Episode 1: What is High Sensitivity ? 🌼

High Sensitive Person

Hello Guys

Here we are, let me introduce you the first reel episode of the Yogi C Podcast !!

Today in this Episode we are gonna talk about:

  • understanding what is high sensitivity,
  • discovering if men and women are impacted differently
  • establishing the main characteristics of highly sensitives
  • quick tip

To answer those questions I have done a lot of digging through the years and checked a lot of researches that were used as reference.

First, I want to remind everyone that sensitivity is a human virtue and despite the society today defining it as a weakness. We all remain sensitive to certain situations or subjects because it is our nature.

So What is high sensitivity in terms of science ?

According to Aron Novick’s theory – who is a professor in History and Philosophy of Science, highly sensitives are a part of the population with a high personality trait known as sensory-processing sensitivity, aka SPS.

It appears that close to 20% of the population today self-identify as highly sensitive.

High sensitivity is thought to have genetic roots, and some specific gene variant; but it also appears that early childhood environments may also have an impact.

This impact is named the epigenetic effect which act on the genes associated with sensitivity. Epigenetic means changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence.

Beyond Human beings, biologists also found this trait existing in over 100 species (and probably there are many more) from birds and fish to dogs, cats, horses. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. 

Sensory processing sensitivity is thought to be one of two strategies that evolved for promoting survival of the species (Aron and Aron 1997; Wolf et al. 2008). By being more responsive to their environments, these more sensitive organisms have an enhanced awareness of opportunities (e.g., food, mates, and alliances) and threats (e.g., predators, loss of status, competitors), and thus may be more ready to respond to emerging situations.

On the brains side, the one of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’. 

Indeed here are 4 things that are different between typical people and highly sensitives:

1. Your brain responds to dopamine differently

Dopamine is the brain’s reward chemical. It drives you to want to do certain things and then gives you a sense of joy when you actually do them.

Many of the genes involved in high sensitivity affect how your body uses dopamine. Similar to introverts, Highly sensitives are simply not as excited by the things that many others chase.

This is also part of what allows them to pause and observe and consider while they process information. It also likely prevents them from being drawn to overstimulating situations that would end up overwhelming them.

If you’re highly sensitive, and you just don’t find yourself very interested in a loud party or taking risks, you have your dopamine system to thank.

2. Your mirror neurons are more active

Mirror neurons help us understand what someone is doing or experiencing, based on their actions. Essentially, these brain cells compare the other person’s behavior with how you behaved at times. Effectively “mirroring” them helps figuring out what’s going on for them. It is a key player for Highly sensitives Brains.

It allows you to feel empathy and compassion for others. When you recognize the pain (or joy) someone is going through and relate to it, it’s because those neurone.

Highly sensitives don’t necessarily have more mirror neurons than others, rather, their mirror neuron systems are more active. 

In 2014, functional brain imaging research showed that Highly sensitives had consistently higher levels of activity in key parts of the brain related to social and emotional processing. 

This higher level of activity even kicked in when tests were involving strangers, meaning Highly sensitives can easily extend compassion to people they don’t personally know even if the effect is still at his highest when loved ones are involved.

As an Highly sensitive, these mirror neurons are both a superpower and, at times, a little inconvenience. — like when you can’t watch the same TV show as everyone else because it’s too violent. But it’s also what makes you more friendly, kind hearted, and insightful about what other people are going through.

3. You really do experience emotions more vividly

In the front of the brain is an area called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. This area is hooked into several systems involving your emotions, your values, and processing sensory data. When we say that highly sensitive people process things more deeply than others, there’s a good chance it happens in there.

It’s associated with emotional regulation. Everyone experiences life more intensely during emotional moments, not just highly sensitives.

But unlike mirror neurons, this emotional vividness isn’t necessarily social in nature. It’s all about how strongly you feel emotions inside of you in response to what’s happening around you. 

Highly sensitives are finely tuned to pick up even the most subtle emotional cues and react to them.

4. Other people impact you more

For less sensitive people, it’s easy to tune out other people. But for a highly sensitive, almost everything about the brain is wired to notice and interpret others.

Many parts of the brain get extra-active for Highly sensitives in social situations. The two areas that, together, may form our “seat of consciousness” and moment-to-moment awareness will be overly active being more alert & conscious when there is a relevant social or emotional situation.

Highly Sensitives’ brains processes information on a deeper level, sees more connections, cares and relates to others in a profound way.

But perhaps it is also your most important gift as an HSP. Indeed, your brain is fine-tuned to notice and interpret the behaviour of everyone around you. If someone is bad news, you know it. If someone is not going to treat you right, you see it coming. If a situation isn’t right for you, you probably know that, too.

That’s vital, because Highly Sensitives need healthy environments and supportive loved ones to thrive — perhaps even more so than others.

Are men and women impacted at the same level ?

We heard a lot that women have better social skills, and are especially better at understanding others’ emotions. 

Although previous reviews have shown a small to moderate female advantage, recent studies have not always replicated this difference, leading to discussions about the extent to which women would outperform men in emotional term of intelligence.

Women would be particularly better in recognizing subtle emotions. This implies that women would be more sensitive to subtle cues of emotional expressions.

Indeed, the fact that women more often have social-emotional roles or tasks, both with regard to child care, and romantic relations, as well as in organizations, could imply that they are more focused on and motivated to detect subtle cues of emotions.

But After some tests though both genders rated the target emotions as similarly intense at both levels of stimulus intensity which shows that there are no gender differences in the perception of target emotions.

The thing is men do have less confidence in their own emotional intelligence, including their own ability to perceive emotions on a face, than do women. 

We should keep in mind, that more research is needed on how men and women exactly differ in their perception of subtle emotion cues. It would be good to gain more insight in this process, because in most daily life situations emotional cues are not so clear and straightforward as in experimental research.

What are the main characteristics of high sensitivity ?

Being a highly sensitive person can come with many challenges. 

You may struggle to adapt to new circumstances, may demonstrate seemingly inappropriate emotional responses in social situations, and may easily become uncomfortable in response to light, sound, or certain physical sensations. 

On the other hand, highly sensitives often report that they form deeper bonds with others, have exciting dreams and internal monologues, and find great enjoyment in art, music, and human connection.

Like all personality traits, there are pros and cons to being highly sensitive. With proper support and a recognition of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, Highly sensitives can set up environments in which they can thrive.

Humans characterized as highly sensitives are likely to “pause to check” in novel situations (Aron and Aron 1997; Aron et al. 2012), show heightened awareness of and attention to subtle stimuli, and appear to be more reactive to both positive and negative stimuli (Jagiellowicz 2012). This combination supports a tendency to process stimuli more elaborately and learn from the information gained, which may be useful in the present moment and when applied to future situations. 

How do I know that I am highly sensitive ?

If you react strongly to criticism, become physically and emotionally overstimulated more easily than others do, and have a rich inner life, you may score highly in sensory processing sensitivity. 

You may also feel as if you have a higher capacity for empathy and are quite sensitive to others’ moods.

Also, if you’re creative and open to new ideas, but your emotions often change without warning, there’s a good chance you are. 

Quick Tip

Self-care is critical for HSPs, particularly when faced with stressful situations. Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, limiting caffeine and alcohol, and planning for decompression time can all be useful strategies. 

Talking to a friend or therapist can also help an HSP cope with heightened emotional responses to stress.

I wanna reming you that this podcast will through time help you in your self discovery journey and give you keys to handle different situation.

So, if you haven’t done it already follow The Yogi C Podcast to be notified of new episodes !

I hope you enjoyed it and see you next week.

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