A Highly Sensitive Person or HSP is a term coined by Psychologist Elain Aaron to describe a group of people who make up 15 – 20 % of the population.
Some traits include heightened sensitivity towards the emotions of others, deep processing ability, and a greater sensitivity and responsiveness to external stimuli making them vastly attuned to subtleties within their environment.
Impact on mind and body
The differences are biological with a highly attuned nervous system, when exposed to an excessively stimulating environment, the felt emotional response is often longer and more intense and consequently the HSP will go into fight, flight, or freeze mode to protect the body from sensory overload and overwhelm. Because of this high level of attunement and emotional sensing, there is a much higher propensity to experience anxiety and stress.
It’s a trait that has benefits such as a deep level of empathy for others, conscientiousness, good listening skills and discernment. However, it can also bring challenges. In this post, we will look at some ways in which the body can be brought back into balance using various tools.
The internalization of excessive energy from these over stimulating experiences can affect the energetic flow and balance of the chakras, especially the solar plexus chakra our power centre. In addition to the root, associated with security, vitality, and survival. This can throw the lower chakras out of harmony compromising the whole system. When these energy centres are harmonized, it can bring about determination, willpower, and grounding. When deficient, it can lead to chronic fatigue, passivity, lack of focus and low confidence and fear. Physically this ‘stuck’ energy can show up as tension, anxiety, rigidity, aches or digestive problems.
If you identify as a HSP, establishing a regular self-care practice which incorporates different ways to ground yourself and to harmonize your chakras can be extremely beneficial in moving these excess energies through your body and assist in the release of this pent-up charge of energy. Here are some suggestions:
1) Connect with nature. Nature provides HSP with a natural healing source. When in Nature the trees release a chemical called Phytoncide and when we breath this in, it has been shown to lower the nervous system activity, reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and improves our immune system.
2) Engage in regular forms of exercise. This could be going for a walk or jog, swim or yoga for example.
3) Engage in activities that leave you feeling energised and restored for example art, listening to your favourite music, meditation.
4) Complete a guided meditation on the main seven chakras to evenly distribute the flow of energy through the chakras.
5) Staying hydrated helps lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body.
6) Crystals such as Selenite, smoky quartz and black tourmaline can support you in reducing anxiety and protecting the aura from denser energies.
Lastly, I would encourage you to find ways to fully embrace this aspect of your character and seek to find ways to celebrate your sensitivity trait. Whether it’s your strong intuition, extra sensing abilities, a wealth of compassion, embrace them fully. Managing these intense external inputs at times requires a significant amount of strength which goes against the sensitive stereotype, suggesting HSP’s are weak. Historically, those with HSP traits where the shamans and spiritual advisors within communities and respected. The more you can understand about this trait, the more you’ll be able to hold yourself in higher regard.