The term Highly Sensitive People (HSP) is a term that came about in 1990 by a group of psychologists to describe people who have a more highly active nervous system.
Highly Sensitive People are very affected by external emotional, sensory and environmental stimuli. This means that they are more aware of their surroundings and more affected by them.
Symptoms of Highly Sensitive People (HSP)
Highly Sensitive People may experience the following symptoms.
- Startles easily in reaction to loud sounds
- Sensitive to smells that others might not notice – might be able to even smell people or sickness
- Sensitive to bright lights
- Feels the emotions or vibrations of others and is affected by them
- Deeply moved by art, music or beauty
- Understands how to bring peace to an environment that is over-stimulating
- Sensitive to violence
- Has strong emotional responses to the world
- Feels anxious
- Does not like multitasking
- Feels overwhelmed by exams or deadlines
- Has an introverted personality
- Needs to lie down or close oneself off from the world at times of overwhelm
Beneficial Qualities of Highly Sensitive People (HSP)
Highly Sensitive People can learn to shield themselves and nurture their nervous system so that they feel safe in the world. This will enable the powerful qualities of being sensitive to be more active. The positive side of being highly sensitive includes the following.
- The ability to bring comfort
- Incredible creativity
- Deep understanding of how to create calm environments
- The ability to be fully alive in the present moment
- The ability to understand their own emotions and those of others
- The ability to transcend immediate reactions and embody deeper compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and inner peace
- Problem solving and unity
- Bringing healing and resolution
Oftentimes psychology looks at being highly sensitive from the perspective of its challenges, but from a spiritual perspective being highly sensitive can be a very powerful thing. Some of the greatest visionaries have been highly sensitive and it is this very quality that feeds their motivation to bring change. If you are highly sensitive you can learn to shield and nourish yourself. When you bring balance to the disruptive nature of an active nervous system you can really enjoy the power of your sensitivity.
Ayurveda has recognized highly sensitive people for thousands of years and has many wonderful techniques to ground and nourish the body, mind and spirit. In this way, sensitivity can shift from being debilitating to being a super power.
Let’s look at some of the physical and spiritual solutions that Ayurveda offers the more awakened nervous system!
Diet And Lifestyle For Highly Sensitive People (HSP)
In this day and age of modified foods, food colors, excessive sugars and chemicals, the highly sensitive nervous system is in overload. Here is a list of foods to include in your diet and foods to avoid to balance your nervous system.
Stay Away From Unnatural Products
- Food coloring
- GMO food
- Bleached flour and sugar
- Excess Sugar
- Processed and packaged foods
- Junk Food
Have More Of These…
- Organic fruits and vegetables
- Whole foods
- Homemade foods
- Organic foods
- Vegetarian foods
In essence, try to follow a diet that comes right from nature. Highly Sensitive People do not do well with things that are not natural. Their nervous system is sensitive to toxins and stimulants. Reducing these will have you feeling like a new person within a week’s time.
Replace Chemical Fragrances with Natural Ones
Highly Sensitive People are usually very sensitive to textures, fragrances and chemicals of any sort. It is really easy to remedy this in your own world but you can not control the fact that other people use strong perfumes. Ayurveda does have a way to protect you though!
Avoid The Following
- Shampoos with sulfates and chemicals and replace them with products that only contain natural ingredients
- Chemically scented laundry soap (look for a replacement that is natural)
- Strong perfumes with essential oils or natural fragrances
- Artificial air fresheners and artificially scented candles (try natural soy candles instead)
In essence, avoid putting chemicals on your body or in your environment.
Find Balance with Essential Oils
Essential oils can be great for clearing the mind, relaxing the heart and forming a protective shield. Always mix your oils with a bit of carrier oil to prevent skin sensitivity.
Place a drop on the third eye to relax the mind. Lime and vetiver on the third eye balances all three doshas and bring a state of clarity and calm.
Place a drop on the wrist to promote a feeling of safety. Ylang Ylang on the writs takes the edge off of anxiety and helps to balance vata dosha.
Place a drop on the centre of the chest to embody a feeling of love. Rose or jasmine oil on the centre of the chest soothes pitta or fire and brings a state of calm and self love.
Massage a few drops into the feet for grounding. Massaging the feet with eucalyptus and myrrh brings motivation backed by a feeling of grounding and helps balance the kapha dosha.
The Magic of Oil Massage
As I said, you can’t control all of the fragrances that the world wears. But performing self massage with sesame oil at least three times a week will begin to relax your nervous system. It will take you out of a state of hyper reactivity to a state of deep peace and this will reduce the affect that the outside world has on you!
Simply warm some raw sesame or extra virgin olive oil by placing the bottle in a dish of warm water. Apply it from head to toe. If you don’t want to get it in your hair then at least massage it into the nape of your neck and if possible, the crown of your head. You’ll be surprised at how this soothes the entire body and puts you in state of peace.
If you don’t have time to massage your entire body, massage your feet at night and put on a pair of socks to sleep. This allows the oil to be in touch with the reflex points in your feet that connect to your entire body. You will notice a difference the first time you do this and if you continue with this practice you will see a serious decrease in your agitation!
Ayurvedically speaking, oil massage helps to ground the air element or vata dosha. This means that it relaxes the active nervous system and helps take the edge off of life so you can feel rested in the peace of the moment.
Soothe With Silver
Silver is considered to be both shielding and cooling. It has been used in many ways throughout history to heal the body, mind and spirit. Wearing silver on the areas of the body that has the most nerve endings can really help reduce anxiety. The affect is subtle at first but is for sure very soothing. Silver anklets, earrings, bangles or even a silver waste chain can help shield the body, cool pitta agitation and improve the flow of energy. Areas of the body where there are more nerve endings do not get overloaded.
Fill Your Life with Beauty
A huge part of bringing balance to Highly Sensitive People is exposure to beauty, peace and joy. This means discovering what puts you in that sate and doing more of it. You may enjoy art, music (listening to or playing), dance, yoga, meditation or spending time in nature. All of these bring you into contact with beauty.
Make sure to spend time each day creating or observing beauty. Turn off the news and watch a ballet performance. Fill your phone with music that brings you to a state of peace. Saturate your environment with art that makes you feel calm. Most Highly Sensitive People are also highly creative people so do not be afraid to start expressing this part of yourself.
Beloved, if you’re a highly sensitive person or have a loved one who is, you might have felt that life has been a struggle. These techniques will help you find the peace you need so you can unveil your inner magic.
If you’re a Highly Sensitive Person and would like to explore healing ways to live in this world, I am here for you. I extend my hand.