness ­– had less to do with success on the test. ”

Implications For Highly Sensitive People

Being highly sensitive means being aware of emotions. You cannot escape them. Being in touch with your emotions can be overwhelming and you quickly discover that you cannot respond to each one.

Although you have to process your feelings and make the wisest action choices that you can make, if you see them as part of the flow of life it will be easier to do so.

Whether you meditate or not, over time the practice of processing feelings and making decisions can become a practice that helps you develop both wisdom and self-discipline.

That is quite a gift from the supposed problem of being highly sensitive.

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Add Love To Your Life With Abhyanga Daily Oil Massage

Heavy Massage © by w00kie

The good news is that you do not need an elephant to have a great massage.

Massage is actually something that you can do for yourself every day.

The massage I am referring to is an oil massage which feels luxurious – like a dose of love – and detoxes as well.

Abhyanga

One of the most valued daily health practices in Ayurveda is oil massage called abhyanga.

Abhyanga, the Sanskrit word for oil, is the practice of pouring herbal oil on the body and massaging the  oil into the body to help restore and maintain balance. It is a daily massage practice for promoting general health or it can be part of the Ayurveda detoxification program called panchakarma. Sesame oil is the most commonly used oil for self-massage.

From a health perspective according to The Ayurveda Encyclopedia, abhyanga benefits the lymphatic system which carries nutrients to and remove toxins from the cells. Increasing nourishment and reducing toxins helps highly sensitive people by supporting their sensitive nervous systems from unnecessary toxic overload.

Health Benefits of Abhyanga

The Ayurveda Encyclopedia lists the following additional benefits of abhyanga:

  1. reverses and prevents aging
  2. releases fatigue and stress
  3. heals and prevents nervous system disorders
  4. helps vision
  5. nourishes the body and improves sturdiness
  6. remedies insomnia
  7. promotes electrochemical balance in the body
  8. prevents dehydration in the skin
  9. strengthens nerves
  10. helps the electromagnetic field of the body
  11. strengthens the immune system by increasing antibodies.

These important benefits of a daily oil massage provide help for highly sensitive people because the oil goes into the skin, tissues and the nerves providing relief for stress, insomnia and fatigue which we are all affected by.

When the massage is done daily, it helps prevent the buildup of stress and nerve damage in the body. Unlike medication for stress and nerves, oil massage doesn’t have any side effects. A daily abhyanga practice keeps skin supple and helps reverse the aging that comes with the buildup of toxins.

How Abhyanga Makes You Feel

When doing your daily oil massage, the first step is to warm the oil.  When you put the oil on your skin and scalp you can feel the warm nourishment of it. When you massage the skin you are making sure that the medicated oil is absorbed to benefit as much of your body as possible. It takes 5-10 minutes depending on how much massaging of the oil you decide to do.

When you complete the massage, you shower or bathe and groom your hair.  Your hair will feel silky and healthy.  The massage on your skin will give you a feeling of joyful lightness as you go through your day.  I think that the self massage feels like you have received some love and as a result you have the feeling of being protected during the day.  It causes you to feel better, have a more positive outlook, and therefore have a better day.

For highly sensitive people who need every help they can get, oil massage is an easy way to obtain many health benefits, reduce stress and strengthen their nervous systems.  It detoxes, and because it is a great form of self-care, it can be thought of as an affirmation. The Ayurvedic practice of abhyanga is perfect way for HSP’s to take excellent care of themselves.

Take A Vacation from Fear!

 

Very Relaxed © by Randy Son Of Robert

I have been thinking about fear lately, mostly because our cultural system just seems to be one form of fear or another and it never stops.

It doesn’t make sense, really.

Why would anyone want to live that way?

It all seems quite irrational which is why I am writing about it.

An Epidemic Of Fear

Our relationship to fear is awfully strange to me.

  • we have a continuous stream of information on the news as evidence that we live in a world where we need to be afraid. Yet at the same time, we are at risk of environmental collapse and expected not to be afraid of that.
  • most if not all of us have health problems which we are expected not to be afraid of,  yet “overcoming” fear with extreme sports is an applauded practice.

It would appear that we have an epidemic of fear and an equally great need not to acknowledge them. Why is  fear related to the cultural system or economy more important that fears related to the environment and the ecological system that we all depend on to survive?

Because we are an apparently individualistic society, we often treat fears as an individual matter.  But are they really?  If that is the case, why do news outlets churn out one fear based story after another?  Why even before one war ends do we start another? Why do we call any project a war, like the war on drugs?

The Source Of Fear

Spiritual masters will tell you that all fear comes from separation and there is merit to that point of view.

However, something else seems to be afoot in my opinion. I get the feeling that fear is just something else we manufacture  – that fear has become big business.

  • war is obviously a big business and includes all the businesses that support it
  • watch television and notice how many potential diseases are served up as a reason to buy medication
  • fear drives the consumption of most products including fashion, and cars. Notice how much fear and insecurity are used to move you to action – to consume.

If fear is big business and we have many businesses in the fear business, how to we develop a different way of life? Ho much time, energy and other resources would be freed by relinquishing the fear economy?

A Path Away From Fear

How do we find a way not to become totally inundated with the poison of fear in our lives?  Yes, we can meditate, and we can detach. We can see how we share the planet with everyone and everything and experience the magic in that.

Unfortunately even when we do it is still there – the fear.

Because fear has become a machine. And it seems very resistant and self serving. A fear-based system that thrives on the pain of others and that does not want to change.

I wonder what would happen of we had a vacation from fear? Would we miss it? Would we know that to do with ourselves? Do we have a purpose that is not related to fear?

I think it would be interesting to see if we would recognize that perhaps we are all wasting a lot of time and energy chasing our tails all over fear – which we don’t really need.

Don’t feel bad if you have fear. We are all drowning in it.

Give it a try – take a vacation from fear.  You will not disintegrate and you may be happier as a result. If we all did this, we would starve the fear system and be free of it. I can’t think of anything better!

 

 

Ginger: A High Powered Herb For Great Health

Ginger Root © by Itinerant Tightwad

Ginger is one of the most important spices you can use not only because of its substantial affect on the digestion but also because of its ability to balance the three body-types.

Ginger For Balance

The three body types in Ayurveda are vata for movement, pitta for metabolism, and kapha for the body’s structure.  Vata, pitta and kapha are  parts of each of us but in different relative strength. That accounts for why some people prefer hot weather and others cool weather, why some love spicy food and others hate it and why some people love physical labor and sports and others do not.

If you know your predominant body type (see quiz), then you can choose the best ginger remedy for you. According to the Ayurvedic Encyclopedia,

  • vata needs ginger combined with rock salt
  • pitta needs ginger combines with rock candy
  • kapha requires ginger combined with honey.

Power Up Your Digestion With Ginger

Ginger has another important function. It helps with the digestion. That may not sound like much, but digestion is one of the most important functions of your body. According to MAPI, ginger:

  1. ginger stokes the digestive fire
  2. whets the appetite
  3. improves assimilation of food
  4. improves transportation of nutrients to targeted body tissues
  5. and clears the microcirculatory channels of the body to facilitate absorption of food and removal of wastes.

Ginger acts like a stimulant and a roto-rooter to make the digestive system more effective.

Food when it is not properly digested and assimilated in the body clogs the system attaching itself to tissues and organs.  It then reduces the functioning of the body and eventually creates disease. Taking ginger before lunch and dinner is a great way to ensure a healthy digestion.

Treating Disease With Ginger

Ginger has other benefits:

  • it acts as an analgesic, reducing pain, for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis
  • it helps with motion sickness and has helped some pregnant women with morning sickness
  • it is used as a cold and flu remedy
  • it reduces the inflammation that can cause migraines
  • it has also been used in treat ovarian and colon cancer.

Ginger is a wonderful herb and spice that is easily incorporated into the diet and is worth considering to keep you in balance and your digestion humming on all cylinders.

How To Conquer The Stress Epidemic

 

Stress © by Alan Cleaver

 

Do you ever feel like stress is conquering you?

Do you ever feel hounded by one stressful situation after another?

Does stress take over your life and make you feel out of control?

Unfortunately, this is the situation for most of us most of the time.

We can conquer this problem but we have to understand some of the primal drive behind it.

What Are The Causes Of Stress?

There are several causes of stress:

  1. the environment we live in.  This types of stress includes weather, daily life challenges and relationships.
  2. the cultural conditions we live in and the expectations we are expected to meet, realistic or not.
  3. our own minds and how we process our environmental issues and cultural challenges.
  4. how we feel about ourselves by how well we are able to handle and cope with the above.
So basically when we want to find the source of stress, it can be in our physical environment, our cultural environment and our position within it and our own egos.

What Causes The Causes Of Stress?

This is the million dollar question:

  • there is the metaphysical answer, that our sense of ourselves as separate creates a lot of our pain and it is true. however, no matter how aware you are of the metaphysical truth, you still need to deal with the realities of daily life.
  • there is the evolutional answer. We evolved from an animal past where survival was fragile and uncertain and so we learned to see the world and others as a threat, which in many ways was true.  Our brain and memories bear the marks of our past.
  • there is the cultural answer. As we evolved the prefrontal cortex of our brains developed and with it more complex reasoning and social structures.  Unfortunately those social structures have often been power and status driven rather than well-being driven.  They have created class and economic structures that have resulted in many people not having their basic needs met.

The Stress Management Challenge

All of the human living models to date have been ego driven.
Ego driven structures deal with the temporal world.  They tend to be short-sighted and survival oriented.
Spiritually driven structures tend to be long sighted, have a universal point of view which allows all to be embraced.
Our current societal models have demanded that an individual develop a sizable ego to survive and thrive – many times that success has come at the expense of someone else.  Living in an environment where people succeed at the expense of others is stressful and threatening. The more predatory the environment the more stress you will experience.

How To Manage Stress Better

I do not believe in formulas for managing stress.  I think the trick to managing stress better is to come to terms with current human ways of life and combine it with a more spiritual approach.

It looks like this:

  1. embrace your limitations.  The ego is insatiable, not only yours but everyone else’s as well.  You can give up satisfying it and gain not only a measure of freedom but also feel more kindly toward your fellow humans when you do not have to please other egos.
  2. identify your real needs.  Knowing what you really need rather than your egos needs which are not the same will help you get control over your life.
  3. identify your important necessary commitments and let go of all others. When you do this you are able not only to take better care of yourself but also give more to your commitments which creates improvements in your life.
  4. start taking very good care of yourself. Great self care is a wonderful way to improve your mood and enjoy life more.
  5. be as gracious as you can to others suffering from stress without doing unnecessary harm to yourself.
  6. take time to discover what is really important to you. When you spend time on what you really care about you are naturally happier and more giving.  Everyone benefits. It is not good to prop yourself up with all sorts of material rewards because you are living in a way that does not suit you.  You are just piling stress upon stress.
  7. make gradual changes in the direction of your greatest happiness.

The more you get a handle on your necessities and real obligations the more you will be able to reduce stress in your life.

The world will be here when we are gone. Enjoy it more while you are here.

2 Herbs For Great Skin

Women smiling © by dermatology.com

 

Would you like to have great skin?

Do you invest in your skin care and still feel dissatisfied with how your skin looks?

Many people waste a lot of money on their skin to look and feel better.  They do not understand their skin problems and reach for magic bullet solutions, sometimes making the problem worse.

There is a way out of this problem with some revisions in your self-care. First, we have to understand the causes of skin problems.

What Causes Skin Problems?

Skin problems come from may sources: viruses and bacteria are two common sources. However, the biggest source of skin problems is actually how we live.

Diet, water, rest and exercise play the most important roles in our skin condition. The seasons are also important since seasonal factors play an important role in skin aggravation: winter wind can dry the skin, summer heat can burn it. Toxins of all sorts can clog our bodies including our skin.

Here in the west, we think of skin as a layer of tissue covering our bodies. Ayurveda has a more complex and holistic understanding of this important organ.

The Seven Layers Of The Skin

Ayurveda has identified 7 layers to the skin.

According to this MAPI article on skin care, they are:

  1. Avabhasini: This is the outermost layer. It reflects the complexion and the quality of nutrition. It also acts as a mirror: it indicates whether the physiology as a whole is balanced or imbalanced, and whether there is inner health or disorder. The avabhasini layer also reflects the aura of the individual-if there is inner bliss, it shows on this layer. It does not have its own color: it reflects the colors of the inner layers. Internal and external re-hydration and regular massage supports the health and appearance of the avabhasini layer of the skin.
  2. Lohita: This layer supports the outermost layer. It indicates the quality and health of the blood. If there is ama (impurities) in the blood, it impacts the aura of the outer layer and accentuates sensitivity to the sun. The color of this layer resembles molten iron.
  3. Shweta: This is a white layer, and it provides balance to skin color, lightening the darker colors of the inner layers.
  4. Tamra: This layer nurtures the upper layers of the skin. It supports the immune system. This is the layer that helps the skin perform its function of being a “barrier. Skin infections reflect an imbalance in this layer. It is copper-colored.
  5. Vedini: This fifth layer sensually links the skin to the rest of the body. It is the center for transformation of sensation-feeling of pain, for example.
  6. Rohini: This layer supports healing and regeneration. Imbalance in this layer retards healing and the disappearance of scars over time. A balanced diet, rich in nutritional value, supports the rohini layer.
  7. Mamsadhara: This innermost layer is the platform for the skin’s stability and firmness. When this layer is in balance, the skin looks young and supple.
All of these layers of the skin can become unbalanced and therefore contribute to skin problems.

The Skin And The Immune System

All parts of the body are vulnerable to toxins including the skin.

The immune system protects us from toxins and our body expels them in various ways. The skin plays an important role in the release of these toxins from the body. Whenever our skin is showing signs of some sort of damage, it is because of some imbalance or toxins in the body that need to be released.

Most Common Causes Of Skin Problems

The following are among the most common lifestyle causes of skin problems:

  • dehydration
  • poor quality food: processed, fast food, and leftovers
  • wrong food for our system
  • lack of sleep
  • stress of all kinds
  • overwork
  • weather changes that are a problem for your body time
  • lack of exercise

The best way to improve skin conditions is to begin changing our lifestyles.

Improving Skin Condition

Diet, exercise, hydration, stress reduction and a good night’s sleep will improve skin resilience and health.

In addition these herbs will help remove toxins from the skin and improve appearance:

  1. neem is one of the most important herbs for the skin; it’s leaves, bark and oil are all used in healing preparations. Neem has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungical benefits.
  2. according to the Neem Foundation, neem is useful in treating fungus based conditions: athlete’s foot, ringworm and candida.
  3. neem has been used to successfully treat psoriasis, eczema and other conditions.
  4. neem is antibacterial properties help heal sores and burns.
  5. turmeric is known as a wound healer. Turmeric improves skin conditions by purifying the blood.
Using neem and turmeric capsules will go a long way to improving your skin. When combined with good lifestyle practices, you have the opportunity to create long-term healthy glowing skin and save a lot of money on expensive skin preparations.

Massage For Great Skin

A daily massage is a daily practice that makes skin feel wonderful while it helps remove toxins.  There are two different types: warm oil massage and dry massage.

  1. Warm oil massage or abhyanga is a head-to-toe form of self massage that provides deep healing to the tissues.  Using herbal oils provides nourishment and detoxification to the many levels of the skin and joints. It is done daily for maximum effect.  Daily massage has a calming effect on the entire being and is a great way not only to have great skin but also to reduce stress.  One of the best results of daily warm oil massage is incredible soft skin!
  2. Dry massage also called garshan is great for treating cellulite which is caused by a buildup of toxic fat and poor circulation.  Garshan like warm oil massage is conducted in the morning using silk gloves which stimulate the skin resulting in the removal of toxins.

Both types of massage are beneficial depending on your need. This Ayurvedic massage pdf gives instructions for both massage types.

Getting Started On Creating Great Skin

Great health starts with good food, healthy water, stress relief practices, and exercise. Adding herbs for skin can accelerate your healing, and massage will make your skin soft and help you feel wonderful and save you a lot of money.

What Lennox Says About Us

Today a mixed breed dog, Lennox,  who looks like a pit bull was put to sleep.  He was taken two years ago from his disabled owner because of laws about dangerous dogs in Belfast, Ireland. He wasn’t even a pit bull, he was a lab bull dog mix.

Nobody wants to be attacked by a dangerous dog and there are some. In this case, Lennox had not done any harm to anyone and was treasured by his owner.

The Belfast  government fought the evidence for two years: no evidence that the dog was a pit bull, and a number of offers by experienced dog trainers and celebrities to rehome the dog. The dog and his owner lost. So did we.

He looked like a pit bull and apparently looks can be a death sentence.

A fabricated problem and a death that was totally unnecessary.

No Stewardship In Belfast

Lennox did not do anything. He did not have to. After two years of legal wrangling and and numerous offers to rehome the dog, the Belfast government got its way.

The basis of the social contract between governments and the people is stewardship. The tragic story of Lennox is a superb example of how a government can lose sight of its primary mission of stewardship.

Laws and rule are meant to serve and enhance life not destroy it. They are meant to support the community well-being not serve as tools of punishment and abuse by authorities.

The Belfast government stuck to their principles even though there was no reason to do so. I wish they had questioned the difference between stubbornness and stewardship. Lennox would home right now of they had.

Change The World: Own Your Lizard Brain

When humans do harm it is often attributed to our ancient lizard brain.

We all have a lizard brain, we all experience fear. Sometimes the fear is real and sometimes it is not. It is our responsibility each and everyone of us to recognize that our lizard brain can do harm. We need to question our knee jerk fears to determine if they are real.

Unfortunately, when governments refuse to question their lizard brains, the damage they create is worse.

Lennox is just the latest example of senseless unnecessary killing. Safety is being used all over the world as a excuse to hurt other living beings.

At what point are we going to wake up and demand better of our governments, ourselves and each other.

I hope it is now.

I hope there are no more Lennoxes.

The Problem Of Time For Highly Sensitive People

Impatience Photo by Loozrboy/Flickr

Hurry up!  Hurry up!

Do you ever feel that many people around you are too quick and too impatient?

I know that I do.

It’s a weird problem, because as slow as HSP’s may seem to non-HSP’s, non-HSP’s seem superficial to HSP’s.

It can be a challenge to handle it.

Why Time Is A Conflict For HSP’s

Non-HSP’s tend to operate at a faster speed than HSP’s.

Non-HSP’s are usually extroverted and have a more competitive orientation. If you are going to be a successful competitor, you need to be fast.

HSP’s have a holistic orientation. They take in everything and sort out the information they receive before making decisions and taking action. HSP’s tend have an organic approach to life which creates different relating and problem solving approaches.

Put an HSP and non-HSP in the room and it will be difficult for them to work together unless they create a way to do so. Their interests, values, and working approaches will be very different.

How HSP Biology Creates A Time Challenge

Highly sensitive people are born with nervous systems that soak up all sensory information around them.  HSP’s are like sensory sponges.

Because highly sensitive people are also holistic they need to process the information they take in before choosing how to direct their energy. Having a holistic orientation complicates things because

  • you have to consider all of the factors that are relevant to any task at hand
  • you do not have the excuse that you are not aware when you take in so much information
  • you take in information that includes factors from the past, present and future.

The reality is that highly sensitive people have a complex mental processing problem on their hands, that is not shared by non-HSP’s. As valuable as HSP’s are, non-HSP’s may not appreciate the awareness that sensitive people bring to the table and become impatient with us.

Getting A Handle On Time Issues

The first thing that highly sensitive people need to do is accept that they will not change non-HSP’s nor do we have to take care of their impatience.

At the same time, you cannot simply conform to a competitive world which often does not suit your values.  Compromises need to be made, however, it is better if they are not with your values.

It may sound like a simple time management problem but it is really more important that that. Competition is a serious factor in social respect. People who are gentle are often not well regarded. Therefore, finding a way to come into your own value and take care of your own needs in a world that may not appreciate your strengths is a challenge.

Start by identifying where in your life you are having the greatest difficulty. To get a handle on time issues, start with an assessment:

  1. family life: am I the only HSP or are there others in the family?  Am I supported in being different and having different needs and going at a slower pace?
  2. work life: am I in a competitive or collaborative environment?  Do I feel good about going to work or do I dread each day?
  3. friends and social life: do I experience friendship and acceptance from the people around me or do I often find myself bullied and put-down?
  4. health: how is my health?  how much stress can I withstand before I become debilitated or ill?
Once you have the big picture it is easier to make some intelligent adjustments in your daily life and do some planning.
  • are their places that offer you comfort and joy?  Can you expand them?
  • are their places where the interpersonal situation is extremely unpleasant for you?  Can you reduce it?
  • can you work for yourself in order to create a more satisfactory life for yourself?
As Peter Messerschmidt, popular HSP blogger writes: “Unfortunately, many HSPs struggle with planning, as it tends to be a rather “left brain” (analytical) type of thinking process, where most HSPs prefer “right brain” (intuitive/subjective) thinking. However, in the interest of self-preservation, planning is one of those areas where we are well served by stepping outside our comfort zones.”

Steps For Planning

Consider taking some steps to do more planning by answering the questions above to give yourself a picture of where you are in you life. Depending on your situation it may be easier to start small with one life area and make improvements before moving on to other challenges.
Here are some small planning steps you can take:
  • conduct an assessment
  • identify the areas you want to change
  • pick a place to start
  • identify what you need to make the change: support, information, tools etc.
  • pick some ideas for making changes and pick a strategy that suits you
  • make changes and notice the results
  • journal about your progress.  It is a good way to think things through as well as release frustration safely.
Planning can help you will put yourself on a path to a more satisfactory life. If you take it one step at a time, and make small changes, you will be able to combine the left brained planning functions with your intuitive sense and gain a new life skill that can serve you well.

Are Left-Handed People More Likely To Be Highly Sensitive?

writing © by Vassilis Online

If you have an allergic reaction to a lot of noise are you highly sensitive?

If you can’t stand crowds, are you highly sensitive?

If you are left-handed, are you highly sensitive?

Maybe.

The Elusive Trait Of High Sensitivity

The highly sensitive trait is not easy to pin down.

There are many different types of sensitivity associated with being an HSP, and they can vary in intensity. It is hard to identify a highly sensitive person because:

  1. the many different types of sensitivities can make it hard to identity
  2. many sensitivities can coexist on one person
  3. many highly sensitive people have characteristics like left-handedness that are not obviously associated with being highly sensitive
  4. many HSP’s also have other medical conditions like lupus, diabetes and learning difficulties
  5. childhood abuse can make the symptoms worse and add psychological conditions that may mask the HSP condition.

Why It Is Hard To Identify Highly Sensitive People

The manifestations of the highly sensitive trait can be so diverse that it is sometime hard to see sensitivity as one trait. In the past, people who were highly sensitive were often considered damaged in some way.

Throughout the centuries, the characteristics of sensitivity were often treated as isolated symptoms rather than one of a family of possible sensitivity characteristics. Lack of knowledge made identification of the HSP trait difficult.

Today we have a different challenge. We have – although only recently – identified the highly sensitive trait, thanks to the work of Elaine Aron, Ph.D. and Dr. Norman Geschwind.

However, our culture has so much overstimulation and toxicity it can be hard to identify whether or not you are in fact highly sensitive. Perhaps you are manifesting the symptoms of being overstressed.  Overstimulation can affect anyone including non-HSP’s. Perhaps you are suffering the impact of other forms of toxicity. The damage from water, food and workplace toxicity are real to everyone not just HSP’s.

So how do we separate out those who are  highly sensitive from those non-HSP’s suffering from toxic overload?

How The Research On Left-Handedness Helps Identify HSP’s

Left handedness has always been with us. Historically it was perceived as an anomaly and a defect so as children, left handed people were “trained” out of left handedness. Because of concern about left handedness, there has been much research done on left handed people over the years.

Dr. Norman Geschwind’s research from the 1980’s, often called the Geschwind Theory, gives us a clue on how the highly sensitive trait develops. He identified the relationship between maternal testosterone, lefthandedness, and genetic diseases.

According to his study, stress during pregnancy increases testosterone in the mother causing the fetus to develop differently. The result can be any number of conditions and genetic diseases including left-handedness. (The New York Times profiled the study in their article: Left vs. Right: Brain function Tied to Hormone in the Womb.)

The research on left-handedness over the years has been helpful because lefthandedness has been correlated with many other conditions and diseases. In investigating the relationship between left handedness and other conditions, the research community has unwittingly been providing us with clues to the highly sensitive trait.

It is only since Elaine Aron, Ph.D. wrote The Highly Sensitive Person in the 1990’s that we had a name to go with the condition that left handedness was pointing us to.

One of the best resources for highly sensitive people on the relationship between left handedness and genetic diseases is the H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P,written by David Ritchey. It shows the relationship between prenatal testosterone in the mother due to stress, and the creation of the highly sensitive person. He cites the Geschwind Theory along with other research including his own showing the prevalence of lefthandedness and genetic disorders among highly sensitive people or anomalous sensitive people  – his name for highly sensitive people.

Of course, the highly sensitive condition can also be inherited one the genetic profile exists in a family and frequently is.

Identifying Highly Sensitive People

There are a number of ways to determine if you are highly sensitive. Many quizzes are available on the internet which help individuals identify their sensitivity. HSP’s have a set of traits related to their make-up that sets them apart from non-HSP’s. They work differently, process information differently, and experience life differently.  The quizzes are a great place to start.

Another way to identify the trait is through an investigation of your family history. Do you have any genetic conditions that show up in the family? Although a genetic condition is not proof that an individual is an HSP, it may show that there has been at one time a pregnancy in the family where the mother had the kind of stress that caused a genetic condition to develop.

It is worth investigating your family history to get an idea for genetic transfer of health conditions. Taking a quiz can help as well. If you think that you may be an HSP, it is worth seeking the help of an advisor experienced in helping HSP’s develop skills at handling their sensitivity.