The Highly Sensitive Person ( HSP )

I have a really important book to suggest. This is a national best seller and is  titled

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You (1996) by Elaine Aron, PhD.

Yes, it’s an older publication but I’m telling you it’s eye opening and life changing for many. Even if you don’t score as a HSP, this book will help those of you who have a HSP in your life. These people are so often misunderstood by themselves and others.

Here is the self-test in the book. If you answer yes to 12 or more of the questions below, please take a look at this wonderful book.

I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment.  T  or F

Other people’s moods affect me.  T  or F

I tend to be very sensitive to pain.   T or F

I find myself needing to withdraw during busy days where I can have some privacy and relief from stimulation.  T  or F

I am sensitive to the effects of caffeine.  T  or F 

I am easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells, course fabrics, or sirens.  T  or  F

I have a rich, complex inner life.  T or  F

I am made uncomfortable by loud noises.  T or  F

I am deeply moved by the arts or music.  T or  F

I am conscientious.  T or  F

I startle easily.  T or  F

I get rattled when I have a lot to do in  short amount of time.  T or  F

When people are uncomfortable in a physical environment I tend to know what needs to be done to make it more comfortable ( like change lighting or move seating ).  T or  F

I am annoyed when people try to get me to do too many things at once.  T  or F

I try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things.  T or  F

I make it a point to avoid violent movies or TV shows.  T or  F

I become overstimulated when a lot is going on around me.  T  or F

Being very hungry creates a strong reaction in me, disrupting my mood or concentration.  T or  F

Changes in  my life shake me up.  T  or F

I notice and enjoy delicate or fine scents, sounds, tastes.  T or F

I make it a high priority to arrange my life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations.  T or  F

When I must compete or be observed while performing a task ( public speaking for example), I become nervous and do much worse than I would otherwise.  T or  F

When I was a child, my parents or teachers saw me as sensitive or shy.  T or  F

Here is  Elaine Aron’s  bio and website:

Dr. Aron earned her M.A. from York University in Toronto in clinical psychology and her Ph.D. at Pacifica Graduate Institute in clinical depth psychology as well as interning at the C. G. Jung Institute in San Francisco. Besides beginning the study of the innate temperament trait of high sensitivity in 1991, she, along with her husband Dr. Arthur Aron, are two of the leading scientists studying the psychology of love and close relationships. They are also pioneers in studying both sensitivity and love using functional magnetic resonance imaging. She maintains a small psychotherapy practice in Mill Valley, CA.


Elaine Aron PhD


About Karin O'Brien

I enjoy learning about places, the people and their passions, the climate, the geography and the food of the world. In psychological terms, this gives me a connection to the world- a common ground with others of hobby, passion, and community. Wine is the bridge. I am a nurse practitioner with a WSET level I certificate from Napa Valley Wine Academy. I worked as a tour guide at a local winery and as a student assistant at Boston Wine School. Find me also on twitter @karinobrien434 and
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2 Responses to The Highly Sensitive Person ( HSP )

  1. tinammm2014 says:

    I went through the questions and found I answered “true” to more than 12 – I thought I was
    sensitive but never realized I
    was an HSP! Thanks for enlightening me and I think I’ll read Dr. Aron’s book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • karin says:

      Tina thanks for the comment. This book is a rare find. The subject is under- identified, under-valued and frankly not even written about or studied much in the field pf psychology ( probably because it wouldn’t make a profit for for the drug companies). I believe that there are many positive traits that go along with being a HSP and learning about it will offer a lot of clarity.


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