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HIGHLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE

Have you ever had someone tell you that “you are too sensitive?” 

According to Dr. Elaine Aron (1997), author of The Highly Sensitive Person, 15-20% of individuals are highly sensitive, and being highly sensitive is normal.

What are the signs of a highly sensitive person (HSP)?

  • Need time to process information in depth

  • Can be overstimulated by their environment, resulting in feeling overwhelmed

    • ​May be avoidant in certain situations due to the ease of overstimulation/feeling overwhelmed 

  • Tend to be more observant and conscientious

  • More affected by others' emotions and moods

  • Dr. Aron (1997) found that HSPs are connected to more creativity, deeper personal relationships, and appreciation for beauty 

    • In some cultures, where HSPs are not valued, they tend to have lower self-esteem (e.g., being told being sensitive is a weakness) 


Causes of high sensitivity 

  • Dr. Aron (1997) noted that it is actually biologically wired within us

  • In The Highly Sensitive Person (1997), she wrote sensitivity is mostly inherited, and the person’s environment can force this trait to disappear

    • It has been shown that sensitive children produce more cortisol when under stress than non-sensitive children, so sensitive children can react more strongly in those situations


What can be done when you are highly sensitive?

  • There is some overlap between being highly sensitive and introversion, but they are different

    • People can be highly sensitive and be extroverted

    • Not all introverts are highly sensitive

  • There is nothing wrong with being sensitive

  • Embracing and working with it has been shown to be more successful than suppressing it​

All in all, sensitivity has a bad reputation in our world. In reality, sensitivity has lots of strengths. We need a world with sensitive individuals. Highly sensitive people are more able to see the beauty in life than "regular" people going about their day. There is beauty in the world if you know where to look.

Resources

Our psychologists identify as highly sensitive people and enjoy working with fellow highly sensitive people. If you are interested in working with us, please reach out!