Being Highly Sensitive IS Normal

Ever told someone that your child is highly sensitive only to be met with a blank stare? Or worse still, to be given a sceptical ‘yeah right’ look? In an era of social media when strangers think it is acceptable to throw the label of snowflake about, or share their unwanted rude (and usually uninformed) opinions about any topic you can imagine, it’s often easier to say nothing at all about the trait of high sensitivity. People hear the word sensitive and apply negative connotations. Which is a shame, because being highly sensitive is completely and utterly normal – but is misunderstood.

Being Highly Sensitive IS Normal

What is Highly Sensitive?

Between fifteen and twenty percent of the world population is highly sensitive. That’s up to one in five people. Men and women. Boys and girls.

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Make a Happy List and Grow It!

This month is Happiness Happens month. It’s a great time to think about what makes you happy. It’s a great month to make a happy list to carry with you through the autumn and winter months ahead. Make a happy list to take stock of the things in your life that make you happy, that you are glad and grateful for. Making a happy list will also help you pinpoint the things in your life you are not happy about. What can you change?

Make a Happy List and Grow It!

What Makes You Happy?

There are some general things that tend to make highly sensitive people happy, but at the end of the day we are all different.

What makes me happy won’t necessarily make you happy.

Happiness is personal.

Happiness is important.

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How to Find Happiness in the Workplace If You Are a Highly Sensitive Person

Are you a highly sensitive person (HSP) struggling with your career? You are not alone. It’s no secret that HSPs are prone to burnout, and for many that stems from work related reasons. However, all is not lost as there are a number of factors that increase the chance of a HSP finding happiness in the workplace.

How to Find Happiness in the Workplace If You Are a Highly Sensitive Person

Work With Meaning

HSPs prefer to have work that has meaning. HSPs are not generally happy when their working life is just about bringing in the money. Money is of course important, but for a HSP to find happiness in the workplace there has to be something more attached to the pay check at the end of the month – a sense of achievement, of contribution.

There has to be a feeling that your work is making a difference to someone somewhere – and the fat cat at the top of a company earning a healthy salary from your hard work does not count.

HSPs flourish when they see their work as a calling.

The Importance of Down Time at Work for a HSP

Down time is important for a HSP, even during the working day. This may take the form of getting out of the work environment for lunch into a quiet environment, going for a walk, or simply spending short breaks alone.

Being a HSP doesn’t mean that it is impossible to cope in busy, chaotic environments, as long as you are able to exercise a certain amount of control over your own downtime and retreat when it gets too much.

Going home drained and incapable of doing anything more at the end of a day is not a fun way to live, but it is reality for many HSPs.

Down time is as important for a HSP in the workplace as it is anywhere else.

Why HSPs Make Great Employees

  • A HSP thinks carefully before taking action, mulling over the possible consequences prior to acting.
  • HSPs are creative.
  • A HSP is loyal to the right cause.
  • HSPs are all about detail.
  • HSPs are in tune to the needs of others, including emotional needs. They read situations and body language well.
  • HSPs don’t like conflict and would rather see a group working cohesively together, It’s a good trait for a manager. They’ll avoid office politics and concentrate on the job in hand.
  • HSPs are great listeners, making them empathetic leaders.
  • HSPs have great intuition when it comes to dealing with people.
  • HSPs require little supervision and are great at self-motivating, if the work is meaningful.

What a HSP Thrives on in the Workplace

  • A job that allows a HSP to determine their own working hours is a major plus. Think along the lines of homeworking and freelancing.
  • Jobs that require attention to detail.
  • Jobs that allow independent working.
  • Jobs that require a HSP to really hone in and focus on issues, requires deep thinking.
  • Meaningful connections in the workplace, teams that work harmoniously.
  • Being seen, and being acknowledged for their contribution.
  • Feeling valued.

“I hated being an employee number in a multinational organisation, where nameless faces pass each other in the corridor. Working in a crowd of strangers could never put me at ease.”
What I Realised About My Career Once I Knew I Was Highly Sensitive 

What a HSP Doesn’t Need in a Job

  • A HSP is unlikely to thrive in a job that puts them under constant stress with multiple demands on their time.
  • Jobs that require continuously working to tight deadlines are probably not ones that a HSP will last long in. Not with their mental health in tact in any case.
  • An open plan busy office environment will unlikely be a fun place to work if you are a HSP. Open plan offices provide constant distraction and noise and little autonomy over your own work environment.
  • Office politics are not usually something that a HSP likes to be involved in.
  • Corporations where it’s about money first, second and third.
  • A lack of ethics.
  • Hard targets or sales will likely not go down well with a HSP. Working under constant pressure, and failing to find meaning in what you are doing doesn’t sit well with a HSP.
  • Constant team work will drain a HSP. Many HSPs will produce their best work alone, when they have time to think and process different scenarios. Being asked to collaborate with others continually will drain a HSP and block their creativity.

Careers That Work for a HSP

  • Creative professions – acting, writing, graphic design, artist, proof reading or editing (HSPs have an eye for detail and are so great at weeding out mistakes), musician, music or art teacher, fashion designer, photographer.
  • Caring professions – nursing, social work, counsellor, therapist, coaching, tutor.
  • Freelancer jobs – autonomy around clients, working hours and schedules as well as job content work well for a HSP.
  • Independent roles – jobs that don’t have supervisors hovering over you. HSPs perform less well whilst being watched (the same applies to children during tests etc).
  • Business owner – HSPs make great leaders and owning their own (small) business is something that definitely works for HSPs.
  • Nature or ‘green’ careers – Think beyond enclosed offices and buildings. HSPs have an affinity to nature and care about the environment. Combining those passions into a career is a good way to go. Think along the lines of working with animals, gardeners, garden design, environmental engineer, conservationist scientist, park ranger, archeologist, landscape architect.


Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person

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Read: I’m Highly Sensitive and it Has Consequences for My Career

Over to You

What jobs have you had that were complete mismatches? If you are a HSP and happy in your workplace, what factors make it a good place to work? What careers do you think best match HSP traits?

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9 Things That Makes a Highly Sensitive Person Happy

This month is Happiness Happens month. And that’s worth smiling about. Happiness is a wonderful theme to focus on. So that’s what we’re going to do on Happy Sensitive Kids throughout August. Happiness. What does it mean? When are you happy? What makes a highly sensitive person (HSP) happy in the workplace? Where you can find happiness resources? All of this this month on the blog.

9 Things That Makes a Highly Sensitive Person Happy

The Power of Happiness

Happiness is contagious. Happiness is unlimited. Sharing your happiness with your friends and family brings joy to them. When your kids are happy, you tend to revel in their happiness.

Happiness is a powerful tool.

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Highly Sensitive Parents/Children Master Class

I am delighted to share a very special Master Class: Highly Sensitive Parents/Children with you, hosted by Susan Stiffelman with Dr. Elaine Aron, eminent psychologist, researcher, and author of The Highly Sensitive Person and The Highly Sensitive Child, and Alane Freund, MFT.

Highly Sensitive Parents_Children Master Class

For Who is the Master Class?

This class is for highly sensitive parents and those looking to support highly sensitive parents and their children.

  • Can you answer yes to any of these questions?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by the noise, activities, and demands of parenting?
  • Is your child easily flooded by too much stimulation, or high sensory input?
  • Do you or your child become anxious in social situations?
  • Do people say that you or your child are “too sensitive?”
  • Do you or your child need extra time to recover from stimulating experiences?
  • Do you or your child have a finely tuned nervous system?

What Will the Class Cover?

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5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Think Positively

Highly sensitive children (HSC) analyse situations in detail; they think deeply about things that have happened and the repercussions they can have. It’s a trait that makes HSCs cautious, that triggers  a pause before acting. Sometimes though a child focuses so much on the negatives, or possible negative outcomes, that it becomes unhealthy. Here’s how to help your child think more positively.

5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Think Positively

Positive Affirmations

A simple written statement hanging on a wall in a child’s bedroom can make a huge difference. I know because it’s something a counsellor created with one of my sons and I saw it have a positive impact.

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5 Ways to Help a Child Turn Their Negative Self-Talk into a Helpful Friend

Negative self-talk is damaging. A critical inner voice that just won’t quit is emotionally and mentally harmful. It’s important not to let our children’s negative self-talk go unchecked. Our inner voice won’t go away. But we can change how it talks to us. Here’s how to tackle a child’s habit of negative self-talk. Better still, here’s how you help them turn that negative self-talk into a helpful friend.

5 Ways to Help a Child Turn Their Negative Self-Talk into a Helpful Friend

What is Negative Self-Talk?

Our self-talk is how we talk to ourselves. It’s our inner narrator who sits with us for the ride as we travel through life.

Negative self-talk is the voice of a judge, a doubter, a critic. It belittles us. Makes us believe we are incapable of reaching our goals.

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