10 Oct 6 Types of Sensitivity
Sensitivity Typing is a remarkably insightful assessment of every healing journey. There are 6 Types of Sensitivity and they characterize how the sensitive population views and experiences the world, which inherently influences health and healing.
Anthon St. Maarten once said, “Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate.” I couldn’t agree more. In the world of holistic health and MindBody medicine, sensitivity is a superpower that has no rival. For this reason, it’s essential to thoroughly explore and understand each type of sensitivity and how they affect us, individually and collectively.
What is Sensitivity?
First thing first, the Medical Dictionary defines sensitivity as, “the state or quality of being sensitive; often used to denote a state of abnormal responsiveness to stimulation, or of responding quickly and acutely.” However, in regards to human beings, this definition is overwhelmingly broad. Sensitive individuals are as unique as they come and can be characterized by the following: Highly Sensitive People (HSP), Empaths, Intuitives, and Introverts.
- Highly Sensitive People (HSP) perceive stimulus at a heightened level and notice subtleties, details and clues more than others.
- Empaths feel more empathy than the average individual, often absorbing the feelings, emotions or physical sensations of their environment (people, animals, nature). This often drives them to be helpers and healers because they can actually feel and embody the pain and suffering of someone else’s experience.
- Intuitives have high levels of intuition or inner knowing. They have a strong ability to identify and understand their conscious reasoning and inner sensing.
- Introverts simply need time alone to recharge. There are both social introverts (who enjoy socializing) and shy introverts (who prefer solitary activity), but both types do get drained by human interactions and need peace and quiet to recharge their energy.
All of these groups are prone to sensory overload more. For this reason, HSPs, Empaths, Intuitives and Introverts are easily exhausted in crowds or busy places. They are all most likely to be creative, introspective, helpers and healers. And all of these sensitive people are often drawn to nature and the expressive arts.
While these personality types are inherently different, each embodies some level or type of hypersensitivity. Some sensitive individuals might only resonate with one or two traits, while others may experience all of them.
What are the 6 Types of Sensitivity?
In my experience, sensitive people are the messengers of the world. We possess a special superpower that can be nurtured and strengthened for healing. Ultimately, we experience the world through a lens of hyper-awareness and self-discovery.
There are 6 different Types of Sensitivity that can impact health, healing, and overall wellness. As we gain a better appreciation of our unique superpowers, we learn to use them for good (healing), not evil (sickness). In other words, we begin to understand how our bodies operate on a foundational level and exactly what we need to experience optimal health, mentally and physically. These are the 6 types of sensitivity:
→ Pattern Disruption
→ Mistakes and errors
→ Visual or spatial changes in their surroundings (did someone move that?)
→ Problem Solving systems
→ Waste + Efficiency (good at organizing and optimizing)
Struggle with: Perfectionism, Control and Manipulation, Holding grudges, Road rage, Obsessive-compulsive tendencies, Addictions, Chronic Pain, Stress
→ Thoughts, feelings, emotions (self and others)
→ Changes in mood
→ Understanding triggers, trauma and wounds
→ Non-verbal communication cues
Struggle with: Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, moodiness, excessive crying, negative thinking, helplessness, hopelessness, guilt, and burnout.
→ Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia
→ Bright Lights, Flashing Lights
→ Sounds, Loud Noises
→ Materials like metal or fabric
Struggle with: Chronic pain, hypersensitivity to lights and noise, aversion to specific textures, hypersensitivity to touch, Mind-Body disconnect
→ Food reactions
→ Smells, Perfumes,
→ Air Quality and Pollution, like car exhaust or smoke
→ Lotions, Makeup, Cream
→ Cleaning products
Struggle with: Digestive issues, skin problems, brain fog, allergies, food sensitivities, difficulty detoxing, and sometimes autoimmunity.
→ Group dynamics (skilled at introducing + connecting people)
→ Traditions, etiquette and cultural rules
→ Teamwork and team member satisfaction
→ Conflict resolution
Struggle with: Bonding and Attachment styles, low libido, painful memories, sensitivity to criticism, irregular sleep cycles and appetite, socially isolation and pain.
→ Energy fields
→ Vibrational, barometric or magnetic changes around them
→ Auras, Spirits, Vibes, Tone
→ First impressions (people, places, objects)
→ Future foresight
Struggle with: Chronic fatigue, Mystery illness, Unexplained anxiety and uneasiness, intangible experiences, subtle energies, spiritual messages, never feelings like they belong, being misunderstood by others, experience being dismissed by others, feelings unwell and never finding a reason for it, increased symptoms in urban or man-made environments.
Each superpower (or sensitivity) brings its own set of challenges and strengths. The more we develop an appreciation and understanding of the 6 types of sensitivity, the sooner we can live and thrive in harmony with our sensitivities!
How Sensitivity Affects Your Health
In my personal, professional, and clinical experiences, I’ve worked almost exclusively with the sensitive population. In these experiences, I’ve learned the similarities and differences among all 6 sensitivities and how the mind-body-spirit connection influences each.
Each of the 6 sensitivities introduces new stressors to the body, potentially leading to chronic illness. The 6 types of sensitivity can affect our health in the following ways:
Through overwhelming exposure to stress, the immune system is unable to regulate itself properly. As a result, it begins to attack its own organs and tissues, in the name of self-protection. Unfortunately, this immune dysregulation leads to physical and emotional struggles and symptoms.
The thyroid is a powerhouse organ, responsible for producing and regulating many essential hormones. It’s also a big part of the throat chakra – our expressive energy center. Experiencing chronic stress, in any form, has detrimental impacts on the thyroid and our ability to express ourselves. In some cases, the immune system begins attacking the thyroid, resulting in Hashimoto’s (a common autoimmune disease).
Despite common belief, depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders can often be a result of mental, emotional, physiological or energetic imbalances. Emotional sensitivity can actually contribute to mood disorders and chemical imbalances.
As Hippocrates said, “All health begins in the gut.” Microbiome imbalances or infection can be triggered or exacerbated through the 6 types of sensitivity. Simultaneously, dysfunction within the gut can result in higher levels of sensitivity. The gut-brain connection in a two-way street.
Chronic pain is a common symptom in the sensitive population. In my experience and research, physical pain is closely related to many of the sensitivities. Often, chronic pain can be a consequence of being overstimulated by physical, mental, emotional, chemical, social and/or energetic inputs.
Your skin is an external look at what’s going on internally. Skin problems, like acne, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, are all indicators of chemical sensitivity (or more!). Balancing your sensitivities can naturally improve unwanted skin conditions.
Chronic fatigue is frequently an exhausting consequence of hyper-sensitivity. All 6 types of sensitivity can contribute to feelings of chronic fatigue, lethargy, and brain fog.
Chronic stress plagues our society today. And, unfortunately, stress (in one form or another) is the root cause of all illnesses. Interestingly, chronic stress is experienced more so in those who are sensitive.
How to Cope with Sensitivity
While the 6 sensitivities can introduce new stressors to the mind, body and spirit, there are many lifestyle practices that can help us effectively cope. There is no one-fits-all approach to coping with sensitivity, yet through a combination of diet, lifestyle, movement, mind-body medicine, and stress management techniques, it is possible to live a strong, healthy, vibrant life as a sensitive individual. More importantly, you can learn to harness your sensitivity as your superpower.