Inhale Exhale Family Edition Issue 3

A Healthy Brain

As a parent, your words to your children meant to support and help them, can sometimes inadvertently lead to labeling and negatively impact core identity development. Children hearing things like “You’re too sensitive” or “Why do you have to analyze everything?” may grow up thinking that being sensitive is not a worthy trait and that critical thinking is not acceptable.

Does your child get the hangry’s seeming perfectly normal one minute and in a temper tantrum the next? Do sudden outbursts seemingly coming from nowhere, leave you shaking your head. Do they complain about clothing being itchy, too tight, or not fitting well? Do they present as shy in social situations?

Your child may be a highly sensitive person. According to Elaine Aron, Ph.D., Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) are individuals with genetic characteristics that make them deeply attuned and sensitive to their environments and relationships. They have high levels of empathy and emotional responsiveness. Above all, HSPs tend to be more thoughtful in their actions and deeply reflective. Hence, the shyness factor when actually they are assessing the situation and taking it all in before responding.

We all have anxiousness from time to time. Anxiety is something one does have control over. Understanding this is the first step to begin overcoming it. If anxiety continuously gets in the way of being happy, causes sleep or eating disturbances, presents as a vicious cycle of negative thoughts, and is overwhelming and debilitating, an innate trait called Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) may be responsible.

If you or your child is someone who struggles with anxiety – and these days there is a lot to be anxious about – the recognition of being a highly sensitive child or parent can open a whole new world of discovery and wonderment about your child’s behaviors. Your reactions as a parent then shift to being inside your child’s world instead of the challenges and struggles that seem to be a never-ending battle.

According to Aron SPS is not a disorder and is found in only 15-20% of the population. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others. Sensie’s as they can be called, notice everything about everything. They are naturally overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.

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