Are you a Highly Sensitive Person, combined with the High Sensation Seeker trait?
(Raising my hand!)
My friend, this is so important.
As you know, 20-25% of the population has a very real, scientifically recognized, psychologically validated collection of traits due to their unusually high Sensory Processing Sensitivity. These people (You and I, or certainly somebody in your life close to you) are referred to as HSP– the Highly Sensitive Person.
Highly Sensitive People notice every detail, feel every word, and experience neurologically measurable sensory depth greater than 80% of the population. They are an intuitive, empathic, deep-feeling, creative population of people who generally lead with the questions– what’s right, what’s fair for all, and what brings me a sense of purpose and meaning?
For a test to measure for HSP (Dr. Elaine Aron’s original HSP test), please click “Take The HSP Quiz!“
Here’s where it gets tricky.
In the 1960’s another collection of traits was found: The High Sensation Seeker; a set of traits that sometimes goes hand-in-hand with the HSP trait (but not always!).
High Sensation Seekers crave new experiences. They need to explore. Boredom is their kryptonite, and novelty their imperative. Life cannot be dull (anything but that!). However–and this is key–when present in conjunction with the HSP personality profile they are not considered to be impulsive, and they don’t take unnecessary risk.
The HSP/HSS combo means they are highly calculated, measured, deeply skilled, and careful in their risk assessment. They are masters of finding new, safe, adventures.
For a test to measure your degree of the HSS (High Sensation Seeking) trait, please click “Take the HSS Quiz!”.
If this is you, and you are also HSP identifying, know this:
You will likely live with a constant internal conflict of push and pull.
The HSS side of you will always strive for more excitement, while the HSP in you will commonly seek low stimulation to recover from the day-to-day high energy requirements your nervous system needs to process everyday normal life.
I am both HSP and HSS, and it works very well for me.
The way I see it, my inner HSS is here to not only ensure that I am living a life of thriving over “simply surviving” but it also serves a dual purpose to KEEP ME SAFE in my near-constant need for adventuring. (I’m not the jump-out-of-a-plane type of adventurer.) The truth is, the HSP/HSS combo creates a near paranormal mechanism for danger and risk-assessment.
In fact, novelty is often 90% of what the HSS/HSP craves. A new hiking trail. A new restaurant to try. A change of scenery. A fresh hobby. Something challenging to learn. A new way of thinking. Pushing the growth edge.
Fascinating, right? Are the you the HSP/HSS combo? Do you know anybody who probably is? (If so, please forward this article to them. Learning about this synergy of traits is imperative for their self-understanding and growth.)
I’ll say more about this in future articles!