Featured Articles

  • Relationships and highly sensitive people

    Relationships and highly sensitive people

    “I am shy and I don’t start relationships with people normally. I guess I have a way that can seem aloof and sort of cold. They didn’t like me that much, but I never resented it. I was different than they were.” Actor Kristin Kreuk. made other comments in an interview about being in high […]

  • Highly Sensitive Personality and Creativity

    Highly Sensitive Personality and Creativity

    By guest author Lisa A. Riley, LMFT, Creativity Coach Throughout my practice, I have encountered a connection between highly sensitive people and their own creative impulses. This characteristic does not discriminate between painter, actor, or musician—they all appear to have one thing in common: they experience the world differently than the average individual. Creatives often […]

  • Sensitive to Anxiety and Depression

    Sensitive to Anxiety and Depression

    Being highly sensitive probably increases our vulnerability to anxiety and depression, which for many of us go together to some extent. I’m sure that has been the case for me, and I have had varying degrees of these mood challenges for most of my life. Part of my motivation in researching and creating my series […]

  • Shyness and High Sensitivity - On Stage or Off

    Shyness and High Sensitivity – On Stage or Off

    Many seemingly self-assured performers and actors have been shy or introverted as children. Some still are, as adults. And many have found that performing has changed their level of confidence. Having the personality trait of high sensitivity – as many creative people do – can interact with shyness and introversion. ~ ~ Amy Adams says, […]

  • Director Ang Lee: The Artist, The Introvert

    Director Ang Lee: The Artist, The Introvert

    “He is so sensitive and the way he directs you is so silent.” Director Ang Lee recently won his second Academy Award for “Life of Pi” (his first was for “Brokeback Mountain”). Actor Adil Hussain, one of the stars of “Pi” described how the Taiwanese filmmaker works. He commented that Lee is “so sensitive and the […]

  • Jenna Forrest on empowering sensitivity and relieving anxiety

    Jenna Forrest on empowering sensitivity and relieving anxiety

    Jenna Forrest is a coach who offers “energy healing, intuitive coaching and spiritual apprenticeships to help sensitives experience inner peace, higher consciousness, and life transformation” and writes in her memoir Help Is On Its Way about growing up with the trait of high sensitivity. In our podcast interview, she talks about empowering and transcending sensitivity. […]


Highly Sensitive People: audio interview with Jim Hallowes

Highly Sensitive People: audio interview with Jim Hallowes

Jim Hallowes is founder of the Highly Sensitive People website, and has been studying and presenting information on HSPs for many years. He has a wide range of perspectives on the trait and how it relates to gifted and creative people. See The Creative Mind Interviews to hear the interview. ~~ Related articles Highly Sensitive […]

Highly sensitive relationships - Gwen Stefani: "I'm really emotional"

Highly sensitive relationships – Gwen Stefani: “I’m really emotional”

Like a number of other dynamic and creative musicians and actors, Gwen Stefani affirms she has qualities of the personality trait of high sensitivity: “I’m really emotional. I don’t fight with people – like, I can barely fight with my husband because I’ll just start crying instead. I’ve learnt not to do that.” [imdb.com] A […]

Ranking and Self-Esteem

Ranking and Self-Esteem

In addition to helping fuel creativity and a richer experience of life, being highly sensitive can make us more vulnerable to emotional overwhelm, anxiety, self-criticism and other issues. Healthy self concept and self esteem can be especially challenging for a number of people, perhaps especially those of us who are highly sensitive to our inner […]

Video: The Highly Sensitive Person by Therese J. Borchard

Video: The Highly Sensitive Person by Therese J. Borchard

“Do you get overwhelmed easily? You could be one of the lucky highly sensitive persons living in an overwhelming world.” Therese J. Borchard is the author of the blog “Beyond Blue” on Beliefnet.com, which is featured regularly on The Huffington Post and was voted by PsychCentral.com as one of the top 10 depression blogs. Also […]

Energy Sensitivity

Energy Sensitivity

Energy psychiatrist Judith Orloff, MD explains: “An intuitive empath is someone who not only senses energy but also absorbs it from others and the environment. Their body takes on the angst of the world. It can be very draining. “I’ve been an intuitive empath since childhood which prompted my exploration of this phenomena. I couldn’t […]

Jenna Avery on Recharging Your Energy as a Highly Sensitive Person

Jenna Avery on Recharging Your Energy as a Highly Sensitive Person

Jenna Avery writes: As a sensitive soul, good energy-management skills are a must. This means tuning in to yourself on a regular basis and continually reassessing and adjusting what you take on. It’s a real balancing act. And sometimes, despite your best intentions, your energy gets drained and you feel out of balance. The key, […]

Oxytocin and Social Phobia - relief of social anxiety

Oxytocin and Social Phobia – relief of social anxiety

Excerpts from article Oxytocin and Social Phobia : Some people may confuse the trait of high sensitivity with shyness or social anxiety. Social phobia or social anxiety disorder is characterized by extreme and persistent anxiety associated with social or performance situations. Scientists believe that the amygdala is responsible for the symptoms of social phobia as […]

Judith Orloff on Coping With Emotional Overload

Judith Orloff on Coping With Emotional Overload

By Judith Orloff, MD. In my book, I emphasize the importance of learning how to stay centered in a stressful, highly emotionally charged world. Since emotions such as fear, anger, and frustration are energies, you can potentially “catch” them from people without realizing it. If you tend to be an emotional sponge, it’s vital to […]

Is it a disorder, or just shyness?

Is it a disorder, or just shyness?

“As a child, I was very shy. Painfully, excruciatingly shy. I hid a lot in my room. I was so terrified to read out loud in school that I had to have my mother ask my reading teacher not to call on me in class.” – Kim Basinger Many of us were shy as children, […]

Elaine Aron

Videos: Elaine Aron on the trait of high sensitivity

Video: Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D., summarizes the trait of high sensitivity: ~ ~ Two video clips from documentary “A Talk on High Sensitivity” by Shari Dyer www.keiganproductions.com – available on Elaine Aron’s site hsperson.com . . .. You can also purchase another DVD: Elaine Aron: A Seminar on Learning How to Thrive as a Highly Sensitive Person. […]

Depressive thinking can accompany being a high sensitivity personality

Depressive thinking can accompany being a high sensitivity personality

Intuitive HSPs may go to dark places In her article Growing Up Gifted Is Not Easy, Elaine Aron, PhD [left] talks about this dark aspect of sensitivity. “Early in my research on sensitivity — while I was studying its relationship to introversion and the four Jungian functions of sensing, thinking, feeling, and intuition — I […]

Sensory processing sensitivity: smelling books and reading vinyl record grooves

Sensory processing sensitivity: smelling books and reading vinyl record grooves

Savant sensitivity The term ‘savant’ may be most often used for people such as Daniel Tammet, who is autistic and can recite more than 22,000 digits of pi from memory. [See my post Savant abilities and learning differences relate to developing multiple talents] In his book Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, […]

Ted Zeff on highly sensitive boys and men

Ted Zeff on highly sensitive boys and men

Dr. Ted Zeff summarizes his research on highly sensitive males, based on interviews with thirty highly sensitive men from five countries: The North American (U.S. and Canada) HSMs (highly sensitive males) who reported that they had supportive parents as boys and who played group sports as a boy were “never” or “rarely” teased for being […]

Different Personality Styles to Deal with a High Sensitivity Personality

Different Personality Styles to Deal with a High Sensitivity Personality

Dealing with sensitivity The photo is Christina Ricci as Wednesday in “Addams Family Values” (1993), which also featured David Krumholtz [later in the tv series "Numb3rs"] as a rather stereotypical highly sensitive kid, repressed and using an inhaler to cope with asthma. But Wednesday may represent another sort of coping with high sensitivity: responding to […]

Marie Forleo and Ane Axford About Being A Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur

Marie Forleo and Ane Axford About Being A Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur

Ane Axford, MS, LMFT (she pronounces it like “Annie”) notes: “I am a highly sensitive person, who is also high sensation seeking, introverted, a licensed mental health and relationship therapist who specializes in working with highly sensitive persons.” In her interview podcast “On HSPs as Entrepreneurs with Marie Forleo,” Ane and Marie talk about being, […]

Winona Ryder: "Maybe I'm too sensitive for this world."

Winona Ryder: “Maybe I’m too sensitive for this world.”

Winona Ryder starred in the film based on Susanna Kaysen‘s novel Girl, Interrupted, and thinks Kaysen “captures a mood we’ve all experienced. “It’s like a reflective time we’ve all had in our lives, whether to kill ourselves, whether to be miserable or move on. You go through spells where you feel that maybe you’re too […]

Jenna Avery on Work for Sensitive Souls

Jenna Avery on Work for Sensitive Souls

Jenna Avery writes: Have people always called you “too sensitive?” Do you try to hide it, pretend it doesn’t exist, or work around it as much as possible? Many Highly Sensitive Souls believe that our sensitivity makes us weak, weird, or different. Actually, being sensitive makes us highly aware, caring, and perceptive. In the workplace, […]

Sensitive to others but staying safe

Sensitive to others but staying safe

Elaine Aron, PhD notes high sensitivity means “you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings” and also that you are “more easily overwhelmed when you have been out in a highly stimulating environment for too long.” In addition to other sources of sensation and input, a highly stimulating environment may be one or more other […]

27 Tips For Navigating College As a Highly Sensitive Person

27 Tips For Navigating College As a Highly Sensitive Person

By Andrea Runyan While college can be an exciting and fruitful experience, it can also be a challenging time for Highly Sensitive People (HSPs). As the first time when many students are living away from home, college presents many potential challenges for the HSP, such as eating dining hall food; living in a dormitory; having […]

Sarah Dolliver on better boundaries for inner-directed individuals

Sarah Dolliver on better boundaries for inner-directed individuals

Sarah Dolliver is the Founder of InnerVantage, the “online community for inner-directed individuals (those who focus inward to restore).” [Apparently no longer online.] In her article Build Better Boundaries, she writes: * Have you ever agreed to do something that you knew you would rather not do? * Have you not given yourself enough time […]

Jenna Avery on dealing with overwhelm

Jenna Avery on dealing with overwhelm

In an article of hers, creativity coach Jenna Avery affirms, “As a sensitive soul, it’s easy to get overstimulated. With stimulation all around, it’s not surprising. “Our urgency-addicted culture and mainstream work ethic is overstimulating. “Sound bites, billboards, spam, and constant advertisements surround us. “Other people’s energy and emotions affect us. Too much light, noise, […]

Gifted and shy - Jane Fonda, Evan Rachel Wood, Nicole Kidman

Gifted and shy – Jane Fonda, Evan Rachel Wood, Nicole Kidman

Jane Fonda: “Acting was the last thing in the world I wanted to do, I was so shy. But I got fired as a secretary and had to earn some money.” She discovered her passion for acting in the mid-1950s while studying with famed drama coach Lee Strasberg, who told her she was special and […]

Jean Houston on perceptual capacity and psychic ability

Jean Houston on perceptual capacity and psychic ability

In our interview, Jean Houston commented about the Theory of Emotional Development of Kazimierz Dabrowski (which talks about levels of excitability or functioning), and about psychic ability in relation to giftedness. Houston agrees that ‘psychic’ has been used in our culture as a pejorative term: “Don’t I know it,” she says with a laugh. “I […]

Our high sensitivity personality: normalcy, wholeness, acceptance

Our high sensitivity personality: normalcy, wholeness, acceptance

In her authoritative book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, Elaine Aron, PhD notes, we are at “the extreme end of the dimension of sensitivity.” But she adds, “For many HSPs the real challenge is to achieve the middle ground. No more ‘too shy’ or ‘too sensitive’ or too […]

Highly Sensitive People and Depression

Highly Sensitive People and Depression

Psychologist Susan Meindl writes: Highly sensitive people…have nervous systems and minds which permit more stimulation to enter without automatically and unconsciously shutting it out, and further, that they then cognitively process the stimulation that they receive in more detail than others do. Stimulation comes in on all sensory channels: sights, sounds, smells, vibrations, touch. HSP’s […]

Bryce Dallas Howard and Judith Orloff on psychic ability

Bryce Dallas Howard and Judith Orloff on psychic ability

“It goes beyond the senses, as we know it. It’s our ability to intuit the mystery.” Judith Orloff, MD In the movie “Hereafter,” the character George Lonegan (Matt Damon) seems to be able to communicate with people beyond the grave. Reviewer Roger Ebert noted the movie “believes most psychics are frauds” but “supposes one who […]

Understanding Empathy

Understanding Empathy

By Jenna Avery. As a sensitive soul, you are likely to have a high degree of empathy. Empathy is the ability to feel another person’s emotions as if they are your own. In many ways, being empathic is a gift, because it allows you to fully experience, understand, and support others. In other ways, it […]

Genes and the startle response and high sensitivity

Genes and the startle response and high sensitivity

One aspect of a highly sensitive nervous system can be a strong startle response or startle reflex, which can be related to a vulnerability to anxiety. Among the items in the Self-Test for sensitivity by Dr. Elaine Aron is “I startle easily.” In an edition of her Comfort Zone newsletter titled The Benefits of Being […]