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Who is a Highly Sensitive Person?
Scientists believe that 15-20% of humans are born with a brain and central nervous system that are more finely tuned to subtleties in their environment. Each day, all day long, we receive stimuli from our surroundings and sensitive people are like an antennae with a wide open frequency - we see, hear and sense so much more.
Sensitivity is a strength! Many HSPs are unusually talented, intelligent and creative individuals. Some may have been labeled as 'shy' or 'introverted', but these labels are not the same as sensitivity - as about 30% of HSP's are extroverts. HSP's can just as easily be men as women, however our culture often rewards this trait in women and frowns upon it in males. So men may find it particularly difficult to find others who understand and appreciate who they are - we are grateful that our community has a strong and sensitive male presence!
Highly Sensitive People (HSP's) share four common traits, although of course, we are each absolutely unique individuals:
• Depth of Processing - sensitive people often process situations and information at a much deeper level, analyzing from a variety of viewpoints and possibilities. HSP's utilize a 'Pause to Check' system, which allows us to stop and consider all angles before proceeding. We generally avoid 'small talk', instead preferring to dive into deeper conversations about topics that really matter to us personally or for the betterment of humankind.
• Overstimulation - sensitive people may be easily overwhelmed when in an over-stimulating environment for too long, and many become bombarded by sights, sounds and emotions until they are exhausted. Some sensitive people are triggered by crowds, deadlines, pressure, being the center of attention, bumper to bumper traffic, or other stimuli. What overstimulates each of us is personal and will likely be different than someone else so knowing what triggers you can help you to arrange your life to support your personal needs. HSP's require more alone time than others to re-boot and re-energize after stimulating activities.
• Emotional Intensity - sensitive people feel and connect on a very deep level, especially when those around them are very emotional or are struggling with challenges in their lives. We can walk into a room and immediately sense the energy between people without even knowing what interaction just took place. Art, theater, music, and movies allow HSP's to deeply identify with the characters or the artist's message. Some HSP's have chosen to limit their exposure to media that sensationalizes the negative aspects of our society because it is too much to process emotionally.
• Sensory Sensitivity - sensitive people exhibit greater depth of senses like sight, touch, smell, taste and sound. One or more of the five senses may be a 'super sense'. For some of us, certain smells are intolerable, for others a scratchy tag in the back of a shirt must go. Again, which senses are more deeply activated is completely unique to each person. In addition, HSP's seem to have a very finely tuned sense of intuition, being naturally able to tap into a deep sense of knowing about people and situations.
So, how do you find out if you are Highly Sensitive?
Dr. Elaine Aron is a leading researcher into this genetic trait, you may visit her website at www.hsperson.com to take a quick, online self test. She provides many resources and a wonderful blog with a variety of topics about sensitivity.
What is the purpose of this Meetup group?
After discovering my own sensitivity several years ago, I felt compelled to provide opportunities for HSP's to honor their sensitivity. Our community is working towards several goals:
• Increasing awareness of the trait of sensitivity in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area (we estimate that approximately 800,000 adults in DFW may be a sensitive person, but many don't know about it)
• Hosting monthly Gatherings so HSP's can continue to learn more about the trait of sensitivity and begin to honor their unique strengths and abilities
• Planning fun social opportunities so our members can get together with like-minded people in comfortable and welcoming settings
• Developing an HSP Leadership program, for those who are seeking an opportunity to bring the strength of sensitivity and their own unique strengths out into their corner of the world
We hope to meet you soon,