The first step to compassion is understanding.
Do you experience more stress than the average person? Are you overly sensitive to external stimuli. Chances are, there is nothing wrong with you or your coping strategies.
Neurological differences found in HSP’s.
Brain scans show that HSP’s have “heightened activity in empathy-related brain regions” including the anterior insula (insular cortex), highlighted in the brain scan below.
The intensified response of highly sensitive people (HSP) to stress is not a choice – it’s biological. HSP brains are wired differently than the average person. This fact has been clearly supported by scientific research.
- Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
- Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
- Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
- Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
- Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
- Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
- Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
- When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
Harnessing HSP’s Strengths.
The main challenge for most HSP’s is to acknowledge their heightened emotional sensitivity, understand their unique emotional needs, and finally to employ distinctive strategies for coping with stress.
Helpful websites and resources below –
- A Guide to the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) by Dr. Judith Orloff
- Coping Strategies for the Highly Sensitive Person by Dr. Ted Zeff
- How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Dr. Elaine Aron
- Highly Sensitive People in the Workplace by Janine Ramsey
- With Care, You and Your Sensitivity Will Flourish by Deborah Ward