The HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)'s Survival Guide, 12 Tips to Thrive

Jaya-Leigh Bowen

HSP stands for Highly Sensitive Person, a term coined by Dr. Elaine Aron that describes approximately 20% of the population who genetically have an very finely tuned nervous system. Scientific studies have shown that the brains and nervous systems of Highly Sensitive People perceive and process information that comes through ALL of the senses, differently than non-HSP’s. Some studies indicate this is an innate survival mechanism based on making observations (dotting all your i’s and crossing all your t’s), before making a decision or taking action. I believe that it is also an indication of the evolution of the species and of souls from other realms and planets incarnating on the earth to assist it, and that we will very soon discover the actual percentage of HSP’s in the population right now is higher than 20% and growing steadily. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of these souls through my Soul Alignment Readings and you probably know some yourself or may even be one! (Reach out to me if you feel this may be you).

 The best way I can describe my own experience of being an HSP is that it’s like going outside with hundreds of antennae around my body and picking up the subtle and not so subtle vibes emanating from the environment and everyone in it. And as an HSP empath and clairsentient (the 3 are slightly different and not interchangeable), I’m also picking up the collective emotion and energy of large portions of the population from certain global events. If you’re an HSP your senses are heightened and finely attuned. All of this is not to say that Highly Sensitive People are more evolved than non-HSP’s or that non-HSP’s don’t feel deeply and notice subtleties. Not at all! In fact we have much to learn from,  appreciate and support in each other, and when we partner up for the higher good we can move mountains!

The experience of being an HSP is full of natural highs and immense gratitude for the beauty of life, however, it is NOT a superpower and can even be quite debilitating unless you learn to partner with it, appreciate it, respect it, and regularly nourish your body, mind and soul.

Here are my top tips for surviving and THRIVING as a Highly Sensitive Person

 Fellow kundalini teacher, Eva Blumfield and I!

Fellow kundalini teacher, Eva Blumfield and I!

1. Cover your head with a hat, scarf, turban, beanie, hood, whatever feels good!

I’ve learned through my studies of the technology of kundalini yoga and from my own experience, just how helpful this practice is in general, and in particular as a highly sensitive being. Covering your head helps to contain and preserve your energy. It gives a sense of grounding and focus for work, meditation, or heck, just being out in the world. The skull has many tiny bones that actually move and this can affect how calm or anxious you feel. Using something that can be wrapped a little tighter, like a turban will literally give you a cranial adjustment that can relieve anxiety. The effect reminds me of the “thunder jacket” my in laws put on their nervous dog Didi during a storm ;). It’s very snug and gives a feeling of safety and comfort, 2 things that are huge for an HSP.

2. Schedule Retreat Time when necessary, like prolly e’erday,

Being out in the world can become very overwhelming to an HSP. We are extremely sensitive to noise, bright lights, strong scents, crowds (energy), aggression, and too much activity for long stretches of time. In short we NEED to retreat a little more regularly than other people. I have learned that to function optimally without going into overwhelm or adrenal fatigue, I need to keep meetings, running errands, and even time with friends, to a maximum of about 2 hours. That’s my sweet spot and I’m not serving anyone if I go much past it. Does this mean that the rest of the time I’m hermiting or becoming a recluse? No (and if you’re an HSP watch for that unhelpful tendency), it just means that I know that in order to show up the way I want to in the world, I need to have a quiet, cozy, safe place filled with things I love to basically “plug in.” It’s like an electric car. I gots to refuel for a bit and then I’m good to go (for another 2 hours ;). I am also blessed to have been able to arrange 1 whole day a week where I have absolutely NO regular commitments. It is reserved for creating and working on my business behind the scenes, occasionally working with clients, or for what I like to call, Goddess Time, a perfect term I learned from the wonderful, Judy Machado-Duque. This is time devoted to nourishing my soul by doing something that I really love.

So have a space filled with beautiful things that give you a sense of calm like flowers, crystals, and candles, where you can be ALONE and decompress.

3. Take breaks from social media and news, and turn off notifications.

Set designated times for when you will check and respond to messages on your phone, email, and social media accounts. My phone is often on airplane mode, unless it is one of the 3 days a week that my daughter is in daycare. Even then I have set up specific sounds for when her caretaker or her father send me a text. If I ain’t hearing Sherwood Forest or Chimes, then I ain’t rushing to my phone.

Another tip from Spirit artist, Brandy Woods, (yes that's right. She can paint a gorgeous pic of your soul essence or spirit guide. I have mine hanging by my desk), if you use an iPhone is to click "edit" where the news show up and delete the "news" widget. At this time the news seems to be saturated with shitty stuff and what an HSP hears or reads can stick with them for days or longer. Now I am NOT suggesting at all that you turn a blind eye to world events and the plight of others. On the contrary,


as someone who feels deeply, part of your gift is sharing what pulls at your heartstrings with others and taking action to be of assistance when and where you can.

But again, schedule this.

An example from my own life would be watching videos and seeing pictures of animals being horrifically mistreated for human profit. (Ghosts in Our Machine is a well done and informative documentary on this important topic). It prompted me to make big but easy changes in my life such as not contributing to those industries by not eating animals or using products made of down and sharing this information. Do I watch these videos on the regular or even AT ALL anymore!? Hecks no! I still cry when I think about images I saw years ago! BUT, I don’t need to watch anymore because I have already taken and continue to take action on these issues close to my heart.

4. Learn about your own Personal Moon Cycle.

Yes this goes for men too. Consider how the moon affects the tides. If we are made up of around 75% water, then it stands to reason that the moon and its cycles affect us. You can actually structure your life around how you are synced up to the cycle of the moon, your own monthly cycle. For example, I know that when my moontime starts I do NOT feel like socializing, and sometimes I don’t even feel like talking. About 2 weeks after my cycle starts, around ovulation, I am the belle of the ball! So, learning to predict which days or weeks you will feel the most introspective, social, creative, focused, can go a long way in terms of taking care of yourself and also in terms of your productivity aka, getting shit done. Men, this can absolutely work for you too! 

 My own furry companion, Ruby!

My own furry companion, Ruby!

5. Spend Time in Nature

Get back in touch with You. Refuel by tuning into the nature around you. Feel your feet touch the ground when you walk (barefoot even better!), feel water on your skin, sun or moonbeams on your face, listen to the wind in the trees. Surround yourself in nature without distraction when you can. Feel any stress leaving through the soles of your feet and being absorbed and transmuted by the earth beneath you.

And this could be its own category but, animals! Be around an animal if you can.

We don’t need to read the scientific studies that have been done to know that being around animals is wonderfully healing.

My dog makes me smile, laugh, feel so much love, reminds me to drop back into my breath and presence, gets me outside walking, and snuggling. She contributes to my life, happiness and well-being exponentially. If you don’t have a pet, spend some time with someone else’s, visit an animal sanctuary, or just spend time really watching and appreciating birds, squirrels, and other animals in your environment.

7. Music. When I’m settling into sacred space I like to use the app Calm Radio because it has so many relaxing healing channels and I can weave in many different nature sounds like loons, waterfall, and autumn wind to name a few of my favorites. I also regularly play beautiful kundalini mantra music in my home and car. The mantra sticks with you long after it has ended, continuing to heal and repair.

9. Self Care including yoga nidra and energy healing such as Reiki. Floating is good too, particularly in a sensory deprivation tank if you’re not claustrophobic. Keeping your chakras aligned and balanced goes a long way toward remaining calm and ready to respond to what life brings from grounded place.


10. Hang out with fellow HSP's, especially if you're going through something more emotional than ususal. Similar to being in the presence of "like minded" people, there is something wonderfully healing and calming to being with people who understand you to your core because they experience life similarly to you.

11. Strengthen your Aura

Everything has its own electromagnetic field, a field of energy that surrounds the body. When it is strong it expands outward many feet to protect you and to attract those opportunities, people and abundance that will serve your highest good. A strong field keeps you safe, strong, and healthy. There are many ways to keep or make it strong including yoga, tai chi, mantra, meditation, and nourishing food. You can read my Top Ten Tips for Protecting your Aura here and get your very own copy of one of my favourite ways to protect my own field, here!

12. Enjoy your gifts

Enjoy noticing the beauty and humour in all of the minute details of life. It is such a joy to be alive so if you are taking care of your sensitive nervous system with some of the tips above, revel in the gift of being able to see, feel and sense the good stuff, and share it with those you love.



Elaine Aron's books and documentary,

Star Borns or Star Seed People,

Research and some Studies.

Top 10 Benefits of Reiki

Overtime your inherited limiting beliefs and patterns create a sort of foggy lense through which you interpret all of the events in your life.  A reiki treatment or attunement received in a level 1, 2 or 3 training, strips away these foggy layers, re-connecting you with Source and our natural essence of love and freedom. Basically you “uplevel” your mind and even your DNA. With this new clarity you make choices based on what will serve the highest good and bring you closer to alignment with your true essence and soul path.   

Read More

10 Ways to Protect your Energy


    As sensitive souls made up of energy in a human body, we accumulate “stuff.” We’re like sponges absorbing the energy of those around us and holding onto emotional residue left over from our reactions to situations and events in our lives. If you are an HSP like me (hyper sensitive person) then you are like a syphon of information, taking in every nuance, every sound, facial expression, conversation around you, even the emotions of others that they don’t know they’re feeling or are trying their darndest to hide. Picture yourself with a hundred antennae around your body and that’s about right.

    All of this affects your health and wellbeing. Physically you can actually get sick and run down from carrying all of that excess “stuff.” Physical disease enters your energy body before it manifests in your physical body. Emotionally you might begin to feel the emotions of those around you. You feel depressed or irritable without knowing why. And mentally you can easily move into overwhelm, stress, and anxiety. It is very important to keep your nervous system and electromagnetic field (aura) strong. Fortunately there are many simple but powerful ways to protect AND clear yourself of low vibrational energy.

In this 2 part series we begin with, How to Protect and Strengthen your Aura or energy field.

          1. Do a daily meditation or visualization that powerfully protects you like armor. Some ideas that work are; visualizing yourself in a    cocoon or egg of golden white or purple light. My favourite way to suit up in protective Light body armor can be found here. I’ve been using this visualization for years to great effect and the beauty of it is that once you get the hang of it, you can powerfully protect yourself FAST within a matter of seconds.

          2. Tune in with your Highest Self, your intuition, and your Guides every day. You can do this by closing your eyes, watching your breath, and then visualizing golden light a few hundred feet above you, coming in through the crown of the head all the way down past your tailbone into the earth, and then back up to meet at your heart space. And I rarely start the day, my meditation, or my work without tuning into wisdom with the Adi Mantra, Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, 3x. More about it here.

 Black tourmaline

Black tourmaline

          3. Git yerself a chunk of black tourmaline and put that bad boy in your pocket, in a pouch around your neck, on your bedside table, or between you and your computer when you’re working. Keep it close to ward off psychic attacks and lower vibrations.

          4. On the subject of psychic attacks, if you feel like someone is sending you bad juju, be sure to do a Cord Cutting meditation. Here is a lovely one from, Christine Russell, co-owner of 889 Yonge (the yoga studio that I teach at in Toronto). You could also book a session with a professional shaman or healer. See my sessions here.

          5. Get more sleep and practice Yoga Nidra. I literally SWEAR by yoga nidra and it got me through my 1st year of mommyhood when a good night’s sleep became a distant memory. Yoga Nidra is a powerful technique for slowing down the brainwaves. You get real comfy lying down on your bed or the floor and listen to a practitioner guide your awareness around your body and to your breath. Find a recording with a voice that you like or it’s unlikely you’ll be able to relax. Hello nails on chalkboard. I like to think my voice doesn’t feel like that.  Let me know in the comments after listening to my recorded yoga nidra here ;)

          6. If you find yourself face to face with a person sending you negative energy either verbally or psychically, turn sideways. Seriously, do not face them with your navel. You want to protect this area, the 3rd/navel chakra. This is your self power and you don’t want an energy vampire or bully sucking any of your power.


          7. Eat grounding foods and drink grounding teas. This literally means, foods that grow IN the earth like potatoes, lentils, squash etc. Don’t eat them exclusively but make sure to include them in your diet especially if you are an HSP (hyper sensitive person) and when you’re feeling a little vulnerable.

          8. Call on your Spirit Posse and Angels!!!! Seriously just ask. They are here for you always and everywhere and just waiting to be asked. Prayer is powerful.

          9. Mantra. A beautiful mantra for protection is called, the Mangala Charan Mantra. I use this one ALL. THE. TIME and definitely when I set out for the day and before getting on my bike or into my car. There are absolutely beautiful renditions of this mantra by wonderful kundalini musical artists, Snatam Kaur and Nirinjan Kaur to name a couple. In addition, if you can play sacred music and chants at home, while cooking, working, playing with your children, driving, then do so. Mantra has powerful vibrations and completely change the environment you’re in, internally AND externally.

Repeat the Mangala Charan 3x

Aad Guray Nameh
Jugaad Guray Nameh
Sat Guray Nameh
Siri Guru Dayvay Nameh


I bow to the Primal Wisdom.
I bow to the Wisdom through the Ages.
I bow to the True Wisdom.
I bow to the great, unseen Wisdom

          10. Surround yourself with like-minded people who lift your spirits, inspire, support and encourage you. Get comfy with saying no to those who don’t. And if you must be around them at work or home, for the love of Goddess, make sure you’re using the tools mentioned above.

            In my next article I will show you how to release low vibrational energies that you may have picked up and accumulated from other people, situations, and even your own thoughts. It’s important for you to know how to shed these energies at the end of each day so that you are healthy, happy, and clear on what will serve your highest good and path and what won’t.

Peace within and peace without.

Jaya Leigh