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The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You Paperback – June 2, 1997
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Are you an HSP? Are you easily overwhelmed by stimuli? Affected by other people's moods? Easily startled? Do you need to withdraw during busy times to a private, quiet place? Do you get nervous or shaky if someone is observing you or competing with you? HSP, shorthand for "highly sensitive person," describes 15 to 20 percent of the population. Being sensitive is a normal trait--nothing defective about it. But you may not realize that, because society rewards the outgoing personality and treats shyness and sensitivity as something to be overcome. According to author Elaine Aron (herself an HSP), sensitive people have the unusual ability to sense subtleties, spot or avoid errors, concentrate deeply, and delve deeply. This book helps HSPs to understand themselves and their sensitive trait and its impact on personal history, career, relationships, and inner life. The book offers advice for typical problems. For example, you learn strategies for coping with overarousal, overcoming social discomfort, being in love relationships, managing job challenges, and much more. The author covers a lot of material clearly, in an approachable style, using case studies, self-tests, and exercises to bring the information home. The book is essential for you if you are an HSP--you'll learn a lot about yourself. It's also useful for people in a relationship with an HSP. --Joan Price
“I wept through almost every page of this book out of sheer self-recognition. To say this book changed my life would be an understatement. I am forever grateful to Elaine Aron.”
--Alanis Morissette, singer, songwriter, activist
"This remarkable book...gives a fresh perspective, a sigh of relief, and a good sense of where we belong in society."
--John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"Elaine Aron's perceptive analysis of this fundamental dimension of human nature is must reading. Her balanced presentation suggests new paths for making sensitivity a blessing, not a handicap."
--Philip G. Zimbardo, Ph.D., author of Shyness: What It Is, What to Do About It
"Enlightening and empowering, this book is a wonderful gift to us all."
--Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade
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Top Customer Reviews
Things I have been attempting to change my entire life were just NORMAL attributes of an HSP!! I cannot thank Elaine enough for writing this book and for the documentary made with a Kick Start campaign! I took her test on line at her site... highly sensitive person test, and answered yes to all the questions! I cover up most lights on my computer, printer, router and such. I have no sounds except the error sound on my computer. Never could watch violent movies, sensitive to bright lights, strong smells, loud sounds. Can feel everyone when walking into a room. If you "think" you might be one, it could change your life reading this book! I think you only need to answer yes to about 14 of the many questions.
I totally understood why my parents treated me the way they did. I was overly sensitive to so many things and they did not know what to do about it! They did not know "why"! Same with friends and teachers and my sister!
I am a CHANGED person and I Highly Recommend this book to Everyone! Why? Because you might have a friend, partner, child who is highly sensitive and knowing how to treat them, can change both your relationships. It turns out not only are 15 - 20% of humans highly sensitive, so are animals and insects in the same percentages! It is a Natural Trait and not an illness or disease. Scientists can see it in brain scans and DNA testing. We have been misdiagnosed for decades as being shy, withdrawn, depressed and so on, which is not true. I love, love, loved this book!
But, the workbook really drills down. You will find that there are several types of HSPs with different levels of sensitivity depending on the life domain. Some are more vulnerable in certain situations than the others.
Your self-awareness on the HSP scale is going to get much more in depth, much more refined, more 'sensitive' so to speak. And, that is a very good think. Life revolves around knowing thyself.
Highly sensitive doesn't mean that we cringe and cry at every little thing that happens or doesn't go our way. It means we are introverted -- we don't get our energy from other people, but from ourselves, from within. This means we require more time to ourselves than most people (about 20% of society is introverted). It doesn't mean that we don't like other people -- we are extremely social beings. What it does mean is that we pick up on slight non-verbal and verbal types of communication that slip past most folks. To complicate matters, it is no secret that Western society does not favor the introverted, and the value of HSPs is generally unrecognized. In fact, the role of many HSPs throughout history has been among the ethical thinkers and leaders, the givers of inspiration.
Aron herself is a research psychologist, psychotherapist, and an HSP. Being highly sensitive is her trait, too, and she is right in there with us as she brings credibility to the various problems and issues discussed in this book. She offers facts, case studies, coping and transforming behaviors, and discussion on understanding the trait, general health and medications, re-parenting yourself, social interaction, career choices, relationships and gender issues, and spiritual considerations.
I'd make this book required reading for teachers, employers, therapists, and everyone else. Don't ever tell a child they're too sensitive for their own good or help them "overcome" their sensitivity. Revel in it, celebrate it, and support it. Everyone wins.