HSP and Allergy

“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you and becoming who you are.”

~ Rachel Naomi Remen

Are You a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

American actress, Winona Ryder, once stated, “Maybe I’m just too sensitive for this world.” I could relate to her comment.  It is very challenging for a highly sensitive person (HSP) to live in a world that is fast-paced and aggressive, which could easily cause overstimulation and a stressed-out nervous system. Dr. Elaine Aron who wrote the authoritative book, The Highly Sensitive Person, postulates that about 15-20% of the world population possesses this personality trait.

So how do you know if you are highly sensitive? You are probably a highly sensitive person, according to Dr. Aron, if you:

  • Are easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby.
  • Get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time.
  • Make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows.
  • Need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation.
  • Make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations.
  • Notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art.
  • Have a rich and complex inner life.
  • When you were a child, your parents or teachers saw you as sensitive or shy.

Okay, but what does being highly sensitive have anything to do with allergies, you may ask. Well, if you are a HSP, then it’s a high possibility that you have a highly sensitive body. Think about it… if you have a finely tuned nervous system, it would be more sensitive to its surroundings, reacting more deeply, intensely and for a longer time to the signals sent by the sense organs. Hence, a HSP would have more difficult time coping with stressful triggers than a non-HSP who simply may brush them off.

People with a highly sensitive body would exhibit hypersensitivity to emotions, negative energies around people or machines. They would be prone to develop allergies and other sensitivities easily. We know that a long-term exposure to environmental toxins and stressful lifestyle manifests in symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, and hormonal imbalance, among others. It’s safe to say that there seems to be a direct correlation between hypersensitivity of the immune system to allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases.

A highly sensitive person with highly sensitive body would exhibit some of the following common symptoms:

  • Insomnia, sleep disorders
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Chronic migraine and headaches
  • Food and environmental sensitivities
  • Asthma
  • Irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion
  • Eczema
  • Frequent sinus and ear infections

There are ways for highly sensitive people to not only survive but thrive in the world. Since my main intention here was to provide a case for common link between allergies and hypersensitivity, I chose not to delve further into the characteristics of HSPs.

However, I will share below what I have tried and found helpful in dealing with my highly sensitive nature.

  • Yarrow Flowers (capsules or liquid drops) has shown to be useful for HSPs for general strengthening against negative influences from people and environment.
  • Rescue Remedy from Bach Flower Essence is excellent for stressful times to soothe frazzled nerves and create overall calmness.
  • Try this visualization I often use before going to a crowded place: I would invite a warm, radiating, healing white light to surround my external body and then allow that light to permeate inside to shield and protect me against any negative energy I may absorb.
  • Choose a career that suits your personality. Working from home has reduced my interaction with people and external stressors like traffic, crowd, and excessive noise. Online businesses are ideal.
  • Develop hobbies and interests that support and nourish your sensitive nature. Painting, reading, writing, listening to relaxing music, visiting museums (avoiding busy days), gardening, and hiking all nurture my mind, body, and soul.
  • Before starting each day I practice brief self-hypnosis to give myself positive suggestions. I would say something like, “I am protected from negative energies around me. I feel safe and calm.” I would repeat these words throughout the day like affirmations.
  • Meditation calms the mind and relaxes the body. In silence, we are more in touch with our inner world and its needs. Quiet, solitary time is essential for HSPs to recharge themselves.
  • Live in quiet, calm areas surrounded by natural elements like trees, garden, lake, mountains, etc. If this is not possible, create a serene, peaceful environment inside your home filled with plants, water fountain, artworks of nature, and so on.
  • Join a support group for HSPs. Interacting and bonding with like-minded people is  crucial to one’s sense of belonging and general wellness.
  • Healthy diet is essential. Eat fresh, organic, natural foods as often as possible. Also, avoid using household products that contain high chemical toxins.
  • I simply tell other people that I am highly sensitive – briefly mentioning about this innate trait with sensitive nervous system and how I am affected by sensory input. I learned to avoid lengthy explanation and to let go of my need to apologize for being very sensitive. I say, “Accept and celebrate who you are!”

When you are a HSP, it’s easy to focus mainly on the negative aspects of your personality. So to balance that out, consider these positive qualities you likely possess:

  • Loyal and conscientious
  • Intuitive and tend to have deep spiritual experiences
  • Natural counselor, teacher, and healer because of compassionate, kind, and creative nature
  • Can be aware of potential dangers and other safety concerns sooner than non-HSPs
  • Deep appreciation of arts and beauty
  • Experience greater sense of love and joy than non-HSPs when not feeling overwhelmed
  • Caring, sensitive nature tends to support well-being of all sentient life

Highly sensitive people can get easily hurt. Words and actions by others affect us deeply. Often, the emotional hurts caused by others – intentionally or not – fester inside and make us ill. Try this heart-centered visualization exercise to free yourself from the conflicts with others.

Also, learn more about the relationship between sensitivity and your skin and how to care for it.

Unfortunately, HSPs are often misunderstood by the general population as being too sensitive, antisocial, and neurotic. This attitude could and often does lead to confusion and self-loathing on the part of HSPs. But remember the wonderful, positive qualities we have that are mentioned above. And it is extremely important to educate ourselves further to understand who we are more accurately.

To that end, I recommend you read the following books to gain more insight into this trait and to learn other useful methods to live in the world effectively and fully with self acceptance and care:

  1. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
  2. The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World by Ted Zeff and Elaine N. Aron
  3. The Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide: An Alternative Health Answer to Emotional Sensitivity & Depression by Kyra Mesich Psy.D.
  4. Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person by Barrie Jaeger
  5. The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them by Elaine N. Aron
  6. The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron



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