A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) as described by Elaine Aron in her book “The Highly Sensitive Person” is someone who is more sensitive to subtleties of the environment, has a more sensitive nervous system and more active insula (the part of the brain thought to be the centre of overall awareness).
She estimates that 15-20% of the population is highly sensitive, and as such these people have slightly different needs to the other 80%.
The most important part of self-care for HSP’s is to stop pushing yourself in the belief that you ‘should’ be less sensitive, or that you ‘should’ be different to how you are. Your nervous system is more sensitive to many other people, so you will need different boundaries.
It is okay to:
- Need more sleep
- To feel things more deeply
- To have a strong inner knowing that nobody else can understand
- To limit your time at social functions
- To not watch scary movies
- To avoid caffeine and stimulating foods
- To say ‘no’ when you feel overwhelmed
Reference: Aron, E. N. (2016). The Highly Sensitive Person. NY, New York; Random House.