Tuesday, February 12, 2013

HSPs & Overstimulation: Do your choices support a balanced life?

From time to time I like to check in with the online bookstores (Amazon, etc.) to see if there are any new books on the market about high sensitivity, Sensory Processing Sensitivity or other closely related subjects.

As I perused a few titles I hadn't come across before, I started noticing how many new books are made for Kindle (or other tablet readers), and how an increasing number are "Kindle ONLY."

Personally, I like books. Books made of paper, that is. It's not that I am a Luddite, or "technology phobic"-- I'm actually surrounded by a sea of recent technological innovation-- it's just the old fashioned books are "low tech," which also means they are "low stimulation," at least for me.

A book is... just a book. It can't "access the Internet," it can't suddenly "update itself" and it doesn't have a built-in dictionary or 47 different display options. A book isn't suddenly going to let me know (as some readers and tablets can) that I have an incoming phone call, or new email. A book doesn't come with any concerns that its battery is running low. With a book, I don't have to think about anything but "words on a page," and there are no "tempting sidetracks" to distract me... which, for someone with ADD-ish tendencies and a general propensity for simply being interested in lots of things, are features I'd just as well keep to a minimum.

As I said, I'm not a Luddite and I really like new technology... but I am also someone who remains constantly conscious of the "small trickles of stuff" in life that contribute-- when all added together-- to that this we HSPs know as "overstimulation" of basically getting overwhelmed by our environment.

Which got me to thinking about whether-- and to what degree-- HSPs really do make choices in support of "slowing down" and managing stimulation... or are (like most people) doing the many things that surround us, all of which are designed to "speed life up."

Normally we think of events that cause overstimulation as "big" things like traveling to a family gathering, planning someone's birthday party or spending an entire day at the mall. But are you aware of all the little things in your daily life? These are things we don't so often think about because they really don't cause overstimulation... they merely make a "small contribution" towards it, when added to a bunch of other "small contributions." Many are so subtle we don't even think about them...

Like reading books on an electronic device with "other feaures" than just the book. Or trying to catch up with the TV news while on a treadmill or exercise machine. There are lots of others... rather than list them, I ask you to consider taking a few minutes to sit down and think about where they are, in your life. You might be surprised.
Anyway, since this post is partly about books, I'd like to give a shout-out to Dr. Ted Zeff who has a new book out entitled "Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy: Save Your Son From the Violent Boy Culture."

There has been a recent increase in the general "visibility" of highly sensitive men, as more and more are stepping forward and talking about their experiences with being male and highly sensitive-- a combination that's often "frowned upon" in our "tough guy" culture.

Although this book isn't specifically about HSPs, it is highly relevant for HSPs... and is basically an extension of Zeff recent research and focus on highly sensitive males. If you have a son who is-- or whom you suspect might be-- an HSP, do consider getting your hands on this book!
Anyway, I hope this might inspire you to take a moment to consider your daily choices, and whether or not they support keeping your energies well balanced.

Talk Back! Do you make an active effort to consider whether or not your daily choices help "manage" the stimulation level in your life... or do you just allow things to "unfold as they will" and hope for the best? Are there things you know you ought to change, because you'll feel calmer if you do? Please share your experience and leave a comment!

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  1. Thank you for the reminder to keep unnecessary stimulation low :)
    Regarding kindle, in particular, and from my experience using one for about 2 years, I can say that, for me, it is simple and calm. I have wireless always off, so it's just me and the book. Since English is not my mother tongue, the dictionary is a great bonus. I only turn wireless on when I want to purchase a new book, or download a pdf.
    Anyway, all experiences are different. Right now, I'm realizing my smartphone is a source of distraction and over-stimulation. I may rethink its place in my life! ;)

  2. Hi Peter, great post, thank you for sharing. I am also a HSP.


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