The Highly Sensitive Person
Are You A Highly Sensitive Person?Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams? Is time alone each day as essential to you as food and water? Are you "too shy" or "too sensitive" according to others? Do noise and confusion quickly overwhelm you? If your answers are yes, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Most of us feel overstimulated every once in a while, but for the HSP, it's a way of life. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Elaine Aron, a clinical psychologist, workshop leader, and an HSP herself, shows you how to identify this trait in yourself and make the most of it in everyday situations. Drawing on her many years of research and hundreds of interviews, she shows how you can better understand yourself and your trait to create a fuller, richer life. Updated with a new Author's Note, including the latest scientific research, and a fresh discussion of anti-depressants for HSPs, this edition of The Highly Sensitive Person also includes: Self-assessment tests to help you identify your particular sensitivitiesWays to reframe your past experiences in a positive light and gain greater self-esteem in the processInsight into how high sensitivity affects both work and personal relationshipsTips on how to deal with overarousalInformation on medications and when to seek helpTechniques to enrich the soul and spirit"Elaine Aron's perceptive analysis of this fundamental dimension of human nature is must reading. Her balanced presentation suggests new paths for making sensitivity a blessing, not a handicap." —Philip G. Zimbardo, author of Shyness"Enlightening and empowering, this book is a wonderful gift to us all." –Riane Ensler, author of The Chalice and the Blade

The Highly Sensitive Person Details

TitleThe Highly Sensitive Person
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 26th, 2013
PublisherCitadel
ISBN-139780806536705
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Self Help, Health, Mental Health

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The Highly Sensitive Person Review

  • Edible Tapestry
    January 1, 1970
    It's a godsend. So nice to know why I am the way I am after a lifetime of "loved ones" telling me I needed to be less shy, have more confidence (that's real doable when someone constantly criticizes your inborn characteristics), be more outgoing, worry less, am too thin-skinned, take everything personally (duh, I do take it personally when I'm being attacked), and my favorite, "You are just like your father!". I am just like my father, it's an inherited trait and he's one of my favorite people. It's a godsend. So nice to know why I am the way I am after a lifetime of "loved ones" telling me I needed to be less shy, have more confidence (that's real doable when someone constantly criticizes your inborn characteristics), be more outgoing, worry less, am too thin-skinned, take everything personally (duh, I do take it personally when I'm being attacked), and my favorite, "You are just like your father!". I am just like my father, it's an inherited trait and he's one of my favorite people. Also nice to know why I'm irritable when I'm too hot or too cold, my bangs are in my eyes, socks are too tight, how I know right away if I will get along with someone the first time we speak, why I never answer the phone and avoid speaking on the phone, why I mistrust and question religion and authority figures, and strangely enough why Benedryl not only makes me tired but paranoid and moody. Weird. But at least now I know that I am not. So liberating!!
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  • Dilys
    January 1, 1970
    I have mixed opinions about this book. On the one hand, I found it helpful in explaining that highly sensitive people are more susceptible to stimulation (e.g., from loud noise, bright lights, strong odors, large crowds, etc.) than most and therefore need to be aware of how to properly balance everyday needs in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed. It is also beneficial in the way that it reassures HSPs that they are not alone but that approximately 15-20% of the population shares this trait, and I have mixed opinions about this book. On the one hand, I found it helpful in explaining that highly sensitive people are more susceptible to stimulation (e.g., from loud noise, bright lights, strong odors, large crowds, etc.) than most and therefore need to be aware of how to properly balance everyday needs in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed. It is also beneficial in the way that it reassures HSPs that they are not alone but that approximately 15-20% of the population shares this trait, and that having such sensitivities can have its advantages (such as increased insight, empathy and creativity). On the other hand, Aron dwells on the stigmatism attached to being a HSP in today’s society and continues with the repetitive bolstering of this personality type, instead of concentrating on more effective coping mechanisms of how to deal with this trait in the modern Western World. Overall, the book was a bit disappointing but it does have some valid points when it comes to recognizing what it means to be a HSP.
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  • Kirsten
    January 1, 1970
    Ok, I finished it.First the good: Aron is at her best when she is helping the reader assess real world challenges and come up with concrete solutions. What do you do when your job overwhelms you? How do you work it out with your spouse or friends when activities they find exciting just overwhelm and overstimulate you? That's good stuff, and I think if you're aware that your personal tendencies are causing you to be stuck in unpleasant or untenable situations, this is definitely a helpful book. I Ok, I finished it.First the good: Aron is at her best when she is helping the reader assess real world challenges and come up with concrete solutions. What do you do when your job overwhelms you? How do you work it out with your spouse or friends when activities they find exciting just overwhelm and overstimulate you? That's good stuff, and I think if you're aware that your personal tendencies are causing you to be stuck in unpleasant or untenable situations, this is definitely a helpful book. It will also be helpful for those who need reassuring that there are other people out there who have the same tendencies and sensitivities. I personally found the chapters on children to be good reading, because many of the traits she described fit me to a T as a child, and it's nice to think of myself as having been something other than a scaredy-kid.There's a lot here I disliked or felt ambiguous about, however. Aron's writing style makes me grind my teeth (NO ONE should use "alas" that often, particularly not in nonfiction). I'm also still not crazy about the label "Highly Sensitive Person"; I know there are positive connotations to sensitivity, but every time I read Hightly Sensitive Person my mind sort of replaced it with Delicate Flower, which is the opposite of Aron's intent. That might be my own fault, though, based on years of people saying, "Why are you so SENSITIVE?" Additionally, while I appreciated Aron's forays into the possible biological causes of these physical and mental traits, at best the discussion lacks nuance, and at worst she just gets her facts wrong. I felt, reading the brief sections on medication and biology, that she might have been better off leaving out these sections entirely, since her ambiguity comes through really strongly.
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  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not really sure how to rate this book (so I won't in terms of a star rating). It's not really what I expected. It’s more of how to get over the stigma of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) which, personally, I've already done. Where the book sort of let me down is that there are a lot of medical reasons - not just depression (which the author does go into in medical terms) - that can cause someone to be HS. A few that I know (because I have them) are:*Pernicious Anemia – some symptoms are I'm not really sure how to rate this book (so I won't in terms of a star rating). It's not really what I expected. It’s more of how to get over the stigma of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) which, personally, I've already done. Where the book sort of let me down is that there are a lot of medical reasons - not just depression (which the author does go into in medical terms) - that can cause someone to be HS. A few that I know (because I have them) are:*Pernicious Anemia – some symptoms are:-Sensitivity to noise, smell, etc.-Startling easily-Anxiety, or panic attacks.*Low B-12 levels:Low B-12 is not synonymous with Pernicious Anemia, but the symptoms are the same since PA leads to low B-12.*Low Magnesium – some symptoms are:-Startling easily-Being uptight (causes muscles to be very tense where they simply cannot relax)*Hyperthyroidism (I’m actually hypothyroid, not hyperthyroid, but I’ve gone hyper with improper dosing):-Heart palpitations-Anxiety / nervousness-Racing heart*Low-functioning adrenal glands – some symptoms/characteristics are:-General depression and anxiety-Startling easily-Emotions near the surface, crying easily, etc.-Feeling overwhelmed or “frazzled”-Internal shakiness-Usually “intuitive” people-Physically affected by others’ moods…I could go on and on with this last one. Poor adrenal function results in low cortisol levels, and cortisol is the hormone which allows people to adapt to stress. If you don’t have enough cortisol you will definitely be “sensitive” to nearly everything in your environment!Overall, I am not saying this wasn’t a good book; on the contrary. I think it does a lot in terms of general awareness. For anyone just coming to terms with this “affliction” it could be a real eye-opener. I think this book will help people to see that being a HSP is, not necessarily all bad, in fact we have many good traits as a result of it. But being HS can definitely make things more difficult in certain areas of our lives. Understanding this, and understanding your personal needs and limitations, are some of the first keys to wellness.EDIT 05/06/2015: Since this review I was diagnosed with Late-Stage (chronic) Lyme disease (Sept '09). All these other issues were as a direct result of having that infection, plus 2 other tick-borne [co-] infections (babesia and bartonella). I network with a lot of patients and I'd say at least 95% of them complain of some sort of anxiety or panic disorder. For more info on Lyme disease see comments below, or message me. My "Lyme" shelf here also contains many books. One of the very best I've read is Cure Known: Inside the Lyme Epidemic. I can also highly recommend Horwitz' Why Can't I Get Better: Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease. Though I have yet to fully read the latter, Dr. Horowitz is a very trusted doctor in this field and has treated more than 13,000 Lyme patients. The only reason I have not read his book in full is because after nearly 4 years in treatment I have already learned much of it through my doctor who has worked with him.
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  • Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    Thankful that this book exists to support those who have always felt more sensitive to the world around them. Though I enjoy a party every now and then, I do prefer one-on-one conversations and time spent reading books and listening to Ariana Grande. With the popularity of books like Quiet by Susan Cain, society has started to warm up to those who desire time alone and those who get aroused faster by external stimuli. Still, Elaine Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person contributes to our understa Thankful that this book exists to support those who have always felt more sensitive to the world around them. Though I enjoy a party every now and then, I do prefer one-on-one conversations and time spent reading books and listening to Ariana Grande. With the popularity of books like Quiet by Susan Cain, society has started to warm up to those who desire time alone and those who get aroused faster by external stimuli. Still, Elaine Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person contributes to our understanding of sensitive people by shedding light on our relationships, our work lives, and how we can thrive in the world around us.I appreciate how Aron frames sensitivity as a trait that carries both strengths and weaknesses, as any facet of an individual does. She provides helpful tools to highly sensitive people on how to maximize the assets of sensitivity as well as strategies to cope with its challenges. She discusses how friends and family can interact with sensitive people in understanding ways, such as by not overreacting if a sensitive person asks for time alone or declines an invitation to a large gathering. While I felt that her tone came across as a little condescending to sensitive people at times, for the most part Aron did an amazing job of accepting and celebrating a trait so often dismissed by society.I most loved Aron's emphasis on how we should avoid both pathologizing sensitivity and erasing it with medication. Though the book felt outdated in some parts - such as by not including therapies like DBT - Aron makes relevant connections between various fields like psychology and gender studies. Overall, recommended to those who might identify as a highly sensitive person, or to those who want to understand us better. I think we all carry some sensitivity within us, and we can all work to cultivate it to our advantage.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    This, for me, was an amazing book. I will be reading it again eventually, just to remind myself of all the important information that Aron researched and now shares with readers. It has taken me roughly 30 years to learn many things about myself which are clearly explained by Aron's research. I feel more confident about expressing my needs, now that I know I'm not the only one, and now that I have been reminded about the strengths which balance out my weaknesses.I am definitely a "highly sensiti This, for me, was an amazing book. I will be reading it again eventually, just to remind myself of all the important information that Aron researched and now shares with readers. It has taken me roughly 30 years to learn many things about myself which are clearly explained by Aron's research. I feel more confident about expressing my needs, now that I know I'm not the only one, and now that I have been reminded about the strengths which balance out my weaknesses.I am definitely a "highly sensitive person" though I wish she had called it "highly SENSING person" because that is a clearer description to me. Sometimes Aron uses terms and concepts that are probably common in pyschology, but which seem a bit odd or out of place in the regular world. However, it is definitely worth overlooking any strangeness in order to get to the important information which she presents.
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  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    If you have ever felt like life is too overwhelming and all you want to do is crawl into a cave and hide away from it all, this book might be for you.This book contains a little too much psychobabble for my taste (too much talk about parenting your inner infant and other wonderful stuff like that - without all of that I would have given it five stars) but I am glad I read it because I finally understand why I am so weird. Now I know why I can be such an introvert even though I love being around If you have ever felt like life is too overwhelming and all you want to do is crawl into a cave and hide away from it all, this book might be for you.This book contains a little too much psychobabble for my taste (too much talk about parenting your inner infant and other wonderful stuff like that - without all of that I would have given it five stars) but I am glad I read it because I finally understand why I am so weird. Now I know why I can be such an introvert even though I love being around people, why I can't handle people playing with my hair, why I can't remember people's names when I meet them for the first time, why I have such a low tolerance for alcohol, caffeine, and most medications, why I can't stand wearing wool scarves, why I startle so easily.....and many more traits that I thought were just part of my personality - mental quirks that I've developed over the years. Now I know that all of my weirdness is genetic and I'm pretty sure I lovingly passed it onto my oldest child. The theory is basic: some people (approximately 15 percent) are born with nervous systems that are just more sensitive than average. These people notice, take in, and need time to process EVERYTHING: small details in rooms, people's moods, whether someone or something is touching them, how things smell, how foods they eat make them feel, small noises, the feel of the wind on their cheek, the look someone gave them from across the room, the slight tickly feeling in their throat, etc. Their nervous systems are constantly alerting them to new things, which can be overwhelming after a while. These people need down time, peace and quiet to recover from being around people, doing fun or exciting things, going somewhere loud, even interacting with their immediate family if it involves an activity where there is a lot to process. They need this down time even if these are fun activities that they look forward to and enjoy immensely! They also experience more physical symptoms of stress - their bodies react more to everything from what they eat or drink to what they are thinking about to demands placed on them by other people or their jobs. Highly sensitive people are prone to anxiety and depression, partially because they are a minority in a world populated mostly with people who aren't quite so sensitive and don't understand why they have a hard time handling the normal demands of life or always seem stressed or unsocial. It can be easy to feel like you are falling short when you are constantly needing to "take a break" or "get some air" or "have some alone time," etc. or when you would rather be by yourself than hanging out with your loved ones. Highly sensitive types pick up on these differences, these nuances, even more than the average person would and take them to heart. There can be a deep feeling of not doing or being enough, or of being high-maintenance or having "issues."The main advice in the book is to realize that if you happen to be a highly sensitive person, it is part of your genetic makeup and you shouldn't feel like you are less of a person because of it. In fact, most highly sensitive people are smart, thoughtful, and introspective - they have lots of thoughts and they have deep thoughts. So, be proud of your inner sensitivity! Also, realize your limits and plan your life accordingly. If you are going out on Friday night, especially if it is a new or fast-paced, busy experience, fill your Saturday with relaxing activities because you will probably need time to be quiet, rest, and just think and.... be.
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  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    This is the only source I've found that so clearly separates the "Highly Sensitive" trait from simply being an introvert (which I am not). This book helped me understand my own personality in a way I've been looking for since I was little. I feel empowered by this new knowledge, and more able to adapt and adjust to be a happier person, partner and human.The only reason I gave this 4 stars and not 5 is because I think the author may lose readers when going in depth into subjects like psychotherap This is the only source I've found that so clearly separates the "Highly Sensitive" trait from simply being an introvert (which I am not). This book helped me understand my own personality in a way I've been looking for since I was little. I feel empowered by this new knowledge, and more able to adapt and adjust to be a happier person, partner and human.The only reason I gave this 4 stars and not 5 is because I think the author may lose readers when going in depth into subjects like psychotherapy, early childhood being the cause of most adult problems, and spiritual beliefs. Not to say some won't find this information helpful, but that it makes the book a more dense read, and in my opinion, strays from the main subject.The author so clearly described problems I've had throughout my life--at work, with family, with friends, and in my relationships. More so than any book I've read on relationships alone. Not only did she depict these situations so well, but she gave really clear advice on how to change the situation for the better for all parties involved without having to change who you are as a person.
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  • Shélah
    January 1, 1970
    I probably didn't like this mostly because it's self-help and I was just trying to get some concept of how to explain myself to other people... but way too much in the way of 'you thought there was something wrong with you, but there isn't!' Seriously, as an introverted person, don't you think most of us (70%) would be able to deduce what it is that makes us different (especially when many of us are also gifted)? Even with a rather tormented adolescence, I never thought there was anything 'wrong I probably didn't like this mostly because it's self-help and I was just trying to get some concept of how to explain myself to other people... but way too much in the way of 'you thought there was something wrong with you, but there isn't!' Seriously, as an introverted person, don't you think most of us (70%) would be able to deduce what it is that makes us different (especially when many of us are also gifted)? Even with a rather tormented adolescence, I never thought there was anything 'wrong' with my sensitivity. I always liked being the way I was, so I think a separate book for people who are that way and enjoy it is in order.I would have preferred this if it had been geared at informing and not at fixing the way we think about sensitivity. Understanding something leads to changing our concept, and telling a large group of variable people how to change something is just not helpful.I also thought she was basing too much of it on how she is, as a sensitive person. It would have been beneficial if she would have talked about her own experience so that there was some context (in the form of a caveat) about how the information would apply to us. More research and less personal experience would have added credibility.
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    Thoroughly disappointed. As I identify as an introvert, I have become increasingly suspicious that I might be high sensitive (or a HSP) as well. I felt the book went too much into repeating how different people are HSPs are so at different points of their lives (childhood, adulthood, etc.). I get it already. I had hoped there would be more about how to cope and what HSPs can do.Others have already gone over the issues in the book, but one part that particularly bothered me and turned me off for Thoroughly disappointed. As I identify as an introvert, I have become increasingly suspicious that I might be high sensitive (or a HSP) as well. I felt the book went too much into repeating how different people are HSPs are so at different points of their lives (childhood, adulthood, etc.). I get it already. I had hoped there would be more about how to cope and what HSPs can do.Others have already gone over the issues in the book, but one part that particularly bothered me and turned me off for the rest of the book is one of the early quizzes about being out vs. in. As someone else mentions, the formatting of the book is not conducive for clear organization. This particular quiz (in my version) comes in the middle of the section that she recommends people to read. I'm not sure if that is an editorial decision, but I was annoyed that the quiz was not placed before the section, as I flipped through the pages after to find the section she recommended.I also take severe issue with the quiz itself. It specifically refers to being "in" or "out" and whether the quiz taker leans too far in one direction or another. According to this quiz I am just on the cusp of being inside too much. But the wording of the question or her decision of how to score it is problematic. I do not see the issue of spending most of my time inside or alone, nor do I see a problem with stopping with my activity if I feel a little too overwhelmed to continue and need a break. Being out more often won't help me be happier or somehow make me less sensitive.As another reviewer notes, the author discusses a woman who had a history of abuse and assault who finally started her artistic career after ending an abusive marriage. Aron does not note if the woman received therapy or other steps she might have taken and seems to imply that the woman was somehow "blocked" from her artistic abilities. That situation probably had less to do with sensitivity and more about healing from her past.As yet another reviewer notes, Aron does get into New Age and religion. I won't deny that it probably helps many HSPs in their daily lives, but it went a little too far for me and I definitely just wanted the book to end.It's unfortunate because it seems Aron is a leading figure when discussing HSPs and I had been very much looking forward to this book. I had also been considering buying the workbook that goes with this, but it looks like I'll be skipping this and any other works by this author.
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  • Salma
    January 1, 1970
    هالكتاب إلو عندي ذكريات قديمةذكريات دمها تقيل أو يمكن أنا بشوفها دمها تقيل بعد مرور الوقت عليهاقاريتو من شي أكتر من عشر سنين أو 13 سنةوقتها طلعت روحي و عملت المستحيل لحتى قدرت حصلت عليهو وقتها أول منتدى اشتركت فيه عالنت بحياتي كانعن قارئي هذا الكتابكان وقتها الاكتشاف العظيم يعني إنو في ناس هيك بالدنياو تماهيت مع الحالة، و فلقت راس الناس يلي بعرفهم بهالاكتشاف العجيب و صرت كتير شاعرية وقتهاو كتبت شوية شعرهي لما كنت عم حاول اتعايش مع ذاتي اللطيفة المزعجةقبل ما أنتصر أنا و ذاتي الظريفة الشريرة (شوية هالكتاب إلو عندي ذكريات قديمةذكريات دمها تقيل أو يمكن أنا بشوفها دمها تقيل بعد مرور الوقت عليهاقاريتو من شي أكتر من عشر سنين أو 13 سنةوقتها طلعت روحي و عملت المستحيل لحتى قدرت حصلت عليهو وقتها أول منتدى اشتركت فيه عالنت بحياتي كانعن قارئي هذا الكتابكان وقتها الاكتشاف العظيم يعني إنو في ناس هيك بالدنياو تماهيت مع الحالة، و فلقت راس الناس يلي بعرفهم بهالاكتشاف العجيب و صرت كتير شاعرية وقتهاو كتبت شوية شعرهي لما كنت عم حاول اتعايش مع ذاتي اللطيفة المزعجةقبل ما أنتصر أنا و ذاتي الظريفة الشريرة (شوية) على تلك اللطيفةو نتخلص من دمها الثقيل للأبدبس يعني بعد أكثر من عشر سنين على قراءتوما بظن إنو فادني شي بحياتيلا هو و لا الكتاب التانيThe Highly Sensitive Person in Loveيعني لما تكون شخص حساس، بتعيش طول عمرك بتسمع هالعبارة من يلي حولكالكتاب ما قدملي شي جديدغير إنو يعني لست وحدك في هذا الكونبس يعني شو الفايدةمدريبس يعني لست وحدي في هذا الكونيا للسعادة:\و بجوز السبب إني كنت غلطانة بتشخيص الحالة:\مدريعلى كل ما من عادتي الحديث عن كتب قديمة، قرأتها قبل فترة بعيدةلأنو في كل منعطف بالحياة في كتب قراها الواحد متناسبة مع الشخص يلي كانوو يلي ما عاد يعرف كيف قرأها أو عجبتو في فترة ماو إنو هالشخص يلي كانو يوما، ما عاد يعرفو و لا يتذكروو خاصة إن كنت متلي ما بتحب تحمل ذكريات، و كل ما بعدت بتبهت براسك لحتى تختفي و كأنها ما كانتو بتستتقل دم حالك أكتر من ما أنت مستتقل دم أنت الحاليفأحيانا بحس إن بدي احكي عن هيك كتب كأني عم بحكي عن حدا تانيعن مخلوقة تانية ما بعرفهاو بحس بعدم الارتياح لو بدي استخدم ضمير الأنا عنها/ عنيأو حاول استحضر مشاعر ما عاد إلها وجود كتيرو احكي قصصها يلي ما عادت ضمن نطاق اهتماماتيلكن سرد القصص شغلة حلوة و مسلية بكتير أحيانفكيف لو قال الواحد قصة صغيرة عن حالوبحس الواحد حالو بطل و مهم و لو ضمن هالقصة الصغيرةو بما إنو القصص بتقوم عالخيالبتخيل حالي إني لساني حالي و بحكي عنهاو بستخدم ضمير الأنا القديمة المتروكةو القارئ ما حيعرف الفرقكلو بشوفو كلمة (أنا) متجانسةحتى لو أنت الكاتب ما هيك بتحس
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    I actually found this book to be very helpful. The author/psychologist coined the phrase "highly sensitive person"(or "HSP") admittedly in reference to herself and to those whom she has found in her 5 years of research to make up approximately 20% of the human population. Highly sensitive people share many of the same attributes: They are most often introverted (not necessarily “shy”) turning inward for strength and rejuvenation. They are typically highly intelligent, very creative, compassionat I actually found this book to be very helpful. The author/psychologist coined the phrase "highly sensitive person"(or "HSP") admittedly in reference to herself and to those whom she has found in her 5 years of research to make up approximately 20% of the human population. Highly sensitive people share many of the same attributes: They are most often introverted (not necessarily “shy”) turning inward for strength and rejuvenation. They are typically highly intelligent, very creative, compassionate, spiritual, and are deeply affected by the arts. They are sensitive many things both internally and externally that most in the general population overlook, such as slight changes in a room, and the moods of others. They are also very easily over-aroused by various forms of external stimuli (excess noise, chaos, too many people, bright lights, etc) often needing to retreat from the stimuli in order to regain their sanity. (In fact the majority of the book centers on coping with over-arousal, the HSP Achilles' heel). HSP's tend to fall in love hard and form strong attachments to certain individuals, and are significantly affected by traumatic events in their childhoods. Other hallmark traits of HSP's are that they form very close friendships, often have problematic relationships with doctors (who, in order to survive med school, tend to not relate to the highly sensitive), are valued in their vocation for integrity and work ethic, but are not good self-promoters. They often don't do well with transition and change. These extremely sensitive individuals are not "flawed," as our non-HSP counterparts may lead us to believe (personally, although my sensitivity has challenged me, I don't share the author's defensive viewpoint that I am under-valued because of it). According to the author, Western and Indo-European societies tend to under-value many HSP attributes such as introversion, but HSP's are actually important contributors to a balanced civilization, acting as the advisors, judges, and spiritual leaders to the population majority's "warrior king" tendency to fearlessly expand and conquer. The HSP tendency to "pause and check" is the cautious counterpoint that keeps civilizations in tact. I highly recommend this book for anyone who thinks they fall under the category of a highly sensitive person. I picked it up because it was recommended to me and although I was a little skeptical because it was one author's research and perspective, I was floored by how much of what she described fit my personality completely - in fact, not only me, but a few of my family members as well (extreme sensitivity is an inherited genetic trait). Aron writes in a manner that helps the HSP not only to cope with, but to celebrate their unique qualities. Society needs a select group of individuals who are creative, docile, and spiritually in tune to effectively function. In some cultures such as China, the HSP personality is the most highly-valued.Aron repeatedly quotes Carl Jung, an early psychotherapist and (according to her) a fellow HSP, to help with the HSP condition. The chapters of the book focus on HSP’s and realms of everyday life such as in vocation, social relationships, intimate relationships, and vocation. I found the chapters on physical treatment particularly helpful (medications such as SSRI's or anti-anxiety meds may be helpful for HSP's both in the short or long term, but aren't necessarily a good fit for everyone. It should also be pointed out that some of her conclusions about SSRI's may be outdated as more research has been done since this book's publication in '96). My favorite chapter was the final chapter, which focuses on the HSP's tie to the spiritual realm. It was actually very practical, citing examples about how HSP's, religious and non- religious alike, tend to look inward and seek for explanations beyond what can be explained by science.
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  •  Lisa A ⛄
    January 1, 1970
    This book was suggested to me nearly five years ago and at the time I chose to read a more current book on the subject titled The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World by Ted Zeff. Since Amazon recently had the Kindle version of The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You on sale, I decided it was a good time to finally read it.Just for a little background, Elaine N. Aron has done many years of research This book was suggested to me nearly five years ago and at the time I chose to read a more current book on the subject titled The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World by Ted Zeff. Since Amazon recently had the Kindle version of The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You on sale, I decided it was a good time to finally read it.Just for a little background, Elaine N. Aron has done many years of research on the highly sensitive person(ality) and studied at the San Francisco Jung Institute. She is a self proclaimed HSP and her writings, theories and research does reflect some of that Jungian psychological training.In a nutshell, Aron's research shows that the HSPs make up about 20 percent of the population. The predominant trait of observing before acting or being more aware than others of subtleties is actually an innate survival strategy that has been observed by scientists in over 100 species. It is believed that the brain processes information differently and reflects on it more deeply. As a result, many HSPs are also more easily overwhelmed by chaotic, and intense situations that go on for prolonged periods. Also, according to the book, many HSPs have been mislabeled as being shy, inhibited or neurotic but ongoing studies have shown that over 30 percent of those showing the HSP trait are actually extroverts. (I guess one could use the term "extremely cautious and observant" for the predominate HSP trait, whether the individual is an introvert or extrovert?) Along with this trait many HSPs are also highly empathetic, conscientious, loyal, vigilant about quality, good with details, often gifted, and thoughtful. Finally, in cultures where sensitivity is not highly regarded (such as the US) many HSPs often have low self esteem. Since I already had some knowledge of this subject matter before reading the book, I wasn't certain how much I would learn. I did appreciate the fact that Aron included many references to her research and other psychological studies, as I feel it helps to validate HSP as being a distinct and real personality trait. Unfortunately the original book was written in the early 1990s, so I felt some aspects of the information was dated. The version of Aron's book that I read, included a new preface by the author that commented on some of the newer research, so that was helpful. The book spent many chapters discussing childhood experiences, their potential impact on HSPs and how therapy can be helpful. Although, I agree it is useful to have some knowledge of this, I felt that the author spent too much time discussing the subject. Instead, I would have preferred that the author included some chapters with practical tips and coping mechanisms for HSPs to deal with specific situations. (Ted Zeff's book does focus more on specific skills to learn and use, however it does delve into the highly spiritual side of that topic.) So, if Aron's book were ever to be rewritten, I would hope for it to be some combination of theory, references to studies, discussion of specific traits associated with HSPs and specific coping skills.Individuals who would probably benefit from or enjoy reading this book are those that feel they might be an HSP or have a HSP family member. Elaine N. Aron has a self-test on her website that may be useful in helping an individual decide if the HSP trait(s) are applicable to themselves. As Aron does state though, no psychological quizzes are 100% accurate. Although I do not have an a Masters or PhD in psychology, I personally feel that some of the questions are very general or could be attributed to other psychological conditions but perhaps that is true of many psychological tests. Do I feel my fellow HSP friend was astute in recommending this book to me? Oh my goodness, absolutely and I will be forever grateful to her! I wish I had known about this book far earlier in my life, as it has provided an explanation for so many of my personal attributes. Although I sometimes still wish I had a far less sensitive nature combined with an outgoing personality, at least I realize that I am perfectly fine just being myself.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking was much better. If I hadn't read Quiet before reading this book, I may have given it 2 or 3 stars instead. There were a few helpful discussions of sensitivity and the differences between sensitive and non-sensitive people, but overall.. just.. ugh.The author sounds very stuck in her way of thinking, and the style of writing was very grating. Everything was about childhood trauma (except for the excerpt that said it wasn't all abo Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking was much better. If I hadn't read Quiet before reading this book, I may have given it 2 or 3 stars instead. There were a few helpful discussions of sensitivity and the differences between sensitive and non-sensitive people, but overall.. just.. ugh.The author sounds very stuck in her way of thinking, and the style of writing was very grating. Everything was about childhood trauma (except for the excerpt that said it wasn't all about childhood trauma, really...just the rest of this chapter and the next and maybe some more throughout the book). There was a whole lot of shock factor -- she would start talking about a client, then all of a sudden drop "sexual abuse" all over the description and talk about childhood trauma. In one case, she talked about a former classmate who was teased, but who was getting better and moving on, and then -- bam! -- btw, he committed suicide.I have no tolerance for this kind of writing. Especially since this is in a book about highly sensitive people, you'd think she would know better than to pull that.Don't recommend. If you want to know about introversion and sensitivity, Quiet is a much better (and more helpful) book.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    Ever wonder why some people perceive almost everything while others seem oblivious? Ever wonder why some folks seem overwhelmed at times while others see to manage through those markets and crowds without a care? Ever wonder why some are told they are just too sensitive, which makes them distance themselves from others?If you do, this book will help answer those questions about the 10-20% of our population that has the unique gift or curse of being Highly Sensitive People.
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  • Alexandra
    January 1, 1970
    1/1/16 $2.99 on Kindle.DNF - Chapter 5 of 15.I give up. So far not what I was looking for. I know I'm not "flawed" and my self-esteem is fine. What I was hoping to find here are ways to improve interactions with others, including hopefully ways to help them understand and accept I am not like them, but not "broken" or needing to "try harder" to be more like them.This book so far has been all over the place. It's talking about "highly sensitive" to outside stimuli, but then talks about sensitivit 1/1/16 $2.99 on Kindle.DNF - Chapter 5 of 15.I give up. So far not what I was looking for. I know I'm not "flawed" and my self-esteem is fine. What I was hoping to find here are ways to improve interactions with others, including hopefully ways to help them understand and accept I am not like them, but not "broken" or needing to "try harder" to be more like them.This book so far has been all over the place. It's talking about "highly sensitive" to outside stimuli, but then talks about sensitivity in regards to being caring and nurturing, as if those things are the same or always go together - which is untrue.It also paints non-HSPs in a bad light, as those prone to aggressive, even violent, behavior, uncaring about environmental issues, the evil corporate CEO, etc. Makes it sound like the author thinks all social liberals are HSPs, who are loving, nurturing, caring and peaceful people and all social conservatives are non-HSPs and evil warmongers out to destroy the environment.Sorry, but I don't think highly sensitive introverts are all in one political box, nor do I think all those who are not sensitive to outside stimuli, or enjoy it, are all evil, uncaring, unfeeling people.This book so far is a mess. It's mixing up meanings of "sensitive" as if they're all interchangeable, and throwing in political stereotypes and even some religious new-agey stuff.At chapter 5 the only thing remotely helpful it's said is to advise to mute commercials when watching TV as commercials are intended to be highly stimulating. Everything else so far either doesn't apply to me (even though I scored high on the test included), is insulting and generalities to non-HSP people, contradictory or obviously false.I'm giving up. I recommend The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World instead. It's much better and much more helpful in my opinion.
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  • Joel
    January 1, 1970
    Aron has caught on to the fact that some of us are more susceptible to stimulation than others. Rather than use standard medical terminologies such as obsessive compulsion, depression, or bipolar disorder, she calls people afflicted/blessed with this frame of mind "Highly Sensitive Persons" or HSPs.Aron probes the personality of that 10 to 20% of persons who are especially sensitive to stimula. She offers a checklist of characteristics that might indicate that you are highly sensitive including Aron has caught on to the fact that some of us are more susceptible to stimulation than others. Rather than use standard medical terminologies such as obsessive compulsion, depression, or bipolar disorder, she calls people afflicted/blessed with this frame of mind "Highly Sensitive Persons" or HSPs.Aron probes the personality of that 10 to 20% of persons who are especially sensitive to stimula. She offers a checklist of characteristics that might indicate that you are highly sensitive including awareness of subtleties in your environment, being easily startled, having a rich inner life, being moved by the arts and music, and being sensitive to things like bright lights, loud noises, and caffeine.Why is it, she asks, that HSPs are revered in China but at the bottom of their classes in Canada? It's a matter of culture, she insists. And her job is to help HSPs see their promise as persons in a civilization that holds the warrior to be of greater value than the scientist.You're a complicated being, she insists, and you should not reduce yourself to genes and systems. Here I think she has a valid point. Too often we who suffer from depression and bipolar disorder identify ourselves as our disease. If we see our destiny as hard-wired, there's not a lot we can do for ourselves. We become little more than lab rats, testing one medication after another because the results aren't perfect. We may decide that the aim of our therapy is to numb ourselves to all pain -- a goal that we may be surprised to find is not shared by our psychiatrist or therapist. On the other hand, Aron is a tad too suspicious of medications, especially SSRIs such as Prozac. She believes that there may be a doctor's culture which seems any kind of sensitivity as being a bad thing.I would remind her that most of us turned to doctors because the world leaned on us too hard, that being totally open and free not only got us in trouble but hurt - bad.Still, there are things about this book that make it a worthwhile read for those of us suffering from mood disorders. The world does often stimulate us beyond our sensitivities and we need to take steps to lessen that effect. Aron points out that medications need to be seen as a safety net to keep us from going too high or too low. In no way should we see them as the way to introduce dramatic changes in our personality. Drugs or no drugs, we have an obligation to understand ourselves and to take steps to fulfill our promise as persons.- Joel
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    This book helped me realize what I had already suspected.....I was in fact a highly sensitive person. And more importantly....it was ok.....for I had good reason for being that way.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever thought you were weird because you couldn't stand to watch movies or read books with a lot of violence in them while other people seemed to love that stuff? Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed from being around a lot of noise, strong scents, or bright lights, especially florescent lights? Have you ever been called "too sensitive" or "too shy?" Are you deeply moved by art and music? Are you particularly sensitive to changes in temperature, body language, and your surroundings? Have you ever thought you were weird because you couldn't stand to watch movies or read books with a lot of violence in them while other people seemed to love that stuff? Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed from being around a lot of noise, strong scents, or bright lights, especially florescent lights? Have you ever been called "too sensitive" or "too shy?" Are you deeply moved by art and music? Are you particularly sensitive to changes in temperature, body language, and your surroundings? Do other people's moods affect you? If so, you might be highly sensitive.No, this is not one of those self-help books written by a quack who is going to try to convince you to eliminate all forms of stress, including family, a job, and bills from your life in order to nourish your soul. But it is a book that will change your life if you think you might be highly sensitive. I know, it sounds silly, but I'm telling you, as soon as I sat down to read this book, I felt like someone finally understood all of the little quirks about me that other people have always thought were weird but have always just been part of who I am. I even talked to a few of my friends who I think might be highly sensitive, and they felt the same way.I decided to read this after Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy (modernmrsdarcy.com) recommended it for those of us who would consider ourselves more sensitive than the average person. I remember the blog post distinctly because it was the first time I had ever heard anyone else mention the topic of people who tend to "screen" books with violent content because they prefer to avoid any type of entertainment with it. As someone who has always avoided books, movies and TV shows with violence as well as scary movies in general, this caught my attention. I always thought that my tendency to avoid scary movies was due to my overactive imagination that caused me to have frequent and vivid nightmares after watching these types of movies, which is in part true, but this is also a sign that you might be highly sensitive. Aron, a licensed psychiatrist, takes readers on a journey through the mind of a highly sensitive person. If you yourself are highly sensitive, you'll learn more about how your mind and body work. You'll learn how to view yourself as someone who is unique and ultimately needed in the universe. I particularly liked Aron's notes on the idea of a warrior-king type of personality and the idea of a more sensitive advisor type of personality and the benefits to society of both. I appreciated that while Aron encourages neither type of personality to view theirs as superior, each does have its own advantages. For example, as a sensitive person, you might be considered shy, sometimes aloof, or even arrogant, since you tend to keep to yourself and find it hard to make friends. You tend to avoid social engagements with a large number of people and lots of noise and sounds, so people sometimes might think of you as a party pooper. But on the flip side, sensitive people are also the most compassionate, the most intuitive, and the most creative of all personality types. If you find yourself reading this book and realizing you are more than likely a highly sensitive person, you'll begin to look at past events in your life with a new understanding, perhaps even realizing why you reacted to certain things and people the way you did.For some people, this might be a laughable subject. The idea that someone can be "highly sensitive.” Even the word sensitive has a negative connotation in our society today. But if you find you just might belong to this category of rare but unique people, (chances are if you find yourself on a site like GoodReads that encourages one to read as much as you can, you just might be) then I highly suggest giving this a look. I've found a lot of valuable info on working with others, building relationships with others, and having a more stressless environment that allows my highly sensitive self to thrive in this book, and I highly recommend it to others who might be searching for the same peace of mind.
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  • Holly Lindquist
    January 1, 1970
    I remember feeling quite jazzed about this book when I first read it. After all, I was so shy that I didn't really begin to connect with my peers until late middle school. I felt overwhelmed every time I had to leave my house and whenever I was around people I was a tightly wound ball of anxiety and irritation. I always felt I was way more sensitive to nearly everything than most people, and here was a book that seemed to validate my experience and offer solutions.Except the solutions didn't rea I remember feeling quite jazzed about this book when I first read it. After all, I was so shy that I didn't really begin to connect with my peers until late middle school. I felt overwhelmed every time I had to leave my house and whenever I was around people I was a tightly wound ball of anxiety and irritation. I always felt I was way more sensitive to nearly everything than most people, and here was a book that seemed to validate my experience and offer solutions.Except the solutions didn't really work. I even went to a Highly-Sensitive People support group for a time. I remember almost everybody in that room spoke very softly and had nervous rumbly stomachs. There was very little eye contact. We were like a bunch of vibrating tuning forks. It was interesting, but oddly unhelpful. I stopped going after awhile. I figured my sensitivity was something I just had to motor on with.However, my problem was something more complex than just being "highly-sensitive". I have Asperger's Syndrome, which is on the autistic spectrum. A great deal of the sensitivities described in The Highly Sensitive Person could be applied directly to a mildly autistic person.Do loud noises make you cringe into a quivering ball? Of course.Do you sometimes feel antagonized by clothing tags? Hellz yes.Do you go into a tailspin when forced to socialize for too long? Well, duh.And so on and so on..I just found about my Asperger's at age 32 and I really can't help thinking I could have used such a discovery a bit earlier in my life.. perhaps 12 years ago when I read The Highly-Sensitive Person. I strongly suspect that other "Aspies" have gone over this book, chalked up their many quirks to just being sensitive, and then been left in the lurch when the one-dimensional approach to a far more complicated issue fails to improve their situation. Looking back, I suspect that several people in that support group I attended had undiagnosed Asperger's and I hope they were able to find assistance that was tailored more specifically to their needs.So, to sum up, this book may be helpful to people who are a bit more sensitive or naturally shy, but its ambiguity may lead some in entirely the wrong direction. Finally, if you think you may be something more than just sensitive, if you're often confounded by social situations that don't faze others, or if you find yourself wondering if you're even living in the same sensory world as most people, than there is a fabulous online test for Asperger's called The Aspie Quiz. Google it.
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  • Tripleguess
    January 1, 1970
    With a box full of books to read and only so much spare time, I've implemented a new rule of thumb; generally, if the book doesn't hook me by the first few chapters, I stop reading it and try the next one. I am a fast reader, so I don't feel I am asking too much of a book to keep me interested for twenty minutes.This title kept me engaged for about one third of the book. After that I started skimming, and when I had to force myself to keep going I said "Hey, what's up with that, I might as well With a box full of books to read and only so much spare time, I've implemented a new rule of thumb; generally, if the book doesn't hook me by the first few chapters, I stop reading it and try the next one. I am a fast reader, so I don't feel I am asking too much of a book to keep me interested for twenty minutes.This title kept me engaged for about one third of the book. After that I started skimming, and when I had to force myself to keep going I said "Hey, what's up with that, I might as well be reading something fun."I appreciate that this book confirmed what I've already known for years: I am different. Sometimes very different. There is a 23-question "sensitivity test" on pages xxi-xxii; I answered 22 of them positively (in other words, "Yes, this bothers me").However, after the first three or four chapters, I felt that the book was repeating itself, saying the same things but merely changing the settings. "HSPs are sensitive as children. HSPs are sensitive as adolescents. HSPs are especially affected by puberty. HSPs are especially affected by trauma. HSPs are especially affected by relationships." Okay, I get it; we're affected more than most. I have enough imagination that I don't need things spelled out for every aspect of life.Being a conservative Christian, I don't find the definite New Age slant of the book especially edifying, especially since it is not overtly acknowledged.It has some interesting ideas, but as a fairly well-adapted sensitive person I don't find that I need the extensive advice and "make sure you feel good about yourself" handpatting.My summary: not bad, but not riveting either.
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  • Lucinda
    January 1, 1970
    Seeking a sense of self! [...] Alas, when being watched, timed or evaluated an intuitive-sensitive goes into themselves and the inability to function is lost...BALANCE is Key! This illuminating read is full of profound insights, into the mind and experiences of the intuitive-sensitive being. If anyone so desires to feel and experience what it is like to be this --then look no further; for it's all here in front of you. As a personal side note, having rated 99% HIGH on everything, clearly I knew Seeking a sense of self! [...] Alas, when being watched, timed or evaluated an intuitive-sensitive goes into themselves and the inability to function is lost...BALANCE is Key! This illuminating read is full of profound insights, into the mind and experiences of the intuitive-sensitive being. If anyone so desires to feel and experience what it is like to be this --then look no further; for it's all here in front of you. As a personal side note, having rated 99% HIGH on everything, clearly I knew then that I was potentially a rarity --and feel everything extremely strongly! With a deeply complex, bitty family history and a lifetime of living only a certain way -adjusting to juggling and harmonizing would be the greatest challenge of all! I've explored the darkest recesses of the soul and , to all life's intensities with vigour and acute passion. Hence, I find my own personal venture to be one of so many highs & lows, (tipping the scales to mind-blowing reaches), that it gets absolutely too much. Such understanding, empathy and connectivity is VITAL to an uber-sensitive soul, otherwise I can only predict a future existence of agonizing torture and exhaustion. When settled in the right space & moment all is beautiful, yet when pushed to the peak --it's an utter nightmare! On a positive note, this book has provided me with such insight & wonder, that I wouldn't have altered it for the world. The most noticeable truths I've come across, is how one's imagination & inherent knowledge comes to life. It's remarkable, so deep and blissful that one can't even begin to express in simple terms how it is --hence I'm speechless & totally lost! another kind of HSP could potentially have an even stronger pause-to-check system, but an activation system that is equally as strong --this kind would both be very cautious, bold yet anxious, easily bored yet easily over aroused' The game of our human existence... seeking balancing on a tightrope & seeking some sensational revelation... Looking at the light of divine reasoning, can cause temporary blindness! Jung is so right; as he quotes how discovering the question of your human life is a never-ending voyage, that's miraculous and so deeply-rooted you'll never be reluctant to turn from. If one marks highly on the emotional level, the challenges that proceed will be unquestionably of greater value. Therefore, I'd advise caution beforehand for a rather shocking rollercoaster! With garish wounds & missing pieces, all I can state is that a time (uncertain) of adjustment is required, and so I'd urge the loss of limitations to be important for however long it may be, whilst embracing that nature to come to terms with this distinctive sort. Trusting this trait takes some nerve, yet is a crucial aspect in awakening the one understanding --that'll lead to an experience of insurmountable approbation. Don't be doubtful or scared, this is meant to be; beautiful!
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  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, I have to clarify for the record that The World is not, thankfully, (at least at this point in my life), "overwhelming" me. But I have often been told that I'm being "too sensitive" about a comment someone made about meAnd I got intrigued by this book when I saw it referenced in Oprah magazine. (Well...full disclosure, I didn't just "see" it. I took the quiz "Are You A Highly Sensitive Person?" while I was getting a pedicure. And I got a score that landed me in the Yes zone. So I w First of all, I have to clarify for the record that The World is not, thankfully, (at least at this point in my life), "overwhelming" me. But I have often been told that I'm being "too sensitive" about a comment someone made about meAnd I got intrigued by this book when I saw it referenced in Oprah magazine. (Well...full disclosure, I didn't just "see" it. I took the quiz "Are You A Highly Sensitive Person?" while I was getting a pedicure. And I got a score that landed me in the Yes zone. So I was intrigued and checked out the book.)Perhaps surprisingly, there's little to no discussion of that emotional sensitivity or touchiness over comments from others. Instead, Elaine Aaron's use of "sensitive" is actually "over arousal" in the nervous system: over-stimulation. Still, much of what she discusses applies to certain aspects of my personality: intuitive, sensitive to others' moods, pulled by inner conflicting voices (difficulty w/ decisions), conscientiousness, cautious, pleasing, worried about making mistakes. If these same traits resonate with you, I think you'd definitely find this book an excellent source of food for thought.One thing I couldn't help wondering, however, (and maybe it's because I'm one of the more internal consider-ers she talks about, rather than a "warrior king" type) was whether the concept of sensitivity was being used too widely as a kind of blanket cop-out. In other words, I know I tire easily after being around people too much, and need restorative alone time, (despite the fact that I might seem like a social butterfly on the outside), and I know that I have a low tolerance for doing B.S. jobs that aren't "on the front lines" (Aaron says HSPs often crave meaningful careers).And I would LOVE to be able to claim that I have a legitimate, neuro-scientific cause for these traits--I could justify needing a nap every day and needing to not hate my job! But I worried that perhaps there was maybe a little bit too much "feel good about yourself for being a special HSP!" message. Seriously, who does have a high tolerance for doing a job that isn't meaningful?At the same time, each chapter raised at least one point I either hadn't considered before, or had considered at length but in some other context. So I think it's worth a read if you take the quiz and any of the personality traits apply to you.Well, now I've been too "aroused" by dealing with all you people and need to go take a nap. (har!)
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  • Sara Shakouri
    January 1, 1970
    This book has a soothing tone of an adult talking to a firghtened child. I could understand that. I had been there too: there was that moment when I realized that Poe's "The Tale-Tell Heart" seemed too familiar; that I was about to pass the line and change into those neurotic characters. So when the book started with stories of people terrified about losing their sanity, and the author threw in the nonsense about "royal-adviser class" I thought I can understand why she is doing this, although I This book has a soothing tone of an adult talking to a firghtened child. I could understand that. I had been there too: there was that moment when I realized that Poe's "The Tale-Tell Heart" seemed too familiar; that I was about to pass the line and change into those neurotic characters. So when the book started with stories of people terrified about losing their sanity, and the author threw in the nonsense about "royal-adviser class" I thought I can understand why she is doing this, although I could not stop myself from chuckling.But that is not the way to write a book, if you want it to have a passable scientific base. Early on, Dr. Aron claims that HSPs are different people, because their nervous systems proceeds input data differently. Nowhere in the book you can find any more explanations: exactly in which part of the brain the difference occurs, does a single "thing" controls all the different sensory receptors, and how, why for some people anxiety intensifies the sensitivity, etc. This lack of scientific approach can be observed in many minor cases (HSP maybe sensitive to coffee, but then they may be not. About 40-50% of people label themselves as HSPs, but then you go to a world which is filled with coarse, insensitive pigs, specially at work and when you go to a doctor for help)Seems to me that Dr. Aron was having only a fraction of HSPs (IF such label can exist, which should be left to the hands of experts to decide) in mind: I looked forward to use some tips to cope with unpleasant situations (say a co-worker turning pages of his notebook too loudly, making me as irritated as hell), but there seems to be very little fitting with me. I she says about is being overwhelmed by a situation, following a general solution of love yourself, embrace yourself, protect yourself from the world.I can still have difficulty accepting the analogy between an infant and an HSP, and most of the book is based on this idea. However, it has some good points for raising your children, HSP or not.
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  • Meg
    January 1, 1970
    3 stars because I found reading this book to be tremendously validating and meaningful, but at the same time I had a lot of criticisms of it. This book describes that percentage of the population whose systems are easily (over)stimulated by sensory information. Wow, do I wish someone had given me this book to read, like, 10 years ago.The criticisms:- Wanted more specific techniques and suggestions.- She's really into how Highly Sensitive People are super important to society and we should all fe 3 stars because I found reading this book to be tremendously validating and meaningful, but at the same time I had a lot of criticisms of it. This book describes that percentage of the population whose systems are easily (over)stimulated by sensory information. Wow, do I wish someone had given me this book to read, like, 10 years ago.The criticisms:- Wanted more specific techniques and suggestions.- She's really into how Highly Sensitive People are super important to society and we should all feel so good about how valuable and meaningful our sensitivity is and how much we have to contribute to the world. I found this irritating.- Not enough material about how to be a parent who's highly sensitive, just one paragraph. I felt like the book really begged the question, as it used the metaphor of taking care of your body's needs as if your body were a baby. So... what about when my ACTUAL baby has needs at the same time?- She doesn't talk about how to differentiate innate sensitivity from similar symptoms that can develop from trauma. As a therapist, I am curious about this.- I questioned a lot of her claims (some based on research, some not) about biological traits vs. acquired traits. For example, she goes on at length about how shyness is an acquired trait, unlike sensitivity which is inborn. This didn't make sense to me. Why can't shyness be inborn too?- She's really into Jung and Jungian analysis. I'm not.
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  • Dejana
    January 1, 1970
    I learned that not only nothing is wrong with me because I am "too sensitive", and that I don't need to develop a "thick skin", but that being highly sensitive is a gift that I should be proud of.
  • Will Lees
    January 1, 1970
    This book describes me very well. If felt that finally there was a book and a name for the cluster of many of my traits. A friend in the medical field said that this book describes a personality profile, not a particular diagnosis. However through the author's evidence she shows that sensitivity is a distinct trait, not a side-effect or problem. After reading this book, I was much more comfortable describing what works for me because I fit being a highly sensitive person.The book says "we are 15 This book describes me very well. If felt that finally there was a book and a name for the cluster of many of my traits. A friend in the medical field said that this book describes a personality profile, not a particular diagnosis. However through the author's evidence she shows that sensitivity is a distinct trait, not a side-effect or problem. After reading this book, I was much more comfortable describing what works for me because I fit being a highly sensitive person.The book says "we are 15 to 20 percent of the population...highly sensitive people are real, we exist...its about a hundred thousand people finally finding themselves in this book...the secret trait that you have thought of as a flaw all your life is a flaw no longer." (p. ix)The book offers a simple true/false self-test that can also be found here: http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htmI found myself answering yes to many of them. But more than that, the list itself helped validate that there was a condition at work, that it wasn't just my subjective inadequacies that caused me to experience life as challenging, difficult and different.What I like about the book is that it is useful: it provides useful tools like tests, mental models, problem-solution pairs, and appendices for handling special situations.I found one of the mental model tools to be novel, insightful and downright strange. Chapter 3 introduces the notion of the "infant/body self". The idea is that you see yourself as your mental self operating your body-self, where your body-self operates at the level of an infant, with the limits, behaviors, needs, and external dependency that an infant has. Those who have cared for an infant knows they don't feed and clothe themselves, don't tell you what they need, but experience through direct pain and emotion. I find it a surprisingly accurate model for me: how many times have I not noticed that was hungry, not noticed that I was in pain, not thought that I should get out of the sun or protect myself, not realized I was irritable when I was cranky, or didn't know better when overstimulation left me a mess. I guess in a 'normal' person the self-body has more automatic housekeeping and defensive behaviors and has an integrated ability to know itself. Another tool of explanatory power is the idea of attachment. How comfortable and how connecting a child becomes, is determined in part by their relationship to their caregiver at an early age. (p. 44) One kind of attachment, insecure, happens when the caretaker is preoccupied or vulnerable, and the child becomes anxious and preoccupied with their attachment. Another kind of attachment is called avoidant, where the caretaker is dangerous or values a child who is minimal trouble, and the child may want to disappear or die, becoming indifferent with respect to their attachment. The observation, then, is that people who as children had an non-secure attachment didn't learn to respond to new experience in a safe and slow way: instead new experience is perceived as a threat needing long-term arousal.In terms of learning to balance our engagement in the world, the author offers two independent scales: the problem of being 'in too much' (self-test p. 50) and being 'too out' in the world (test p.52).I can't say it better than this advice given on p.54"You need to learn all about this sensitivity. It will be an obstacle or an excuse only if you allow it to be. For myself, when I am too withdrawn, I would like to stay home for the rest of my life. But it is self-destructive. So I go out to meet the rest of the world, then come back to incorporate them. Creative people need time without people. But they can't go too long. When you retreat, you loose your sense of reality, your adaptability...."Two other life skills that I took away are: including and allowing for rest and recuperation time, and being aware of being patient with yourself. It is surprising to me that being a highly sensitive person makes it hard to treat ourselves sensitively.
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  • Christine Lloyd
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a lot happier after reading this book, not because it changed me but because it gave me the language to talk about my quirks and the confidence to be OK with them.Very few people will identify 100% as a highly sensitive person, and I think most people will identify to a greater or lesser degree. However, as somebody on the sensitive end of the spectrum, I've spent a lot of time frustrated by my inability to deal with long parties with strangers, loud concerts with bright light effects, and a I'm a lot happier after reading this book, not because it changed me but because it gave me the language to talk about my quirks and the confidence to be OK with them.Very few people will identify 100% as a highly sensitive person, and I think most people will identify to a greater or lesser degree. However, as somebody on the sensitive end of the spectrum, I've spent a lot of time frustrated by my inability to deal with long parties with strangers, loud concerts with bright light effects, and all-day festivals. These are all things that make my friends so happy, and while I enjoy them for the first hour or four, I'm almost always miserable by the end. I've spent so much mental energy trying to "fix" myself so that I'm able to do things like go the state fair for the day, and I've been entirely without success.Instead, and with prompting from this book, I've been learning when to say "enough," when to tell everybody "I've had a fantastic time, and I need to head home now. Love you! Bye!"I've been going out and socializing a lot more, probably due in large part to the fact that I'm no longer worried that I'm going to get overwhelmed and cranky and stuck and bitchy - I can always just leave. It's a really easy simple fix, but it took reading most of this book for me to be OK with implementing it. So yes, interesting in its own right and a total lifesaver for me specifically.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    Aron suggests that what we call shyness and fearfulness is really just a state of neurological over-stimulation caused by high sensitivity to surroundings. This high sensitivity is inborn and has many positive aspects such as increased intuition, empathy and creativity. Highly Sensitive People can learn strategies for dealing with over-stimulation, and they do best when they appreciate their unique sensitivity and take care of their sensitive mind/body by giving it plenty of rest and down time f Aron suggests that what we call shyness and fearfulness is really just a state of neurological over-stimulation caused by high sensitivity to surroundings. This high sensitivity is inborn and has many positive aspects such as increased intuition, empathy and creativity. Highly Sensitive People can learn strategies for dealing with over-stimulation, and they do best when they appreciate their unique sensitivity and take care of their sensitive mind/body by giving it plenty of rest and down time for reflection. I found this book to be an empowering re-framing of qualities considered weak and inferior (at least in Western American culture), and many of the insights seemed to jive with personal experience.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked the overall message of this book and found it informative. Unfortunately I also found it rather dry, and some of the exercises and comparisons outdated and obtuse.
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