I’ve wanted to write about this topic for quite some time now, and finally found inspiration in recent months where it’s been brought to light on many social media platforms. A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) experiences Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS). Think of SPS as having a finely-tuned nervous system, which can become easily over-stimulated by certain triggers in the environment. It is not a condition, a disorder, or a diagnosis. It is a neutral personality trait which is believed to be present in around 20% of the human population and many non-human species as well.
The theory is that SPS evolved to provide an advantage for survival purposes in certain situations where it’s useful or necessary to notice small details or pick up on particular cues and energies.
However, in modern society, being a Highly Sensitive Person can seem like a massive obstacle, particularly if the person does not properly know themselves, take care of themselves or accept themselves as they are by embracing the positives. The upsides can include a great ability to feel empathy, a natural attention to detail, a strong sense of smell and ability to hear and see things others may not notice, as well as a constant appreciation for the simple things in life. A Highly Sensitive Person also often has an artistic eye and talent for creativity. They tend to feel a deep appreciation or connection to the arts that resonate with them, and are highly affected by the moods of others around them or the vibe of a place.
Though these are some common traits of a Highly Sensitive Person, not everyone affected by SPS will possess all of them. People can land anywhere on the Highly Sensitive spectrum. Something which may affect one person strongly for example, may only mildly affect someone else. It’s completely dependent on the individual and their unique perspective of the world. A Highly Sensitive Person will often find they are happiest in nature, and pick up on subtleties in the environment that others may not. They can become easily overwhelmed by hunger, fatigue, or stress and find that everyday life can be accompanied by over-stimulation.
Traditionally this may be categorised as introversion, or an anxiety disorder, but it’s not that black and white. A Highly Sensitive Person can be both very outgoing and yet strongly affected by the same stimuli an introverted individual would be. Some of the main culprits are:
- Strong smells
- Aggressive commercials
- Loud noises
- Discomfort or pain in the body
- Being thrown into a new environment
- Being in a demanding role or high stress situation
- Encountering confrontation
- City life
When a Highly Sensitive Person is bombarded with stimuli, they can find they are easily exhausted, irritated or anxious. They will need to regularly recharge with water, food, and quiet areas to process the mound of information they have been exposed to. This could mean simply winding down at the end of the day with their familiar routine, or in a more prominent case, regular intervals from daily activities. Does this sound familiar to you? It does for me, for both myself and certain family members. A personality trait which I’m positive has been genetically passed down for generations. Growing up as a Highly Sensitive Person was quite challenging, but realising the positives now has changed my perspective for the better.
I’ve learned that you can’t choose who you are or what happens to you in life, but you can learn to build resilience and healthy coping mechanisms, as well as a positive perspective on yourself and your outlook. Foresight is an absolute must when it comes to protecting yourself from certain situations, bad reactions and unhappiness. Small things make a huge difference, as well as the confidence to assert yourself when necessary. There are mindsets to entertain and actions to be taken that can greatly improve our experience on this earth as sensitive people. However, going into detail with tips and advice on living as a Highly Sensitive Person is a whole other blog. So if you’re interested in this subject, or feel you can personally relate, do keep up to date with our Newsletter and Facebook Feed to be notified of it’s release.
If you’d like to research further into what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person, take the “Are You A Highly Sensitive Person?” test here.
On the hsperson website you can read all about the psychological studies and research that has been going on since 1991, as well as the documentaries and films that are currently being made on the subject. If you’re feeling generous, there’s even an option to donate for further research to continue, as well as a number of publications that explain, explore and report on Highly Sensitive People.
Get qualified in Mindfulness & Meditation and pay less for more.
One of the ways that we can better deal and cope with the conglomeration of thoughts, feelings, and information that are constantly rattling around in our minds, is by introducing holistic practices into our life like Mindfulness and Meditation. Our Mindfulness course takes the student through to meditation, a state of present-tense awareness where we are able to actively choose our thoughts and steer our emotions to maintain balance.
Here at The School of Natural Health Sciences we aim to make your learning experience as stress-free as possible. Our holistic health courses have no deadlines, no hefty expenses or hidden costs, no need for heavy textbooks or commuting, and tutors on hand to help you every step of the way. Our best asset? The 60+ accredited courses that we’ve worked hard to perfect over the last 20 years. In celebration of our milestone we’d like to extend our appreciation by offering all of our students a FREE course of choice when purchasing any of our courses or packs over £135.
Not a student yet? Don’t worry, you can enrol any day to join the holistic community and begin your new journey to a brighter future.
Click to view: