Home Highly-sensitive people 8 Fantastic Blogs for Empathic and Highly Sensitive People (HSP)
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8 Fantastic Blogs for Empathic and Highly Sensitive People (HSP)

by Esther Lee

As someone who’s often felt sensitive to people’s energies since I was a young girl, I recently began to look more seriously into resources about what’s often called highly sensitive people (HSP)— otherwise referred to as empaths or empathic people.

Admittedly, I was a little skeptical at first to learn more and, as a writer and former teacher of creative of writing, my first connotation with the term empath was Octavia Butler’s incredible, dystopian novel, Parable of the Sower, in which the main character, Lauren, is afflicted with afflicted with hyperempathy syndrome, “a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.”

Not exactly the same (nor even the same term…hehe), of course, but all this to say, I was resistant to learning about this particular topic for a while. It made me feel uncomfortable and that discomfort largely stemmed from a bad habit of privileging certain types of knowledge (i.e. academic, what’s deemed “intellectual”) over others (resources related to emotional well-being, mental health, and women’s experiences).

However, I’m recognizing that not broaching something solely because you’re uncomfortable often comes at a great cost and disservice to yourself in terms of learning and opening up potential paths to well-being.

So with that in mind, I’ve been delving into learning more about HSPs and empathic people, and wanted to share with you what I’ve found so far.

*hey y’all, since our goal is to share ideas and resources, some posts may include affiliate links, which means if you decide to buy something we suggest, we earn a small commission. this comes at no additional cost to you, but helps us continue to create great content for you, and we only share products we believe in. Thanks!

HIGHLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE (HSP) VS. EMPATHIC PEOPLE

People sometimes use the terms highly sensitive people (HSP) and empaths interchangeably, but Judith Orloff—empath, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, and author of The Empath’s Survival Guideoffers this distinction in a Psychology Today article:

Empaths share all the traits of…“Highly Sensitive People,” or HSPs. These include: a low threshold for stimulation; the need for alone time; sensitivity to light, sound, and smell; and an aversion to large groups. It also takes highly sensitive people longer to wind down after a busy day, since their ability to transition from high stimulation to being quiet is slower. Highly sensitive people are typically introverts, while empaths can be introverts or extroverts (although most are introverts). Empaths share a highly sensitive person’s love of nature  and quiet environments, their desire to help others, and their rich inner life. Being a highly sensitive person and an empath are not mutually exclusive: One can be both, and many highly sensitive people are also empaths.

Photo by Tiago on Unsplash

Photo by Tiago on Unsplash

A TROVE OF WONDERFUL BLOGS ABOUT HSPS AND EMPATHIC PEOPLE DISCOVERED SO FAR (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER):

 

Dr. Judith Orloff’s blog

An array of HSP resources by psychiatrist, empath, intuitive healer, and best-selling author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. Her TEDx talk, “The ecstasy of surrender,” is particularly helpful for learning about 3 types of surrender and letting go of self-doubt, anxiety, and fear.

Highly Sensitive Refuge

A community co-founded by Jenn Granneman (who, incidentally, is the author of the bestselling book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World) and Andre Sólo offers advocacy for fellow HSPs, with insightful articles like “News Overload Is Real. Here’s How It Affects Highly Sensitive People.”

Janet Raftis’ Blog

A healer and empath whose journey began with trauma and eventually led to a transformative healing practice. Raftis offers retreats, remote healing meditations, and more. Full disclosure: I’ve had the opportunity to meet Janet during a session kindly gifted by two dear friends. I can say the session was very influential in my decision to learn more about HSPs and well-being.

Sensitive Evolution

Maria Hill — a painter, printmaker, and a reiki master/teacher — promotes the self development of highly sensitive people and includes a wonderful library of resources, including a great explanation of the DOES model developed by Dr. Elaine Aron, which describes the key characteristics of HSPs.

The Diary of an Empath

A social worker from the East Coast of Canada offers clear guidance to determining whether you’re an empath, plus courses and free offerings.

The Happy Sensitive

Caroline van Kimmenade believes that HSPs have an “immense capacity for compassionate joy” and offers one-on-one Skype consultations to discuss actionable tips.

The Highly Sensitive Person

With a background in clinical psychology and psychotherapy, Dr. Elaine Aron and her husband, Dr. Arthur Aron, are considered two of the pioneering researchers about HSPs. Their site includes valuable information, such as how to find an HSP-knowledgeable therapist. Dr. Elaine Aron is also the author of The Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, and The Highly Sensitive Child

The Highly Sensitive Person’s Life

A blog and podcast with a total of 70 episodes featuring nuanced conversations about strategies for HSPs and introverts, including an interview with Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

 

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6 comments
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6 comments

Tina August 6, 2018 - 3:37 pm

So helpful!

Reply
Wayfinders Now August 22, 2018 - 2:19 am

Thanks so much, Tina!

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Jacquelyn Strickland August 6, 2018 - 4:16 pm

Just a quick comment about Judith Orloff’s quote that “highly sensitive people are typically introverts.” It is true that the majority of HSPs are introverts, however, there are 1.4 billion HSPs in the world, and 30% of that number are sensitive extroverts — or 420 million sensitive extroverts who often go unrecognized or who have a more difficult time identifying as an HSP because of the erroneous belief that all HSPs are introverts….
I would also be interested to know if there is any research on the number of empaths who also report having the trait of Sensory Processing Sensitivity. I’ve met many who claim to be empaths and HSPs, yet they do not exhibit the four characteristics all HSPs have in common: D.O.E.S. There is so much information on the internet about these topics. I find it difficult to sort through what is science and what is not. This does not mean I do not value nor understand those who identify as empaths … I do … I just do not think the terms should be used interchangeably as if they were one and the same. This seems to negate the decades of scientific research conducted not only by Drs Art & Elaine Aron, but many others who have researched SPS as well.

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Wayfinders Now August 22, 2018 - 2:23 am

Hi Jacquelyn, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I’ve been starting to notice more information out there about sensitive extroverts and actually, I personally fall somewhere near/in that group since I seem to jostle between INFJ and ENFJ (if only slightly when it comes to the “E”). If you have certain resources about D.O.E.S. that you find really helpful and credible, please let us and readers know! I’m definitely on a path of learning myself about these topics and love when we can all share knowledge. And I really appreciate your reminder about not conflating empaths and HSPs, and how they have important distinctions to keep in mind. Thank you!

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Lisa December 20, 2018 - 6:39 am

I am new to all of this information about being an empath. From all that I’ve have read , I’m clearly exhibiting / have in the past characteristics of being an empath. I’ve always thought there was something wrong with me. I truly appreciate all the information and validation. But not sure where to go from here. Please help me to go in the right direction.

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Wayfinders Now December 20, 2018 - 2:36 pm

Hey Lisa, thanks for checking out the article. I’m so glad it was helpful and validating–I feel the same in terms of coming across these resources. I’m obviously learning like you, but I’d definitely recommend further reading of the texts mentioned, which I know offers a wealth of additional information and resources out there. Wishing you the best and please feel free to share with readers here any that you feel are particularly great. 🙂

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