Where Are You On The "Sensitive Person" Scale?

Years ago, like many people, I thought that we are all basically the same inside. I no longer think that’s true.

On the outside we each have different finger prints and with the exception of identical twins, none of us look exactly like anyone else. But we are also just as unique on the inside.

In my practice I see this in a very real way with my patients. For example, when doing acupuncture some people respond better to a stronger stimulation of acupuncture points. Others only need a very light, barely noticeable stimulus. Yet both of these types of people respond exceptionally well when treated appropriately.

The same variation in sensitivity shows up in other ways also.

After testing for adrenal fatigue and setting up a treatment plan for restoring adrenal function, one patient recently had an interesting response that illustrates this. She began the treatment but almost immediately had reactions she didn’t like. We sat down to discuss what was happening.

She said, “I don’t understand it. I feel as though I need this treatment, but my reaction to the drops is strong and uncomfortable.”

“How many drops are you taking?” I asked.

“Just one in the morning,” she replied.

“Hmmm…” I said, “I’ll bet you have strong reactions to lots of things.”

“Yes,” she said, “If the label says, ‘take 6 a day,’ I’ll usually start with one a day and sometimes that’s too much.”

“Then we can fix this problem easily,” I replied.

In her case, the answer was to put the one drop of the hormone into 8 ounces of water and for her to take one small sip at the beginning of the day. Reducing the dosage this way stopped her uncomfortable responses and she began feeling better.

Somewhere around 20% of the population falls into this category of being “highly sensitive.” They are often misunderstood by people who aren’t as sensitive. They may even feel like social outcasts in some ways.

Here are some of the traits of these more sensitive people. Can you spot any that apply to you in this list?

  • Introverted – they often prefer to spend time by themselves rather than be around large groups of people.
  • Shy – they are far more comfortable around others they know well, and feel uncomfortable meeting new people.
  • Thoughtful – they will take their time making decisions and don’t like to do things impulsively
  • Have a rich inner life – often they are very creative and have a great imagination. They tend to love books, poetry and art.
  • Highly responsive to external stimulus – sounds, lights, smells and even the vibrations from other people have an unusually strong effect on them. The same can be true for medications, supplements, alcohol, etc.

As you might imagine, high sensitivity is both a blessing and a challenge. People experiencing such sensitivity need to have others around them who can appreciate them for their gifts and be tolerant of their limitations.

When they and those around them understand and accept their unique situation, they can really blossom into the creative people they were meant to be.


Study Sheds Light On What Makes People Shy, LiveScience.com, April 6, 2010

Aron, Elaine, PhD, The Highly Sensitive Person, 1997, Broadway Books, New York, NY

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