Personal: Am I hypersensitive? science spectrum

The degree of sensitivity depends on the current physical and psychological state as well as on experiences. This also applies to other dimensions of personality, including emotional capacity, which sometimes overlaps with high sensitivity. It is one of the five main dimensions of personality, the “Big Five”, and includes a sensitivity to adversity combined with a propensity for negative emotions. Even during an episode of severe depression, sufferers are mentally unstable and tend to experience negative emotions. However, high sensitivity must be clearly distinguished from both. Depression is temporary, and like emotional vulnerability, it only affects the spectrum of negative emotions. On the other hand, high sensitivity is expressed across the sensory and emotional spectrum and, in contrast to a depressive episode, is a stable trait. But if hypersensitivity is not a disorder, how do you explain the psychological problems that so many hypersensitive people have?

Being too sensitive is a disadvantage in a difficult environment, but an advantage in a good environment

First of all, high sensitivity does not mean emotional difficulties. There are very sensitive people with strong emotional skills. Nor do they have a monopoly on emotional issues: these experiences are part of life, regardless of the level of sensitivity. But statistically, highly sensitive people suffer from psychological disorders more often than average, such as fatigue and anxiety disorders. A team led by psychologist Corina Greven from Radboud University in the Netherlands, and including Elaine Aron, found that questions in HSPS Aiming at negative results for increased sensitivitywhich could partly explain the association with mental health problems.

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Borrowing from orchids, tulips and dandelions

The high sensitivity presents the wearer with great challenges, but it also contains many resources. The ones created by Jay Belsky and Michael Blos differential sensitivity theory This idea illustrates: Being overly sensitive is a disadvantage in a difficult environment, but an advantage in a good environment, especially during childhood. For this reason, highly sensitive people are often referred to as orchids. Orchid is a delicate and demanding plant that needs a certain amount of light and moisture – then it will bloom and bloom in extraordinary beauty. Likewise, under the right conditions, high sensitivity can provide fertile ground for personality development.

Psychologist Francesca Leonetti and her colleagues at the University of Chiete-Pescara in Italy have developed this analogy even further. select Three groups of people And assign them to more or less delicate types of flowers: in addition to the hypersensitive “orchid”, the strong “dandelion” and the average “tulip”. According to Lionetti, orchids make up 30 percent of the population. The categories can help to make people aware of the differences, but here too they insufficiently reflect the actual dimension in all its mediocrity (see ‘Children can be sensitive and strong at the same time’).

Advantage for sensitive kids

The susceptibility to being affected by positive events is called »Al-Fadl sensitivity“It is still a young field of research. The basic idea: there are not only people who react sensitively to negative experiences, but also people who are most receptive to positive influences. For example, psychologist Michael Bloss and colleague Ilona Bunyuel of Queen Mary University of London have shown that girls are highly sensitive. They benefited more from depression prevention programs than their less sensitive peers. Pluess and his team offer free online service German language test on high sensitivity For adults and children.

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The advantages of a high level of sensitivity can be manifested in different areas: in work, in personal relationships, and in the arts. British psychologist David Bridges and his colleague Helen Sheindan have The relationship between sensitivity and creativity to examine. For their study, they subjected nearly 300 people to several tests. Among the most creative among them, they found on average an increased openness to new experiences – one of the dimensions of the “Big Five” – ​​and an increased sensitivity, particularly in perceiving subtle differences and in being able to form connections between things that first sight had little in common.

High sensitivity to positive surprises is also good in professional life. In companies, it is often seen as a weakness that makes people more susceptible to burnout or problematic leadership behavior. However, in practice, it often proves to be an advantage, for example when it comes to searching behind masks or recognizing conflict. Besides the ability to discover career opportunities, high sensitivity enhances the desire to start a business, such as Team about psychologist Rainer Harms From the University of Twente in the Netherlands in 2019.

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