Are you a high sensation seeker after all?

Being a High Sensation Seeking HSP is a package of being both highly sensitive yet kind of addicted to the buzz of a thrilling experience and novelty; a craving for being in a regularly high state of mental or physical arousal. If you've spent years being almost painfully sensitive or even unwell, perhaps with chronic fatigue, you may quickly brush this off as nonsense in your own case. Yet, as I discovered, it pays not to be so quick to dismiss this possible trait because finding out you have it (if in some less obvious or conventional ways than other people) could shed an enormous amount of light on your long-running health or other issues.

Are you still getting over Christmas?

To those of us that are Highly Sensitive People (HSPs), the festive season can feel almost unbearably charged or even toxic, including high exposure to people and behaviours that we normally manage to avoid; and that’s not just within our families and friends, since many of us are empathic enough to feel the general mood of the collective. There are many more toxic byproducts than that; some obvious and some less so (read my full article for more on that). The effect can be like an energetic hangover that takes some time to get over; so how do we do that and, when do we start asking, is it worth it or is there another way to behave, that feels more in sync with who we are, at the end of the year? Is this, in fact, what our bodies are trying to tell us?

Living to your blueprint

Dr Elaine Aron’s work on this topic has been a life-changer for so many people with high-sensitivity since the phrase was not even coined until she came along and gave it this label. Her book, film and website resources are some of the most useful tools I have ever come across and she is cited by pretty-much everyone who speaks out about high sensitivity which, thanks to her, people now do; quite unheard of a couple of decades ago. More and more, high-sensitivity has become a buzz-word and not because its trendy to jump onto its bandwagon but because many of us had very little concept of what made us so different until this point; which allowed everyone else’s opinion of us, that we are “wierd”, “weak”, “neurotic” highly-strung” and so on, to stick. With more interest garnered in it than ever, it's now been shown by studies to be a genetic trait; something a fifth of us are born with…so, not an illness, timidness, weirdness, personality flaw, mental health issue, handicap or lack of backbone (as so often referred to in our families, schools and workplaces). When we turn this around to see High Sensitivity and its traits as a bundle of gifts, we start to live much closer to our personal blueprint.

The synesthesia – sensitivity – chronic pain link

Synesthesia has overlaps with heightened sensitivity and both have overlaps with chronic pain. All of these phenomenon overlap in me so you can see why I am so interested. It's as though chronic pain is the down side of the see-saw on which synaesthesia is the colourful gift at the highest end (I really wouldn't be without it and the sensory adventures it takes me on) and sensitivity is the mixing pot of both, made up of both pluses and minuses, depending on how challenging these heightened sensitivities make the experience of life. Exploring the sensory soup of these cross-over phenomenon, asking whether we are all born with synesthesia as science is now suggesting and looking into all the potential a deeper understanding of them holds for transforming human experience.

Getting my own attenton

Its not a level playing field; the way we are attached to our primary caregiver as a child can have profound and long-lasting effects on our immunity and health patterns for the rest of our life, which could explain why some people are much more prone to chronic health issues and other anomolies, even more bizarre sensitivities, than others. Attachment issues have been especially associated with chronic pain, how we experience and handle that pain and how effective we are at seeking help when we need it. This is a deep plunge into the new science around this topic as well as an anecdotally personal look at how to go deeply into this opportunity, when triggered, in order to offer yourself all the attentivenes and tender love you may have lacked in infanthood in order to heal.