Annabelle Breuer-Udo: Founder of Evocative HealthPath LLC Certified Coach (ACC) I Author I Ayurveda I Mindfulness

What does it mean to be a Highly Sensitive Person?

There are many misconceptions, misunderstandings and a lot of assumptions about High Sensitivity. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of profound information about the trait yet. Therefore it often leads to feelings of loneliness or misunderstood.

History shows that sensitivity is valued in traditions such as Chinese, Japan, and partly Europe. Also, in cultures strongly connected to the earth, such as herbalists, integrative & ayurvedic medicine practitioners and shamans. Whereas in very aggressive, stressed cultures and/or countries with many immigrants, insensitivity and tough personalities are valued more. As a result, it caused superior-inferior feelings and disbalance world-wide.

Any aggressive, stressed society without sensitive people/counselors to balance its aggressiveness is going to get into trouble for sure. But it will take time for the aggressive, stressed cultures to understand that.

My research on High Sensitivity

Over the past years, as part of my self-developmental journey, I’ve spent a lot of time finding trustworthy sources. Especially in the past year, I found a couple of fellow HSP-colleagues all over the world. All of them focus on their practices as therapists, integrative medicine practitioners and coaches on Highly Sensitive People (HSP). They put all their hearts into their work. They all did a lot of inner work for themselves (including me) and with countless highly sensitive clients.

I learned a lot more about the trait and myself. Certainly deepened and expanded my understanding and still do. It’s been a beautiful journey! Therefore it’s part of my purpose to spread more clarity and education about this beautiful trait.

Let’s get into it a little deeper. So, what is this all about this Highly Sensitivity?

Learn more about High Sensitivity

The term high sensitivity (HS) or highly sensitive person (HSP) was characterized in the 1990s by American psychologist and psychotherapist Dr. Elaine Aron. In the scientific world, it is described as sensory processing sensitivity (SPS).

According to her, a pioneer in researching, Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is a unique, innate trait that at least 20% of the population has. That means 1 out of 5 is highly sensitive, and 80% are Non-HSP. It is gender-equal. It is often assumed that it is the same as introversion. The truth is it has nothing to do with being an introvert or extrovert. Actually, 30% of highly sensitive people are extroverts, and 70% are introverts.

It is essential to know you’re born with this trait and it is NOT a disorder or dysfunction. Nor is it a weakness! It’s merely a personal trait, such as your eye color. The sensory processing sensitivity (HSP) trait used to be a survival strategy of the population. However, in our modern, fast-paced world, it can show up in stress responses and overwhelm. This needs to get in your awareness as a highly sensitive person so that you can take care more of yourself.

How is High Sensitivity defined?

As stated by Dr. Aron, the HSP trait is characterized by the acronym DOES, which stands for:

1.D=Depth of processing
2.O=Overstimulation or overwhelm
3.E=Emotionally responsive or Empathy
4.S=Sensitive to subtle stimuli

I’ll go a little deeper into those single acronyms:

1. Depth of processing

Being a HSP means thinking deeper and processing a little longer before acting. Also taking more time for transitions. It can lead to deeper creativity, being more intuitive and being more perceptive. They take time to take it all in. Actually, it’s a wonderful gift. But there’s often not enough room and time for those needs of HSP’s in many cultures and environments. This can make it a little harder. They pause, take time to reflect before they act.

2. Overstimulation or overwhelm

This is the most challenging for HSP’s. HSP’s notice things on an unconscious level, such as non-verbal cues, subtle changes in the environment, sound, lights, and taking in everything. This can take a lot of energy and can be exhausting. It’s easy to feel stressed or anxious and can lead to trouble sleeping; the nervous system is over-aroused.

3. Emotionally responsive or Empathy

HSP’s feel everything deeply positive and negative emotions. Even if they aren’t verbally engaged or expressing, but they are mentally engaged and process. Often when overstimulated, it’s common that HSP’s can’t talk or express themselves.

4. Sensitive to subtle stimuli

HSP’s notice subtle changes. For example in the environment, in relationship dynamics or even the food we take in or smells and sounds.

It is NOT about being special or better than others, this is important to understand. Any human being can be better at things but nobody is better than others!

And yes, it’s an essential part of YOU and makes you different and unique.

Unique because your nervous system and brain work differently as an HSP. Your brain is more active and processes things on a deeper level. In addition, your brain is very powerful and differentiative. Yet, on the other hand, it brings challenges because it is more sensitive to stress and overstimulation.

The trait has challenges AND strengths

The more you understand yourself and this trait, the better you can understand others, right?
The more you understand yourself, the better you can express your needs and advocate for your needs, right?
The more you understand your challenges and strengths, the better you can take care of yourself and bring your gifts and talents into the world, couldn’t you?

Therefore, my intention is to raise awareness and educate about the trait. Part of my life-purpose is caring for and working with Highly Sensitive People. I can help you get a deeper understanding of yourself. So you can live more in alignment with who you really are and truly want to be in this world.

The first step is to develop a deeper understanding about the trait. In addition learning tools that empower you to master your intense emotions and sabotaging programs. After understanding the trait better in yourself you can continue to strengthen your uniqueness and individuality.

Ayurvedic Medicine and High Sensitivity

And here comes the powerful tool called Ayurvedic Medicine into play.
Ayurvedic medicine helped me to become aware that life isn’t about to correct me and who I am. The wisdom of Ayurveda showed me that life is about to recognize, acknowledge, own and empower your uniqueness as a Highly Sensitive Person.

Above all, I believe that high sensitivity doesn’t stop you from living a joyful life and from feeling deeply and loving powerfully. It’s just a matter of getting to know yourself better and learn how to care for your unique trait, gift, and potential.

Imagine wouldn’t it be great….

Wouldn’t it be great if you woke up in the morning feeling free and light hearted?
Wouldn’t it be great if you got up in the morning clear and motivated to start a new project?
Wouldn’t it be great if you were living a life in balance and with vitality in your relationships and career?

Wouldn’t it be great……

So, all of it is possible! Once you learn more about the qualities of this trait and how to work with them instead of against them. Certainly, you’ll feel more comfortable in your skin. With this awareness and understanding, you’re able to set down old habits and build new pathways.

This trait is real, and I’d love for you to have it integrated into your everyday life.

Need help unfolding your unique journey as a highly sensitive person? Contact me, and we can set up a free get-to know-each other session. I’d love to work with you and guide you on your journey!

My Motto: Feel deeply and live powerfully!
Have a joy-filled day,


P.S. Know someone else who could benefit from this information? Please share!

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