The Highly Sensitive Person (An essential read for the anxious type)

A lot of the anxiety I felt when I was younger couldn’t explain. I seemed to be different, flawed and that led to shame and more anxiety. But after reading this book, my attitude started to change. My past made more sense and explained why I was the way I am.

What the book describes are people who are naturally more sensitive.

Being Sensitive is not all in your head; instead, there’s biology involved called Sensory Processing Sensitivity SPS. This trait means some people have more sensitive nervous systems. Such individuals think more and feel more. Such a system processes the world faster and more deeply. 

The world is felt more easily and deeply, making it harder to keep the world out and find peace and calm inside.

The downside is people like this can become easily overwhelmed with ideas, emotions, and sensations like noise, meaning there is a greater risk of anxiety. Also, knowing you’re sensitive can be the excuse not to try new things or difficult activities, staying at home all the time because it feels safer.

Like me, those who have this trait find more value in art and solitude, it helps us relax and frees our creative side.

Society doesn’t like sensitive people, seeing them as weak, self-absorbed and fragile. This book helps sensitive people realise they have value with something to offer. Aron points out that many sensitive people play important roles in society. From counsellor to artist, mediators, whose attention to detail and deep empathy can provide values in non-sensitive types.

Learning of this made me feel less ashamed because my sensitive nature wasn’t a bug, but a feature, with both its positive and negative sides. In some ways, it’s a trait that lets me be the empathic, detail orientated, truth-seeking questioner and artist I’ve found myself pursuing.

One point worth noting is sensitivity is not the same as introversion. You can be extrovert and sensitive too. Even animals can be sensitive types.

The book covers biology and how such sensitivity can affect your lifestyle, social relations, work, intimacy, and child development. More ideas can be found in the post ‘Are you a Dendelion or an Orchid?

Armed with the books knowledge, it allows the sensitive types to find a lifestyle that works for them. Being in the world, but with enough downtime to rest, create.

Knowing all this has let me be who and what I am, without shame or reproach.

It’s given me the strength to speak out and share my ideas and emotions with others. Leading me to make more connections and become happier with my life.

Dr Arons’ work has led others to investigate further and look at HSP in intimate relationships, work, and even sensitivity in animals.

The book provides justification and reassurance that there is nothing wrong with sensitivity. Going further, it shows such people are a valuable part of society.

You don’t realise you need this book it until you’ve read it. If you are suffering from anxiety, it’s a necessary read because you might be Highly Sensitive.

The book is part of my top 10 for socially anxious people.