Here is an overview and some
of what we've learned during the last 16 years of intense study about the trait
of high sensitivity. Also included, are some tips, tools, and strategies we've
discovered on how to successfully navigate through life when you or someone
important to you has the trait of high sensitivity. And, thank you to Amy
Hallowes for her important contribution and continuing support in this work.
We want HSPs not just to cope with their trait, but to thrive and excel with it!
We've learned highly sensitive persons or "HSPs" make up 15% to 20% of the population. (People with the trait of high sensitivity are also sometimes referred to as ultra sensitive people, or super sensitive people.) HSP's nervous systems are different and are more sensitive to subtleties in their environment, which can be a good or bad thing. And because they process and reflect upon incoming information so deeply, they are more likely to become over stimulated and overwhelmed than Non-HSP.
The popular DVD "Highly Sensitive People — An introduction to the trait of high sensitivity" is a 65-minute presentation by Jim Hallowes, videotaped on the recent "Art of Relationships" cruise to Alaska, and includes an overview of the trait, some of the common characteristics of HSPs, some famous people who exhibit some of those characteristics, also tips and strategies and HSP self-test. Jim's special guest is psychotherapist, best-selling author, and HSP, Dr. Pat Allen. You can click here to view a 6-minute excerpt, and you can purchase the DVD from our On-Line Gift Store.
Highly sensitive individuals have often said they feel they are "different" and just don't fit in; we've even heard some HSPs say they sometimes feel like they're from a different planet.
Being highly sensitive is an inherited trait, and as we've mentioned before, is described brilliantly in Dr. Elaine Aron's book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. This, and her other books, we highly recommend.
We've also learned a great deal from Psychologist Carl G. Jung's "Psychological Types," Dr. John M. Oldham's "Sensitive Personality Style," and Dr. Kazimierz Dabrowski's "Theory of Positive Disintegration."
|Jim was the in-studio guest on KRLA TalkRadio's long-running "The Bradley Quick Experience" helping to get the word out about this inherited trait of high sensitivity. Click here to listen to the interview, or you can purchase an Audio CD of the show at our On-Line Gift Store.|
It is in
highly sensitive person's nature to "pause-to-check" and not to rush into new or
different situations, but rather to proceed much more cautiously than their
Non-HSP counterparts. The trait of highly sensitivity causes them to process and
reflect upon incoming information very deeply. It is not that they are "fearful"
or "afraid," but that it's in their nature to process incoming information so
deeply. Highly sensitive persons may even sometimes need until the next day to
have had enough time to process the information fully, reflect upon it, and
formulate their response.
The trait of high sensitivity can be viewed as having both positive as well as negative characteristics, and it is a valid and normal trait and is not a "character flaw" or "disorder."
On the positive side, and there is a big positive side, we have learned highly sensitive people have wonderful imaginations, are often very intelligent, creative, curious, and are known for being very hard workers, great organizers and problem solvers. They are known for being extremely conscientious and meticulous. HSP are blessed with being exceptionally intuitive, caring, compassionate and spiritual. They are also blessed with an incredible aesthetic awareness and appreciation for nature, music and the arts.
What some HSPs are saying about Jim.
Here, from a man who attended a recent HSP lecture: "I listened to you describe me to a 'T.' Shock is the most descriptive word I can use to express my initial reaction to what you had to say. I have never felt as though I belonged, always an outcast.... I wept with relief on the way home from your lecture and again when I pulled up your web site and weep now as I write you. My God, I understand what's been amiss all of my life, thank you! I no longer feel misunderstood and all alone, you have given me permission to be me, I can now finally breathe.... There are not sufficient words to express my personal gratitude for the work you've chosen to do." Click here to view a video clip of an HSP who was on a recent cruise and what she has to say.
Jim Hallowes was joined by Dr. Pat Allen as in-studio guests on the radio talk show "Shrink Rap" with Host Therapist Phyllis Chase on public radio station KCSN 88.5 FM, which has been honored with the "Best of LA" award by Los Angeles Magazine. Jim and Pat discussed the trait of high sensitivity and answer questions regarding Highly Sensitive People. The entire half-hour show can be listened to or downloaded in MP3 format.
Pearl S. Buck, (1892-1973), recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938, once said about highly sensitive people:
"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create —— so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating."
—Pearl S. Buck
There is also a strong correlation between the trait of high sensitivity and being "Gifted." It is probably accurate to say that although not all gifted people are highly sensitive, all highly sensitive people are gifted. And, Dr. Dabroski's "OE" theory is that people born with overexcitabilities have a higher level of "development potential" than others and that their overexcitabilities feed, enrich, empower and amplify their talents.
Another interview about
people with the trait of high sensitivity with Jim Hallowes was conducted by
Douglas Eby of Talent Development Resources. Mr. Eby is famous for his many
articles and enlightening interviews with the likes of Patch Adams, M.D., Jodie
Foster, William Hurt, Judith Orloff, M.D., Reese Witherspoon, James Woods, Mimi
Rogers, David Duchovny, and many others. You can listen to the 20-minute
interview that's up on Mr. Eby's Talent Development Resources website: Douglas Eby interview with Jim Hallowes on the trait of high
Some of the diverse group of individuals that belong on the list of those who exhibit the characteristics of the trait of high sensitivity would include: Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, Walt Disney, Ansel Adams, Nicole Kidman, Steven Spielberg, Jane Goodall, Warren Buffett, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jordan, Elton John, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, John Denver, Jim Morrison, Jewel, Alanis Morisette, and Princess Diana, to name a few. And, a couple of possible HSPs from TV that come to mind include Radar O'Reilly on the classic sitcom M*A*S*H and currently Adrain Monk, the detective with OCD, on the series MONK. Some feature films portraying characters that give some insight into the trait of high sensitivity include: "The Hours," "A Beautiful Mind," "The Green Mile," "Amelie," "Hannibal" and "Adaptation."
Jim's Speakers Bureau friendly website is www.meetJimHallowes.com where you, or your meeting planner, can watch a 7-minute speaking sample, and also get a list of topics and speech titles, and get more information on booking Jim to address your group or organization. Or, have your meeting planner just contact their favorite Speakers Bureau.
We hope you'll recognize that the trait of high sensitivity is a gift and blessing, albeit a gift that can come with a hefty price tag. But, a gift we hope you'll come to realize is worth every penny of the price.
As I often explain in my talks, for an HSP it can feel as if they have no skin on to protect them from a less-than-sensitive world. Heidi Klum has gone me one better, in her highly evocative Halloween costume as a Highly Sensitive Person.
If you'd like to see more, here's a link to a video of some of Heidi's imaginative costumes.
As we have come to
know, the highly sensitive person's systems are very porous, that is
external stimuli seems to be more directly absorbed into their bodies.
(It has been said that it is as if HSP hardly have any "skin" at all to
protect them from these outside stimuli.) Non-HSP are generally less
porous and have natural defenses which defuse external stimuli thereby
not directly impacting and overloading their nervous systems.
Another way to think about this is to visualize the curve on a chart: At the point where the Non-HSP would have little or no stimulation, the HSP would be somewhat stimulated. Where Non-HSP would be somewhat stimulated, the HSP would be pretty well-stimulated. And, where the Non-HSP is well-stimulated, the HSP may be reaching, or might have already reached, a state of being over-stimulated, over-aroused and overwhelmed, which may manifest itself in highly sensitive people as getting upset, frazzled or even angry, needing to get away, or possibly "shutting down" and becoming unable to function.
We have also learned that although many highly sensitive people are introverts, reserved, quiet or shy, there is a percentage that are high sensation seekers, or extroverts. And, although they seek adventure they also get overloaded and become over stimulated with the same results as the rest of the HSP.
So, if you've ever felt you were all alone in having these overwhelming feelings and the need to seek solitude and sanctuary, we hope you find comfort in knowing that you are not alone, and that you will benefit from some of the suggestions we present here.
Tip: From our experience and observations, we have found that people with the trait of high sensitivity function much better and benefit greatly from having and sticking to a regular set routine. The daily routine we recommend includes proper diet and nutrition, exercise, meditation, prayer or other calming spiritual practices, keeping a daily journal to work through issues, taking regular breaks, and very important, getting enough rest and sleep.
we are saying on this website resonates with you, or sounds like someone in your life, we'd
love to hear from you! Please take a moment to send us an e-mail with your
feelings and thoughts on being highly sensitive, or your experiences being in a
relationship with someone who is highly sensitive. Jim and best-selling author
Rachel Copelan, Ph.D., are currently working on a book about sensitive people
titled: Are You One of the
Highly Sensitive People? The information presented both here, and in the
new book, is based on what we have learned from research, studies, as well as
information gleaned from the thousands of sensitive people who contacted the
website and also from personal experiences, observations and analysis.
The intention of the book and the website is to offer information, support, and practical ideas to help HSPs and Non-HSPs overcome possible self-defeating behaviors. We also hope to clear up some of the mysteries and misunderstandings about highly sensitive people, and be a resource to HSPs and the people in their lives. In addition, we'd like to help sensitive people learn to celebrate, honor and "make friends" with their trait. We want to offer our information not only to help HSPs, but also to help Non-HSPs better understand, accept, appreciate and respect the unique gifts and qualities of the highly sensitive people in their lives, and to help create an environment with more understanding and love. We are honored that the website has received the Point of Life Gold-Award of Excellence.
If you've found this information helpful, please consider making even a small donation to our HSP Help Fund and help us get the word out to those who would also benefit from this information. You can make a donation by clicking here using PayPal, or if you prefer you can go to our On-line Gift Store and use your Visa or MasterCard. Thank you in advance for your generosity because without your help we may not be able to get this important information out to all those who may need it.
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