I haven’t been sleeping well for a few months. A new business endeavor, lots of appointments, the anxiety of uncertainty. Not an unusual plight these days–we all seem overstressed and overstimulated no matter what healthy coping or defusing mechanisms we manage to cultivate. Anxiety and restlessness is often a fact of life. But some of us seem even more sensitive and easily overwhelmed than others, dancing a fine line between being animated by creative energy or overloaded with sensations and ideas that can’t be released or executed. For me, my long wakeful nights are the result of a mind over-filled with sensations and plans that I cannot shut off.
The catch phrase for this “condition” is high sensitivity, which is characterized by a finely tuned nervous system that takes in more of the subtleties of the environment than the rest of the population. Research seems to show this is an inherited trait possessed by 15-20% of the population.
Learning to accept sensitivity as one of the avenues to creativity without being overwhelmed by the volume and speed of what’s coming at you (especially in today’s information and stimulation-rich world) is perhaps the key to being a successful, rather than an anxious and depressed creative individual. Think you fit the profile? Take a self-test.
More articles about High Sensitivity Personality at www.highlysensitive.org and A Lofty Existence and this great piece from Psychology Today, Sense and Sensitivity.