Who is a Highly Sensitive Person? Aren’t we all sensitive?
Is it a disorder? Do we consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist when we find out that we are a highly sensitive person?
Too many questions might be running across your mind right now. Let’s get things a bit clear for you.
The terms SPS (Sensory Processing Sensitivity) and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) were coined in the mid-1990s by Psychologists Elaine Aron and her husband Arthur Aron in their book The Highly Sensitive Person published in 1996. This book is a must read for those who wish to acquire more knowledge about highly sensitive person, be it for yourself or for understanding someone close to you.
Carl Jung describes a highly sensitive person (HSP) as someone who has high sensory processing and “innate sensitiveness”. Neuroscientists from the University of British Columbia and Cornell University discovered that our genes (not always) influence how sensitive one is to emotional information one perceives from one’s surroundings. Researchers identified this certain genetic variation as ADRA2b.
Surprisingly, it is a natural trait occurring in about 15%-20% of the population but is not adequately understood.
Is this you?
- Are you driven by fair and equitable treatment for individuals more than personal gain?
- Has your natural, gentle openness been mistaken for weakness?
- Do you have a strong intuition?
- Do you recoil from conflict but lean deeply into creativity?
- Do you build alignments and encourage collaboration more than you seek to gain power?
- Have you been called too sensitive?
- Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
- Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
- Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
If you answer YES to most of these questions, you are definitely a highly sensitive person.
Now it’s necessary to get you a proper guide through the concept of high sensitivity. I will outline the work of Colleen O’Rourke, who is a Highly Sensitive Person himself, alongside to being a coach and an adventurer.
What is high sensitivity?
High Sensitivity, also called Sensory Perception Sensitivity, refers to people who process
internal and external stimuli much more thoroughly due to a biological difference in their central nervous system. Essentially, as information is received in the brain it is processed through filters
that provide insight and awareness to the environment around us. Highly sensitive persons simply have far more filters than other people.
This provides greater insight and awareness, yet is also consumes energy and takes time to process and decide on a course of action. And, although everyone can refine their abilities, highly sensitive persons cannot simply turn-off this trait anymore than someone else can turn it on.
Highly sensitive person/s may notice higher than average awareness of and sensitivity to:
• The 5 standard senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell)
• Medications, caffeine, alcohol, etc.
• Emotions, both their own as well those of others
• Subtle changes in the environment
• Intuition or extra-sensory information