What is an HSP? Glad you’ve asked. 😉 Dr. Elaine Aron has graciously brought a wider understanding of the scientific concept of Sensory-Processing Sensitivity. A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is someone who has an “acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to external (social, environmental) or internal (intra-personal) stimuli.”
In layman’s terms. What are the characteristics of an HSP? The Good, the bad, the ugly.
- Easily overwhelmed by sights, sounds, feelings
- Getting rattled very easily when too much is going on
- Make a point of avoiding emotionally overwhelming content including movies, books, news
- Strong need to withdrawal physically to get away from overwhelming stimuli
- Experiences the richness of the world in ethereal ways
- A deep sense of longing for peace
- Typically empathic
HSP’s are essentially ultra-aware of everything. This can be both a blessing and a curse. For the healthy HSP, it’s a blessing. For the unhealthy HSP, it can be a curse. Just like everything in life, moderation is key. Unfortunately, for a highly sensitive person, sometimes you can’t moderate your environment as well as you’d like. In my experience, this has meant a little extra work to cope in a world not built for me. While this has been a tough road to get to this point in life, it has come with many rewards.
What does it mean to be a healthy HSP?
Have you ever noticed how you behave differently when you are in a good mood versus a bad mood? A very simple example of how you’ll react to things in life in a healthy versus unhealthy state. For highly sensitive people, self-care is incredibly critical. You can’t pour from an empty bucket. The more you try to worse it’ll be. As a healthy HSP, you prioritize your self-care. For me personally, self-care means:
- Setting emotional boundaries with energy vampires
- Making time for quiet
- Not scheduling work calls before 10am
- Setting aside time to plan my clothing ahead of time to avoid sensory overload
- Spending a little more money on shoes that are comfortable
- Being open to my loved ones when I need a break
- Forgiving myself when I become overly stimulated
I feel like the world will always be against me
Being an HSP means that you feel a lot. It’s time to take a step back and realize that you are still in control. This is your life and you can learn to cope in ways that allow you to thrive. You are not a victim of your circumstances or the world around you. This is about you and your strength to overcome the things that overwhelm you. Focus on what you can do and you will find the source of peace you are searching for.