High sensitivity


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:

  • Conscientiousdetermined, committed, passionate, hardworking
  • Faithfulloyal, trustworthy, considerate, cooperative, collaborative
  • Caringcompassionate, thoughtful, sensitive, cautious, unselfish, gentle
  • Articulateaccurate, polite, precise, semantic, subtle, sophisticated
  • Intelligenteducated, informed, knowledgeable, resourceful, witty, wise
  • Imaginativevisionary, 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.

Understand more

Pause for thought: High sensitivity has been discovered in 100+ species!