ARE YOU A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON OR AN EMPATH? OR BOTH? - HOW TO DEAL WITH SENSORY OVERLOAD

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Difference Between a Highly Sensitive Person and an Empath and How to Deal with Sensory Overload

BEING A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON

If you know me personally, you will notice that I'm the type of person who loves her alone time too much

And I'm sensitive about everything. 

You won't find me in shopping malls on the weekends. I prefer to dine out before / after and never during lunch hour. And the same goes for dinner. 

I know it drives my mum crazy. Lol 

Why? I select odd hours to go out just to avoid people

Then, I'm always with my sunglasses. Not just any kind, but the polarized ones. The sunlight can hurt my eyes, just like a vampire lol 

I'm like that because I'm a Highly Sensitive Person (also known as HSP). Scientifically, it's called hypersensitivity

Firstly, you must know that it's not an illness. In fact, I consider it as one of my super powers. 

The most obvious indication that I am an HSP is my high level of sensitivity to sound, sight, touch and smell

Are you like me? 

I can literally hear a pin drops. 

And I mean it when I tell you that your cooking is nice. 

At the same time, I know it if there's MSG in your cooking. Lol 

Then, as all HSPs are introverts, my inner world is just more stimulating and interesting than the real world outside

I can stay in my room for days and not feel bored. 

There's just too much to do! I literally write novels and create movies in my head. Lol. 

That's why, like many introverts, I love to write and do creative work - we just have to let some of the stuff from our head so that we won't go mad. Lol 

Loving our alone time doesn't mean we are anti-social. We do socialize, but we prefer intimate group gatherings among friends, than big parties

With people that we actually like. 

And we have the super power of knowing if anyone secretly dislikes us - because we are great at reading facial expressions and body language

So, don't bother to make effort to be nice if you hate us! Lol 

Once we get home from social activities, we need hours to recover and to recharge our energy



BUT WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSONS AND EMPATHS


Empaths are emotional sponges. They absorb emotions, physical symptoms and energy of others into their own bodies.



They are highly intuitive, open and connected to nature.

All Empaths are highly sensitive, but not all highly sensitive persons are Empaths.

This is because, unlike HSPs, Empaths can be either be introverts or extroverts.

I AM both an HSP and Empath. So, now you know why hanging out with me, sometimes, can be an experience.

While being a highly sensitive person allows me to read bodily cues, when I'm an Empath,  I'm able to feel another person's mood so that I'd know how to approach him/her, or if I shouldn't.

I know how you feel inside without you having to say anything. I guess, that's why I often find strangers telling me their deepest, darkest secrets.

They can sense that I'm able to understand them. Only after a while, it made so much sense why I wanted to be a coach, especially the type who is able to understand how a man's brain is wired and empathize with men's unspoken emotional needs.

I am also able feel the energy of a room before I enter. I guess that's why I love to attend high-vibe seminars. The energy is crazy!

Apart from that, I have the ability to sense the presence of spirits at times (luckily, I can't see or communicate with them).

They are Empaths who are able to do that, though. Many of them become spiritual healers because of this ability.

THE DOWNSIDES

Though I consider being both highly sensitive and empathic as my super power, there's nothing superior about it.

Being highly sensitive can also mean one thing, but affects everything in my life:

Sensory overload.

There would be times when I have to leave the dining table because someone is either chewing too loudly, talking with a high-pitched voice, or simply having the cutlery chattering against each other.

I can still remember, years ago, rushing to the washroom to calm my nerves just because one of my colleagues, who was always talking loudly, entered the office.

I had to close my eyes and breathed slowly in front of the washroom mirror. And only returned to the office once I was calm.

Even normal group conversations can drive me mad when I'm in my head.

There would be moments when I have to wear sunglasses on a cloudy (or even rainy) day because the light seems too bright for my eyes.

Otherwise, I would suffer from headaches or migraine.

I once watched a soccer match on the TV with muted sound - alone in the living room -  while the rest of my family were commenting and cheering at their favourite team in the kitchen.

I loved my previous job because I had my own room. It means that I could shut the door whenever everything seemed too much to bear.

I also enjoyed being a Landscape Architect in various workplaces before, too.

I could just leave the office and drive to plant nurseries or the construction sites when I needed a break from being with people.

I can't watch horrible news, accident videos, violent movies without feeling the same pain as what those people were going through. Seeing children getting tortured during wars hurt me the most.

Like I mentioned earlier, I can feel other people's energy and sense their mood.

I can be moody for no reason. This is because I confuse those emotions or energies from others as my own.

If I forgot to protect myself from absorbing these energies, I could suffer from extreme fatigue or become ill.

WHAT IS FOREST BATHING AND HOW IT HELPS HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSONS (AND EMPATHS) LIKE ME TO DEAL WITH SENSORY OVERLOAD

That day was a bit cool and windy, compared to the last few days. So, I went Forest Bathing with my mum during lunch time earlier today.

If you are new to the term Forest Bathing, it means a visit to the forest for relaxation. It's the practice of taking short walks in the forest (approximately 30 minutes) to reduce stress.

The concept was developed in Japan, and is called shinrin-yoku.

Because the lunch date was just an impromptu plan, I chose Hutan Bandar (Malay language for Urban Forest), which is approximately five minute's drive from our home.

Landscape of Hutan Bandar Johor Bahru - the Upgrade

Landscape of Hutan Bandar Johor Bahru - the Upgrade

Landscape of Hutan Bandar Johor Bahru - the Upgrade

Landscape of Hutan Bandar Johor Bahru - the Upgrade

Landscape of Hutan Bandar Johor Bahru - the Upgrade

Landscape of Hutan Bandar Johor Bahru - the Upgrade

As both highly sensitive and empathic, walking among dense tropical trees allows me to calm my senses down

My soul experiences a sense of peace when I'm only accompanied by the sound of the chirping birds and cascading water - away from human voices.

As an HSP and Empath, I live in my head a lot. The stillness of nature allows my mind to stop thinking, for me to just be.

That is living in the now - to fully experience the present moment, with no distraction from the pain of past events or uncertainties of the future.

I can also relax my senses from being over stimulated by what's happening in front of me daily. Looking at the greenery definitely soothes my tired eyes.

Breathing deeply from cool, oxygen-rich air helps me let go of all the negativity inside of my body, especially the mind. As an Empath, I can literally feel those toxic stuff leaving my body as I inhale the clean air.

Now I know why I decided to take that Recreation subject in the university back then, even though it involved going for a survival camp (no clean water, let alone proper toilet) in a reserve forest.

And became a Landscape Architect right after graduation. Lol 
funny quotes on highly sensitive person

Does this post resonate with you in any way? Could you be an HSP or Empath, or both? If you are, next time you feel overwhelmed with your surroundings or with what's happening within you, join me forest bathing once in a while.

References:
1) Empath's Survival Guide by Judith Orloff M.D.
2) The Highly Sensitive Person by Dr. Elaine N. Aron



Hi, I'm Aleda, a Relationship Coach. I work with highly-sensitive, empathic women, showing them how to be more high value and feminine in their relationships. 

This allows them to feel adored and cherished by literally doing nothing, and to sustain their men's attraction in the long run despite challenges or conflicts, so they could experience meaningful, fulfilling relationships while maintaining their strong sense of individuality. 

Because physical beauty may initially attract a man's attention, but it's your quiet energy that keeps him. Start HERE. 

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