A sensitive issue

A highly sensitive person tends to be wired to be more internally focused, rather than externally focused.

by Chris M. Lyon — 

Do you feel that you are deeply affected by other people or situations in your life, or do you know a loved one who feels that way? Well-known psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung called a person who experiences life like this a “sensitive.” Dr. Elaine Aron coined the term “highly sensitive person” or HSP.

A HSP’s regular sensory information is received, processed and analyzed to a deeper and greater extent than other people’s, which can lead to quick overstimulation. In her book, The Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Aron explains this is a difference in the central nervous system in about 20 percent of people and higher animals.

HSPs tend to be wired to be more internally focused, rather than externally focused. They may have more reactive immune systems and more sensitive nervous systems. Pervasive stress and feeling overwhelmed can cause decreased serotonin levels and fatigue. HSPs are gifted individuals with special skills and abilities; yet from youth, they are often misunderstood by their closest family members and friends, and tend to be considered and treated as weak, overreactive or too sensitive. This can cause low self-confidence and self-esteem issues.

HSPs can empower themselves regarding their uniqueness and special strengths, which will help them care for themselves and thrive in a world that can be overwhelming.

It is important to make resting and recharging a priority, and to limit and prepare for situations that can cause overstimulation. Remember that too much internalizing can be exhausting and keep you from having a clearer overall picture of a situation.

HSPs can experience high levels of creativity, intuition and empathy. They pay attention to detail, and can sense implications and subtle changes. They make great artists, advisors, therapists, consultants and writers. HSPs also can learn to adjust their awareness, which will lead them to accepting themselves (without comparisons to others) and appreciating the life-changing gifts that high sensitivity brings.


Chris M. Lyon is a board-certified consulting hypnotist, personal coach, columnist and mentor, specializing in work with HSPs. www.ChrisMLyon.com or 480-288-2723. 

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 6, Dec 2010/Jan 2011.

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