What Is High Sensitivity, Actually?

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People with high sensitivity are perceiving their surroundings more intensely than other people.  According to research the brain usually filters out a large part of the stimulation that we encounter in everyday life.  This is also the case for highly sensitive people, except that much less stimulation is filtered out and a lot more is perceived.

On one hand this can lead to over-stimulation.  On the other hand the high sensitivity allows a heightened potential of creativity, innovativeness and integrativity.  So, it is a question of balance.

According to older research about 10% of all people are highly sensitive.  Newer studies even say it is 15 – 20% of all people.  This phenomenon can even be observed in animals.

On her website The Highly Sensitive Person Dr. Elaine Aron says about this:

It [High Sensitivity] is found in 15 to 20% of the population – too many to be a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of those around you.”

-Dr. Elaine Aron


In fact, biologists have found it [high sensitivity] in over 100 species (and probably there are many more) from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’.”

-Dr. Elaine Aron

Swiss counselor Marianne Schauwecker writes on her website Das Potenzial der Hochsensiblen the following about this:

About 15 to 20 percent of the people are considered to be highly sensitive. Their ability of perception is – probably due to a special predisposition – differentiated above average. On the other hand their brain often is not able to adequately deal with the occurring over-stimulation. Figuratively speaking the highly sensitive person lacks filters and a solid “skin” that protects them from too many influences.  Such “thinly skinned” people can feature a rich inner potential, for example traits like differentiated-ness, empathy, intuition, reflection-ability, sensitivity, creativity…
However, sometimes it is not possible for them to entirely integrate this potential into their lives because they, for example, often are busy with protecting themselves from stimulation or adapting to the ‘normally sensitive’ majority.”

-Marianne Schauwecker

Highly sensitive beings are more sensitive by nature.  This often is mistaken for weakness.  Yet, in fact they are making an important contribution to society and are keeping a certain balance.

On the Austrian website Zart besaitet they say about this:

The world needs people with a fine perception. However, many of those do not feel good within their own skin or cannot deal very well with their role in the world.  Others are glad to be so sensitive and are finding that this helps them to meaningfully get involved with the world.  The contribution of the highly sensitive people is very valuable and important.  Highly sensitive people are tendencially integrative, creative and innovative, have an above average interest in ethical questions and are also, because of their complex perception, valuable members on teams.”

-Zart besaitet

The research is still just beginning, here.  The HSP Research Society (IFHS) is indicating the following as a flash-info:

Due to special traits of their nervous system highly sensitive people are perceiving more and perceiving it more intensely than other people.
This has some advantages, however it also leads to earlier exhaustion and to seemingly lower endurance.”


On her website of Aurum Cordis – Kompetenzzentrum für Hochsensibilität Jutta Böttcher describes beautifully how the perception of highly sensitive people works:

Highly sensitive people are perceiving through the contact with one single node the effects of it on the movement of the entire net. Somebody who is thinking and feeling in such a connected way can not be left cold when injustice is happening. Abuse of nature can hit them like physical pain which, for example, can show in a flow of tears of a little child facing a flower carelessly crushed by another child.”

-Jutta Böttcher

Have you ever encountered highly sensitive people?  Are you perhaps one, yourself?

If you are interested you can take a test on Dr. Elaine Aaron’s website:

HSP Test

Are you ready to shine a bright light of awareness on the path of beingness, today?

Much love,

P.S.: Do you already know my pin board on the subject?

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