We live in a world where highly sensitive people (also known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity) are the minority. Doctors suggest approximately 15 - 20 percent of the population. Since we make up a much smaller part of the whole, it's our job learning how to not only get by, but thrive in an insensitive world. Taking care of our delicate selves is our responsibility. Knowing this changes everything.
Walking around in the world not knowing we are highly sensitive can easily bring confusion, exhaustion, and overpowering emotions into our lives. At the extreme, sensory overwhelm may even feel like shock. The body perceives it as an emergency situation and will respond in a few specific ways.
1.) It will flood the body with cortisol, a hormone which helps aid us in a crisis, but will erode health in the long run.
2.) It will shut down different areas of the body in order to maximize energy for survival (fight or flight response).
3.) The body will take what nutrients/energy is available and immediately expend them in an effort to flood the musculature for quickness and strength.
These defensive mechanisms are ancient survival instincts, which when used properly help us survive in life threatening situations. They quite literally will save our life; except, when we feel these physical symptoms in the absence of real danger. When we live through perceived danger due to sensory overwhelm, the body becomes taxed in unhealthy ways.
Everyone's different so understanding how sensitivity works is a great starting place. Step one, Am I a Highly Sensitive Person? View the list below and this will help identify sensitivity. Step two, observe different environments and learn how creating a sense of safety, tranquility, and peace will bring balance.
Some Examples of Sensitivity
Protect Your Sensitive Self.
We are all sensitive in different ways. It’s our job determining the levels of intensity we experience and find ways to mitigate the stress coinciding with this intensity, keeping our health a top priority. Often, we must escape a highly stimulating world and take the necessary time required for gaining our bearings. We do this through finding refuge in quiet spaces, nature, 'tuning out' or off, and engaging in peaceful comforting methods for soothing our maxed out senses.
Other people might not understand this necessity for feeling safe and grounded and it may be interpreted it as being aloof, off-putting, or reclusive. It may also create difficulty in our intimate relationships. We feel isolated and outside of society because we need to restore and repair our energy in order to deal with our intense feelings from the constant sensory stimulation of the world.
Once we recognize sensitivity and start unraveling what it is and how it operates in our life - we can relax a little. Knowing is better than not knowing because we can take steps to minimize the impact on our health. Let’s be protective of ourselves and our one life we’ve been given. For right now, today, in this moment let’s just say there are no 'do overs'. The life we’ve been given today is what we are blessed with. Life is a great gift, and not to be underestimated or undervalued. It is precious, sacred, and we are only given so much. By protecting and valuing our space, time, and energy we honor our own being and the precious purpose of it.
Learn more here The Highly Sensitive Person
About the author: Courtney Marchesani is the creator of Intuitive Soul Language™. She designs integrative health plans for the Highly Sensitive Person. She is the author of The Energetic Psychopath: How to Protect Yourself and Recover from Violence and her works have been featured in The Huffington Post GPS for the Soul, Elephant Journal, and OM Times Magazine.