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Science Says Being Highly Sensitive Is A Matter Of Genes, Not Personality

Science Says Being Highly Sensitive Is A Matter Of Genes, Not Personality

“A sensitive soul sees the world through the lens of love”

–Cheryl Richardson

Highly sensitive people (HSP) are a gift to mankind. Though often perceived as broken or weaklings, they are actually more intuitive, have deeper levels of empathy and carry with them the profound capacity to truly feel.Highly sensitive people are not damaged goods.  They posses the ability to resist society’s attempts at desensitization and have remained open, compassionate and alive instead of being cold and numb.

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High Sensitivity is genetic

Research shows that rather than just being a personality type, like being shy or outgoing, high sensitivity is defined as having a hypersensitive nervous system. Heightened sensitivity makes a person acutely aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.

I can hear you asking, “but isn’t our personality a product of our genes?”  And the answer to that question is yes and no.

To understand this question we first must understand that the essence of who we are is comprised of two parts: temperament and personality.

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  • Temperament  refers to a set of innate or inborn traits that organize and determine a person’s approach to the world. It is the internal processor and is hard wired into the DNA.
  • Personality is what arises within an individual as a result of their temperament, life experiences, value system, education and a host of other factors. Personality is the driver of external responses, social interactions and behaviors.

Simpy put, temperament is like an art canvas and personality is the painting on the canvas. The primary point is that personality can be changed and is constantly evolving but temperament remains the same.

High sensitivity is a result of one’s temperament and is reflected through their personality.

Brain activity in highly sensitive people is different than people without this trait

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    According to research,  the key difference is that, compared to the 80% without the trait, the brains of HSP’s are able to process everything around them much more—reflect on it, elaborate on it and make associations. When this processing is not fully conscious, it surfaces as intuition.

    The brains of the highly sensitive are hyper-processing, assimilating, evaluating and synthesizing information all of the time. This is what causes them to become overwhelmed, feel tired and explains their tendency to withdraw for periods of time. They need a break.

    Coping with Hypersensitivity

    Now that we understand this issue a little better we can begin to take steps to cope with it. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are or know a highly sensitive person:

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    1. Being highly sensitive is a gift–not a curse. Embrace it. Love yourself.
    2. Allow for the expression of emotions.  Do not bottle your emotions in an effort to be “normal”
    3. Understand the world needs your gift. Sensitivity reminds us of our frailties as humans and keeps us from drifting into the realm of inhumane and demoralizing thoughts and actions. It softens those around you.
    4. Take time away. Highly sensitivity people are vulnerable to anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses that can plague the mind of an emotionally driven person. Understand that your level of sensitivity leaves you open to becoming overwhelmed and mentally and emotionally worn out. Solitude is good for highly sensitive soul–it helps protect the gift.
    5. Be aware that an HSP is the best friend you will ever have. Highly sensitive people are kind and thoughtful. But more importantly they are attuned to and aware of the moods and feelings of those they love. Their ability to listen, understand and truly empathize is one of their best qualities.

    Final Word

    “…to feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the highly sensitive person who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.”  — Anthon St. Maarten

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    Denise Hill

    Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2018

    60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

    60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

    Sometimes it’s easier to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. It’s important to take time out and remember all of the things to be thankful for that many of us take for granted.

      Here you’ll find 60 very solid things to be thankful for in your everyday life. These are great reminders for you to treasure everything you have.

      1. Good Health

      Even if you’re health isn’t great, it could be worse and you likely still have some working parts to be thankful for.

      2. Money in the Bank

      Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth.

      3. Good Friends

      Often, it’s the quality of friendships, not the quantity.

      4. Freedom of Religion

      Being able to worship whomever and however you want is something many people don’t ever experience.

      5. Your Parents

      Even if they’re dysfunctional, they gave you life.

      6. Weekends

      There’s something magical about weekends.

      7.Having a Partner

      Being in a romantic relationship can teach you so much about the world and yourself.

      8. Pets

      Pets offer one of the best examples of unconditional love.

      9. Learning from Mistakes

      If we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.

      10. Opportunity to Get an Education

      The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have.

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      11. Having a Home

      Whether you live in an apartment, a mansion, or a tent, having a place to call home is something to be thankful for.

      12. An Ability to Read

      If you’re reading this right now, you have a lot to be thankful for.

      13. Breathing Fresh Air

      Being able to step outside to breathe in fresh air is a good reminder how many little things we should be thankful for.

      14. A Bed to Sleep

      A bed is one of those things that’s easy to take for granted, until you don’t have one.

      15. Laughter

      Without laughter, the world would be a sad place.

      16. Safety and Security

      Being able to wake up without immense fear frees us up to really live life.

      17. Cars

      Without cars, it would take a lot longer to get our activities done.

      18. Sunshine

      The sun’s warmth can brighten any day.

      19. Time

      Although we often don’t think there’s enough of it, time is something we shouldn’t take for granted.

      20. Clean Water

      Many people on earth lack access to clean water.

      21. Cell Phones

      Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy.

      22. Love

      The world sure would be a different place if we lacked the ability to love.

      23. Books

      Books provide an opportunity to enter another world all from the comfort of your own home.

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      24. Kindness of Strangers

      Never take the kindness of a stranger for granted.

      25. Campfires

      The simplicity of a campfire creates lifelong memories.

      26. Pain

      Without pain, it would be difficulty to appreciate life’s joys.

      27. Art

      The world would be less beautiful if art didn’t exist.

      28. Holidays

      Any reason to celebrate is something we should be thankful for.

      29. Freedom of Speech

      Being able to express your thoughts and feelings freely should never be taken for granted.

      30. Rainbows

      The beauty of a rainbow is unmatched.

      31. Tears

      Sometimes when there are no words to say, tears express how we feel for us.

      32. Waking up Today

      Simply waking up today means you have things to be thankful for.

      33. Indoor Plumbing

      Indoor plumbing not only provides convenience, it spares us from disease.

      34. Wisdom that Comes with Age

      Thankfully, we grow smarter over time.

      35. Mountains

      Mountains provide us with beauty and recreation.

      36. Eyesight

      Being able to see allows us to view the world’s beauty.

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      37. Grocery Stores

      Grocery stores mean we don’t have to spend all of our time getting our own food.

      38. Sunsets

      Sunsets are a reminder that we should enjoy the simple things in life.

      39. Entertainment

      Entertainment gives us a way to relax and enjoy life.

      40. Your Mind

      Being able to think, remember, and solve problems sure makes life easier.

      41. Employment

      Even if you don’t like your job, being employed means someone thought you were special enough to hire.

      42. Diversity

      The world would be a boring place without diversity.

      43. Moon and Stars

      The moon and stars encourage us to dream.

      44. Electricity

      Electricity makes most of our chores efficient.

      45. Air Conditioning

      Staying cool on a hot day is something people wouldn’t have dreamed about in past centuries.

      46. Hearing

      Being able to hear your loved one’s voice is something that not everyone gets to do.

      47. Children

      Watching children laugh, grow, and dream can keep things in perspective.

      48. Ability to Learn

      The ability to learn new things means we have endless potential.

      49. People Willing to Teach

      Whether it’s your grandmother teaching you to knit or your plumber showing you how to prevent future problems, be grateful that others are willing to use their time and talents to teach you something new.

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      50. Oceans

      The sea creatures in the ocean almost seem too mystical to be real.

      51. Modern Medicine

      Without advances in modern medicine, many of us wouldn’t be alive.

      52. Music

      Music brings out new emotions.

      53. Entrepreneurs

      Some of life’s best inventions resulted from an entrepreneur who was willing to take a risk.

      54. Warm Clothing

      On a cold day, there’s nothing more important than warm clothing.

      55. Freedom to Vote

      Being able to have a say in the laws should never be taken for granted.

      56. An Internet Connection

      It’s hard to believe how easy it is to take the internet for granted, seeing how none of us had just a couple of decades ago.

      57. Challenges

      Without challenges in life, we wouldn’t be the people we are now.

      58. Hiking Trails

      Hiking trails give us the chance to enjoy mother’s nature beauty.

      59. Vaccines

      Many of us wouldn’t be alive without today’s vaccinations.

      60. Armed Forces

      Our lives would likely be very different if we didn’t have protection from the armed forces.

      Realizing all the things you should be thankful for is the first step, practicing gratitude is what you should start doing:

      6 Ways To Implement More Gratitude In Your Life

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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