Self

HSP INFJ Introvert

HSP INFJ INTROVERT

Sometimes I cry at adverts. Or at lyrics from songs. Or at cat videos on the internet. I cry at news reports, books, T.V episodes or even strangers talking to each other on the street.

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Sometimes I wince at loud noises. Someone shouting can cause me physical pain, a slight buzzing noise can keep me up all night, and if more than one person talks to me at once I cant concentrate on anything or hear what anyone is saying.

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Flashing lights or blaring sunlight can seem unbearable, any day above 18 degrees makes me feel like I’m dying of heat exhaustion and I turn into a sweaty mess, yet a slight chill in the air can make me freezing and I’m reaching for the electric blanket and my fluffy slippers.

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Put me in a room with one person with a deep topic to discuss and I can talk for hours, but put me in front of a hairdresser and ask me about my holiday or what I’m doing this weekend and I freeze up, unable to think of a response.

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I like to see my family and friends but I need time to decompress and recover after social events. Big parties or long weekends away from home can take me days to recover from as being in rooms with lots of people, stimuli and other peoples emotions flying around can make me feel physically and mentally exhausted.

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I love time by myself, I don’t need other people to keep me occupied and entertained and I’m quite happy to spend several days in a row pottering about at home alone. This being said time alone for me is not just a luxury, but a necessity, it is how I recuperate, digest the day and sort through all the information and emotions I have absorbed.

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I used to think I was just weird. Why does my body react so strongly to stress? Why can’t I cope with a full and busy social calendar? Why did I feel exhausted after spending time with people, even the people I love? Why are even seemingly small decisions agonised over, why does it take me so long to get ready and why do I hate feeling rushed?

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I used to wish I was someone else, someone bold and loud and gregarious. Someone who loved parties and could speak to anyone about anything. Some one who is always surrounded by others, with a packed and busy life, always on the go, the life and soul of the party with boundless energy.

Now I know I’m not that person, and it’s Okay. There’s nothing wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with people being different and needing different things.

I have since discovered a few things about my personality type. I am Introverted, I am a HSP/Empath and I’m an INFJ. Some of you will be nodding your head right now and others will be thinking what on Earth is she on about.

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Well, I’m sure many of you will know what it means to be extroverted or introverted, but in a nutshell it describes where and how people get and use there energy. People who are extroverted get there energy from external sources such as socialising with others and feel depleted and drained when they spend too much time alone. Introverts on the other hand feel drained by too much socialising and recuperate there energy by spending time alone. This does not mean if you are an extrovert you never want to be alone or have down time, or if your an introvert you hate other people and want to live in a cave, and people can be a bit of a mix between the two. But I am very much an introvert, and knowing that about myself is a useful piece of information.

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I am also a HSP/empath. HSP stands for Highly sensitive person (or as its now scientifically known as a person with sensory processing sensitivity) and an empath is a more general and colloquial term meaning someone who absorbs the emotions of others around them. HSP’s can be introverts or extroverts. HSP is a term coined in the early 1990’s by psychologist Elaine Aron. Aron suspects that around 15% of the population is a HSP so if you answer yes to the majority of the following questions then you may be HSP too:

Is this you?

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?

  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?

  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?

  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?

  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?

  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?

  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?

  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

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It basically means that your sensory processing is more sensitive than none HSP’s so you are more likely to become easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells or loud noises, but equally you are more likely to see and appreciate fine details, subtle sounds and smells and notice the emotions and feelings of others. (This is not to be confused with conditions like Autism or sensory processing disorder which can have profound effects on people’s abilities to live day to day, HSP is merely a personality type and a heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli.)

Empaths are highly sensitive and feel things very strongly. They may have periods of deep suffering and sadness but will also experience overwhelming joy and happiness. In addition to this Empaths are very aware of the emotions and feelings of people around them and will often absorb other peoples emotional states. This makes them very empathetic but can make social situations very draining as the empath will take on the strong emotions of the people around them and will need time alone afterwards to sort out what is there own emotion and what is that of the other person.

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And finally INFJ. I have talked about the Myers Briggs personality types on my blog before HERE, so if you want more in depth information on the Myers Briggs Personality test then feel free to read my previous post. INFJ is essentially one of the Myers Briggs personality types, it stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling and Judgment. INFJ’s are essentially introverts who are artistic and sensitive, they care deeply about others but can be very private. INFJ’s pick up details about the people around them very easily and are very sensitive to subtle changes in people’s moods. INFJ’s are also perfectionists and are prone to anxiety.

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I feel that knowing about and understanding your own limits, boundaries and personality traits is a good way to help yourself become a happier and more productive person. I now no longer wish to be someone else, but can have compassion towards myself and my limitations. Here is a list of some of the things I try and do in my day to day life when possible to help keep me from being permanently overwhelmed and frazzled. Obviously stuff happens in every persons life that we can’t control and a certain amount of stress is a perfectly normal part of everyday life. But there are ways to make life easier for yourself if you understand your own strengths and weaknesses. If you are an HSP or an introvert too you may find some of these practices useful in your own life, feel free to try some yourself!

  • Get plenty of sleep when you can.

  • Honour your hunger- make sure you eat enough and at regular intervals

  • Ensure you have time to decompress after busy social events or draining situations.

  • Have close friends or partners that understand your limitations and support you in your need for alone time.

  • Have a room at home where you can retreat into a relaxing environment.

  • Switch off from social media regularly

  • Don’t over book/ fill up your diary with too many appointments

  • leave plenty of time to prepare for events or trips. This could mean starting to plan and pack for a holiday well in advance, or just getting your stuff ready for work/ school the night before.

  • Spend time in nature, whether its going for a walk, sitting in the garden or having some potted plants on your window sill.

  • Do some joyful movement (this means move your body in a way that feels good to you, not for appearance or weight management purposes) like going for a walk, dancing, swimming or just an occasional gentle stretch throughout the day.

  • Journal or do automatic writing- get those worries and thoughts down on the page.

  • Be creative! Make something, bake a cake, write a poem, knit a jumper, paint a picture. Even if you don’t think you’re very good at art just do it anyway, its about the process not the finished product.

  • Wear clothes you are comfortable in, that express your personality and don’t restrict your movement.

  • Take things slow- focus on one task at a time. Multi tasking is actually a myth.

  • Do things to make yourself more comfortable such as wear sunglasses if its too sunny, wrap up warm if you’re too cold.

  • Keep your home tidy and organised, or at least one room, so you have somewhere that is not visually overstimulating to decompress.

  • Be compassionate towards yourself and don’t compare your productivity and limitations to others. Yes some people may be able to take on more than you do, but everyone is different and the world needs all kinds of people.

Thanks for reading folks!

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