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British School of Meditation Blog

British School of Meditation Blog


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Highly Sensitive People

Highly Sensitive People

On Saturday I went to a talk at the Isbourne on Highly Sensitive People. The talk was given by mel Collins – see her bio below.

Mel talked about the defining characteristics of highly Sensitive People. I was interested to discover if I fitted into this category and also went out of interest in the subject. 15-20% of the population are in this category so a not insubstantial number.

These are some of the traits of HSP:

1.       Has difficulty letting go of negative thoughts and emotions

2.       Can experience physical symptoms such as stress or headaches when something unpleasant happens

3.       Often feels tense or anxious

4.       Fears rejection

5.       Worries about what others are thinking

6.       Self-conscious

7.       Feels uncomfortable in large crowded rooms, busy public places

8.       Feel judged by others

9.       Feels uncomfortable when exposed to bright lights, loud noises, strong smells

10.   Easily startled by sudden noises

11.   Dislikes and avoids violent and scary films, Tv shows

Elaine Aron in her book ‘The highly Sensitive Person’

Describes HSP’s as those who:
have a keen imagination; are labelled too shy or too sensitive; who perform poorly when being observed even though they are usually competent; have vivid dreams; for whom time alone each day is essential;
and find they are quickly overwhelmed by noise and confusion, crowded parties, hectic office life………….
this is the book to help them understand themselves and how best to cope in various situations.

Highly sensitive people are often very bright and creative but many suffer from low self esteem. They are not ‘neurotics’ as they have been labelled for so long. However, high sensitivity can lead them to cease to engage with the outside world.

 ‘Mel Collins is a qualified psychotherapeutic counsellor, spiritual healer and reiki master who runs regular workshops, courses and talks. Before her work as a counsellor, increasingly specialising in HSP, she worked in Her Majesty's Prison Service for two years counselling substance misuse prisoners, then eight years as a Prison Governor. Being innately sensitive in a challenging prison setting has given her an incredible learning experience and teaching base. She appeared on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 in March 2018 and she has since received widespread interest in her work from both consumers and the press alike, including BBC Radio 5. For more information, go to’

Buy her book and see reviews here:

It was a useful talk, I discovered I do have many of the traits of HSP. I am particularly affected by bright lights, loud noises and strong smells. I struggle in crowded situations where people are talking loudly. However, as I have grown older I notice I have let go of a lot of the negative characteristics I had when younger, and cope much better with my thoughts and feeling. I believe meditation has helped enormously in this.

 Are you a HSP?


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The British School of Meditation has been established to train teachers in meditation techniques to meet the growing demand for highly trained and accredited meditation teachers throughout the UK including: the Midlands, South West, Wales, North West, North East, London and the South East.