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The Highly Sensitive Person Audible – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 664 customer reviews

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Format: Paperback
In this unique book, research psychologist Elaine Aron breaks new psychological ground by defining a personality trait inadequately explored in the past, a trait that an estimated 15-20% of the U.S. population carries. The trait manifests in a highly sensitive nervous system present from birth and probably inherited, much like other personality traits or physical features. Highly sensitive people, or HSPs as Aron calls people who possess this trait, are much more sensitive to nearly everything they experience -- from the sensory characteristics of objects and events, to the subtleties of inner feelings and relationships between people. As a result of this heightened awareness to everything in their environment, highly sensitive people in our culture are often told, "You're too sensitive for your own good," and are admonished to develop a "tougher skin." Ms. Aron discusses the ways in which people with this trait have frequently been mislabeld in the past, often branded as "shy," "introverted," or "neurotic," even by professionals. She goes to great lengths to define and describe the sensitivity trait as it influences an individual's life, providing both research evidence and personal anecdotes from the scores of people interviewed for her work. The evidence illustrates that being a highly sensitive person is both a blessing and a burden, depending upon a number of different factors in the life history of the individual. Possessing this trait can make life challenging at times but Ms. Aron, herself an HSP, emphasizes that being sensitive is not a psychological disorder or a personality flaw to get rid of. The sensitivity trait is merely a part of an individual's personality.Read more ›
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By A Customer on May 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
My husband bought this book for me because he'd read about it and thought that I might be what Aron terms a "highly sensitive person" (HSP). Like many of the other reviewers here, I was amazed to discover that Aron described, and explained, many of my own traits and experiences: sensitivity to noise and dislike of hubbub (strong characteristics of American culture); stress and fatigue from brief and ordinary, though intense to me, social interactions; the ability to sense other people's moods and what is going on below surface interactions more so than others seem to; and the feeling of being the only one who experiences the world as I do. Aron's study is grounded in solid research and persuasive scientific explanations, as well as in her personal experiences and those of numerous subjects she interviewd. This is a path-breaking book that not only validates the experiences of sensitive people but gives specific, thoughtful advice for understanding ourselves, coping in the world (in a variety of situations, including one's job), and making the most of our senstivity. I suspect that the opinionated rants found among some of these reviews are from non-HSPs who don't get it, because HSPs are by nature more thoughtful (rather than boorish and angry) and would offer well-considered, fair assessments of the book. Thank you, Dr. Aron, for giving us this wonderful book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I truly wish that this book would have existed 30 or more years ago. Almost everthing traditionally written on this subject has been tacitly negative. The highly sensitive, or introverted, personality type was automatically assumed to be defective to some degree for their failure to "adapt" to the extroverted "norm." I think that this is because most traditional American psychological thought has been fundamentally industrial and military psychology- the subject is always supposed to adapt to the environment and never the other way around. Those who cannot adapt are identified and disposed of. That is certainly how military psychology has always been practiced. This book is the first to demonstrate that highly sensitive people are both "normal" and have many valuable traits. Indeed, they excel against extraverts in most areas that make people truly "human." Not only that, but in other cultures without an unnatural majority of extraverts, the sensitive person was seen as the ideal friend and citizen.

I especially appreciated the explanation of the biochemistry of "over-stimulation." When sensitive people are forced to interact in unnatural evironments the cortisol levels in their bloodstream increases, making them even more sensitive to their environment than they usually are. Unless they can withdraw, or otherwise calm themselves, it is a virtual certainty that they will overreact. This means that they will act contrary to their usual conscientious, reasonable, and understanding normal behavior in order to escape. Needless to say, inspite of the fact that this reaction is virtually out of their control, this overreaction is dealt with harshly by society- and by employers.
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Format: Paperback
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Answer true or false to these ten statements as they apply to you:

1. I find myself needing to withdraw during busy days to any place where I can have some privacy and relief from stimulation.
2. I am easily overwhelmed by things such as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens close by.
3. I get rattled when I have a lot to do in a short amount of time.
4. I startle easily.
5. I make it a point to avoid violent movies or TV shows.
6. Changes in my life shake me up.
7. When I must compete or be observed while performing a task, I become so nervous and shaky that I do much worse than I would otherwise.
8. I am very conscientious.
9. When I was a child, my parents or teachers seemed to see me as sensitive or shy.
10. I tend to be very sensitive to pain.

If you answered true to five or more of these statements or if any one or two statements are extremely true of you, then this book may be for you.

This easy-to-read, non-technical book (first published in 1996) by Dr. Elaine Aron, deals with the highly sensitive person (of which Aron is one). Such a person is one that has a very sensitive nervous system and thus has a trait of greater receptivity to stimulation that may cause over stimulation. This trait should not be confused with such things as introversion, shyness, inhibition, anxiety, or fear. (Interestingly, there are also extroverted highly sensitive people.)

This book provides basic, detailed information about this trait, data that is difficult to obtain elsewhere. According to the author, "[This book] is the product of five years of research, in-depth interviews, clinical experience, courses, and individual consultations with hundreds of highly sensitive persons.
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