Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Highly Sensitive People Benefit from Creative Expression

Aug 03, 2015 02:04PM ● By Anna Clayton

According to Dr. Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, about 20 percent of people are highly attuned to their environment in ways that can create both challenges and potential gifts. These Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) naturally notice more than others, which can aid in creative vision. They are constantly aware of sensations, light, sound and the energy of the people and places they encounter. Such tendencies can support artistic expression, which can, in turn, be an outlet for high sensitivity.

HSPs have strong emotions, which can lead to creative blocks if they feel overwhelmed and over-stimulated. HSPs can also be extremely sensitive to criticism. In a 2013 article in OM Times, Peter Messerschmidt wrote, “It may sound odd, but sometimes we actually develop fears of our own creative expressions. Highly sensitive people tend to be cautious by nature, and we learn deeply from our experiences, especially when they are negative.” HSPs therefore need to develop coping strategies for shoring up self-esteem and dealing with criticism.

HSPs may feel especially claustrophobic in a dissatisfying job and need to use their creativity to find or create a better one. Until that happens, it’s important to find a creative outlet, which may include how they dress or decorate their living space, developing hobbies or journaling about their experiences. If they do not feel creative themselves, HSPs can benefit from the artistic expression of others. Appreciating poems and songs about life’s ups and downs, for example, can help HSPs to process challenging feelings and navigate their own turbulent waves of emotion.

On the other hand, HSPs may feel they are not creative because they are defining creativity too narrowly or undervaluing their own gifts. Aron writes that, because HSPs “process things so thoroughly and notice so many subtleties and emotional meanings,” they can “easily put two unusual things together.” Creating a life and lifestyle that suits their interests and temperament is another way HSPs channel their uniqueness into something positive. Despite sometimes feeling as if they need a break from the world, HSPs can learn to use their sensitivity to inspire themselves and others, connect deeply to their empathy and natural creativity, learn self-care, and feel and appreciate their connection to all of life.

Anna Clayton, MA, LMFT, is the founder of Insightful Transformation, in Arlington, offering intuitive healing for highly sensitive people. She is teaching her AngelHeart Healing Energy in a one-day workshop on Aug. 8. To learn more, call 617-943-6980 or visit