HSP / Highly Sensitive Person

HSP / Highly Sensitive Person


“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
― Dr. Seuss

HSP / Highly Sensitive Person

Navigating Sensitivities in our Challenging World

Have you been told often that you’re “just too sensitive” or “over-reactive”? Is it hard for you to function in noisy surroundings and chaos? Maybe you’re affected profoundly by violence, injustice or even general lack of respect. Do you find relief and even pleasure in removing yourself from social situations and get tired of hearing that you “should get out there more and be social”? You may be a Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP.

For decades I lived my life as an HSP without being identified as such, always feeling different and misunderstood and somehow “wrong” for being so sensitive and reactive and not receiving joy from the same things as so many others. Even having earned a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, it wasn’t until several years ago that I discovered that there were many others like me…15-20% of the population. Because we feel different and don’t see and respond to life the same way as is the “norm” it’s easy for us to remain under the radar and assume we’re alone and no one understands us.

 

Check here to see if you’re an HSP

 

More than 10 years ago I attempted to watch Gladiator. I made it just moments into the first arena scene and had to leave the room and spent over an hour bawling, lamenting that humanity is so unloving and uncaring and there’s no hope for us all! It took me a week to get over Amistad, and Saving Private Ryan was, and will remain, the last war movie I’ve ever seen. Movies can be very difficult for me, especially if I’m not prepared. I don’t watch tv and avoid most news broadcasts. It also takes a long time for me to come to terms with situations in which I feel slighted or disrespected; I just don’t understand HOW people can act in certain ways. I can start to feel anxiety creep in when in a large group or noisy event. Yep, I checked Yes to almost all of the HSP test items. No surprise, but very validating! It helped me realize that I’m Highly Sensitive, but not such an outlier.

What can an HSP do to manage anxiety and overwhelm?

Such sensitivities can lead a person to feel overwhelmed with life, sometimes incapacitated and wondering what the point of it all is. I have, though, throughout the years, learned to acknowledge and accept my Highly Sensitive nature, to honor this part of me, give it space and credence, and make choices that allow me not only to function, but to get great joy out of life.

Self-care is of utmost importance for HSPs, whether that’s incorporating regular yoga, meditation, exercise, breath work, time in nature or any mindful practice. Learning to set boundaries…physically, emotionally and energetically

My understanding of HSPs, and my experience as one, allows me to understand other HSPs and their challenges and experiences of the world. It also helps me work with non-HSPs by being more aware of nuances and considering factors that non-HSPs might not. It helps me help others with setting boundaries and recognizing potential obstacles and issues invisible to some. And it creates in me a great empathy, helpful in working with all clients.

It is possible to be a Highly Sensitive Person and still have a productive, joyful life. I’d love to help you find that balance, between sensitivity and joyous experience of life.