High Sensitivity is a physiological trait.
- It refers to a significant extension of neural capacities common to all.
- It is not a reference to an emotional or psychological state, as many assume.
I am, happily, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).
People with High Sensitivity (HSPs):
- Experience a high measure of sensory processing sensitivity
- Exhibit different neural activity (compared to average, or norm)
- Typically operate at high levels of performance
- Were first identified (formally) in the mid-1990s, by Drs. Elaine & Arthur Aron
- Were identified (informally) by psychologist Carl Jung
- Represent 15-20% of the population
- Do not exhibit a disorder—HS is a physiological trait—and a gift!
In their research, Dr Elaine Aron and other’s observe that HSPs are considerably under-valued and underutilised in western cultural contexts. By contrast, they are highly-valued and appreciated in significant non-western cultures, such as China, for example. This disparity is particularly relevant in the case of male HSPs.
The following traits are typical of HSPs:
- Conscientious—determined, committed, passionate, hardworking
- Faithful—loyal, trustworthy, considerate, cooperative, collaborative
- Caring—compassionate, thoughtful, sensitive, cautious, unselfish, gentle
- Articulate—accurate, polite, precise, semantic, subtle, sophisticated
- Intelligent—educated, informed, knowledgeable, resourceful, witty, wise
- Imaginative—visionary, intuitive, spiritual, reflective, harmonious
HSPs are therefore frequently:
- Highly intelligent
- Have a heightened awareness of subtleties in their environment
- Tend to become over-stimulated by excess demands and, or ‘noise’ (of all kinds)
- Good parents and partners
In the Workplace
Advantages of highly sensitive people include their being:
- Good advisors
- Excellent at staying on task
- A source of situational insights overlooked by non-HSPs
- Excellent educators, consultants, mentors and spiritual directors
- Highly responsive to others, stabilising cooperative relationships and trust.
Some of these traits are reflected in what people have said about me.
- Website of Dr. Elaine Aron: hsperson.com
- Find out if you are an HSP: take the test
- Highly Sensitive Person — Wikipedia
- The challenges of being a HS and Male
- 25 traits of Highly Sensitive People
- Highly Sensitive People in the Workplace
Pause for thought: High sensitivity has been discovered in 100+ species!