The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for HSP’s
If you do not already know, “HSP” stands for “Highly Sensitive Person.” This refers to a person who has a sensory processing sensitivity. Elaine Aron, author of “The Highly Sensitive Person” has coined this term and created an amazing book for those of us operating with such a sensitivity. This book is an endless wealth of knowledge, and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy and read it—even if you are a non-HSP but have someone in your life who is an HSP. It is also absolutely recommended for parents of HSPs, or an “HSC” (Highly Sensitive Child). You can purchase the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Highly-Sensitive-Person-Thrive-Overwhelms/dp/0553062182 or: https://hsperson.com/store/bookstore/. The latter will also bring you to Aron’s website: hsperson.com. Aron is considered the foremost expert on this area as she has been researching this subject for decades. Most of the knowledge we have is thanks to her. That being said, we are all uniquely different, and so what may be beneficial to one HSP, may not be of any benefit to another.
The purpose of this post is to speak on the invaluable benefits of meditation for HSPs. I will speak from my own personal experience and knowledge.
From my own experience, I often find that those who are HSPs, are also spiritually gifted, i.e. are in tune with gifts of clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, etc. I do not believe it to be a coincidence that most energy healers are HSPs— in fact—I believe it to be one and the same. Being a Highly Sensitive Person has personally allowed me to tap into and align with my spiritual gifts. Because of this sensory processing sensitivity, I am able to see things others cannot, feel things that others cannot, and understand things most others cannot. I believe being an “HSP” is part of the toolbox of the spiritually gifted. And I believe that using the term HSP allows society to “identify” the spiritually gifted and make space for them in a way that is more easily digestible (to those who are less open-minded) rather than using the terms “psychic” or “spiritually gifted.”
Now, with all of this being said, I will introduce you to my own personal experience with Mindfulness Meditation* and the innumerable gifts it has brought me as an HSP.
Let me take you into my world for a moment:
Imagine you are working in a busy office space, with just cubicle walls around you. You have no shield from the noise of others talking, typing, the phones ringing, chewing of gum, coughing, etc. Now imagine each of these sounds happening right in your ear. So when someone speaks, it sounds like that person is standing right next to you speaking directly into your ear. Now, imagine that at the same time, you are required to focus on your own tasks given to you, and are required to bill each task for a total of 7 hours a day. How do you focus when all of this is happening around you, and seemingly to you?
The answer is, you don’t—unless you find away to shut out all the external stimuli. My solution was to put in noise-cancelling headphones and play binaural beats. For those that are not familiar with this, binaural beats are two tones that play simultaneously at specific frequencies (measured in hertz) that direct our brain waves to specific mental states. This entrains your brain activity to follow the frequency set by the binaural tones and leads it to states of focus, calm, or sleep. The frequencies used in these beats are actually the same frequencies that are seen when someone is meditating. For example, increases in theta activity are often seen in someone meditating.1
At the time, I didn’t really understand why this worked for me, I just knew that it did. I continued doing this for the next 7 years. I’d keep my headphones in my ears and just work away, and if anyone asked, I’d let them know it helped me concentrate and focus (because I am also diagnosed as “ADD/ADHD Combined type” so others just accepted that as the reason—but I’ll talk about that in another post). It wasn’t until 2019, when I began my training as a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher (“MMT”), that I received the gift of being able to work with my sensitivity in a brand new way. Now, I had been meditating since 2010, but had never employed the practice of Mindfulness Meditation* before teacher training.
MMT training took place over the course of 5 months. During this time period, we were required to practice only Mindfulness Meditation (and no other type of meditation) every day, for at least 20-30 minutes per session. It was challenging at first but as I became used to it and began incorporating it into my daily routine, I began noticing a shift. It was subtle at first, and then one day at work—while in the same environment I asked you to imagine above—I noticed I was not using my headphones, yet was still able to focus and complete tasks. This had happened so subtly that I couldn’t even tell you exactly when I had stopped using the headphones. One day, I noticed that I was just doing this “normal” thing. I no longer needed the headphones. I no longer had this extreme sensitivity to others talking around me, or typing away. I still heard these sounds, of course, but they didn’t cause me to cringe, or shut down, and lose my ability to perform my job duties. And this was not the only gift Mindfulness Meditation had given me. I also noticed that my mood had drastically improved, as did my ability to handle stress with ease and grace, my ability to be present in every situation—with whatever came up. My ability to manage anxiety greatly improved, and events that I previously perceived as “negative” were now just events—they just “were.” Life had become much more manageable and every experience was seen as just that—an experience. I was more grateful and loving, and more open. All of these gifts I was given—just for meditating.
I had already known about the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for adults and children—but this gave me much more insight as to how this would actually work. I also did not know about the specific benefits I would experience as an HSP. My personal experience has led me to fully appreciate the potential for all HSPs through this specific meditation practice. There are many types of meditation practices, and I have tried all of them (with the exception of Transcendental Meditation). Each practice is great for its own unique benefits, and for HSPs I absolutely recommend starting a Mindfulness Meditation practice. Try it for 30 days – 20 minutes a day, at least 5 times a week — and keep a journal to write down the benefits you see after your daily practice. The results will likely surprise you.
But I must warn you—side effects Mindfulness Meditation may include: increased happiness, general sense of well-being, increased joy, increased gratitude, increased presence, increased calm, and increased love. So please use at your own risk! 🙂
And if you’d like to start a meditation practice, but aren’t sure where to begin, please reach out and schedule a meditation session with me. I’d love to sit with you!
1 Lee, D J., Kulubya, E., Goldin, P., Goodarzi, A., Girgis, F. (2018). Review of the Neural Oscillations Underlying Meditation. Front. Hum. Neurosci. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00178↩