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Pod Wisdom: What Parents Should Know About Highly Sensitive People (HSPs)

What is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) or Highly Sensitive Child (HSC)?

Jenny on episode 2: "I work with a lot of people who would identify as highly sensitive, which is actually a legitimate research classification, that some people are more sensitive and that they are receiving more sensory information in lots of different ways all the time. . . .

Only about 20% of the population has this sensitivity, and I don't think it's better or worse, it's just different. It's a different way of receiving and processing, we just tend to process a little more intensely, a little more deeply.

a trajectory for a lot of us is just a lot of anxiety, a lot of over-identifying, when we feel something, we assume it's ours."

An HSP or HSC is attuned to subtleties in tone, body language, and environment—this sounds a lot like a superpower, but it also means that this person can get overwhelmed by intense, complex, or chaotic situations.  

Elaine Aron, PhD describes HSPs/HSCs with the acronym DOES:      

  • Depth of Processing: They’re deep thinkers that notice more and can make more connections—it can help them be more creative and thorough in their projects.
  • Overstimulation: They’re more easily stressed by chaos, deadlines, noise, or working in groups, but some HSPs are sensation seekers who will yoyo between looking for excitement and recovering from it.
  • Emotional Reactivity/Empathy: Their emotions (positive and negative) present strongly, and they are very empathetic.
  • Sensitivity to Subtle Stimuli: They are sensitive to subtleties in their environment and can perceive more in what they see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.

It’s normal!

According to Dr. Aron, about 20% of the global population is made up of Highly Sensitive People, and there are over a hundred other species, including cats, dogs, and primates, that display these traits as well! If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of it, Dr. Aron coined the term in 1996 and it's only entered the research literature in the last 15 years.

Are you an HSP? Take Dr. Aron's self test here.

Is your child an HSC? Take Dr. Aron's parent-report test here.

What does this mean for parents who are HSPs?

In family, work, school, or community contexts that don’t value sensitivity, it’s easy for HSPs/HSCs to feel abnormal or a lack of belonging. If you sense that you, your partner, or your child is an HSP, consider the following steps:

  • Reflect on your family’s attitude towards emotions and emotional expression. Is it acceptable to feel big emotions? Are big emotions safe to express?  Is everyone allowed to have time to withdraw and recharge?
  • Allow yourself or your child space and time when new things come up (a new school year, a move, a vacation, a new sport). HSPs/HSCs want to and can do all the new things that come up in life; they just need more time and space to process and express big emotions that come up around new changes.
  • Use gentle, positive approaches for feedback and guidance. HSPs/HSCs are usually very aware of when they mess up. A firm but nurturing approach often gets the best results.

Pod Wisdom: What Parents Should Know About Highly Sensitive People (HSPs)

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Pod Wisdom: What Parents Should Know About Highly Sensitive People (HSPs)

Understanding if you, your partner, or your child is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) or Highly Sensitive Child (HSC) can help deepen your connections and help your whole family thrive.

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What is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) or Highly Sensitive Child (HSC)?

Jenny on episode 2: "I work with a lot of people who would identify as highly sensitive, which is actually a legitimate research classification, that some people are more sensitive and that they are receiving more sensory information in lots of different ways all the time. . . .

Only about 20% of the population has this sensitivity, and I don't think it's better or worse, it's just different. It's a different way of receiving and processing, we just tend to process a little more intensely, a little more deeply.

a trajectory for a lot of us is just a lot of anxiety, a lot of over-identifying, when we feel something, we assume it's ours."

An HSP or HSC is attuned to subtleties in tone, body language, and environment—this sounds a lot like a superpower, but it also means that this person can get overwhelmed by intense, complex, or chaotic situations.  

Elaine Aron, PhD describes HSPs/HSCs with the acronym DOES:      

  • Depth of Processing: They’re deep thinkers that notice more and can make more connections—it can help them be more creative and thorough in their projects.
  • Overstimulation: They’re more easily stressed by chaos, deadlines, noise, or working in groups, but some HSPs are sensation seekers who will yoyo between looking for excitement and recovering from it.
  • Emotional Reactivity/Empathy: Their emotions (positive and negative) present strongly, and they are very empathetic.
  • Sensitivity to Subtle Stimuli: They are sensitive to subtleties in their environment and can perceive more in what they see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.

It’s normal!

According to Dr. Aron, about 20% of the global population is made up of Highly Sensitive People, and there are over a hundred other species, including cats, dogs, and primates, that display these traits as well! If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of it, Dr. Aron coined the term in 1996 and it's only entered the research literature in the last 15 years.

Are you an HSP? Take Dr. Aron's self test here.

Is your child an HSC? Take Dr. Aron's parent-report test here.

What does this mean for parents who are HSPs?

In family, work, school, or community contexts that don’t value sensitivity, it’s easy for HSPs/HSCs to feel abnormal or a lack of belonging. If you sense that you, your partner, or your child is an HSP, consider the following steps:

  • Reflect on your family’s attitude towards emotions and emotional expression. Is it acceptable to feel big emotions? Are big emotions safe to express?  Is everyone allowed to have time to withdraw and recharge?
  • Allow yourself or your child space and time when new things come up (a new school year, a move, a vacation, a new sport). HSPs/HSCs want to and can do all the new things that come up in life; they just need more time and space to process and express big emotions that come up around new changes.
  • Use gentle, positive approaches for feedback and guidance. HSPs/HSCs are usually very aware of when they mess up. A firm but nurturing approach often gets the best results.

What is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) or Highly Sensitive Child (HSC)?

Jenny on episode 2: "I work with a lot of people who would identify as highly sensitive, which is actually a legitimate research classification, that some people are more sensitive and that they are receiving more sensory information in lots of different ways all the time. . . .

Only about 20% of the population has this sensitivity, and I don't think it's better or worse, it's just different. It's a different way of receiving and processing, we just tend to process a little more intensely, a little more deeply.

a trajectory for a lot of us is just a lot of anxiety, a lot of over-identifying, when we feel something, we assume it's ours."

An HSP or HSC is attuned to subtleties in tone, body language, and environment—this sounds a lot like a superpower, but it also means that this person can get overwhelmed by intense, complex, or chaotic situations.  

Elaine Aron, PhD describes HSPs/HSCs with the acronym DOES:      

  • Depth of Processing: They’re deep thinkers that notice more and can make more connections—it can help them be more creative and thorough in their projects.
  • Overstimulation: They’re more easily stressed by chaos, deadlines, noise, or working in groups, but some HSPs are sensation seekers who will yoyo between looking for excitement and recovering from it.
  • Emotional Reactivity/Empathy: Their emotions (positive and negative) present strongly, and they are very empathetic.
  • Sensitivity to Subtle Stimuli: They are sensitive to subtleties in their environment and can perceive more in what they see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.

It’s normal!

According to Dr. Aron, about 20% of the global population is made up of Highly Sensitive People, and there are over a hundred other species, including cats, dogs, and primates, that display these traits as well! If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of it, Dr. Aron coined the term in 1996 and it's only entered the research literature in the last 15 years.

Are you an HSP? Take Dr. Aron's self test here.

Is your child an HSC? Take Dr. Aron's parent-report test here.

What does this mean for parents who are HSPs?

In family, work, school, or community contexts that don’t value sensitivity, it’s easy for HSPs/HSCs to feel abnormal or a lack of belonging. If you sense that you, your partner, or your child is an HSP, consider the following steps:

  • Reflect on your family’s attitude towards emotions and emotional expression. Is it acceptable to feel big emotions? Are big emotions safe to express?  Is everyone allowed to have time to withdraw and recharge?
  • Allow yourself or your child space and time when new things come up (a new school year, a move, a vacation, a new sport). HSPs/HSCs want to and can do all the new things that come up in life; they just need more time and space to process and express big emotions that come up around new changes.
  • Use gentle, positive approaches for feedback and guidance. HSPs/HSCs are usually very aware of when they mess up. A firm but nurturing approach often gets the best results.

What is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) or Highly Sensitive Child (HSC)?

Jenny on episode 2: "I work with a lot of people who would identify as highly sensitive, which is actually a legitimate research classification, that some people are more sensitive and that they are receiving more sensory information in lots of different ways all the time. . . .

Only about 20% of the population has this sensitivity, and I don't think it's better or worse, it's just different. It's a different way of receiving and processing, we just tend to process a little more intensely, a little more deeply.

a trajectory for a lot of us is just a lot of anxiety, a lot of over-identifying, when we feel something, we assume it's ours."

An HSP or HSC is attuned to subtleties in tone, body language, and environment—this sounds a lot like a superpower, but it also means that this person can get overwhelmed by intense, complex, or chaotic situations.  

Elaine Aron, PhD describes HSPs/HSCs with the acronym DOES:      

  • Depth of Processing: They’re deep thinkers that notice more and can make more connections—it can help them be more creative and thorough in their projects.
  • Overstimulation: They’re more easily stressed by chaos, deadlines, noise, or working in groups, but some HSPs are sensation seekers who will yoyo between looking for excitement and recovering from it.
  • Emotional Reactivity/Empathy: Their emotions (positive and negative) present strongly, and they are very empathetic.
  • Sensitivity to Subtle Stimuli: They are sensitive to subtleties in their environment and can perceive more in what they see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.

It’s normal!

According to Dr. Aron, about 20% of the global population is made up of Highly Sensitive People, and there are over a hundred other species, including cats, dogs, and primates, that display these traits as well! If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of it, Dr. Aron coined the term in 1996 and it's only entered the research literature in the last 15 years.

Are you an HSP? Take Dr. Aron's self test here.

Is your child an HSC? Take Dr. Aron's parent-report test here.

What does this mean for parents who are HSPs?

In family, work, school, or community contexts that don’t value sensitivity, it’s easy for HSPs/HSCs to feel abnormal or a lack of belonging. If you sense that you, your partner, or your child is an HSP, consider the following steps:

  • Reflect on your family’s attitude towards emotions and emotional expression. Is it acceptable to feel big emotions? Are big emotions safe to express?  Is everyone allowed to have time to withdraw and recharge?
  • Allow yourself or your child space and time when new things come up (a new school year, a move, a vacation, a new sport). HSPs/HSCs want to and can do all the new things that come up in life; they just need more time and space to process and express big emotions that come up around new changes.
  • Use gentle, positive approaches for feedback and guidance. HSPs/HSCs are usually very aware of when they mess up. A firm but nurturing approach often gets the best results.

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