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.