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The HSP's Nervous System

In an interview on November 10, 2003 with Carolyn Robertson, certified neurotherapist, I discovered that the HSP's brain wave patterns are more frequently in a theta state. In this state, a person is more open to intuitive feelings and to picking up light, sound, and other subtle vibrations more deeply. While deep meditators (regardless of their sensitivity) are frequently in a theta state, they are able to filter out sensations through concentration.

However, when not focused inward, HSPs are processing stimulation so thoroughly that they are easily overwhelmed, far sooner than non-HSPs. One could say that they have trouble tuning out irrelevant stimuli -- except who is to say what is irrelevant? Noticing where an exit sign is located can seem irrelevant until there is a fire.

HSPs have to learn to ignore or protect themselves from unwanted stimuli. Especially those of us who have had a difficult childhood report a chronic, painful inability to avoid overstimulation (Aron 1996). Donna, an attractive and intelligent woman in her mid-forties, was a student in one of my HSP classes. She told me that she sometimes feels as if she is walking around with no skin, like a sponge absorbing everything that comes her way. She commented that as a child she also felt like she had no protection from the barrage of negative stimulation at home and at school, resulting in her experiencing severe emotional reactions to the daily assault on her nervous system.

Donna courageously shared with the class how her parents took her to a neurologist when she was thirteen. Donna's EEG (electroencephalogram) indicated an erratic brain wave pattern that may have contributed to her intense reaction to stimuli. The neurologist recommended that she take medication to reduce her intense reaction to stimuli, and Donna felt that the medicine probably helped. However, in retrospect, she noted that if she had grown up in a supportive and loving environment where her sensitivity was understood and accepted, she wouldn't have had such intense emotional reactions and wouldn't have needed medication. While medication can be helpful in some situations, I recommend that you first implement a holistic approach in coping with your sensitive nervous system.

The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide - Ted Zeff, PH.D. (pg 5-6)
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May 2012

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How to thrive when the world overwhelms you