18 Apr HSP traits & how they can impact everyday life…

Research suggests that approximately 15-20% of the population fit the description of being “Highly Sensitive.” HSPs brains and central nervous systems are wired differently and they have more heightened awareness of themselves, other people, and their environment.

However, many HSP’s don’t even know what this is or how they can make small changes to improve their lives.  And being an HSP doesn’t just affect introverted personalities.  1 in 5 HSP’s are actually extroverts.  And recently psychologists have thrown in a third personality type – the ambivert.  This is someone who sits somewhere in the middle of being an introvert and an extrovert.

I would imagine if you are reading this then you are likely an HSP,  otherwise you wouldn’t feel pulled towards it.

It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve really begun to appreciate what living life as an HSP is.  I’ve always been a bit sensitive, a bit emotional and a bit different.  I’ve never really felt like I’ve fitted in.  I never understood my sensitivity.  People close to me would tell me I was over-emotional or too sensitive. And I thought for many years this was wrong, that I was weak and pathetic.  That there must be something wrong with me because I was so in touch with my emotions and struggled to hide them.

In addition to this I was bullied at work in my 20’s and as a result lost all my confidence because I believed for years what the bullies told me.  That I was weak and pathetic because I wasn’t confrontational or aggressive.  That’s just not me though, that is not my genetic makeup.  But as a result of that bullying, for years I lost my confidence and never felt good enough.  I lost my voice, I used to beat myself up for occasionally showing my emotions at work (which is pretty taboo in an office), I never spoke up in meetings and never volunteered to push myself out of my comfort zone, which of course meant I never progressed but equally I never felt passionate or fulfilled in my corporate job.

The turning point came, after my son (now 3) came along and I desperately didn’t want to go back to work to do what I’d been doing unhappily for almost 14 years.  SO this sent me on a quest to find something I was passionate about and was closely aligned with my values and strengths.  And that is what led me to coaching and NLP.

Even now, sensitivity forms a large part of my personality, but that now helps with what I do.  I’ve turned it into a strength.  I’m quite intuitive and for the most part know what my clients want and need, I know when to give them space to think and when to step in and be more directive with them.  My husband still thinks I’m too sensitive and emotional, but it is just who I am, and I’m happy and comfortable with that now.

So, back to you…

What traits make you an HSP?  

When you’re an HSP you become easily overwhelmed when you have a lot to do.  If you anything like me, I like to be organised, but when my to do list gets on the long side, things can start to feel a bit overwhelming.  Although being organised is a great trait, you need to learn how to strike a balance or you are in danger of becoming anxious as your stress levels increase which is completely counterproductive, because as your stress levels increase your productivity decreases.

Noise suppresses you – One of the things I noticed when I worked in an open office, was I was acutely aware of all the different conversations going on around me.  And it sounded all jumbled.  Until I found a way of zoning out from it, I really struggled with it and it sometimes made me anxious.  What I later realised was that my senses had gone into overdrive and I’d become overstimulated in that moment.

Do you pick up on other peoples moods at 7 paces?  I just need to see someone and I can generally tell how they’re feeling and what type of day they’re having.

Have you ever cried or felt emotional when listening to a piece of music, or looking at a stunning piece of art?  HSP’s find that expressions of creativity, where other people have poured their heart and soul into something, really stirs up their emotions.

I also find I tend to shy away from the media or violent movies.  They do nothing for my stress levels.  But re the media, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing; like attracts ike in this world, so the more we give attention to the media and all the negative things going on in this world, the more likely we are to attract more of the same.

Anyone ‘hangry’?  – OMG does anyone else get incredibly grumpy and angry when they’re hungry???  I’m a nightmare…  I lose focus, get incredibly weak and shaky and have zero tolerance for anything!  Feed me regularly to get the best out of me!!

After being around people do you often need solitude to recharge and regroup?  If I’m at a party or a night out, I often have to go and lock myself in the toilet just to have a bit of quiet time.  I recognise that now in Molly (my daughter), she needs her own space as much as I do.  In fact it’s probably a good thing that Chris (my husband) is an extrovert otherwise I’d probably never go out!!

Another trait of being an HSP is how you react to loud noises.  Sudden loud noises such as fireworks or a bang of any description sends my amygdala into overdrive.  Cortisol rushes around my body and I shake.  Not fun!  I know how cats and dogs feel on fireworks night!

What I’d love to know is if any of this sounds like you?  What are you struggles?  What keeps you awake at night?  What thoughts keep repeating over and over in your mind?

I’d love to hear from you.

With love,

Nicola xx

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