A highly sensitive person (HSP) may experience a greater intensity of physical, emotional, and social stimuli than the average person. They are more sensitive to external factors, such as increased environmental alertness and a heightened response to sensory input. As a result, they may be more easily overwhelmed and have a more intense emotional reaction to situations.

Highly sensitive people are often labeled overly emotional or weak but have many admirable qualities. Although they can be overwhelmed by certain stimuli, they also have an increased capacity for empathy and a deep appreciation for beauty. This can lead to positive and negative experiences, but it is important to recognize the positive aspects of this personality trait.

The term HSP was developed by psychologists Elaine Aron and Arthur Aron in the mid-1990s. Elaine Aron then published a book entitled the same name in 1996, which sparked an increased fascination with the concept.

Are You an HSP?

Being highly sensitive means deeply processing your surroundings, emotions, and experiences. This can make you more sensitive to others, your environment, and the world. You may find yourself:

  • Overwhelmed by too much stimulation.
  • Feel easily hurt by criticism.
  • Be deeply affected by the beauty of nature.

Highly sensitive people often have a greater appreciation for creativity, art, and music and are more empathetic and compassionate. A heightened degree of responsiveness to stimuli can be experienced in various realms. This may encompass physical reactions, emotional reactions, or reactions to external stimuli.

The Commonality of HSPs

Approximately one in five individuals possess a heightened level of sensitivity compared to the rest of the population. Managing life’s extra stress and pressure can be challenging for these individuals. Highly sensitive people and their families may benefit from finding strategies to help them cope with the increased demands of their lifestyles.

The Causes

Likely, a combination of evolutionary, environmental, genetic, and early life experiences all contribute to developing a person’s highly sensitive nature.

It appears that childhood experiences can profoundly shape our lives. If a child is brought up without much warmth or is exposed to trauma, they may become overly sensitive adults. This heightened sensitivity may stay with them throughout their life.

Genetics can play a part in how sensitive someone is. It is linked to the dopamine system, which influences a person’s character and behavior. If a person has a family history of high sensitivity, they are more likely to be highly sensitive themselves. A person’s genetic makeup may be altered due to their life experiences, making them more likely to be an HSP or highly sensitive person.

In Closing

Being an HSP can be a blessing but can also bring some difficulties. It can be hard not to take things too personally when people are trying to be nice or helpful. Additionally, it can be easy to overreact when faced with everyday stress or relationship conflicts, particularly if one needs to respond emotionally and intensely. For the best help, always consult a licensed psychological or psychiatric practitioner.

Navigate Life with Help from Riverbend Life Strategies

Headed by Harriet Gordon, we provide mental health support, help you navigate emotional experiences, and help you recognize the gift of a sensitive soul. If you’re a highly-sensitive person, contact me at (816) 689-98-43 or email harriet@riverbendls.com