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The Highly Sensitive Person

A book by

Elaine N. Aron

This book opened up a new world to me, being an HSP myself but not knowing it, this book has helped me so much with understanding myself and managing my life and emotions. I learned to not push myself so much and to be kind to myself. Here is a summary of the book. It really is a great read, if the info below resonates with you then I would suggest you get your copy of the book. Let's get to it then.

The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

  • 20% of the population are HSPs.
  • Take in a lot – all the subtleties others miss.
  • Loud music/ crowds can be highly stimulating/ stressful.
  • Are disturbed by clutter, sirens, glaring lights, strange odors, etc.…
  • Needs solitude after a busy day – when feeling jangled and over-aroused.
  • Can be instantly aware of moods, friendships & enmities, freshness or staleness of the air, the personality of the one who arranged the flowers when walking into a room.
  • Unable to tolerate as much as others.
  • Possesses great creativity, insight, passion & care.
  • Cautious, inward, and need extra time alone.
  • More intuitive – you just ‘know’ without realizing how. This detailed processing of subtle details causes you to consider the past or future more.
  • HSPs tend to be visionaries, highly intuitive artists, or inventors.
  • HSPs are very conscientious.
  • Cautious and wise.

    Arousal/ Stimulation

  • Stimulation is anything that wakes up the nervous system.
  • Stimulation is not just from the outside but also from the inside like pain, muscle tension, hunger, thirst – or memories, plans, and thoughts.
  • Stimulation varies in intensity and duration.
  • When HSP's have no control over stimulation it is more upsetting.
  • HSPs can get used to stimulation, but sometimes you think you’re not bothered and suddenly feel exhausted – you have been putting up with something at a conscious level but it was actually wearing you down.

Stimulation can be very complicated and can mean different things to different people because of memories or past experiences.

People differ considerably in how much their nervous system is aroused in the same situation. HSPs notices levels of stimulation that go unobserved by others. The HSP's senses are not more acute, but the difference lies in the brain – with more careful processing of information.

The downside to this trait:
What is moderately arousing for most people is highly arousing for HSPs.

Common traits of HSPs

  • Better at spotting errors and avoiding making errors.
  • Highly conscientious.
  • Able to concentrate deeply.
  • Especially good at tasks requiring vigilance, accuracy, speed, and the detection of minor differences.
  • Able to process material to deeper levels of “semantic memory”
    Semantic memory is independent of personal experiences, it is simple knowledge. Common sense.
  • HSPs are often thinking about their own thinking.
  • Able to learn without being aware that they have learned.
  • Deeply affected by other people’s moods and emotions.
  • Are very skilled but being watched, timed, or evaluated often cannot display true competence.
  • HSPs have deeper processing – at first, it seems like they’re not catching on, but whit time they understand and remember more.
  • Learn languages better.

HSPs bodies are different too

  • Specialists in fine motor movements.
  • Good at holding still.
  • More affected by stimulants like caffeine, unless used to them.
  • More “right-brained” (less linear and more creative).
  • More sensitive to things in the air (more hay fever and skin rashes).

Finding a balance

HSPs need to find a balance between not being too out too much, and not to be too in too much.

4 Focus points for better balance:

Do not get into “sleep debt”.
Sleep depravation = when you drop off to sleep abnormally quickly or in any darkened room.
It can take up to 2 weeks to recover from sleep deprivation.

Play creates endorphins and undo stress.
If you are depressed, overly emotional, not sleeping, or showing other signs of being out of balance, force yourself to plan more play.

HSPs need plenty of downtime for unwinding and thinking over the day.
This can sometimes also be done while performing daily tasks like driving, gardening, cooking…

A form of rest by rising above it all – usually in the form of contemplation, meditation, or prayer.
This gives you a bigger and fresher perspective on life.


This article is intended to help educate the public about this trait. Recognizing this trait in yourself, your partner or your child could help improve your relationships exponentially. My hope is that this information will help you as much as it has helped me.

More info on her website:
The Highly Sensitive Person

Madelein Wolfaardt Author

 Article by
Madelein Wolfaardt

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