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on October 20, 2004
Building on Dr. Elaine Aron's research on Highly Sensitive People, Ted Zeff's book takes a practical "next step" for the HSP: Now that you *know* about the trait, how do you *manage* it, in an overstimulating world? I started reading this book on a flight from Texas to a convention in California, and discovered tips I could immediately apply to my situation at that moment.

The author starts with a general overview of the HSP trait-- including the sensitivity "self test" developed by Elaine Aron-- and then offers readers some guidance on how to make the best use of the book. Subsequent chapters deal with such topics as preparing for your daily life, dealing with time pressures, physical health, improving sleep patterns, coping with relationships, the work environment, and spirituality. The book concludes by answering some common concerns and questions asked by HSPs, as well as a section on choosing an appropriate healer from the helping professions.

Throughout, Zeff draws on a variety of relaxation and meditation techniques, as well as aspects of Eastern philosophy and spirituality helpful in minimizing and ending general pain and suffering. His overall tone is gentle, helpful and validating, and completely appropriate for a Highly Sensitive Person.

Final thoughts: Highly Recommended (10 out of 10 possible bookmarks) for all HSPs. The book is easy to read, and takes on the much needed topic of how to PRACTICALLY deal with being an HSP.

Thanks for reading!

--Peter
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on January 29, 2007
I read Elaine Aron's book, "The Highly Sensitive Person" which was

quite helpful, but I still didn't know how to cope with my sensitivity

in this harsh world. I work in a pressure cooker environment with so

much loud noise, deadlines and aggressive people, I'm wiped out at the

end of the day. I found the chapter on `Creating a Peaceful Work

Environment" a godsend. I immediately started employing the suggestions

in the book. I was scared to ask my boss if I could work part time from

home, but I followed Ted Zeff's suggestions on how to explain to others

about my HSP trait and finally got the courage to ask for a change. I'm

now able to work three half days from home and being out of that

intense office has made me feel more relaxed and able to cope better

with my job.

While the chapters on calming the senses, coping with time pressure,

maintaining a healthy body and nurturing the HSP soul were helpful, I particularly found useful the chapter on "Harmonious

Relationships for the HSP." My entire life I have been sensitive and

over-reacted to people who have teased me or treated me in an abrasive

manner. I've been following the book's different techniques to reduce

conflicts with people and have had some encouraging results. I'm

finding that I'm asserting myself more in a positive manner when people

have made hurtful comments. I used to be upset sometimes for days when

someone hurt my feelings. I'm feeling hopeful that I have some new

tools that seem to really work so I won't keep obsessing over people

who have hurt me.

I really enjoyed the supportive, yet humorous tone in which Ted Zeff

wrote the book making for easy reading. In the past I've had trouble

following too technical writing by professionals. If you are a highly

sensitive person, this book can really help you.
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on April 28, 2006
As a child, I was sent to my room as punishment for being "too sensitive" within my very stoic family. Looking back, I think I probably relished the time alone although I still remember the conflicting feelings of aloneness in not being understood, wondering why I so easily cried during a sad movie or other empathic inducements while others did not, wondering if there really was something wrong with me, etc. Later, in trying to eliminate all pieces of the sensitivity traits, I remained a bit different, regardless. Later still, I have found a good balance which simply comes from knowing and being true to yourself, knowing your strengths and limitations, saying "yes" to what would be good for you and learning to say "no" when need be. Good sense for anyone - highly sensitive or not.

The HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) is wired differently than most. Their nervous systems are more reactive and finely tuned, processing things - both positive and negative - more deeply. Also their brain wave patterns are more frequently in the theta state (near the state of meditation, open to intuitive feelings and able to pick up light, sound and other subtle vibrations easily) so truly they should be aware that their water glass holds more stimuli from sources that can become overwhelming and spilled over when not handled properly.

Maybe it's because I am an older HSP and have learned to adjust to the inherent traits, but I felt this book was not as beneficial as I had hoped. In addition, I felt many parts of "The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide" focused on negative limitations instead of needed ways to transcend problems and troublesome situations.

Reading this book from a non-HSP's perspective, I viewed the HSP portrayed as being willfully temperamental, weak, fragile and needing to be coddled. I also felt they were singled out for possession of weaknesses not necessarily belonging to an HSP but could fit a broader population or sometimes anyone at all. A few examples are: "In some situations it can be useful to state that you have a finely tuned nervous system before you request that the person change their (annoying) behavior." (Yet the scenarios given would make anyone upset and it's doubtful that telling the offender that one is HSP, would help.) "The hospital and medical environment is quite emotionally challenging for the HSP." (I disagree.) "By the way, I don't think the song `I Could Have Danced All Night' was written by an HSP." (I disagree with the inference that an HSP doesn't have the physical stamina and/or that they may need a constant drone of boredom in order to survive.) References to "safe", quiet spaces, "inhospitable environment" and other innuendoes caused me to believe the inaccurate stereotyping that HSPs must be catered to due to their delicate natures.

"The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide" is a great resource guide for any who need to learn how to take care of themselves, however. Written by Ted Zeff, PH.D., a psychologist who has taught stress reduction, insomnia management and also currently teaches workshops for HSP, "The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide" is filled with very detailed methods of sensible and vital information and coping techniques for anyone wanting to reduce stress levels and live a calmer and healthier lifestyle. I especially enjoyed the "Nurturing The HSP Soul" chapter.
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on January 14, 2006
Ted Zeff wrote this book as a way of offering new practical & coping strategies for HSP. Being a HSP himself, Zeff attempts to offer insights into the daily struggles HSP experience in their lives. Zeff's basic assumption is HSP are extremely sensitive, and if they don't learn skills to cope with the sensitivity, and over stimulation they experience, they will continue to be at-risk for psychological, physical and problems.

The book has strengths in that it is easy to read and short in length. The author offers a bibliography and web sites for HSPs to check out, and he attempts to address coping strategies as the book title suggest.

However, I had problems with the lack of creditable research with the book. He continues to say "based on my research" and the only evidence of research he offers is citing Elaine Aron's work (he did not conduct his own personal interviews with HSPs). In fact, he utilizes her (Aron's) quizzes, and her language/definition of highly sensitive. Moreover, in Chapter 9 entitled: Answering Common Questions from HSPs, Zeff makes the chapter appear as if he conducted interviews with many HSPs, yet he only offers a hand-full of case examples from HSPs. In chapter 9, he presents questions posed by HSPs, but fells to establish when and where these so-called questions and interviews took place which leads me to believe he made the questions up.

Furthermore, I had difficulties with the way Zeff protrays HSPs as very weak persons that are easily overwhelmed by any differences that goes against the nature of being HSPs For example, he talks about limiting TV viewing because of the stress it causes on HSPs. He says HSP should limit tv viewing to only uplifting shows, and when commercials come on, HSPs need to mute the sound. Why? Because "commercials can wreak havoc on HSP finely tuned nervous systems." (Keep in mind the only evidence he offers on this TV theory is based on his being a TV addict and what it did to his nervous system.) In addition, he says HSP need to be careful of video stores and picking movies because, "selecting a nonviolent video in the often-hectic environment of most video stores is quite challenging for HSPs." Again who told him that? Where is the evidence that video stores are challenging for HSP? Lastly, Zeff suggests that the telephone is problematic for HSPs because of our ability to "scare easily." In fact, he is so convinced that HSPs experience "problems" with the telephone rang tone, and people talking on cell phones, he suggests we need a game plan to address these problems. What's the game plan? Let the phone rang several times before answering it and in the meanwhile, the HSPs should take slow deep breaths, mentally repeat a mantra of "clam" before picking it up. He also says to change the rang tone to a more relaxing sound. And regarding cell phones, "based on his research" his suggests that HSPs wear ear plugs in stores/airports, and if need be, consult with an audiologist so that they can custom make a set of earplugs to escape from the "stimuli-saturated world."

Finally, I am surprised Elaine Aron chose to write the foreword to this book. I don't see where this book adds to her work or says anything different from it. I think Aron has written all there is to say about HSP in her two books, and books like Zeff have nothing much to add. My concern is that if non-HSP read this book, they might form the opinion that HSPs are whiney babies who are sensitive traits to get what we want. The only useful information I found in the book was the HSP web sites.

To save you time and money of reading/buying the book, the HSP web sties are:
[...]
[...]
[...]
[...]
If you want to visit Zeff's web site it's [...]
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on October 8, 2004
If you're highly sensitive, this is the book for you. Dr. Zeff shows you how to cope with overstimulation, and stay healthy, relaxed and centered. There's plenty of very practical advice as well as clear explanations of what's been going on with your nervous system and what you can do about it to make life a much more pleasant experience. This is a terrific book!
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on December 24, 2007
People who are highly sensitive get a bum rap. They are blamed for their "OVER-sensitivity". As someone married to a highly sensitive person, I have been one of the blamers. Ted Zeff has produced a work that welcomes the highly sensitive person as a valued member of the human race, with priceless gifts to share with those of us who are less sensitive. This book contributes to the full appreciation of the great diversity that makes up our human family.
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on February 23, 2006
I thought it was impressive the level of detail Dr Zeff goes into in regards to dealing with everyday life for highly sensitive people. As suggested, he does give straightforward, simple strategies to deal with life's challenges. He has an easy, personal writing style, with a sense of humor to boot. I particularly enjoyed reading about the inner and spiritual aspects of being HSP. I also appreciated him describing all the beneficial aspects of being HSP, and how I can see it as other than something I had to endure.
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on May 8, 2007
After I read Elaine Aron's book "The Highly Sensitive Person" I learned that being sensitive is not bad, but just a trait I have. While I enjoyed her book, especially reframing my childhood experiences in light of my new understanding as a sensitive person, I really wanted more information about how to cope as a sensitive person.

Then I found Ted Zeff's practical book "The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide." This book is exactly what I was looking for to learn techniques that I needed to cope with people at work and with my family who are not highly sensitive.

The book is full of new, useful ideas from how to deal with difficult people at work to suggestions for living with people who aren't sensitive. Zeff is an excellent writer and presents the material in a professional, yet entertaining manner making the book an easy read. He quotes innumerable studies indicating how well researched the book is. If you liked Elaine Aron's books, this one is the perfect complement. Every highly sensitive person should read this book.
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on January 22, 2006
I thought there was something wrong with me due to my sensitivity, but after reading "The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide," I realize that I just have a trait that makes me react more than most people to stimuli. I particularly found helpful the list of positive qualities that we HSPs have. It's made me feel stronger and more confident. I learned how to assert myself and meet my needs from a compassionate place and have found my life turning around rather than being a victim

of our chaotic world. Dr. Zeff extensive teaching of classes for HSPs and gathering so much information directly from his students evidently helped him in researching the book and coming up with so many new, helpful suggestions. His work really complements Elaine Aron's book, "The Highly Sensitive Person" who wrote the forward to his book.
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on January 22, 2006
I think it would have saved me a lot of the unnecessary suffering and beating up on myself that being an HSP in a non-HSP society has brought me. I think Ted Zeff's done a great service writing this book. It may not be for science minded left-brainers, but its not intended for them - the rest of the western world is designed for them. Its an intuitive yet very practical and insightful guidebook that describes how to make life more manageable for those of us with thinner skins. I found the part about sleeping, insomnia and diet particularly helpful, as these are things I still struggle with. Lots of the information Zeff conveys here I have come round to the hard way - through trial and error. I think that, particularly for teens and young adults, this can be extremely helpful and timely, given the influx of sensitive souled "indigo children". Thanks Ted!!
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