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The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You

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Another cause for Aron and her fellow HSPs to celebrate is the acceptance into mainstream psychology of the HSP personality trait. After numerous in-depth interviews, as well as surveys of over one thousand people, Dr. Aron’s findings have been published in Counseling Today, Counseling and Human Development, Personality and Social Psychology Review, Brain and Behavior, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience and the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, as well as in chapters of various books such as The Handbook of Temperament. It helped me better understand my relationships with other people, society, and myself, and pointed with a more defined focus to a life purpose I've always felt drawn towards but was missing the ingredient of my sensitivity.

Connect with your spiritual side by exploring past life patterns and accessing inner guidance from spirit guides and angels Highly Intuitive People by Heidi Sawyer focuses on HSPs that are also highly intuitive, and teaches how to become a happier, more empowered intuitive. I felt the book went too much into repeating how different people are HSPs are so at different points of their lives (childhood, adulthood, etc.). I get it already. I had hoped there would be more about how to cope and what HSPs can do.

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Since we’re in the heresies game, let’s try the biggest one. Is HSP real? “It’s unclear whether highly sensitive people warrant their own category – in scientific language, whether the difference is dimensional or taxonomic,” says Kane (whose PhD is in neuroimaging). “There are still few research groups dedicated to this, and a brain study often taken as definitive proof is too limited to generalise its results.” This doesn’t mean HSP isn’t real. All theories look for definitive, areas-of-the-brain-lighting-up proof, one that makes a good picture in the media. But “we can’t really do that with anything to be honest, despite spending billions of pounds on it.” This particular book by cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist Tom Falkenstein provides the first psychological guide specifically for highly sensitive men and their loved ones. This book by James Williams seeks to help adults understand the world from a highly sensitive child’s perspective. It aims to help HSP children grow and thrive despite their difficulties. Understanding the Highly Sensitive Child also provides readers with clear and concise guides which makes information easily digestible.

Children can display symptoms of high sensitivity early on, and they should understand how they can best cope. It is highly encouraged that parents read this book, which takes the complexities of HSP and aids them in guiding their children through what may be difficult times. This way, they can minimize the confusion that children face when trying to understand why they are different from their peers. Identifying which type of empath you are is essential for HSPs. It gives you a way to discern what kind of stimuli will affect you most. It also helps you to recognize your strengths. For instance, knowing you’re an emotional empath can guide you to help people who are compatible with your sensitivities while avoiding others who can be emotionally draining.Sensitive is the New Strong by Anita Moorjani offers insight into how to protect your energy, find your power, and live authentically as a person who experiences the sensory overload and emotional burden of high sensitivity. This trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called “shy.” But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSPs are extroverts, although the trait is often mislabeled as introversion. It has also been called inhibitedness, fearfulness, or neuroticism. Some HSPs behave in these ways, but it is not innate to do so and not the basic trait. It is innate. In fact, biologists have found it in over 100 species (and probably there are many more) from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’. To learn more about this, see Research.

While challenging, being an HSP also has its strengths. There are various resources that can help you learn more about your advantages and obstacles; books, in particular, can provide a wealth of knowledge and insight into these experiences. Here are four that may just strike a chord with you: The Healed Empath by Kristen Schwartz is a forthcoming (January 2022) guide to transforming trauma and anxiety, trusting your intuition, and moving from overwhelm to empowerment. Topics include setting boundaries, transcending unresolved trauma, and strengthening self-reliance. I cannot wait to read!

Bonus: My Book on Highly Sensitive People and Depression

The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N Aron is the ultimate introduction to high sensitivity, originally published in 1997. Aron has dedicated her life to studying the psychology of sensitivity. What I loved most about this book is that she gives us the foundation to see our sensitivity as a personality trait: both highly sensitive, and less sensitive people have a place in this world, just as both extraverts and introverts do. The only reason I gave this 4 stars and not 5 is because I think the author may lose readers when going in depth into subjects like psychotherapy, early childhood being the cause of most adult problems, and spiritual beliefs. Not to say some won't find this information helpful, but that it makes the book a more dense read, and in my opinion, strays from the main subject. But there’s still a lot of misunderstanding in the world about highly sensitive people (HSPs), and there are still HSPs out there who don’t understand their trait. Countless others know they are highly sensitive, but still struggle to deal with overwhelm, anxiety, and simply being understood.

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