The misconception with the words highly sensitive, is that one may instantly assume that it is a person that is extremely emotional, intense, dramatic, weak and anxious. However, many HSP’s are some of the most loving, caring, compassionate, empathetic and kindhearted people. We feel more deeply and some of us are more prone to having depression or anxiety, however for every individuals it’s a different journey. We make up 15-20% of the population, and have a different way of coping with specific situations. Being an HSP means that we have a higher sensory perception, which means that we are more sensitive to the environment eg. loud noises, strong smells.
A great video explaining more about HSP can be viewed here. Our nervous system is far more sensitive than the average person when picking up our surroundings. This means that HSP’s can be more easily over stimulated. Many of us have an appreciation for peaceful environments and the little things, such as walking in nature, reading a good book, listening to a good song or watching a movie. It’s important to learn how to be aware of each situation and how to deal with them. When I’m alone, it’s the perfect time for me to feel calm and safe within my surrounding.
The Psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron coined the term Highly Sensitive Person, and after I researched about what it means to be an HSP, it makes sense. It means that some of us are simply born with a more highly sensitive nervous system than most people. There is a reminder to live life simply and let go of what is out of our control. There is also more open arms to acceptance in order to live a calm life. There’s nothing wrong or strange being an HSP, but rather it’s simply that your nervous system picks up sensory information more strongly. Whether that’s sound, emotions, actions, thoughts, smells, weather, lighting, environment and so on.
There is an association of sensitivity with weakness, which is often tied together in a society that looks down upon sensitivity. We tend to live in an environment where feelings aren’t always meant to be expressed, because they can make one appear vulnerable. It’s judged and hidden, which creates more of a stigma, the way introversion or mental health still have negative connotations towards them. However, it can also be ones greatest strengths. Your body will communicate with you when something feels right or wrong, and you’ll learn when to trust it. Your mind and body also become more present and you’ll feel a stronger connection between the two.
Being an HSP means we are often more analytical, perceptive, intuitive, have a rich internal mind, need time out and are easy to feel stressed by loud noises. There are certain things you can do to lessen the feeling of being over stimulated. Eating a healthy diet is really important for your emotional and physical state of mind, having a form of regular exercise for your mental health, as well as drinking enough water to stay hydrated. Getting enough sleep, having down time and surrounding yourself in peaceful environments are all beneficial.
Compassion is one of our greatest strengths. Many of us want to be able to help others, and treat others how we would want to be treated. We’re more critical of ourselves and can set ourselves high standards. In our culture, everything is fast paced, and there seems to be a view on being tough and pushing through it by ignoring your other emotions. However, this can cause anyone to bottle up those feelings, and feel a deep sense of pain over time. There are times where we just need to accept that we feel a certain way. Having a gentle nature means you may naturally have a way of sensing how others may feel.
As a deep thinker, it’s good to understand how you can focus on the positive, and allow that to flourish. Staying in tune to why you may feel a certain way emotionally, physically and mentally can create more awareness. The small things from patting a cat, going out for a nice long walk, drinking a hot chocolate or talking to a good friend. It’s those simple things in life that we can all cherish. Know that there is nothing wrong with being an HSP. We all experience different situations throughout the day, and it’s facing those situations that help us grow, learn and become stronger from them.