Category: High sensitivity

For more on this personality trait, see the Highly Sensitive and Creative site.  

Elaine Aron on emotional challenges

Elaine Aron on emotional challenges

In addition to helping fuel creativity and a richer experience of living, being highly sensitive can make us more vulnerable to emotional overwhelm, anxiety, self-criticism and other issues. Healthy self concept and self esteem can be especially challenging. As John Lennon once put it, “Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other […]

Highly Sensitive Men More Creative?

Highly Sensitive Men More Creative?

Some lists of famous people thought to be HSPs (highly sensitive person), include these men: Woody Allen, Andy Kaufman, Anthony Hopkins, Edgar Allen Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.B. Yeats, E.E. Cummings, D.H. Lawrence, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Deepak Chopra, Joseph Campbell, Beethovan, Mozart, John Lennon, Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, […]

Every society needs highly sensitive people

Every society needs highly sensitive people

There can be many challenges for people who are highly sensitive, including reactions from others (“Why are you so touchy?”), feeling “wrong” and with lower self-esteem in a culture that is so extroverted and high-speed, and being more vulnerable to stress (see my post Sensitive to anxiety). But there are also many strengths and values, […]

Robert Pattinson, Salvador Dalí, introversion, shyness and sensitive people

Robert Pattinson, Salvador Dalí, introversion, shyness and sensitive people

Shyness may look like introversion or high sensitivity, and they may overlap with each other, but are distinct experiences. Psychologist Elaine Aron, PhD notes shyness “is learned, not innate” and the trait of high sensitivity “is often mislabeled as introversion.” She writes in an edition of her newsletter that “HSPs [highly sensitive people] are so similar to […]

Unsociable, bored at parties, inner-directed, creative personality type

Unsociable, bored at parties, inner-directed, creative personality type

Being unsociable, bored at parties or uneasy with people aren’t qualities that always or necessarily go with being creative, of course – but often they do. Many talented artists and others have a creative personality type that is highly sensitive, introverted or shy – or all at once. Not that people are simply “types” – […]

Sensory processing sensitivity: reading vinyl record grooves and smelling books

Sensory processing sensitivity: reading vinyl record grooves and smelling books

The term ’savant’ may be most often used for people such as Daniel Tammet, who is autistic and can recite more than 22,000 digits of pi from memory. The savant label seems to be mostly used for cognitive abilities like prodigious memory, such as Tammet’s. But what about other exceptional sensory processing abilities? In the […]

Video: Our High Sensitivity Personality

Video: Our High Sensitivity Personality

This trait of high sensitivity nurtures our creativity and social activism, but also brings challenges. Psychologist Elaine Aron and others describe it as a more finely tuned nervous system. She explains, “It means you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings, a great advantage in many situations. It also means you are more easily overwhelmed…” […]

Anxiety relief: Energy Psychiatrist Judith Orloff on Emotional Freedom

Anxiety relief: Energy Psychiatrist Judith Orloff on Emotional Freedom

Psychiatrist Judith Orloff says one of the reasons creative people may be vulnerable to anxiety is “They are extremely sensitive.. they are very finely tuned and open to all kinds of energies from the outside, so it’s important they protect themselves and not be overwhelmed.” She notes, “People need immediate relief for anxiety; they don’t […]

Jenna Forrest on transcending sensitivity

Jenna Forrest on transcending sensitivity

Author and success consultant Jenna Forrest writes in her memoir Help Is On Its Way about growing up with the trait of high sensitivity. In our podcast interview, she talks about empowering and transcending sensitivity. From the interview: “Millions of highly sensitive people right at this moment are carrying a heavier burden than the rest […]

Bryce Dallas Howard on learning more fearlessness

Bryce Dallas Howard on learning more fearlessness

Bryce Dallas Howard portrays the “unapologetic” Fisher Willow in The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. “I learned some interesting things about myself. Fisher is unapologetic about anything she does or says, and I am not; in fact I am apologizing all the time. “I liked that she was almost hedonistic in her approach to life, […]

27 Tips For Navigating College As a Highly Sensitive Person

27 Tips For Navigating College As a Highly Sensitive Person

In her article, 27 Tips For Navigating College As a Highly Sensitive Person, Andrea Runyan discusses how sensitive students can manage the stresses of housing, emotional life, parties, eating, studying, professors and friends. “College is a crucial time in life and doing well, both in classes and in general life, can have large ramifications for […]

Steve Wozniak on being shy

Steve Wozniak on being shy

Many accomplished people have been shy during periods of their life. Two examples: Craig McCaw – “Telecommunications billionaire and wireless pioneer, Craig McCaw recognized that shortcomings (shyness and dyslexia) could also be assets. “Maybe my whole attitude toward life comes from being forced, as a relatively shy person, to confront people and ask them to […]

Developing creativity and being better at noticing subtle details

Developing creativity and being better at noticing subtle details

This image is “Tom’s Diner” – a watercolor by Ralph Goings. Along with other forms of creative expression, photorealist painting demands meticulous attention to detail. A recent CNN article on “sensory processing sensitivity” reports that people with this trait “tended to have more brain activity in the high-order visual processing regions.” The article – Ultra-sensitive? […]

Feeling Crazy as a Highly Sensitive Person?

Feeling Crazy as a Highly Sensitive Person?

The BioElectric Shield company has products to counteract electromagnetic radiation. An article on their site says: A large number of people who come to us are suffering as highly sensitive people. … This sensitivity can dramatically impact your ability to cope with the ever increasing chaos and energy in the world today. I get on […]

Director Ang Lee, Introvert

Director Ang Lee, Introvert

“He is so sensitive and the way he directs you is so silent.” Actor Adil Hussain, of “Life of Pi” describing how Ang Lee works. The director recently won his second Academy Award for “Life of Pi”. In an article on leadership, author Susan Cain gives a number of examples of “effective Asian-American leaders” including Ang […]

Creative Artist Issues: Podcast Interview with Dr. Cheryl Arutt

Creative Artist Issues: Podcast Interview with Dr. Cheryl Arutt

Dr. Cheryl Arutt is a clinical psychologist, specializing in creative artist issues and other topics. She is also a forensic and media consultant. Topics in our audio interview include high sensitivity, regulating disruptive feelings, destructiveness vs creativity, pain and creativity, being unconventional vs rebellion against the self, the fight-or-flight response, and other issues which can […]

Time to cut down on shopping in the physical world?

Time to cut down on shopping in the physical world?

If you are among the twenty percent or so of us who are highly sensitive, you may find holiday shopping scenes less and less appealing, and more stressful. Thanks to Google alerts for “highly sensitive people” I found this stimulating post on the topic, from The Highly Sensitive Christian blog. Here is an excerpt: Six […]

Conformity and Creativity

Conformity and Creativity

“The worship of convention will never lead to astonishment.” Tama J. Kieves Author and personal development coach Tama Kieves faced a number of challenges after graduating with honors from Harvard Law School, but felt compelled to leave her career as “an overworked attorney” to follow her “soul’s haunting desire to become a writer.” In her […]

Audrey Hepburn: Introverted and Highly Sensitive

Audrey Hepburn: Introverted and Highly Sensitive

“I’m an introvert… I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky.” More quotes attributed to Audrey Hepburn: “I don’t want to be alone, I want to be left alone.” “I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite […]

Solitude is not pathology for the high sensitivity personality

Solitude is not pathology for the high sensitivity personality

Writer Susan Cain notes: “Now that you’re an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. “Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. “Or you’re told that you’re ‘in your […]

Embracing Our Exceptionalities, Eccentricities and Sensitivities

Embracing Our Exceptionalities, Eccentricities and Sensitivities

“I think being different, being against the grain of society, is the greatest thing in the world.” That’s actor Elijah Wood (“Lord of the Rings”), quoted in my post Exceptional and out of bounds – eccentrics and society. Being unusual and eccentric in public ways seems to be easier for some people, and may not […]

Being different and "too sensitive"

Being different and "too sensitive"

Winona Ryder starred in the film based on Susanna Kaysen’s novel “Girl, Interrupted” and thinks Kaysen “captures a mood we’ve all experienced. “It’s like a reflective time we’ve all had in our lives.. You go through spells where you feel that maybe you’re too sensitive for this world. I certainly felt that.” Read more in […]

Intuition: powers and perils

Intuition: powers and perils

Gut reaction, hunch, instinct, nose, presentiment, second sight – the ability to gain understanding outside the usual senses and rational thought can be an invaluable guide to enhance our personal development and help realize ourselves more fully, but there are also potential limitations and distortions. Part of the motivation for writing about this topic was […]

Elaine Aron on holiday stress relief for sensitive people

Elaine Aron on holiday stress relief for sensitive people

Elaine Aron, PhD wrote in an issue of her newsletter about holiday season challenge – for highly sensitive people (HSPs), but her perspectives can be helpful for anyone: “Here come the holidays and the New Year. Give yourself a gift by remembering to do this time of year your way: If you are already doing […]

Sensitive and stressed: sensitivity and the power to endure

Sensitive and stressed: sensitivity and the power to endure

Does being sensitive include the strength to endure and survive hardships? Could it be that what makes us more vulnerable might also make us more durable? I believe in aristocracy, though–if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power…but…of the sensitive, the considerate…. Its members are […]

Being more creative: Less affected by cultural biases

Being more creative: Less affected by cultural biases

Elaine Aron summarizes brain imaging research with HSPs (highly sensitive people) presented to a national conference for the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. Here is part of her summary: In this study, 10 Americans of European descent and 10 East-Asians recently in the U.S. underwent “functional magnetic resonance imaging” (fMRI). This means that while […]

Promoting awareness about childhood sensitivity

Promoting awareness about childhood sensitivity

Author Jenna Forrest writes: “Like many sensitive, anxious elementary school kids, I was overwhelmed with my day to day life. “I thought my sensory overload, deep empathy and social shyness meant there was something wrong with me. At the same time, I felt a strong sense of these traits being very important to my future.” […]

Is it a disorder, or just shyness?

Is it a disorder, or just shyness?

“As a child, I was very shy. Painfully, excruciatingly shy. I hid a lot in my room. I was so terrified to read out loud in school that I had to have my mother ask my reading teacher not to call on me in class.” – Kim Basinger Many of us were shy as children, […]

Sensitive and authentic: Can Authenticity Be Selective?

Sensitive and authentic: Can Authenticity Be Selective?

By Cat Robson One of my constant internal dialogs  revolves around whether or not I’m being authentic. Am I compromising myself? Trying too hard to avoid conflict by keeping silent? Is my desire to have other people feel understood an authentic part of me or counterproductive? And just because a trait is authentic, should I […]

Are You Highly Sensitive?

Are You Highly Sensitive?

In an article of hers, Elaine Aron, Ph.D. describes some of the basic qualities of the personality trait of high sensitivity. Here is the article: You may belong to the 20% of us who innately prefer to think before acting. Are you famous for being slow to make decisions? Do you need more down time than […]

High Ability, High Sensitivity, High Anxiety

High Ability, High Sensitivity, High Anxiety

“All forms of self-expression that tap into curiosities, talents or deeply held interests, when pursued to excellence, are deeply nourishing.” That quote by Kenneth W. Christian, PhD is from his book Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement. There are many deeply rewarding aspects of being gifted and talented, creative, with exceptional […]