HIGHLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE
Have you been told “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 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 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 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.
Dr. Aron is the leading researcher in the area of highly sensitive people, so if you are interested, check out her book and website.
She has a self-test on her site if you are interested in taking it to see if you are an HSP!
Dr. Elaine Aron’s site: https://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/
Aron, E.N. (2021). The Highly Sensitive Person. https://hsperson.com/
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!