Sensitive People: Nurturing Your Gifts in a Fast Paced World

Sensitive People: Nurturing Your Gifts in a Fast Paced World

“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. ~ Anthon St. Maarten. 

Are you one of those sensitive people who gets frazzled when there is too much going on? Do the moods of other people easily affect you? Maybe you were told as a child to “stop being so over sensitive, or taking things so personally”. If this resonates with you then you may also have felt you were flawed in some way.

Not true! Being highly sensitive is not a failing, it is your genetic inheritance, your temperament type. And as with all temperaments there are advantages and disadvantages to the highly sensitive characteristics of your nature.

Carl Jung was the first to identify sensitivity as an inherited temperament. He referred to it as “innate sensitivity”. Since then Elain Aron has taken up the batten and devoted most of her career to researching highly sensitive people.

Curious to know more?

Lets take a closer look at how you might experience life as a highly sensitive person (HSP).

4 CHARACTERISTICS OF SENSITIVE PEOPLE

Aron refers to these as the D.O.E.S  model.

1. D – Deeper Processing

In-depth processing of information is at the heart of HSP. To put it simply, your nervous system is constantly processing information, considering options, and comparing data. Not just the obvious, but the small details that most people are unaware of.

The research shows HSPs experience more brain activation in the area of the insula. This is the part of the brain responsible for integrating your internal experience (emotions, sensations, thoughts and even body position), with  external information. Which brings me to the next point.

2. O – Overstimulation

Because you are so acutely aware of your internal dialogue, emotions and sensations, and at the same time the noise and clutter going on around you, your energy reserves are depleted more quickly than people who are less aware.  A recent study showed HSPs were faster and more accurate with a complex task than non-sensitive people. However they were also more stressed after completing the task.

3. E – Emotional Reactivity and Empathy

Yes its true HSPs are more reactive, whether it is a positive or negative experience. However, it is positive emotions and environments that get the most reaction from you. They simulate more creativity, curiosity and clearer thinking. Essentially you are energised by positive experiences. 

And the myth that emotional people are more irrational has been debunked by Roy Baumeister’s research, which found emotion is central to cultivating wisdom. It seems the more emotion you experience after a mistake or a success the more you think about how to avoid it, or recreate it in the future.

As an Empath you are particularly sensitive to how other people are feeling. This research is based on mirror neurons. When we observe someone else our mirror neurons fire in the same way as some of their mirror neurons. This is how we are able to feel empathy for another human being. And again the research shows HSPs have more brain activity in their mirror neurons. So it’s no surprise that HSPs are drawn to teaching, and other helping professions.

4. S – Sensitivity to Subtleties

As already discussed you are wired to pick up the subtleties that are often missed by the people around you. These include the smallest of movements, sensations, sounds, and smells. This gives you the capacity to be more connected to the present moment, and also at reading people you encounter in your day to day life. This is part of the intuitive side of HSPs.

In contrast, if you are stressed from overstimulation you might be completely unaware of people and your surroundings.

Do these characteristics resonate with you? If so, you can click here to take the HSP test.

THE GIFTS OF AN HSP

Even though being highly sensitive can seem like a curse at times you are not flawed or weird. Instead there are some wonderful benefits to being to being highly sensitive. As with all temperaments not all of these will be true for you, and some will resonate more strongly than others. 

♥  Conscientious and dedicated to the tasks you undertake

♥  Capacity to access high levels of creativity, curiosity and clarity

♥  High level of accuracy with complex tasks

♥  More able to plug into the simple beauty of the present moment

♥  Innate capacity to read people, their mood, trustworthiness, and intentions

♥  Deep appreciation for all forms of beauty, including the arts, music, and nature

♥  Value meaning and purpose in your life. Most often this about how you can make a difference in the world.

♥  Genuine compassion, kindness and understanding giving you an innate capacity for roles involving teaching, inspiring, caring, and healing

♥  Strong intuitive ability, a rich inner life, and capacity for deep spiritual connection

NURTURING YOUR GIFTS

1.  Appreciate your uniqueness – In this fast paced society your sensitive nature can feel like a weakness at times. You may even feel you need to “toughen up”. This will be reflected in self-talk that is harsh or self-depreciating. If you want to change how you treat yourself then you can check out my blog on Self-compassion here.

Life may seem ‘harder’ for you at times,
And often you are close to overwhelm.
But it’s harder still
to repress your overwhelming gifts.
Sensitive ones,
Bring some gentleness into this weary world!
Shine on with courageous sensitivity!
You are the light bearers! ~ Jeff Foster (Excerpt for the Sensitive Ones)

2.  Identify techniques to manage time pressures – HSPs find time pressures particularly stressful. And because they like do things properly, short cuts or rushing things is not an option. So you need to get good at planning realistic margins of time to complete projects, or to be somewhere on time. 

Just as we say a piece of metal shows stress when it is overloaded, so do we. ~ Elain Aron

3.  Learn skills to cope with overwhelm – Be mindful of those times and days when you have a lot going on. Remember if you push yourself too hard or for too long you will “hit a wall” of exhaustion. Instead plan some quiet time to recharge your batteries. Usually this involves some quiet time away from the stimulation of people and noise. Examples are: meditation, reading a book, or being in nature.

After reading this article you may identify as having an HSP temperament or simply relate to some of the characteristics and gifts of sensitive people. Either way, my hope is you will begin to cherish and nurture your uniqueness, so you can begin to thrive instead of just survive. 

Lets Talk

If being a sensitive person is making life difficult for you right now, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

or if you are ready to book now

Lets Talk

If being a sensitive person is making life difficult for you right now, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

or if you are ready to book now

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