Highly sensitive people feel everything deeply. If you’re an HSP, learn how to cleanse and protect your personal energy to avoid overwhelm.
HSP, or highly sensitive person, is a term that refers to people who are a little more attuned to the things many of us don’t normally notice. This is a personality trait, not a mental health diagnosis, well-described and defined in Dr. Elaine N. Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person. HSPs feel things deeply, get stressed in overly stimulating environments, and often notice details others don’t. There is an intersection between the HSP trait and the quality of being highly intuitive. Spiritual awareness generally comes along, with an ability to feel things deeply and tap into energies that may not be so obvious on the surface.
What Causes Someone to Become an HSP?
It’s common for HSPs to have had difficult childhoods. If we were in a challenging, scary, lonely, or confusing environment when we were little, it’s likely that we learned to be hyper vigilant to adults’ moods and our physical environment to help keep us safe. This is a skill that was built into our developing brains that carries over into our adult lives.
Life can be difficult for highly sensitive people, especially if they are surrounded by others who can’t understand them. We live in a culture that tends to ridicule certain spiritual experiences, such as being able to “see” energies or auras, being able to talk to ancestors or ghosts, or having outsized fears that a person feels they may have inherited from an ancestor or past life. Big feelings that need expression, even if they have nothing to do with anything spiritual, are often ignored or rejected by others who don’t understand them or know what to do with them.
What It’s Like Being an HSP
Noticing emotions and energies is the first language children have. They don’t have words, so they have to interpret safety and danger through the facial expressions and body language of the people around them. Perhaps we all start with this kind of deep sensitivity, noticing energy.
These abilities are valuable. They can help us read people in more subtle ways and access information that others can’t generally perceive. However, when we are taught that these abilities are weird or bad, we suppress and ignore them. This doesn’t change our vulnerability to energy—rather, we learn to distrust our own internal signals, and that can be dangerous on many levels.
Everyone is affected by subtle energies, but HSPs feel them even more. When we’re constantly told that our sensitivities aren’t real, we don’t learn to protect ourselves appropriately. There are some simple ways to protect ourselves energetically, but it’s essential to start by understanding that energy is real and it does affect us. We also must understand that we have a right to protect ourselves; that our energy and our body are ours alone and we have the right to develop boundaries around them—which we are also often taught not to do.
Protection Rituals for HSPs
There are many strategies, tools, and rituals we can do to cleanse and protect our energy. Here are a couple of simple things you can do immediately.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say to yourself, “This is my body. This is my energy. I release any energy that is not mine.”
Imagine a shower of white or golden light coming down from the top of your head through your entire body, bathing your energy and cleansing away anything that doesn’t belong there.
Press your feet into the earth and imagine any energy that’s not yours gently releasing into the ground to be transformed into something else.
Light a candle and gently pass your hands high over the flame (this shouldn’t hurt or even feel hot to the touch). Imagine the fire taking any energy that’s not yours and transforming it into something else.
If you notice yourself picking up someone else’s mood or energy, take a deep breath and repeat to yourself, “Not mine, not mine, not mine.”