Why We Need Highly Sensitive People Now

Why We Need Highly Sensitive People Now - HSP Health Blog

Thinker on a Rock, 1997 cast bronze by Barry Flanagan, British, born 1941 © by cliff1066™ Flickr

Why do we need highly sensitive people now?

Are we seeing a renewed interest and dare I say respect for the sensitives of the world?

Conditions Are Everything

Conditions are everything. We are culturally bound which means that it is easy to lose sight of how other conditions may be changing.

Right now we are seeing a perfect example of a disconnect between human cultural systems and world conditions. Human cultural systems are digging in their heels in order to maintain the status quo, while the reality of deteriorating global conditions continues its significant harm to the environment, humans and other living creatures on the planet.

So perhaps  the concept of “mind over matter” – or left-brained linear thinking – has its limits although we do not seem willing to concede the point.

So many cultures have come and gone because they disrespected the underlying conditions that supported them. Jared Diamond has written about this topic in his book, Collapse. Too often cultures become inflexible putting themselves at risk. HSP’s can help with that.

Highly Sensitive People Notice Conditions

Highly sensitive people are masters of nuance. They sense everything and notice when something is not working. Their nervous systems pick up all sensory information around them. HSP’s nervous systems are somewhat like a lightening rod or an advance warning system. The highly sensitive person can tell when something is wrong when others do not see it.

Highly sensitive people pick up all sorts of signals from their environment:

  • sound
  • visual
  • tactile
  • psychic
  • energetic

if there is a signal or sensory information of some sort, HSP’s receive it.

What The Highly Sensitive Person Does With What They Notice

Highly sensitive people can become overwhelmed by the information they take in from our overstimulated and highly complex culture. And for many it is a huge burden. However it can also be a blessing because it provides HSP’s with some important skills:

  1. highly sensitive people process information deeply so their view is often complex and inclusive.
  2. HSP’s notice shifts and so they notice factors like: the strength and resilience of an issue, the relationship between forces, the interdependencies and where they are working and where they are dysfunctional.
  3. a highly sensitive person will process information contextually and will therefore likely have a holistic and integral approach to understanding the issues in any situation.
  4. because highly sensitive people take in so much information, they tap into many factors and considerations that others may overlook in sizing up situations and problems.

Why Highly Sensitive People Are So Valuable

Because of their holistic, complex and complete information processing skills, highly sensitive people are able to notice the changes in underlying conditions in a situation. They do not get locked into a system as the status quo. In fact, they will likely see any human system as having a lifecycle as everything else does.

HSP’s can discern both short term and long term challenges and fashion an approach to problem solving that integrates both.

HSP sensitivity is especially valuable in dealing with complex structures and systems because they have the ability to determine where the weaknesses are, and what the causes are including where changes in underlying conditions are creating problems.

Highly sensitive people are extremely valuable people at any time. Right now as we are having serious challenges to current human structures they are even more valuable because they can help us problem solve from a smarter place.

Changing times call for smart choices. HSP’s can help us do that.

For More Information:

About The Highly Sensitive Person

Are We All Becoming Highly Sensitive People

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Unwrapping the Gift of Our Sensitivity

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Unwrapping the Gift of Our Sensitivity - HSP Health Blog

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I was driving home from work when my cell phone beeped notifying me I had received a text from Angie, a close friend whom I’d been teaching intuitive awareness for the past year. Without looking at my phone, I knew it was a request to call her; usually a sign that life was giving her another lesson and one she wanted to discuss.

One thing about highly sensitive people is that we spot each other in a heartbeat. I met Angie during an impromptu intuition workshop I had held while visiting a friend in another state, and when talking with her and her husband I could feel what a highly sensitive person she was. Outgoing by nature, Angie had a deep desire to work with people as a healer. Her husband’s energy on the other hand went to the other extreme. He had no interest in intuition and my efforts to share tips on using intuition in a business setting fell on deaf ears. Eventually, he grew fidgety and impatient; insisting they leave early during a break to attend a home show. Watching them walk away, I saw Angie look over her shoulder at me; although she didn’t say anything there was a pleading in her eyes which left a lingering impression in my thoughts.

In the days which followed, I had a gut feeling that there was something important being conveyed through her expression. Since I gain intuitive information through a person’s eyes and always trust my gut feelings, I sent a message through a mutual friend for Angie to call me if she needed to talk. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, her call would be the start of a friendship which would be a learning experience for us both.

Early in that first phone call as Angie shared her thoughts with me, I realized that there was a much broader range of personal concerns Angie was trying to address than anyone I had previously taught. As a highly sensitive person who was dealing with past addiction issues and trying to be the ideal wife in her marriage, Angie was experiencing numerous conflicting emotions. She was feeling worn out from setting aside her needs in order to meet the expectations of her husband and the people around her.

Intuition she told me, was a subject she wanted to learn more about; she saw it as a path to making better personal decisions in all area of her life, allowing her to be herself rather than a reflection of what she felt people expected of her. While I agreed to teach her over the phone in lieu of a small donation to an animal shelter, I also had a gut feeling that I needed to be at my personal best if I was going to be able to help her.

The Definition Of Sensitivity

“I hate being so sensitive” Angie comments during a call; “I’m tired of my constant reactions to people and all the emotions which come with them. Why can’t I be normal like everybody else? ” Since I believe that each minute of our lives is a gift in self-awareness, I decide to ask her what she feels is the definition of sensitivity. “Sensitivity is a constant reaction to things.” she replies; ” At work, I can feel the negativity of the people around me and then have to come home to feeling my husband’s expectations of what I should look like and how I should live my life. Even the women in my church group are petty and condescending to me”. “Based on your comments” I ask her; “Would you agree that your definition of sensitivity is your ability to feel the world around you much more intensely than the average person?” After a quick agreement Angie is quiet. She knows I teach through questions.

“Remember that the first rule of thumb when working with our intuition is to recognize that everything is energy. For Highly Sensitive People like ourselves, we can soak up the different energies the environment around us like a sponge. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Think of how different you feel when your walking in the woods verses when your at work. You’re still the same person, the only difference is in your reaction to the the energy in the environment around you.” Angie agrees and is quiet again.

“Let’s distill our definition of sensitivity down even further” I tell her; “Let’s say that sensitivity is simply heightened awareness. Perhaps, it is this heightened awareness within you that is leading to these reactions. With that being said, can you see a positive element here? “Is there one? ” she asks, laughing.

The Gift Of Our Sensitivity

As highly sensitive people, we can be reactive to the multitude of different energies and personalities contained within our current environment. Through my questions, I wanted Angie to use her sensitivity to focus on recognizing the nature of that energy rather than just feel her reaction to it.

“Angie, if we recognize that heightened awareness is the driving force behind our sensitivity, we can consider each reaction as an indicator of sorts; similar to the compass in your car each reaction points something out to you. The starting point to making better decisions in your life is to recognize what each of these reactions is telling you about your current environment.

Awareness is the gift of our sensitivity; it offers us guidance during the trials of daily living. Because this gift of awareness which we readily label “being sensitive” is often so wrapped in judgment, we never see the gift itself; instead we are distracted by the  wrapping which surrounds it.”

Awareness And The Voice Of Sensitivity

I never had a set schedule with Angie for our phone calls. Instead, I asked her to call me when she felt she was losing direction. Now legally separated from her husband, life was throwing Angie a multitude of financial and personal challenges which had her feeling overwhelmed at times. It was that feeling of overwhelm that I wanted Angie to work with.

“How do I know I’m making the right decisions?” she asks me; “My marriage has fallen apart and I feel it’s all my fault.” I can hear the guilt in her voice; using her intuition is the farthest thing from her mind right now.

“When birds fly south for the winter” I reply. “How do they know what direction to head in; what is guiding them?” She is quick to answer. “Their instincts guide them.” “What about your instincts?” I ask; “How have they guided you on this journey?” Angie doesn’t reply as she contemplates the changes she has made in her life. “Angie, keep the focus on your gut feelings. The intuitive voice of your own instinct is always felt  through gut feelings. That is where the answer to your question is.

The gift of your sensitivity created a self-awareness that you weren’t happy in your marriage and things needed to change. In your gut you knew this was true and you had the courage to act on that knowledge. The process hasn’t changed at all; to answer your question simply listen to what your gut is telling you.”

“But all I’m feeling is guilt!” she replies. There is an edge of frustration in her voice. Rather than argue my point, I leave her with another question. “And where exactly is the voice of that guilt originating from? Is it really a gut feeling or rather an emotional response as a result of your thinking?”

Intuition Versus Ego

Angie’s frustration highlighted a key point in working with awareness. To properly utilize the gift of awareness our sensitivity brings us, we want to discern between emotions created by the judgmental voice of ego which originates from our thinking verses the more neutral voice of our intuition which is a flash of feeling felt in the gut. In my own experience, the difference between the two is that intuition is felt as a sense of knowing something to be true rather than as an emotion.

The Sum Of Our Choices

While through our conversations I could make Angie aware of how intuition worked, life was always the real teacher here. While I was teaching her how to use her sensitivity to rely on her own instincts, I was also being taught about the struggles that people who suffer from addictions face. It was an ironic situation; in order to teach Angie to use her instincts, I had to rely heavily on my own.

This past weekend, Angie mentioned how for the first time in her life she could be herself in a relationship with a man she had met. Her comment reminded me of the Albert Camus quote “Life is the sum of our choices“. As she thanked me for my help, in my heart I knew that our phone conversations were going to be shorter from this point on; Angie’s life had become a reflection of the better choices she was making. Instinct was her teacher now. For the highly sensitive, that is where the gift is always to be found; in that quite voice of awareness which never, ever leaves our side.

Telltale Signs You Are A Highly Sensitive Person

Telltale Signs You Are A Highly Sensitive Person - HSP Health Blog

Frightened © by Simon Blackley

Do you like solitary pursuits?

Do you get overhelmed easily?

Do you hate small talk?

Even if you do, how do you know you are a highly sensitive person?

Traits Of The Highly Sensitive Person

Highly sensitive people get the sense at a young age that they are different. They don’t fit in. They are not interested in the same things that other people are interested in. They are not motivated in the same way.

This profound sense of being different is life long. It does not go away, and can cause pain when the sensitive’s differentness is treated badly by family, peers, and early authority figures.

There are many reasons that the highly sensitive person will get the message that they are different:

  • physical sensitivities like loud sounds, too much noise, light and tactile or touch sensitivity may cause discomfort or pain, which is not necessarily true of non-HSP’s.
  • a highly sensitive person often needs time to themselves to rest after interacting with others. Non-HSP’s often recgarge with other people.
  • social interaction can be draining unless it is for a short time, with a few people in a quiet setting. Non-HSP’s are more comfortable with big noisy social engagements.
  • the highly sensitive person hates small talk, something that non-HSP’s thrive on.
  • competition and the highly sensitive person are like oil and water. Non-HSP’s are more comfortable with competition.
  • highly sensitive people are sensitive to the feelings of others and have a tendency to absorb the feelings of others causing much discomfort and unhappiness.
  • HSP’s are known for their empathy. Empathy in sensitives is more than a feeling for others – it is an active way of knowing the world .
  • HSP’s are right-brained. Non-HSP’s are more left-brained and  analytical.
  • HSP’s can have strong psychic and intuitive abilities.
  • HSP’s dislike pressure, which non-HSP’s accept more easily.
  • HSP’s need egalitarian social and work environments. Non-HSP’s are more comfortable with hierarchical and competitive systems.
  • highly sensitive people do not like someone standing over them.
  • HSP’s need a simple lifestyle. Non-HSP’s are  more comfortable with busyness, stuff and activity including multitasking.
  • HSP’s need stillness. Non-HSP’s often avoid stillness.
  • many highly sensitive people are introverts.
  • HSP’s often feel a deep connection with nature and all the creatures in it.
  • highly sensitive people can be deeply spiritual.
  • many HSP’s will have physical conditions and allergies of one form or another.
  • HSP’s can form deep bonds with animals.
  • harm and abuse of all kinds are harder for highly sensitive people to heal.
  • many HSP’s dislike rrelationships and find them difficult based on values and lifestyle.
  • a highly sensitive person belongs in occupations that bring out the best in them: healing and creative occupations are among the best for HSP’s.
  • HSP’s intuition and sensitivity causes them to have profound insights and has the potential over time to lead them to great wisdom.

Deciding That You Are Highly Sensitive

Dr. Elaine Aron who pioneered the category of the highly sensitive person has written extensively about the highly sensitive trait. Her books are must reading for anyone wanting to know more about the trait – it is her life’s work. She estimates that 15-20% of people on the planet are highly sensitive. That is a huge number of people: more that 1 billion! Therefore it is highly likely that you may be sensitive or know someone who is.

There are many HSP quizzes online including the one on Dr. Aron’s site which you can take that can help you decide if you are highly sensitive.

However, in reading this list, you will notice how you feel around others: enhanced or drained, your relationship with nature and stillness, your values and attitude about competition and the type of environment that suits you the most. These are telltale signs that you are sensitive. If you are, you have an important journey ahead learning about yourself, and what you bring to the world.

Many see the highly sensitive person as vital to the changes we are making in the world, and I believe that it is true. The wisdom and empathy of HSP’s is badly needed.

So although being highly sensitive has been treated as a curse, it is now finally being seen as valuable as it should be. As our problems get worse and the need for wisdom and creativity rises, being a highly sensitive person will finally be welcomed in the world.

Identity And Thoughts: Changing The Narrative For Highly Sensitive People

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Do your thoughts drive you crazy?

Do you ruminate a lot and feel that you are going around in circles?

Do you think that your thoughts control you?

What Are Our Thoughts?

Our thoughts are mental pictures that we create.  They often seem automatic and out-of-control. They are a natural consequence of our interaction with daily life and are your way of processing and dealing with what is happening around you and to you.

Our thoughts are our mind’s desire to take care of us. They also are a way of our dealing with the unknown and unknowable. Our thoughts support our assumed identities and try to identify our place in the world. They help us to belong.

Unfortunately, our thoughts often seem to be running our lives.

Why Are Our Thoughts So Painful?

For many thoughts can be very painful because through our thoughts we determine here we stand in life. Our thoughts are essentially left brained operating in a linear way and aligned with the manifested world. They are mathematical and materialistic.

If we identify with our left brained thoughts then we are only looking at a small part of reality and not necessarily what is true.

One of the reasons thoughts can be painful is because they attempt to place us in an identity that works in a world that often has preconceived ideas about who we are and should be.

Our Thoughts And The Cultural Narrative

Our thoughts can be a lot of things. They can be about personal aspects of our lives as well as the public aspects. Sometimes they have a short term focus. Sometimes not.

Most often they seem to be a way of interpreting and dealing with the cultural narrative around us. The problem with continually engaging in this way is that the cultural narrative usually has a life of its own. For highly sensitive people, the cultural narrative is usually about non-HSP life and lifestyles so it is basically not about them.

We can, therefore, feel left out and our thoughts do not necessarily help us with that.

However, we are not here to serve a social structure. We are here to become our best self. Sometimes the social structure and our evolution are at odds and we are not suppose to fit in.

Reclaiming Your Narrative

It is important to have a sense of yourself separate from the narrative around you.

Narratives about life are just stories as the research on human evolution in Spiral Dynamics show. Narratives are the social structure created to support and justify a particular cultural embodiment. They change when we need to change. They are not sacred. One person’s narrative is not necessarily another person’s narrative.

Narratives are not necessarily the TRUTH.

When you try to be a part of the cultural narrative and take your identity from it, you may be creating problems for yourself.

Identifying with the cultural narrative works for many non-HSPs since the narrative usually reflects them.  It may feel wrong that they can be so comfortable in the cultural narrative when as a highly sensitive person you feel like an outsider.

For that reason you have to identify a narrative for yourself or your thoughts will be dominated by ideas related to a narrative that doesn’t suit you and only causes you mental frustration.

Creating Your Own Narrative

Highly sensitive people need to create their own narrative.

We need to separate ourselves from the dominant narrative. To do so we need to make some mental adjustments:

  • see the existing cultural narrative as hanging rather than fixed.
  • align your narrative with the evolutionary process going on around you. That way you support improvements in life and are not simply fighting the existing cultural narrative.
  • notice how your narrative can be helpful to others as a way to help you maintain your ability to connect with others.

When you take back you narrative, you can eliminate a lot of the thoughts you have about your place in the existing system and let your thoughts now serve where you are going and what you are becoming.

It is a great way to stop ruminating and start creating the life you deserve.

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How The Creative Process Helps Highly Sensitive People

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Many people think the creative process is some sort of magical inspirational event.

Actually the creative process is a wonderful process of engagement.

It can be enormously helpful for sensitives who want more control over their lives.

What Is The Creative Process?

The creative process is simply a process that lets us create something that did not exist before we created it.

If you research the creative process you will find many different answers about what the creative process is and how many steps there are in creating.

Most people believe that the creative process starts with an idea.

Not so fast, according to creativity expert, Robert Fritz, who has written The Path Of Least Resistance and Creating Your Own Life.

Mr. Fritz, a composer and film maker, consults with many organizations on the creative process.

He identifies the start of the creative process as the time when you decide on something that you want to create. You might have an idea for world peace, for instance, but that does not neessarily mean that you want to create world peace.

Once you know what you want, then you have to discover your current situation before you can begin to develop the steps you need to bring what you want into being. If you want to write a symphony and do not know what the scale is, then you have to educate yourself before you can begin. Your skills are an important factor in what you want to create.

So many people who want to create something become bogged down and give up. Often it is because they do not fully engage with their desire and where they are in order to determine how to proceed. Then they bump into limitations that deter them and give up. It is better to embrace the reality of a learning curve and resource limitations so that you can deal with them effectively.

The Creative Process Can Keep You Grounded

When you know what you want to do and where you are at the current moment, then you are always in touch with reality, which gives you more control over your life.

It not only helps you to focus on your next steps but also keeps you out of pie in the sky daydreaming that gets you nowhere and can even cause you to become depressed.

The creative process is a great tool to keepvyou moving forward.

It keeps you focused on where you are and the next step you need to take. one of the beauties of it is that you do not need anyone else’s approval or permission to create whatever you want.

The Special Advantage Of The Creative Process For HSPs

Highly sensitive people often have difficulty maintaining control over their own lives, because they have different priorities from non-HSPs which means that they often have little say over work and social agendas because highly sensitive people are usually outnumbered. Therefore in work and social situations we often get preempted which is very uncomfortable.

However, HSPs are often creative. In embracing the creative process we can start to regain control over our agenda.

The creative process is about setting your own agenda and following it through to completion. When you take back your life using the creative process you start to create freedom for yourself not only by choosing what you want but by becoming so in tune with what is needed to make your goals happen that you start to use that skill in all areas of your life.

You acquire an understanding of what is necessary and what is possible, that no one can take away from you. It helps you in managing not only your time but also your boundaries.

The Creative Process Creates Empowerment

Rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty to make something happen is a wonderful way to grow, learn and get control over your own life. Making something happen provides you with knowledge based on experience. It enables you to notice when the demands and expectations of others are inappropriate. It puts you in charge of what is possible and makes it easier not to be subject to the whims of others.

HSPs have too often found it difficult to protect their boundaries and well-being because their values and priorities are different. However, without enough experience and knowledge, HSPs have no way of defending themselves.

The creative process provides highly sensitive people with a way to their own authority so that they do not have to be subject to the authority of others as much.

It is therefore a wonderful way for the highly sensitive to create a meaningful and healthy life for themselves.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

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30 Important Websites For Highly Sensitive People

Websites for Highly Sensitive People - HSP Health

Introvert in Disco Hoodie © by susanrm8

Have you noticed the increased interest in introverts and highly sensitive people?

In 1996, Dr. Elaine Aron published her groundbreaking book, The Highly Sensitive Person, opening a door that could not be kept closed any longer. Highly sensitive people have been treated as if there is something wrong with them for a long time, when in fact they are among the most caring, conscientious and creative people on the planet.

As the downsides of our current cultural model becomes increasingly apparent and the need for serious change becomes more accepted,  many people will be seeking a different perspective, new skills and even an adjustment in values.

If there is one thing that highly sensitive people have, it is a different perspective. They also have a compassionate view, which is what is needed during times of change – challenging periods which are usually hard on everyone.

Here is a list of some of the important websites and blogs that can help you discover more about this important human trait, whether you are highly sensitive or know someone who is.

How to Learn about Highly Sensitive People

There are many wonderful and important websites offering information on the highly sensitive person. This list, however, includes only websites dedicated to the highly sensitive person. They are listed in alphabetical order. Because many cover a wide range of topic related to HSP’s I have created a legend so you know what each website offers information on:

T: trait  B: blog  W: work and career  H: health R: resources A: author C: coaching

  1. David Ritchey  Author David Ritchey spent 12 years researching people with transpersonal experiences which resulted in his book, The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P. This carefully researched book is important for highly sensitive people since it details the many ways in which the highly sensitive trait can manifest.  T A  
  2. Dr. Judith Orloff  Judith Orloff, author of Emotional Freedom, is a psychiatrist who specializes in emotional healing with an emphasis on mind-body integration and relationship management for intuitives. Dr. Orloff offers numerous articles and videos, has her own blog and blogs for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. She lectures frequently and provides many resources on her website. B W H R A 
  3. Dr. Ted Zeff  Ted Zeff is one of the most important voices for sensitive men. He is the author of  The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival GuideThe Highly Sensitive Person’s Companion and The Strong, Sensitive Boy. His site offers articles, tips, workshops, and coaching opportunities.  T W H R A C
  4. HSPerson HSPerson is the website of Elaine Aron, Ph.D, the psychologist whose groundbreaking book, The Highly Sensitive Person, put a name on a condition that had eluded definition. She is responsible for a lot of the research into the highly sensitive trait. Her website features her research and insights into the HSP trait, information about her books and HSP meetings, as well as many resources and her newsletter. T W H R A
  5. Highly Sensitive (.org) Douglas Eby is the creative force behind Highly Sensitive. He is a long-time researcher and writer about the highly sensitive trait and creativity. His websites include Talent Develop, High Ability, The Inner Actor, The Inner Writer, The Inner Entrepreneur, Women and Talent and Depression and Creativity. He offers numerous videos and other resources on various aspects of creativity. Douglas is very active in social media.  T W H  R  
  6. Highly Sensitive People  Jim Hallowes, author of Chopped Liver for the Loving Spirit,  offers a well-rounded website for highly sensitive people covering the highly sensitive trait, health, relationships, career and spirituality. Jim is a well known HSP coach and provides many resources to facilitate the healing and growth of HSP’s. T W H R C
  7. Highly Sensitive Power  Highly Sensitive Power is Grace Kerina’s website. Grace is no longer adding to Highly Sensitive Power since she started her new writing site, however, Highly Sensitive Power is definitely worth a visit for all the information it offers for highly sensitive people. T B W H R A C
  8. HSP In Business Peter Amerlaan’s website, HSP In Business, is an important website for highly sensitive people who want to advance their careers. HSP In Business has a strong HSP community on LinkedIn, Yammer and Facebook. It also has a subgroup: HSP Coaching. T W H R C
  9. HSP Health HSP Health is Maria Hill’s comprehensive website about health for highly sensitive people. It explores the characteristics and causes of the HSP trait, genetic and stress diseases of sensitives as well as social and emotional health. It offers a blog, resources and many alternative health solutions for common HSP challenges. T B W H R   A 
  10. HSP Notes Peter Messerschmidt is one of the first bloggers to write about the highly sensitive trait; he began in 2002. He is one of several highly sensitive men who are open about their sensitivity and work to help other HSP’s make to journey to acceptance and success. Peter’s blog offers many insights, and is rich in resources for highly sensitive people who want to connect with others including his many websites for HSP’s around the country.  T B W H R  
  11. HSP Writer Helen Elizabeth is the eloquent writer behind HSP Writer, a well-written blog about being highly sensitive and other interests. She is an MFA in writing and self-described recovering MBA. Her posts include many insights into the highly sensitive trait. T B W A 
  12. Hope And Healing Haven Roxanne Elaine Smiths’ specialty  is counseling highly sensitive people who have suffered from relationships with narcissists. She has a BS in Child and Family services with a focus on humanistic counseling psychology, family dynamics, and child development. Her website offers  information about the highly sensitive trait, narcissism , and a variety of healing resources. T B H R C
  13. Jenna Avery Jenna is a writer and well-known certified coach for highly sensitive people – especially writers based is Berkeley, California. She offers four different types of coaching and classes: writing and writing accountability, creative destiny and creative visioning, life purpose, and handling high sensitivity. She provides information on the HSP trait, a variety of resources and a class on energy handling skills for HSP’s.  T B W R A C
  14. Jenna Forrest  Jenna is a transformational spiritual coach, helping highly sensitive people heal and develop their emotional, energetic and spiritual strength. She offers intuitive life coaching, relationship coaching and energy healing based on her transformational experiences and learnings.  She has written the book, Help Is On The Way, a memoir of her childhood as a sensitive person. Her website offers many articles on being sensitive and the healing process involved in activating your best self. T W H R  A C
  15. Lifeworks  Lifeworks was founded by HSP Jacquelyn Strickland who is “…a Licensed Professional Counselor, Coach and workshop leader based in Fort Collins, Colorado. She has been a certified trainer in the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory since 1991.” Jacquelyn offers a lot of information about the HSP trait and has classes online to help highly sensitive people to know themselves better and meet other sensitives like themselves. She is particularly well-known for her HSP Gatherings, which are annual tribal meetings for highly sensitive people to meet each other and learn more about the trait.  T W R  C
  16. Mary Kay Parkinson  HSP Mary Kay Parkinson is an energy healer and life coach based in Maryland. Her site offers information about the HSP trait, and many articles about living well as an HSP.  Mary Kay is a highly trained psychologist, energy healer and coach in spiritual development. She has a BA in Psychology, and has studied at the Center for Intentional LivingBarbara Brennan School of Healing , the Bert Hellinger Institute USA, and the Potomac Massage Training Institute. T W H C
  17. Sense And Sensitivity – Psychology Today  Deborah Ward is a UK based writer and journalist, whose interest is psychology and personal development. She writes extensively and comprehensively about the highly sensitive trait on the Sense and Sensitivity blog.  She offers articles on work, relationships, the highly sensitive man, health and handling the emotional challenges of being highly sensitive. A great resource. T B W H 
  18. Sensitive And Thriving Ane Axford ‘s website, Sensitive And Thriving, offers a wealth of information about high sensitivity, and resources for coping with the challenges of the HSP trait. Ane who is a psychotherapist offers several courses for sensitive people. T B W H R C
  19. Sensitive Person  Thomas Eldridge ‘s Sensitive Person website has many article about the highly sensitive trait and how to handle it. His site is a go-to website for resources of all kinds for people learning about the HSP trait and seeking ways to handle their different nature. T B W H R A C
  20. Sharon Heller  Sharon Heller is the author of the important HSP book, Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight, a book which discusses “sensory processing disorder” a term for the condition where the brain processes sensory information differently causing problems for the individual affected, which includes many HSP’s. Visit her website for more information and other books she has written. T W H A 
  21. The Captain’s Lady  The Captain’s Lady is a beautiful website focused on energy healing for highly sensitive people. The website offers a lot of information about the highly sensitive trait including relationships and careers, as well as natural remedies for treating many HSP conditions. It’s a large and informative website. T B W H R  A C
  22. The Highly Sensitive Person’s Publishing Company Cliff Harwin created his company and its website to help other highly sensitive people understand themselves and their sensitivity so that they could have a more enjoyable and more successful life. He has written Making Sense Of Your High Sensitivity , and offers numerous aids for highly sensitive people. Cliff offers a variety of coaching programs to help HSP’s on their path. T W H R A  
  23. The Power Of Introverts  This is Susan Cain’s website. Her bestselling book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, captures the essence of being introverted and the differences between extroverts and introverts. Susan’s site has a blog, a forum and book club designed for introverts.B W R A 

Highly Sensitive People: Groups

  1. Tribe Tribe is an online magazine for highly sensitive people run by Lee Keralis. Tribe has a forum covering many important subjects of interest to HSP’s. It is also unique in that it features photography and writing by many of its HSP members. The site features information about high sensitivity from many knowledgeable and well-known sensitives.
  2. Yahoo: HSP Book a large online group  of almost 2000 members that is organized to discuss Elaine Aron’s landmark book: The Highly Sensitive Person
  3. Facebook: Highly Sensitive Network. This important facebook group created by Lori Smith has almost 5000 members.
  4. Facebook: HSP Dimension This Facebook page belongs to HSP Dimension: Expressions of Highly Sensitive People, which is a forum for fun and artistic expression.
  5. Facebook: Highly Sensitive People is a smaller open facebook page for people learning about the highly sensitive trait.
  6. Facebook: Highly Sensitive Souls is another large Facebook group of almost 2000 friendly HSP’s.
  7. Facebook: HSP Health a facebook page for HSP Health.

Resources For Highly Sensitive People

There are many excellent websites offering information about highly sensitive people. These sites are good starting points since they offer a lot of general information as well as resources. However, there are many others with more specific interests like parenting, psychic healing and individual coaching. So this list is far from exhaustive.

The sites listed above have been created by people with intimate knowledge of the HSP experience who have developed tools, strategies and resources to handle their own sensitivity challenges as well as help others.

There is no substitute for the wisdom of direct experience in understanding high sensitivity. All of these websites offer that and more.

Michael Jackson: An HSP?

michael_jackson © by bartleby78

Was Michael Jackson an HSP?  The odds are that he was. Highly sensitive people are known for being different and suffering because of it.  They are also frequently highly gifted and often geniuses.  Unfortunately, many HSP’s suffer from any number of genetic, stress and anxiety disorders that impair their functioning. It is not my purpose here to dissect the course of Michael’s life and treatment because that is beyond my knowledge. However, it is interesting to notice in retrospect how many of the characteristics of being an HSP he had:

  • Apparently even when he was young he was shy.  He found it difficult to do the missionary work of the Jehovah’s Witness religion that his family belonged to.
  • By all accounts, he suffered from extreme child abuse.  Apparently, he was frequently beaten with a strap, and experienced nightmares from having been terrorized by his father.  Many HSP’s are people who have suffered from severe child abuse. If he was born a highly sensitive person, the child abuse would have made his sensitivity worse.
  • Although he was alienated from his father he did express his love for him. Many highly sensitive people are very loving and highly empathetic people.  That he could love his father in spite of all the abuse makes me think that he had the HSP’s capacity for empathy but also perhaps some challenges with effective boundaries.
  • He was apparently an introvert. Even as a child in a very large family he felt lonely.  Being abused can create loneliness because abuse is a form of rejection of another person. In addition, if one feels lonely also because of being different that can increase the pain of social isolation dramatically.  It appears that Michael was not able to effectively handle his social pain. The Daily Beast interview of Deepak Chopraa bout Michael Jackson’s life provides a lot of insight about his shyness and loneliness.
  • He had a genetic disorder.  Michael was diagnosed with Lupus and also had vitiligo.  Lupus is considered one of the genetic disorders affecting highly sensitive people according to David Ritchey, author of the book, The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P. based on a study of highly sensitive people.
  • He had insomnia.  Many highly sensitive people have insomnia, because they suffer from nervous system overload because of their sensitivities and have difficulty handing them.
  • He was exceptionally gifted.  This needs no explaining, but it can be a characteristic of HSP’s.
The purpose of this is to notice characteristics of the highly sensitive person demonstrated in Michael Jackson.  I am sure that there may be others of which I am not aware.  There is enough evidence, however, to suggest that he was in fact an HSP. It has only been recently thanks to the pioneering work of Elaine Aron, Ph.D., that the highly sensitive person has been identified as a type of individual, in fact one out of five in the general population.


HSP’s suffer from many genetic, stress and anxiety disorders, and need a strict health regimen to manage their health.  Apparently his good friend Deepak Chopra was able to help him develop some healthy habits, but for some reason he was not able to maintain his healthy lifestyle. Perhaps he was unaware of the HSP trait.  Perhaps he felt like a failure for having the dificulties he had.



We are just beginning to understand the highly sensitive trait and all its manifestations, emotional, mental and physical.  I hope that the Michael Jackson’s of the future will have better access to a more understanding world that will truly be able to offer effective help.