Many of us know a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP, whether a partner, a colleague or a family member. Highly Sensitive People, or HSPs, have a nervous system that's more sensitive than most. They absorb more information from their surroundings than others and process it more deeply. It can be challenging to recognise this trait in ourselves or others as it can be confused with introversion, shyness, insecurity, anxiety or depression.
Around one in five of us could be described as HSP. High sensitivity is not a mental illness, and there isn't a precise diagnosis, but there are some characteristics that are widely shared by highly sensitive people:
If you recognise these traits in yourself, you may well be an HSP. Bach Flowers Mix 77 helps to reduce emotional sensitivity and improve resilience to environmental stimuli. In addition, it helps boost assertiveness so that you have the confidence to say "no" to things you aren't comfortable with.
HSPs may be more stressed by the work environment than others, but they are often excellent performers. While managers sometimes undervalue them, HSPs can be a fantastic asset to the team. Their acute awareness of their surroundings enables them to spot problems before they escalate, and their insight and empathy mean that they understand the needs of other people.
HSPs tend to be creative, careful, conscientious and hardworking, and while they may be quiet in group situations, they are often excellent communicators. Here are some tried and tested ways to help your HSP colleagues realise their full potential.
Be open, understanding and receptive to their needs and create a relaxed, positive atmosphere in the workplace.
If your HSP team member is stressed, ask them what is bothering them. Whether it's too much noise, a colleague's smelly lunch or meetings that go on too long, don't be dismissive but address their concerns.
HSPs are highly sensitive to criticism, so be sure to include some positive feedback when reviewing their performance.
If your HSP is an introvert, let them work alone. And if teamwork is essential, build some breaks into their schedule so that they can recharge.
Create a calm, quiet place to work for your HSP colleague. Encourage them to have regular breaks throughout the day. But be fair about this and offer the same conditions to all your colleagues.
If you have to change a schedule, try to give an HSP as much notice as possible. And if they get flustered, allow them space to regain their composure before a meeting or activity.
By creating a calm, supportive working environment for your highly sensitive team members, you will maximise their creativity and productivity, benefiting your team and your company.
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Words matter deeply to HSPs, so use language thoughtfully. Criticism- even an offhand remark - can cut them deeply, so keep it to a minimum. Instead, tell your HSP partner that you love them, compliment their appearance, and reminisce about shared happy memories - it'll mean the world to them.
HSPs are desperate not to inconvenience others. So if your HSP seems subdued or quieter than usual, check in on them and ask them how they are. They'll deeply appreciate the fact that you've noticed.
Discover what gives your HSP the most enjoyment and treat them to beautiful art, a walk to listen to the dawn chorus or a delicious meal. Thanks to their super-sensitive nature, you might get tears, but they'll be tears of joy.
HSPs are highly observant of tiny details in others. It's almost as if they take on their moods and emotions. So if you come home in a bad temper or sulking, your HSP partner will "catch" your mental state. Try to be more aware of the vibes you give out and replace negative behaviour with positivity.
While it might not make much sense, respect the limits and wishes of your HSP. Something that seems unimportant to you may be essential to your partner's wellbeing. Bear in that HSPs experience physical touch very intensely. Hugs and kisses are vital to HSPs - but keep it gentle and with consent!
Your HSP pays close attention to you and wants you to notice them in return. So while you might never be aware of tiny things as intensely as they are, just try - a little effort goes a long way!
If you or someone you are close to is an HSP, you are likely to feel things more deeply, whether positive or negative. The "highs" may be joyful, but the "lows" may impact your work, relationships, and resilience. So develop a plan to manage your emotions in challenging situations so that you don't feel overwhelmed.
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