High Sensitivity is a group of traits that make up a temperament shared by about 20% of people.
There are a lot of things that go into any one genetic trait, so there are a huge number of factors which affect what High Sensitivity is and how it works. I want to share just a few that I think are easy to understand and really interesting.
1. Dopamine - this is your 'reward' chemical. You probably know that it affects motivation and feelings of accomplishment or reward. It also works with each person differently. A Highly Sensitive person is driven less by external rewards and more by internal rewards; so they will be more motivated to avoid certain situations, like loud parties or crowded places, and seek out others, like natural settings and calm environments. These are the things which allow them to process well and use their gifts positively, while those they're motivated to avoid are the things which depress their gifts and overwhelm their senses.
2. Mirror neurons - these are what help us to understand and be empathetic towards others. We observe people and compare our takings with our own experience. These neurons are more active in HS people, along with other areas that process social and emotional data. This means high levels of compassion and empathy, along with a lot of concern about and interest in others' wellbeing. It allows them to be insightful and caring about others' experience.
3. Emotional regulation - the vividness of a person's experience during emotional moments is increased in HS people, meaning they feel things more strongly/vividly than others in response to their environment. Now, we all feel things deeply/strongly at various times; this doesn't mean that HS people are the only ones to experience things deeply. What it does mean is that they experience them more vividly. They're having an immersive experience while someone else is having a pleasant time.
4. Awareness - Highly Sensitive people are more alert and conscious - more aware - in various situations, especially those involving others. In the brain, this can be seen as more activity in the cingulate and insula, which are responsible for consciousness and moment-to-moment awareness.
Information adapted from 4 Brain Differences of Highly Sensitive People
Tamara - Sensitive Thrive is my consulting business. I believe that the world needs Highly Sensitive people who are flourishing. We need their hope, insight, wisdom, and awareness of beauty and possibility. My vision is to help create a culture where this temperament is known, understood and valued; where organisations seek Highly Sensitive people to work for them, because they know what they can do. Where HS people feel like they fit in their workplaces, because those workplaces also fit them. A world where HS people belong, thrive, and flourish, and the world is better for it.