Are You an HSP?

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Those in the know will know I’m not referring to Hispanics, but in fact a highly sensitive person. Like a lot of things we’re still learning about inside that tricky brain of ours, there has been a lot of misunderstanding about this subject over the years. But there’s now a doctor in the house!

In her post titled, funny enough, “Are you a highly sensitive person (HSP)?“, psychology professor Dr. Andrea Dinardo explains that HSP is not a choice; it’s biological (she’s got cool pictures to back this up, too). As she puts it:

“Brain scans show that HSP’s have ‘heightened activity in empathy-related brain regions‘ including the anterior insula (insular cortex), highlighted in the brain scan below.


Definitely take time to visit Dr. Dinardo’s site, but if you’re curious whether you’re not just uber sensitive/hysterical/overly emotional, and actually HSP, check out the following self test:
  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?


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9 responses to “Are You an HSP?

  1. Thank you for sharing the links to my blog Richard! I look forward to reading your posts & being connected.

  2. Pingback: Beware: Artistry Kills | Richard H. Harris

  3. How sad. Bothered by lights, noise, scents. Going through much of life in a state if Avoidance.

    Questions: Do these people even *want* to get better? Really. Do they?
    Or, will they just “Accept” themselves? And 7 yrs. from now be as easily rattled and overwhelmed as ever?
    What will they do between now and then to:
    Have less anxiety
    Be more confident
    Make decisions easier
    Not be so crushed by criticism
    Not feel so overwhelmed around other people….or—

    Will they decide there is nothing wrong and perhaps even decide they are “special” because they feel so deeply and “fine” the way they are? Really? Where do people like this work for a living? Customer service? I really doubt it. Midnight janitirs do they can work alone? Maybe.

    Maybe I”m late to the party but in the last week, I’ve just discovered this online and I see ” a Ton” of posts about it. But it must be miserable to go through Life like this, bothered, overwhelmed and irritated. So the questions oersust. DO HSP’s even want to overcome their struggles and aggravations? Or will they say there’s nothing to overcome? It’s up to them. One wonders how they get through Life. But do they want yo get better?
    #HSP #Psychology #HighlySensitive #Introversion

    • Valid points about HSP and people in general. Simply being an HSP does not mean avoiding life. It’s more about understanding who we are — introverts or extroverts or Type A or Type B or HSP. The most important step is how this self-knowledge helps you live in this world. Strengths. Weaknesses. And All. (I wrote the original post Richard referred to here. So I wanted to join the convo!) Happy New Year Richard and Mr. Owl!

  4. Sorry. Using tablet with Auto spell-,checker which is often wrong. Sigh

  5. No worries about the spelling. I’m just grateful you stopped by to join the discussion. As I’m not an HSP, I can’t speak as one, nor on behalf of one, but I think it’s important science is starting to catch up to some of the more intangible issues we face as human beings. I’m a big believer in the power of the mind to overcome much in life, but even it has its limits. I think if science can get to the point where it can track something definitive in the brain associated with HSP-related conditions (like the anterior insula), show how it has changed over time (or not), and figure out what can counter its effects, it would be a huge step forward. I’m an optimist in this regard and will remain one!

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