Highly Sensitive People

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  • The Physiological Cost of Depth of Processing

    Posted by John on 06/20/2022 at 8:54 pm

    There is a physiological cost associated with having highly sensitive physiology. Paying careful attention to everything requires more energy. How does this impact you and how do you manage the cost of depth of processing?

    Linda replied 1 year, 3 months ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Sarah

    01/24/2023 at 10:27 am

    Used to be that the cost of my depth of processing was anxiety, and overwhelm. I’ve been meditating and learning to protect myself, and to differentiate between my thoughts and feelings, and those of the outside world for about eight years now. It’s helped immensely. I’m no longer trying to understand and process every feeling and thought, since i now recognize that they’re not all mine. Whew..

  • Joyce

    03/26/2023 at 10:35 am

    I just stumbled upon this topic and it feels especially relevent to me right now.
    Winter has been crazy in my area this year and it feels like my energy level has been depleted much more quickly than usual. I’m beginning to see a connection between weather patterns and my ability to keep up with the demands of life.
    While I can’t control the weather, sadly, I will try to look into ways to compensate for the less-than perfect days that nature has thrown my way.

  • John

    03/26/2023 at 6:40 pm

    The two things that I’m aware of about HSP and the weather are: light and pressure.

    Exposure to sunlight naturally boosts serotonin levels. So the lower light conditions in winter mean less serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter). That can have a surprisingly strong impact on energy level and motivation (in my experience). Strengthening the gut flora with probiotics can help here. Red light therapy can also help.

    Vitamin D is another light related issue. Most people know about this, but I ignored it for decades. I now take 20K IUs of Vitamin D (+K2) every day. It really helps me. I take 10K on waking and 10K before sleep. That’s considered by doctors to be a very high dosage. I won’t get into it here but you can search for “Dr. Berg Vitamin D” on YouTube and watch his videos. Some people, as in my case, may need to take higher amounts to end up raising the active form of Vitamin D in the body. (It has to be converted from passive to active. I have possible organ damage from taking accutane as a teenager.)

    Regarding barometric pressure, I didn’t know that was a thing until last year. But I asked around and apparently it’s a known thing in the HSP community at large. People were like, “oh yeah.” I just got curious about it last year. I was like, “am I sensitive to the weather?!?”

    The mechanism is barometric pressure. There are studies that it can affect brain chemistry. I got into tracking it for a while and it seems like my body is affected when there is a front coming in and the pressure is declining. It’s easy to watch on the phones these days in the weather app.

    I think where all this really gets interesting however is with the insular cortex. It’s a separate, but related topic. The short version is that people with highly sensitive physiology (HSP) have measurably increased processing in the insular cortex. This part of the brain integrates all kinds of different sensory input, both from inside the body and from the outside world. This integration is the “depth of processing” that Elaine talks about. I have a theory that because all of this information is processed together in one area of the brain, the inner world and the outer world are more intertwined for us than for the average person. It that’s true, it has significant implications.

    Back to weather though, winter can be a double whammy in that when a storm comes in, you get less light if it’s cloudy and you get the declining pressure. Plus seasonally, you’re just getting less light in general.

    For me, the weather piece was a small but important part of my HSP journey. I used to unconsciously beat up on myself for not feeling good, for being “too sensitive.” It was like a program running in my subconscious.

    However, through the journey of learning about having HSP, I slowly began to realize that a lot of the experience is a result of the physiology (like the weather piece). There are physical things happening in a body designed by nature to be highly sensitive and aware. Understanding these various physical things and how an HSP body is built and designed to function, can really be helpful in:

    • turning off that critical voice
    • accepting that one has highly sensitive physiology
    • finding the power and value in high sensitivity
    • understanding that the roots of high sensitivity do not lie in our emotions, but in the way that nature has designed our bodies to function

    Maybe way back in the day, we used to be the weather forecasters.

  • Linda

    03/27/2023 at 9:31 am

    That is really true about light and the barometric pressure. I heard from a teacher once that school staff can monitor weather changes by the kids’ behavior changes.

    • John

      03/27/2023 at 6:13 pm

      Interesting, I hand’t heard that.

  • Linda

    03/28/2023 at 12:57 pm

    Now I am wondering if she was an hsp in noticing that with the kids.🙂 It did sound like something the staff talked about. Maybe sometimes it was after the fact as in wondering what was going on with some of the kids and then realizing the weather change had happened. She did call it barometric pressure change. I don’t know if it is a common-knowledge type thing among teachers though.

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