Sensitive Temperament – Is this you?

Elaine Aron has written a superb book called, 'The Highly Sensitive Person'.

Here is a list of statements inspired by the questionnaire in the book.

Are the statements below... Not true, fairly true, or true for you?

Peace and quiet are really important to me.

I feel a very strong connection with nature.

I am conscientious.

I have a vivid imagination.

I find it very uncomfortable if I have a lot to do in a short period of time.

I am sensitive to pain.

My inner life is important to me.

I am very aware of other people's moods.

I really don't like loud noises, strong smells or uncomfortable clothing.

I avoid horror movies, violent movies or upsetting news stories.

I'm extremely aware of my surroundings.

I particularly care about animals.

Changes in my life really affect me.

I feel a very strong connection with nature.

I startle easily.

I'm easily moved by the arts or emotional films.

I really don't like making mistakes.

I am intuitive.

I particularly care about animals.

These traits can give you a very good indication as to whether you have a sensitive temperament.

However there is a fact from Elaine Aron's book, which is of particular importance in understanding sensitivity.

'Fact - People differ considerably in how much their nervous system is aroused in the same situation, under the same stimulation.'

Those, whose nervous systems are more easily aroused is usually about 15- 20 percent of the population.

This difference is largely inherited...and normal.

It can be observed…. in mice, cats, dogs, horses, monkeys, and humans.

Within all these species, those that are very sensitive to stimulation is usually about…. 15- 20 percent.

Elaine Aron uses the term HSP for the highly sensitive person. She describes four main traits of HSPs , using the acronym - D.O.E.S.

D is for depth of processing. HSPs process information more deeply than others.

O is for being easily overstimulated. They pay more attention to everything and think about details that most people don't even notice,so they they become more tired, more quickly.

E is for empathy and emotional reactivity. HSPs are more aware of the emotions of others,and have a stronger reaction to both positive and negative experiences.

S is for being sensitive to subtleties. They notice subtle cues or stimuli that others aren't aware of, such as sounds, smells, distractions and details in the environment.