10 Ways Highly Sensitive People Turn Sensitivities Into Advantages

 

It can take years to figure out if we are a highly sensitive person. The world doesn’t talk much about this type of person. There isn’t a lot of information out there on the topic. Even when discovering helpful information, we often have to be really suffering before profound and life changing information can sink in deeply. There is no need for suffering though. We can learn how to turn our sensitivities into advantages and live the life that we have always wanted.

Equal Opportunity Emotions

Being highly sensitive doesn’t just mean that our feelings get hurt very easily, though majority of the population would define or explain highly sensitive people that way. It does mean that sensitive people experience emotion on a very deep level, with more intensity than the average person. Not just negative emotions such as sadness or anger, but also amazing emotions like joy and happiness. We don’t just experience emotion as a state of mind either. We feel specific emotions in specific parts of their bodies. For instance, anger can feel like a tight knot in our solar plexus. Love can make our chest open up like a flower. Feeling scared can make our root chakra constrict and close up. How’s that for sensitive? It can definitely be overwhelming at times. Not only is emotion felt more intensely as a highly sensitive person, but the whole world is perceived and processed on a deeper level.

Going through the world as a highly sensitive person can be very challenging. Especially if we haven’t figured out that we are in fact a highly sensitive person. We might wonder why it seems that other people have an easier time than us. Or wonder why we seem to be more emotional than most. Perhaps we feel fatigued or overwhelmed by things that others are unaffected by. This world is not built for sensitive people. In fact, our world is designed perfectly for those who are detached. This is a problem for highly sensitive people.

Picking up on other people’s emotions easily can be a major challenge for us. It is especially confusing for a sensitive child who is unaware of clairsentience and it’s attributes. It can even remain confusing for adults who know they are clairsentient but have not learned how to hold awareness of their emotions versus other’s. Another challenge for us is how draining it can feel…all the time. Particularly after being around a lot of people or environments. We may be the type of person who needs to withdraw from everyone (including our children) on a regular basis, in order to recharge. Do you remember feeling tired or drained a lot as a teenager or young child? Parents of sensitive children are often unable to help because they do not understand the special needs of highly sensitive people. Do you ever wonder how your life would be different now if you were given helpful information about being highly sensitive when you were a child? There is no doubt that raising awareness of high sensitivity is beneficial for everyone. We can always remember we are meant to go through our challenges. We can trust in the path we have taken and feel empowered knowing we are learning how to cope. We are learning how to thrive. We can finally turning our sensitivities into empowering life changing advantages.

Highly Sensitive As An Advantage

Really, it all comes down to this;

Every highly sensitive person can use their sensitivities as an advantage in this world.

Guess what? Being highly sensitive means having access to more information than most other people! Approximately 15%-20% of the population are HSPs. In other words, we have a leg up. We have an advantage over others in many areas of our lives. Why wouldn’t we use this and take advantage of the situation? We certainly have to deal with all the negative side effects from being sensitive, effects that can range from annoying quirks to all consuming phobias. So I say it’s about time we start turning our sensitivities into assets. Using our traits and our emotions to create the exact life we were meant to live! Are you wondering what these advantages are?

10 Benefits Of Sensitivity

10 ways sensitive people use their sensitivities to their advantage:

  1. Being highly liked by most people because of our easy ability to be empathetic towards other’s emotional states, and being good listeners
  2. Knowing right away whether new people in our lives are a good fit for us
  3. Ability to easily sense when people are not being authentic, strong “phony” radar
  4. Lean towards healthy foods/products because we have problems tolerating toxic substances
  5. Understand relationships in our lives on a deeper level, ability to see the big picture easily
  6. Access to higher creativity from being profoundly moved by music, nature and art
  7. Ability to inspire and influence others easily by our experiencing emotions (such as happiness, 7.joy, peace, excitement, etc.) so intensely that it is felt by others
  8. Strong intuition for knowing the right decision to make in new situations or opportunities/circumstances
  9. Entering a room, building, or environment and knowing whether it is a positive place to be
  10. Ability to feel bodily sensations and functions easily and can take action quickly when something is wrong, know the body intimately.

These are just a few of the advantages we can come to enjoy from being a highly sensitive person. They, along with many others, literally help us shape and create the life we want to live. It’s important to note that these sensitivities may not always be assets in the beginning. There is often a steep learning curve when discovering how to turn sensitivities into advantages. And that’s okay. We all at times allow our circumstances to control us, and inhibit or impede our progress. But we don’t have to suffer for years before learning how to use these traits to create our best possible selves. We can fast track. We can listen to our sensitivities and create the life we were meant to live.

The Illusion Of Answers

Recently I disappointed someone who was seeking answers from me. It raised an interesting introspection for me about the idea of answers and I think it bears discussing.

Why Seek Answers?

I remember when I was quite young – perhaps 6 – being at dinner with my family. At the time my brothers had small cars made of plastic with the name of a brand or model printed on the back although the plastic cars were all the same except for random changes in color. I was expected to stand at one end of the room and when my father held up the small toy at the other end of the room I was expected to say what make or model the car was. I usually guessed correctly – so much so that it became a form of entertainment for visitors to our house.

I remember being terrified of the whole exercise because I was only guessing and I really did not know the answer. However, it was just one example of many instances where being right and mirroring “rightness” so often is more important than being present and living our truth.

Living From Answers

When we live from answers we have a predefined objective and an expectation. That may seem to make sense but there is an inherent problem with it:

No two people, moments or contexts are the same.

So when we attempt to obtain an objective or expectation we are essentially using force on people, places and situations. Not only is it disempowering for us but it is for others as well because no one can know 100% what someone else wants or needs.

Living from answers gives us feelings of control and temporary feelings of security and even pleasure but we give up our power and adaptability which is a lot to give up.

Answers And Choices Are Different

Answers and choices are not the same thing. Living from answers means imposing a predetermined idea on the present. Making a choice is always living in the present within the realities of individuals, contexts and possibilities.

Choices are a living thing. Answers are not.

Choices are about the unfolding of life and answers are about living from the past.

Choices let us offer our gifts to the moment; answers cause us to hide in favor of what is accepted by others.

Choices let us contribute, answers force us to please.

The Peril Of Fixed Goals

Fixed goals and objectives do not allow for course corrections, new information, and better solutions. They may have negative consequences and be inefficient. But we follow them anyway.

It is a curious thing but we seem to have a psychology around not changing that is very strong that prevent us from embracing alternatives. Ideas like:

  • nobody likes a quitter
  • persevere
  • never give up on your dreams
  • when the going get tough, the tough get going

are ideas that cause us to stay the course.

The Price Of Loyalty

These ideas about quitting and perseverance are ideas that value loyalty over intelligence and creativity. We are taught to be loyal to certain ideas, ways of being and identities. We are expected to “make life work” by adhering to rules and roles whether they work for us or not. So what is really being valued is loyalty. Is that the most important value? Where does it stack up against health and quality of life?

Living from answers means living from a loyalty of some kind. Often the loyalty is unquestioned and so we do not understand why with the best of intentions something does not work out for us.

So loosen up the conformity without needed to be rebellious for rebellion’s sake. Give what you can to each moment. Give up answers and ask what each moment needs and you will be more on target more of the time.

 

Telltale Signs You Are A Highly Sensitive Person

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 often 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 person’s difference 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 for non-HSPs.
  • a highly sensitive person often needs time to themselves to rest after interacting with others. Non-HSPs may recharge by being with other people or in socially noisy environments. (Note: some sensitive people are extroverts.)
  • social interaction can be draining unless it is for a short time with a few people in a quiet setting. Non-HSPs are more comfortable with big noisy social engagements.
  • the highly sensitive person hates small talk, something that non-HSPs enjoy more and thrive on.
  • competition and the highly sensitive person are like oil and water. Non-HSPs are more comfortable with competition.
  • highly sensitive people are sensitive to the feelings of others and some absorb the feelings of others which causes them much discomfort and unhappiness.
  • HSPs are known for their empathy. Empathy in sensitives is more than a feeling for others – it is an active way of knowing the world.
  • HSPs seem to have abilities often associated with being right-brained.
  • HSPs can have strong psychic and intuitive abilities.
  • HSPs dislike pressure, which non-HSPs accept more easily.
  • HSPs need egalitarian or communal social and work environments. Non-HSPs are more comfortable with hierarchical and competitive systems.
  • sensitive people do not like someone standing over them.
  • HSPs benefit from a simple lifestyle. Non-HSPs are more comfortable with busyness including multitasking.
  • HSPs need stillness. Non-HSPs often avoid stillness.
  • many highly sensitive people are introverts; about one-third are extroverts
  • HSPs often feel a deep connection with nature and all the creatures in it.
  • highly sensitive people can be deeply spiritual.
  • many HSPs will have physical conditions and allergies of one form or another.
  • HSPs can form deep bonds with animals.
  • harm and abuse of all kinds are harder for highly sensitive people to heal.
  • many HSPs struggle with relationships and find them difficult because of differences in values, lifestyle and the sensitive person’s need for depth in a meaningful relationship.
  • a highly sensitive person belongs in occupations that bring out the best in them: healing and creative occupations are among the best for HSPs. Most importantly is working in an environment that shares their values and lets them pace themselves appropriately.
  • an HSP’s intuition and sensitivity cause them to have profound insights and has the potential over time to lead them to great wisdom.

Deciding That You Are A Highly Sensitive Person

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. 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 HSPs is badly needed.

So although being highly sensitive has been treated as a curse, it is now starting to be 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.

30 Important Websites For Highly Sensitive People

Have you noticed the increased interest in introverts and 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 become 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 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 for 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 sensitive person. This list, however, includes only websites dedicated to the 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 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. Sensitive Evolution  Sensitive Evolution is Maria Hill’s comprehensive platform for the personal development of 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 C  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. 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
  15. 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
  16. Quiet Revolution  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 
  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 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 Leadership Ane Axford ‘s website, Sensitive Leadership, 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  

Highly Sensitive People: Groups

  1. 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
  2. Facebook: Highly Sensitive Network. This important Facebook group created by Lori Smith has almost 5000 members.
  3. Facebook: HSP Dimension This Facebook page belongs to HSP Dimension: Expressions of Highly Sensitive People, which is a forum for fun and artistic expression.
  4. Facebook: Highly Sensitive People is a smaller open facebook page for people learning about the highly sensitive trait.
  5. Facebook: Highly Sensitive Souls is another large Facebook group of almost 2000 friendly HSP’s.
  6. Facebook: Sensitive Evolution another Facebook group for sensitive people.

Resources For Sensitive People

There are many excellent websites offering information about 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 sensitivity. All of these websites offer that and more.

6 Reasons Why We Need Highly Sensitive People

Why do we need highly sensitive people?

HSPs make up approximately 20% of the population. They are people whose nervous systems are highly sensitive to external stimuli. Books like Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person and Susan Cain’s book Quiet, are helping us to understand more about the quieter members of our world.

Our culture is predominantly as an extrovert culture. Extroverts are outgoing. An extrovert culture promotes the seeking of rewards, prestige and power. Interestingly, as many as 30% of HSPs are extroverts balancing their interest in the world with a higher need for rest and rejuvenation.

Highly sensitive people are often introspective which provides them with an insightful perspective that is practical and useful.

This is what they bring to us:

  1. highly sensitive people see what others do not. Our extroverted world is very fast however, speed often means mistakes. HSPs notice when the energy around them feels wrong. The insights from HSPs from what they notice can protect us from the mistakes of moving too fast.
  2. highly sensitive people are often deep thinkers. They may notice important overlooked factors in a particular situation. They can observe what is working and what is not, the connects and disconnects that can lead to eventual problems. They are able to notice pitfalls and potential land mines in our plans and strategies saving us needless headaches.
  3. highly sensitive people are holistic thinkers. This means that they offer an antidote to our fragmented society. Fragmentation increases the disconnection between different parts of a group, company, or an entire society. Holistic HSPs see and act as bridges between different parts of social or economic ecology to ease and improve problem solving.
  4. HSPs have a capacity to handle complexity because of their eneregtic sensitivity, deep processing and introspection that makes them ideally suited to helping a overloaded world to manage its complexity better – as long as their need for rest is respected.
  5. HSPs are sensitive to all the various forces at any given point in time. They often work from a longer time frame which enables them to see current, emerging and dying forces at the same time. This ability to notice makes it possible for HSPs to set priorities from a big picture and longer term perspective.
  6. HSP are transpersonally oriented. Their empathy and sensitivity can reduce polarization between different groups or parts of organizations by locating common interest and common ground.

HSP’s are very sensitive to potential consequences of actions and therefore provide an important balancing function in a fast-paced world and fragmented society making them valuable people in our homes, companies and communities.

7 Paths to Reducing Sensitivity And Overwhelm For HSPs

You’re driving your car to work. The heat hasn’t kicked in.

Suddenly, you notice that you forgot to cut off a sewn in tag on the back of your shirt collar. It’s irritating your skin.

Sadness and frustration wash over you as you witness a child being drug by the arm through a cross walk a bit too fast for her tiny legs to keep up.

Down the road despair for the death of a tiny animal creeps in to your heart as you swerve to avoid what others blow off as just road kill.

A few minutes later, you walk in the door to your toasty office and the frown on a coworker’s face tells a story others seem to miss, and your day hasn’t even begun. Can you relate?

This is the world of the Highly Sensitive Person.

The HSPs Heightened Nervous System

As Highly Sensitive People, we are sensitive to light and color, harsh or excessive smells, loud, repetitive and unexpected noise, particular tastes and textures of food, and to the things and people around us us. We are sensitive to subtle changes and differences in our environment and, although not always recognized, we are sensitive to things unseen, such as electrical frequencies (EMFs), other’s emotions, and even the spirit world.

Highly Sensitive People are also empathic. Meaning, we are able to pick up on the emotions of others. And, it’s not just a matter of reading a person’s body language, like Tim Roth does on the TV show Lie To Me, although HSPs are exceptional readers of body language as well. We actually feel and carry other’s emotions as if they are our own. We absorb everything. And, what’s really disturbing is that most of us don’t know we are Highly Sensitive People and that not everyone shares our abilities.

It can be easy to want to shut down, stop seeing, stop feeling, and stop sensing, especially when our sensitivities make us feel physically dis-eased. But, that is to merely exist, to just breathe in and out, and who really wants just that? Well, maybe during meditation, but not in day to day life. Life is for living abundantly and joyfully through our senses. Reducing sensitivity overwhem is important if we want a life of joy.

Yet, some of us feel cornered, held back, and cheated by life, by our sensitivities. And, for those of us who feel that way, if we are not careful, we can end up believing we are victims of a cruel fate or negative karma, especially when we don’t understand why we are the way we are.

Highly Sensitive People, Emotions & Overwhelm

But, first, what is overwhelm? Overwhelm is experienced any time we feel, think, or experience something we feel we cannot handle. Overwhelm leads to negative emotions, which come from, both, our conscious and subconscious thoughts. Emotions are not just something in our minds. They are, indeed, molecules of energetic expression meant to precede a physical action, which, in turn, is meant to offer us relief.  HSPs reach overwhelm faster than others because we process emotions more physically than nonsensitive people do.

Emotions have the power to trigger chemical responses in the body, which impact our immune systems. Headache, stomach issues, chronic pain and phobias are symptoms caused by overwhelm to the nervous system by emotions. When we leave our emotions unresolved or misdirect them without a positive physical outlet, an action, we become dis-eased. Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and other autoimmune disorders to appear due to sensory overwhelm, sometimes called overload.

Plenty of Highly Sensitive People have been given clean bills of health by their health providers and/or told their condition is all in their mind. After experimenting with strict diets, exercise, and prescriptions for anxiety and depression that don’t work, some HSP opt for self-medicating with recreational drugs or alcohol just to survive their senses. The good news is that by engaging in the right body-based therapies we can give our emotions the positive outlets (actions) they need for reducing sensitivity overwhelm.

Why Sensory Avoidance Increases Sensitivity

Much of the energy drain Highly Sensitive People experience comes from trying to avoid our sensitivities rather than using them. In some circles this is called sensory defensiveness, which means you become defensive and avoid whatever stimuli makes you feel uncomfortable. Avoidance behavior only creates more sensitivity because of the energy required to sustain resistance and the additional stress it causes. It also leads to isolation, low-self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

I often tell people that if they are in the midst of a panic attack to use up the energy that’s trying to be expressed. Don’t resist. Walk briskly, run, dance in place, shadow box, take several deep breaths, or stamp your feet very hard. In other words, use up the adrenaline. I also say to use your senses.

Senses are like fine muscles. Stop using your senses and they’ll over-react, exaggeratedly to your emotions and the world around you. By engaging your senses in positive body-based activities often your senses will help you to maintain energy, balance, and calm. This creates joy.

Why ‘Mind-Based’ Therapies Don’t Work for HSPs

There are several theories as to what causes sensitivity. You can read about them most anywhere. But, how you came to be highly sensitive isn’t as important as knowing what to do about it. Often, HSPs seek counseling thinking it will help towards controlling their sensitivities, only to discover it does not help in reducing sensitivity.

That’s not to say mind-based therapies (counseling, journaling, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, hypnotism, meditation, etc.) are not beneficial to Highly Sensitive People having suffered ongoing emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, and Near Death Experiences (NDEs). These therapies can help to prevent, manage, and even erase unhealthy thoughts and emotions. And, who doesn’t need that? However, being a Highly Sensitive Person is not the same as having an anxiety order and should never be confused as such.

I choose to believe being sensitive is a way of being and not a disorder. And, while mind-based therapies work very well for trauma and abuse issues, they will not reduce overwhelm caused by a genetically sensitive nervous system. For the HSP to reduce overwhelm it requires something more. It requires body-based therapies.

The HSPs 7 Paths to Reducing Sensitivity And Overwhelm

#7. The Spiritual Path, (also The Path of Spirit) which corresponds to the Crown Chakra, the colors Violet, Gold and White, the essential oil Frankincense, the gemstones Amethyst and Crystal, the food Purple Grapes, and understanding of ourselves and others. Remedies for The Spiritual Path may include introspection, connecting to a higher power, and learning to protect one’s self through ritual.

#6. The Path of Intuition (also related to The Path of Sound), which corresponds to the Brow Chakra, the color Indigo, the essential oil Vervain, the gemstone Lapis lazuli, the food Plums, and extra-sensory perception (the 6th Sense). Remedies for The Path of Intuition may include meditation, an area of study, or turning to unconventional methods of intuiting.

#5. The Path of Sound, which corresponds with the Throat Chakra, the color Blue, the essential oil Vanilla, the gemstone Turquoise, the food Blueberries, and expression. Remedies for The Path of Sound may include using your voice, speaking up, and expressing how you really feel.

#4. The Path of Touch, which corresponds to the Heart Chakra, the colors Green and Pink, the essential oils Lavender and Jasmine, the gemstone Emerald, the food Avocado, and love. Remedies for The Path of Touch involve learning to love yourself and others unconditionally.

#3. The Path of Sight, which corresponds to the Solar Plexus Chakra, the color Yellow, the essential oil Cedar, the gemstone Citrine, the food Yellow Squash, and personal power. Remedies for The Path of Sight may include intellectual stimulation, playfulness, and a healthy support network.

#2. The Path of Taste, which corresponds to the Sacral Chakra, the color Orange, the essential oil Sandalwood, the gemstone Moonstone, the food Pumpkin, and intimacy, as in closeness. Remedies for The Path of Taste may include healing negative emotions associated with the pelvic region, such as surgery, miscarriage, unhappy sexual experiences, or sexual abuse.

#1. The Physical Path (also The Path of Smell), which corresponds to the Root Chakra, the color Red, the essential oil Patchouli, the gemstone Ruby, the food Licorice, and survival of our body on the physical plain. Remedies for the Physical Path may include diet and nutrition modifications, sound sleep, exercise, and work.

Chakras are the energy centers located along your spine responsible for maintaining spiritual, emotional, and physical health. A blockage in any of your chakras will create specific dis-eases depending on the chakra affected. For example, a blockage (low energy) in the Solar Plexus Chakra may cause stomach problems, such as acid reflux or loss of appetite. Emotional disorders might include confusion, irritability, or loneliness. It is important to know that when one chakra is unbalanced it affects the energy levels of the other chakras.

It is well worth your while to investigate any possible energy blockages you may be experiencing through my Aura Energy Self-Test for Highly Sensitive People, which is freely available on my website, The Captains Lady at www.thecaptainslady.com. Once you know where these blockages are located, you’ll be able to choose appropriate, therapies to create better balance between your senses (The 7 Paths), which will you in reducing sensitivity.  You will find the majority of the therapies helping to create and restore chakra balance are body-based therapies involving the senses.

A Quick Approach to Reducing Sensitivity

If this information sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo and you are beginning to feel overwhelmed, don’t despair.

Although it is helpful to have ideas and methods made available to you as far as diet and remedies are concerned, especially when you suffer from stressful symptoms and syndromes, you don’t need to take aura tests and read a bunch of literature to understand how to use your senses in positive ways. There’s a quicker approach for reducing sensitivity.

Try this exercise. Think of all of the things you have thought about doing over the past few days, months, or even years. What have you wanted to do more of, but haven’t? Perhaps, you’ve wanted to listen to music more often, visit friends, take a walk on the beach (HSP need expansive settings from time to time), spend more time in bed sleeping, hug more, laugh more, buy a new fragrance, make that traditional pot roast, or send someone a thank you card. Stop wasting energy avoiding these things. Avoidance is resistance. It wastes your energy. Spend your energy wisely through your senses of Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch, and Smell, doing what you truly enjoy. However, remain moderate and try not to over-indulge any one particular sense.

Within just a couple of weeks after engaging your senses in the body-based therapies of your choice, you should notice you feel better and have more energy, both, physically and mentally. These therapies help for reducing sensitivity. Avoidance, drudgery (boredom and monotony), and negative emotions begin to fade away. You begin to trust your emotions not to make you react fearfully. Self-esteem begins to rise.

That’s not to say you will never have another negative emotion, but, ultimately, by taking action through your senses you can empower yourself to truly live life instead of merely surviving, perhaps for the very first time. However taking these steps for reducing sensitivity will make your life a lot better.

Overstimulation: How Subtle Energy Overwhelms An HSP

So – you’re an HSP and have overstimulation issues?

It’s a huge challenge trying to handle it.

I am sure that it always has been but in our current culture where ridiculous amounts of stimulation are considered normal, it is particularly difficult to handle overstimulation for HSP’s.

The Problem Of Overstimulation For HSP’s

Because of their sensitive nervous systems, highly sensitive people pick up on all kinds of nuanced subtle energy going on around them. The most minute ripple of energy penetrates their awareness and takes a place in the consciousness of an HSP.

In our fast-paced world, many small awareness can build up and clog an HSP’s nervous system and mind. The resulting overstimulation is an important factor for HSP functioning and quality of life.

Highly sensitive people need to process every bit of information they receive. Not to do so feels wrong to many HSP’s and also take them out of their integrity. So what happens when each day the amount of information a person receives is overwhelming like an oncoming rush of water that never stops?

Handling Overstimulation And Locus Of Control

There are essentially two options for handling the overstimulation:

  • take time to process the information immediately
  • take in the information and process it immediately.

Each option has pitfalls.

Because highly sensitive people consider all information carefully, they are inevitably slower in their responses to stimulus. A highly sensitive person takes the information in, like a sponge takes in water.

HSP’s usually don’t like to lash out in a reactive way; they prefer to take in, sort out and respond to information. The HSP approach is likely to be a contemplative rather than a reactive one.

All of this takes time. Pressure to be fast can actually slow down a highly sensitive person since that pressure is more stimulus that they have to handle and only increases the overstimulation.

Unfortunately, a wonderfully thoughtful way of doing things can put an HSP at a disadvantage. Why? Because in a fast paced world, speed is often more highly valued than thoughtfulness and aggression over sensitivity.

What this means is that that the center of gravity and benefits of this world usually go to the fast, not the meticulous. The meticulous may end up cleaning up after the fast as HSP’s often find out.

It is important for highly sensitive people to recognize that that a time-based society like our consumer society has an external, time based locus of control. HSP’s have an internal locus of control, so they are at odds with the culture.

The culture will continually try to make them conform, but to do so brings out the worst in an HSP.

Meditation, stress handling techniques and other health enhancing habits can help an HSP maintain an intelligent relationship between their natural internal locus of control and the opposite demands of their culture. Therefore, highly sensitive people can help themselves a lot by seeking health and stress management tools to buffer an aggressive culture.

Why Highly Sensitive People Are Practical!

Highly sensitive people are often treated poorly. HSPs are empathetic and creative and as a result do not easily fit into the Western cultural model. To many people, apparently our being different causes them to judge the highly sensitive person as a flake.

Not so fast!

Differences Between Highly Sensitive People And The Non-HSP

Highly sensitive people have nervous systems that absorb everything in their surroundings. The HSP nervous system is like a sponge taking in all forms of sensory information as well as nuances in the energy of the people around them.

So highly sensitive people are highly aware which is really a wonderful gift!

All of the information that HSPs take in needs to be processed. It has to be taken in, assimilated and dealt with. That means that  the highly sensitive person usually has to slow down to deal with and understand the information that they are taking in. Slowing down provides the highly sensitive person with the ability to conscientiously process information.

Non-HSPs do not take in the volume of information that HSPs do. Their nervous systems do not pick it up. Non-HSPs are often faster than HSPs. However in being fast, they are often wrong, too.

HSPs And Information

I am sure you have heard the expression, “Knowledge is power,” and there is some truth to it. It would be nice if we could apply it to HSP knowledge not just non-HSP knowledge. Apparently we cannot – yet. I guess what is defined as knowledge does not really apply to energy fields, psychic perception or empathic ways of knowing.

The highly active nervous system and right-brained orientation of HSPs causes them to take in different kinds of information. Therefore, highly sensitive people are likely to approach the world without the ideological frame for information that accompanies many non-HSP’s. They benefit from a holistic rather than linear perspective.

HSPs have a natural openness to the world because of their biological structure and natural empathy. It lets them see what is there rather than what they want to see. It gives the highly sensitive person a big picture perspective. That is a huge advantage in getting a handle on reality.

Non-HSP’s And Information

The non-HSP approaches things differently. The non-HSP nervous system does not recognize all forms of information. Whereas the highly sensitive person is sensitive to stimulus and energy, the non-HSP has a more linear approach to information and problem solving. Non-HSPs have a more short-term problem oriented approach to information.

The non-HSP has a cause and effect processing method that is often grounded in the material world, whereas the HSP is grounded in the energetic world. So often the two “worlds” will seem at odds or at least incompatible.

How We Grew Apart

There was a time long ago when HSPs and non-HSP’s worked together with considerable regard for one another, a time when the skills of both were appreciated.

When people lived in close contact with nature, our home, they needed every tool available to them. In tribal societies, people could not escape their considerable vulnerabilities.They had to be as mindful as possible about all aspects of their environment.

They listened to the wind, the sun and all aspects of nature. Their deep connection with nature was how they knew when they were at risk. Shamans, trackers and others gifted in energy perception were very important to the well-being of the tribe. Problem solvers were important as well. Having the ability to provide material support to the tribe where little material advantage existed was also valued.

In this environment, both the HSP and non-HSP worked together for the well-being of the community.

Of course, it changed. The material and tactical non-HSP ascended as we “conquered” nature, and highly sensitive people were devalued. As we separated ourselves from our natural home, many of us lost our ability to relate directly to the natural world of which we are a part. In a way you could say that we rejected our home and our connection with it.

Except, of course, HSPs who are gifted with a close connection to nature.

Who Is More Practical?

The non-HSP is often directed toward problem solving whereas the HSP direction is first toward understanding.

The left-brained, linear thinking approaches of non-HSPs have given them an advantage, which is that they have developed many tactical skills for problem solving. Those skills mattered when there were few of us and an abundance of natural resources to put to use to make life at least minimally livable.

Tactical skills are also very important when your life in danger and are also what we draw on to accomplish something. They are the “how” of accomplishment.

Tactical skills are great but they are NOT intrinsically practical. In fact they can be highly impractical if they are used indiscriminately. One example is the tactic of using medication to deal with human ailments. Used as a tactic whenever a symptom of illness or discomfort arises medication is not practical and just temporarily defers the problem. In fact it can be dangerous. The leading cause of accidental death right now is from medication.

Being a problem solver does not mean you know enough about a problem’s context to be wise in your use of your problem solving tactics.

Contextual thinkers are often the highly sensitive because their natural awareness gives them more information to construct an accurate picture of the context.

Understanding context means taking a holistic approach to a situation so that you can accurately describe a situation, where there is a problem, and what the problem is. Holistic thinking takes you out of reacting to people and circumstances. Rather than eliminating symptoms of problems, holistic thinkers seek constructive solutions not just in the short term but also the long term.

How HSPs Help The World

Highly sensitive people have been treated as second class citizens for a long time. However, as our world becomes more compromised by environmental and other crises of human life, it is apparent that the tactically oriented non-HSP has made a mistake in excluding us from the social and governing space.

As a species we need to develop ourselves so that we become as constructive as possible in how we live. We cannot afford anymore all of the collateral damage from poor living choices. The damage is piling up and drowning us. Highly sensitive people have the ability to help the human race to become more contextual and holistic in its approach to life, an ability that we sorely need.

Life has been defined as a war. It is time for us change that definition of life into one that is more sustainable. HSP’s are the people to make that happen.

What could be more practical?

Fabulous Reviews For The Emerging Sensitive!

 

The Emerging Sensitive is now available and getting wonderful reviews. Here are several from Amazon.

The Review Of The Emerging Sensitive By Ane Axford, Sensitive Leadership

“The Emerging Sensitive is an essential resource in supporting highly sensitive people in showing up in relevant ways, and not at a cost to them. It is full of great resources to help a spectrum of highly sensitive people in finding their place and bring their gifts to light.”
“The Emerging Sensitive is an essential resource in supporting highly sensitive people in showing up in relevant ways, and not at a cost to them. The culture we live in has created many challenges to sensitivity and those who are more highly sensitive. Connection has created pain and therefore avoidance for many highly sensitive people. The cost to being present has been the sensitive self. But, it is changing. It needs to change further. I believe our culture will change the more highly sensitive people can join in and offer themselves genuinely, without compromise. I believe strongly in changing the way we all use sensitivity, and this book is a solid contribution to that effort. It is full of great resources to help a spectrum of highly sensitive people in finding their place and bring their gifts to light.”

5 Star Review by Hilary Hawkes for Readers’ Favorite Of The Emerging Sensitive

Maria Hill’s book will be immensely useful and enlightening for anyone who knows or who suspects they may be HSP. The Emerging Sensitive draws on a wealth of well-researched information and it is written in a positive and empathetic style, with terms and theories explained. This will enable readers to begin to understand their innate traits, heal their past hurts, and learn how to function alongside others in a way that is authentic and true to themselves. I was fascinated by the author’s explanations of the way in which humans and the way our societies have been made up has evolved and changed and is changing still – and that movements away from materialistic and cultural systems to more egalitarian and inclusive societies will favor the contributions and abilities of HSPs. The sections on advice on self-care, developing self-assertion and turning sensitivities into assets are sensible, inspiring and doable, and should help HSPs begin to deal with the learned negative self-image, shame and lack of belief they may have spent their lives struggling with. Maria Hill understands the Highly Sensitive Person and the challenges they have always faced – and her hopeful book offers a way to heal emotionally and begin to become “who you were meant to be”. Recommended.

5 Star Review by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite Of The Emerging Sensitive

Your Place in the World is a self-help book written by Maria Hill. Hill discusses a subset of the population who she and others have defined as being highly sensitive people based on Dr. Elaine Aron’s DOES model. She then offers readers who feel they fit within the spectrum a number of ways to understand and function in the non-sensitive culture they find themselves in through the use of frameworks. Many Highly Sensitive persons may find difficulty fitting into the competitive world of business; however, Hill shows how our culture is slowly evolving into one in which the skills and enhanced perception of the Highly Sensitive person will be more in demand. She also discusses ways for such people to develop and apply their unique skills in today’s culture. The author provides a wealth of links, books, and other resources in her appendix.

Maria Hill’s non-fiction self-help book, The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide for Finding Your Place in the World, is a fascinating and well-researched work that will help Highly Sensitive people understand who and what they are, and how their abilities can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. I recognized in myself some of the traits Hill discusses, and found I was finally able to understand why I seemed slow to process new information or make decisions compared to others, while being a relatively intelligent person. Hill’s work sometimes seems like a sociological or an anthropological treatise, but, at all times, her message is clearly and effectively communicated to the reader. I loved reading her analysis of the history of human culture and was heartened by the optimistic predictions she offers. Her appendix is outstanding and chock-full of resources and support. The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide for Finding Your Place in the World is most highly recommended.

Visit here to read more.

Why We Need Highly Sensitive People Now

Why do we need the highly sensitive person 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.