Are you the type of person who cannot ignore heartache? If so, then you are one of many highly sensitive people.
Do you find yourself crying over “little things“? Do you have a strange gift for perception, especially when it comes to social situations?
Highly sensitive people have the ability to notice everything, and in turn, everything brings an emotional response. Be it sad or happy, sensitive people feel it much deeper than all the rest. This doesn’t make you a freak or outcast, or at least it shouldn’t, it just means you could be wired a little differently. It has its pros and cons, to be honest.
Your brain works in ways that seem alien to those who aren’t “highly sensitive people“. You could be well tuned, also a member of the HSP (highly sensitive person) group, which consists of 20% of the earth’s population. You could display greater empathy toward others and a quicker response to stimuli, be it social or environmentally focused.
Studies of highly sensitive people are conclusive
Published in Brain and Behavior, a new study reveals what really goes on inside the brain of a sensitive person. Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), scientists were able to discover just what makes these guys respond differently from others. Exactly 18 participants, highly sensitive people and those who were not, were compared. Each person viewed images of faces with different expressions – some were happy and some were sad. Some of the images were of people they knew while others were strangers.
Those who were highly sensitive people were affected differently by the photos. They experienced an increased amount of blood flow to regions of the brain associated with feeling empathy, namely the Anterior Insula. Not surprisingly, tests showed that when the sensitive subjects were shown images of their spouses, brain activity was at its highest. Even more so, when the images showed their spouses to be smiling.
The greatest activity was found specifically in the “mirror neuron system“, an area responsible for planning an action, being fully aware and processing sensory information. Sensitive people seem to be tuned into their environment unlike those who do not notice small details, thus having a natural instinct to make quicker decisions. Strange, isn’t it.
What does this mean?
What it means is, it’s not a bad thing to be sensitive, it only means you’re different, and since you feel things in more dimensions, you notice more as well. There are positive aspects to having high sensitivity, including being able to be more merciful, charitable and make well-thought-out choices. It also means being in touch with emotions that otherwise may be taken for granted. Many relationships can benefit from some of the higher sensitivities as well, as one of the most prevalent complaints between couples is the inability to care about one another’s feelings.
Not to say that being less than sensitive is a bad thing either. It just means there are different strengths and weaknesses between us all. It takes a mixture to create a healthy human race. I believe our design and function as humans is to compliment each other.
Now that is enough to bring tears to my eyes. How about you?
By Sherrie H.
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