The Highly Sensitive Person and 10 Survival Tips
The topic of being “highly sensitive” surfaces quite a bit on Beyond Blue, because there is a strong correlation between those of us who suffer from mood disorders and acute sensitivity issues. Psychology Today just featured an excellent article by Andrea Bartz in their July issue, called “Sense and Sensitivity” in which they interviewed Mike Jawer, whom I interviewed awhile back, and, of course, Elaine Aron, author of “The Highly Sensitive Person,” and the foremost expert on this topic. The full article is not available online anymore. You can buy it on newsstands or subscribe to the full online edition of Psychology Today. Here are first paragraphs:
"The Highly Sensitive Person has always been part of the human landscape. There’s evidence that many creative types are highly sensitive, perceiving cultural currents long before they are manifest to the mainstream, able to take in the richness of small things others often miss. Others may be especially sensitive to animals and how they are handled. They’re also the ones whose feelings are so easily bruised that they’re constantly being told to “toughen up.”
Today, science is validating a group of people whose sensitivity surfaces in many domains of life. Attuned to subtleties of all kinds, they have a complex inner life and need time to process the constant flow of sensory data that is their inheritance. Some may be particularly prone to the handful of hard-to-pin-down disorders like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Technology is now providing an especially revealing window into that which likely defines them all—a nervous system set to register stimuli at very low frequency and amplify them internally.
We all experience shades of sensitivity. Who isn’t rocked by rejection and crushed by criticism? But for HSPs, emotional experience is at such a constant intensity that it shapes their personality and their lives—job performance, social life, intimate relationships—as much as gender and race do. Those who learn to dial down the relentless swooping and cresting of emotions that is the almost invariable accompaniment to extreme sensitivity are able to transform raw perception into keen perceptiveness."
Okay, so now that you know that there are, indeed, highly sensitive types out there, and that you might be one, what do you do about it? Also on Psychology Today’s website, I found this insightful blog by wellness expert Dr. Susan Biali, author of “Live a Life You Love.” I recognize many of her tips, as I have already incorporated them into my life (when I can). In fact, I think my recovery from my appendix operation has been much more difficult than anticipated because I am highly sensitive, and can’t do some things on the list that are usually a part of my day. Here’s hoping you can!
Therese Borchard writes the Beyond Blue blog on Beliefnet.