Perhaps, you have heard about the term highly sensitive person (HSP) more often recently, but keep wondering ‘but what is a highly sensitive person’? In this article, you’ll find the exact definition and explanation!
Researcher Dr. Elaine Aron -who first introduced the term back in 1996- explains high sensitivity in the following way:
The highly sensitive person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.
In fact, this trait has been found in over 100 species varying from fruit flies, birds and fish to dogs, cats, horses and primates. It is a strong survival strategy which includes to be observant before acting. Way back in time, when danger was around every corner, this skill was necessary for the group to survive. Also in human, this trait has been found.
A question many people google is the question: ‘Can highly sensitive people change?’.
This almosts sounds like being an HSP is a disease or a bad thing! However, being highly sensitive is a true gift.
Nevertheless, it is no surprise that this is being googled often by HSP’s and/or their loved ones.
While it brings along many wonderful characteristics and traits, highly sensitive people also experience certain struggles.
These struggles might feel frustrating for the HSP and/or their loved ones at times.
High sensitivity may result in certain struggles. On one hand, the strength of a highly sensitive person lies in using past experiences as a moment for growth and base for future decisions.
On the other hand, HSP’s tend to overgeneralize and avoid certain situations rather quickly. This occurs because they remind them of past bad situations or a trauma in some way. The art of thriving as an HSP is to find balance between these two extremes.
Another struggle highly sensitive people face, is that an HSP’s nervous system ‘fills up with noise’ rather quickly. Due to over-stimulation, they become easily exhausted and feel the need to withdraw to peace and quiet faster compared to non-HSP’s. This emphasizes the importance of self-care for highly sensitive people.