What is a highly sensitive person?
The official explanation provided by Elaine Aron, the lead researcher on the highly sensitive person is that a highly sensitive person is someone with a more fine-tuned nervous system.
What this means is that everyone doesn’t experience sensory stimuli the same way. A HSP will experience art, music, literature, language, and other forms of stimuli more intense than non-HSPs. They don’t have better hearing or better eyes, but they are more sensitive to sounds, smells, and touch. A common consequence of this is that your nervous system becomes overstimulated more easily. If your mind was a glass of water, the highly sensitive persons glass fills up more quickly. If it overflows, they become overwhelmed.
Because of this, HSPs need more time in quiet. They need more time to relax. They need more time to process, and they become more overwhelmed at parties. And they may need to withdraw from the group frequently to take breaks. Everyone needs a break, but HSPs need them more often. Balance between non-HSPs and HSPs is therefore important. As a non-HSP, respect the highly sensitive person when they set boundaries. If you don’t, the HSP will become rattled, and they will become angry, annoyed, and easily frustrated. As a HSP, make a habit to be okay going quiet at times. Let yourself zone out from others. Take breaks from the party. Feel okay leaving earlier.
Is the highly sensitive person an introvert?
We have found no clear correlation between type and HSP. We know that HSPs identify more as introverted, but this doesn’t mean that they are actually introverted. You can be an extroverted HSP. How?
- Extroverted HSP: Looks for things in the outside world that can explain their inner experiences. Experiences things in the outside world more strongly than non-HSPs. Find it more difficult to tune out from the world.
- Introverted HSP: Thinks of answers on the inside that can explain what’s happening on the outside. Experiences things in the outside world more strongly than non-HSPs do. Can tune out from their environment more easily.
The introvert is an explainer, who always needs an answer or explanation to understand the world from. It can be described as approaching the world from the inside, outwards. The introvert needs an explanation for everything before it can even begin to study something.
The extrovert is like a constant student, who always seeks meaning in things that happen around them, no matter how irrational. Being an extrovert can be explained as going from the outside and seeing if it relates to what is on the inside. Does this fit with what I believe? Does this make sense with what I think?
The reason that introverts seek explanations and to rationalize information before they take it in is because their brain produces more of a certain form of warning receptors. These warning receptors make them tune out stimuli and information that they can’t make sense of more easily.