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By Jenna Avery, CLC,
Life Coach for Sensitive Souls

Do you often feel overwhelmed by your environment or the people around you? Has anyone ever called you shy – or worse: “too sensitive”? Do you care deeply about EVERYTHING? You may be a highly sensitive soul – a person of deep empathy and high intensity, with powerful intuition, awareness, and intelligence.

Being highly sensitive, you have a uniquely perceptive sensory system. You are therefore more sensitive to emotions, energy, environmental conditions such as lighting or sound, other people, excitement, and stress. As a result of constant stimuli, you may feel easily overwhelmed or unable to cope. Things can be particularly confusing when others seem unperturbed by the same experiences. For example, your friends might be able to shop all day, go out to dinner, and then head to a loud party. For you, that would be unbearable.

Research psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, has studied high sensitivity extensively. Her research shows that being sensitive is a personality temperament or trait, one usually inherited. According to Dr. Aron, up to 20% of the population is highly sensitive.


How To Tell If You Are Highly Sensitive
Being highly sensitive comes with a number of gifts, as well as challenges. See if any of these highly sensitive qualities resonate strongly with you.

1. You are deeply affected by all aspects of your life.
As a sensitive soul, you have great emotional passion, intensity, and depth. You may have been told that your emotions are “too much.” You are sensitive, caring, and easily affected by the energy and emotions of others. These qualities make it easy to lose touch with your needs and desires.

2. You have heightened perceptive skills.
A sensitive soul is intuitive, highly aware, and keenly observant of the subtleties of your environment, including energy, light, noise, smell, texture, and temperature. You may also be empathic or even psychic. Your perceptive skills operate in the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual realms. You tie together things you see into complex and original concepts. This makes you a visionary.

3. You have a lower tolerance for stimulation than others.
Because you receive so much information from your surroundings, your threshold for what’s “too much” is significantly lower than for those around you. This means: a) You may be seen as shy or timid; and b) You may feel uncomfortably dissimilar to others because you respond so differently to stimulation.

4. You are highly conscientious and thorough in all your undertakings.
A sensitive soul makes a great employee. You concentrate intensely and process multi-source information deeply. However, you require privacy, uninterrupted time, and little or no pressure in order to do your best work.

5. You have a strong relationship with aesthetics and art.
As a highly sensitive soul, you have a passion for beauty, art, and aesthetics. You may be highly artistic and creative yourself. You easily create beauty and comfort. Seeing things “out of alignment” can actually be physically or psychically distressing.

6. Your inner life is just as intriguing and inspiring as your outer life.
You likely have a rich, complex inner life and are highly imaginative. You may find it challenging to connect to “real world” priorities and realities.

7. You absolutely require private time alone in order to feel replenished.
Up to 70% of highly sensitive souls are introverted. But even extroverted sensitives need downtime to rejuvenate, often in a darkened, quiet room.

8. You have a strong spiritual connection and depth.
If you are highly sensitive, you experience a profound spiritual connection with the divine and/or spiritual realm. You “see” a lot in what appears common. Because of this you may feel impatient with the truly mundane.


Learning To Thrive: What You Need
Learning to thrive as a highly sensitive soul presents challenges. If you’re sensitive, you have likely accumulated years of training in trying to overcome the trait because you don’t “fit in” with society. And yet being highly sensitive is a vital part of you.

A first step toward thriving as a sensitive soul is to understand and accept your trait. Hear this now: There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are just different. As one of my clients says, being highly sensitive is both a gift and a responsibility.

Sensitive souls require regular self-care, meaningful work, and supportive relationships. Working with a sensitive coach or therapist who helps you tune into your own magnificent inner guidance system – your sensitivity – is a powerful means of support.

Additionally, there are books, websites, web-based communities, and teleconference gatherings on the subject. Connecting with like-minded souls is often deeply healing for sensitive persons.

As you begin to manage your life in a way that truly works for you, you will trust the power and gift of your sensitivity, and be inspired to share your much-needed wisdom with the world.

 

Copyright 2004-2011, Jennifer Avery, All rights reserved.

Jenna Avery is a highly sensitive coach and intuitive who specializes in guiding sensitive souls to find a deep sense of inner rightness within themselves so they are inspired to step forward and shine. Jenna is a Certified Life Coach based in Berkeley, California. She can be reached at 510.984.3474. You’re invited to take her free online assessment: "Is Your Sensitivity Working For You?" on her website at www.highlysensitivesouls.com.

These articles may be published on your website in their entirety as long as the copyright notes and biographical information above are included in their entirety with functional hyperlinks. Please also send me an e-mail to let me know they have been published, and where. Thank you!

 
Jenna Avery, CLC, MCP, MLA
2721 Shattuck Avenue, #245, Berkeley, California, 94705
tel: (510) 984-3474
Please contact me on my new website here.
© Jennifer Avery, 2002, 2011, 2012.  All Rights Reserved.