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Highly sensitive person, HSP

Do you know someone who is sensitive to loud sounds, conscious about the softness of clothes, and is picky about food? Someone who is sensitive to bright colors and is annoyed by too much visual motion, excessively shy and avoids big crowds? Perhaps this person is characterized by high processing sensitivity, or simply said, is a highly sensitive person, HSP.
Highly sensitive people can be excessively sensitive to sounds, touch, colors and visual motion, smells, and taste and texture of food. They can find it hard to focus because their perceptual systems are receiving many distracting impulses. They would know which lighting and sounds would let others feel at ease.
Highly sensitive people can pick up on the feelings of others and literally resonate with them. This is why HSP are called good empaths. They can “feel the room”, feel the moods and emotions of others. Sometimes these excessive feelings lead to disorientation if the person lacks the vocabulary to name all the feelings she experiences. In other cases, excessive access to the feelings of others leads to anxiety if the person is confused about the source of the feelings which she feels. And in some cases, highly sensitive people can feel guilt and depression, when they do not know what to do about the feelings of others.
Highly sensitive people can feel uncomfortable when they receive attention and/or judgement from others. They cannot stand to be seen by unloving eyes. They can be intelligent and funny in their safe surroundings but can appear dull, boring, or scared when need to pass an exam, perform in public, or hold a public defense of their thesis.
Highly sensitive people can process information slower than others and get good answers and associations after the conversation. This leads to rumination, when they come back to the same event or situation with their thoughts and think what they could have done or said better. In rumination, they often discover ideas of self-shame, “I am not good enough” or “I am not smart enough.”
Highly sensitive people can be delicate and can be sensitive to delicate scenes, sounds, tastes, and works of art. They are sensitive to beauty in their surroundings.
Highly sensitive people can be conscientious and sensitive about ethics. They can very well feel what is right and what is wrong to do to another person because their empathy lets them directly experience the other person’s reaction. At the same time, they can feel powerless, angry, and overwhelmed when they cannot make all people around them live in harmony.
Highly sensitive people can avoid big gatherings of people. They can feel uncomfortable, disoriented, or anxious. They tend to prefer smaller-scale gatherings or one-on-one meetings.
Highly sensitive people can be easy targets for bullying at home, school or at the workplace. They are different, they tend to withdraw themselves from common social situations, and not always have a good answer to a bully (they tend to get good ideas later!). Many highly sensitive people are trained to ignore their feelings of discomfort as children because their less sensitive caregivers do not see the reason for discomfort and ask the child to “stop being shy/nervous/irritated.”
High processing sensitivity can coincide with ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder) and ASS (autism spectrum disorder), but it can be observed as a separate condition in people who do not have ASS or ADHD. On the extreme end the high processing sensitivity becomes a sensory processing disorder.
Highly sensitive people thrive when they can put a name on their experience, know what is good and what is bad for them and learn to keep their boundaries checked, saying yes to things which are good for them and no to things which are bad for them. To help build these skills, we prepared two courses for highly sensitive people and their close ones. In the course "Emotional regulation for HSP" we focus on developing emotional intelligence, learning about basic emotions and feelings, their names and qualities. We learn to feel and to make emotions-informed intellectual decisions.
In the course "Burn-out recovery and prevention" we learn about the concept of boundaries, discover the ideal working environment, and learn the basics of self-care. In the course "Neuropsychology of HSP" we educate parents, teachers, employers about high processing sensitivity. 

Image (C) Asal Lofti ~ Unsplash

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