The 8 Types of HSP: What Type Of A Highly Sensitive Person Are You?

8 Types of HSPs: What Type Of A Highly Sensitive Person Are You?

Are you a highly sensitive person? What Type Of A Highly Sensitive Person Are You? Highly sensitive people or HSPs experience the world differently. The feel and sense everything in an intense way. Different sensations like sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and other tactile sensations, as well as the emotional energy of other people, affect them deeply. Highly sensitive people are deeply perceptive and experience senses acutely. They tend to give a strong reaction to their environment. 

“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate.” – Anthon St. Maarten

With over 20 percent of the population being HSPs, each highly sensitive person is unique and have different experiences in life. They feel and perceive things with different levels of awareness. And each sensitive person is beautiful in their own way.

Types of highly sensitive person

“There are always people who are inspired by you, just because you are who you are.” – Cindy Timmers

Not all sensitive people are the same. There are different types of highly sensitive persons or HSPs around the world and various studies have been conducted to understand their unique intuitive personalities. As different people tend to be sensitive in different ways, identifying the various types of highly sensitive people is challenging to say the least. The sheer range of sensitivities can feel overwhelming to HSPs and the people around them. Although they have a receptive nervous system and share some common traits, no two highly sensitive persons are alike as they express their sensitivities differently.

Here are the 8 most common types of highly sensitive persons that you need to know about.

1. Orchid Children

According to Bruce J. Ellis, PhD, professor of Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona, some children are usually “biologically sensitive to context”. It means these children are more sensitive to different factors and changes in the environment than other normal children who can adapt & thrive in whatever environment they are in. According to a 2018 study on environmental adaptability in children, it was found that around 30 percent of kids were Orchid Children.

Regarding this issue, Prof. Ellis stated –

“Nurtured with quality parenting and programs, orchid children can blossom spectacularly into society’s happiest, most productive people. Conversely, given poor parenting and sketchy surroundings, they are at greater risk to end up wrestling with depression, substance abuse issues and even jail.”

2. Sensory Defensive Person

Psychologist Sharon Heller, PhD has found that sensory defensive people tend to be more sensitive to sensory information than others. Author of “Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World”, Heller has studied HSPs and has developed the term to define individuals who are exceptionally sensitive to different stimuli.

Some characteristics of sensory defensive people include –

  • Getting easily startled by sudden and loud noises
  • Being very sensitive to touch and highly ticklish
  • Feeling uncomfortable in crowded places
  • Disliking specific food textures
  • Being uncomfortable with too much visual stimulation
  • Being overly sensitive to strong odors
  • Disliking certain textures on their skin

Moreover, sensory defensive people may tend to have certain disorders like schizophrenia or learning difficulties in extreme cases.

3. Thin Boundary Person

While conducting a study on people who suffered from nightmares regularly, Ernest Hartmann, MD of Tufts University found out that HSPs tend to recall their dreams in vivid details. These individuals are believed to have “thin boundaries”. This means a small percentage of individuals have a strong link between their mental functions & mental processes. 

Some of the characteristics of thin boundaries people include –

  • Higher risk of illnesses and allergies 
  • Experience pleasure & pain more deeply than others
  • Childhood trauma is exceptionally painful
  • Very unorganised and spontaneous
  • Feel overwhelmed and exhausted with excessive sensory and emotional input
  • Highly uncomfortable with sensory stimuli like strange smells, loud noises and bright lights
  • Often find it hard to distinguish between reality and dreams 

4. The Sensitives

“As adults, HSPs tend to have just the right personalities for inner work and healing. Generally speaking, your keen intuition helps you uncover the most important hidden factors. You have greater access to your own unconscious and so a greater sense of others’ and how you were affected.” – Elaine N. Aron

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