Are you, or is your loved one, a Six-Sensory?
By Judith E. Lipson, M.A., LPC
As I grew up, there was no recognition or understanding of Sensitives. I knew I was anxious and I always felt different, seemingly living on the sidelines of the life that my peers appeared to live. It wasn’t until adulthood that I understood: I am a Sensitive. I believe that this is true of many of today’s young adults, and most of your children, too. And it’s wonderful. I now feel blessed for having these qualities and appreciative to be able to support and guide others in their understanding and acceptance of who they are, of this way of being.
One approach to understand Sensitives is to examine the six senses. In fact, Sensitives, who are often called Indigos or Crystals, are often referred to as Six-Sensory Beings.
Touch: Complaints about irritating fabric or embroidery, or the sensation of water on the skin. When the touch of another person is uncomfortable or intolerable, consider a firmer touch. Occupational therapists often prescribe skin brushing and weighted vests.
Hearing: This child hears everything (other than directions to clean their room or put out the garbage). Certain tones can be distracting or even distressing. I had a student who couldn’t concentrate in a classroom because of a loud fan. Another student was distracted by the classroom TV’s high-pitched sound. Oh, and that noisy classroom? A sensitive child can have difficulty distinguishing a specific sound in the midst of others, or might even tune everything out.
Taste: Flavors or texture limit the foods eaten
Smell: Sensitivity to chemicals or fragrances
Seeing: They notice the smallest details and are compelled to ‘take it all in’. (But I don’t suggest that these individuals be placed in sterile environments.)
Sixth sense: The awareness of others’ emotions and moods. Sensitives don’t realize that they are sensing the emotions of others. Their anxiety, anger or sadness might be coming from surrounding people. They can ask, “Is this mine?” to help identify if it is their own emotion.
Sensitives frequently have anxieties and/or ADHD and may even be on the Autism Spectrum. They often have a love for nature and animals. They tend to seem older than their years, or may be characterized as old souls. They are often right-brain thinkers who are creative and artistic. They are deep thinkers and tend to be bright. In school they may be unsuccessful or unmotivated because of the mismatch between their learning style and the style of the teacher or the educational system.
Many Sensitives are argumentative and headstrong: They are frustrated with our society because they came into the world knowing how things should be—in institutions, systems and relationships. Yet as children, they don’t have the power to create this change. Their ability to understand their world may be greater than other’s their age, but their ability to cope with this awareness is compromised because they have neither the life experience nor the emotional maturation to handle what they know.
Sensitives may feel misplaced and alone. They frequently verbalize their dislike for (or discomfort with) their school, peers, and/or community. They describe themselves as having few friends–or few individuals who truly understand them and think as they do. These perceptions can also lead to anxiety and depression.
Sensitives may verbalize or behave in a manner that lets others know that they do not like being in large groups. They are empathic and intuitive and unknowingly feel and absorb the emotions of those around them. They are already experiencing discomfort due to their feelings of personal isolation and different-ness, but much of their anxiety and depression is a result of the “negative emotions” they absorb while in the presence of others. The source of their anxiety and depression may not always be from within, or the intensity of their emotions is not theirs.
Sensitives may sense the unexpressed conflicts and emotions of their parents, siblings, extended families, peers – everyone! Again, they do not understand this sensitivity and the sponge-quality of their knowing. But they are acutely aware of the conflicts and emotions, and it makes them feel uncomfortable. But again, this is usually at a subconscious level. They know that they feel “bad” when in the presence of their family or groups and wish to avoid the unpleasantness. They are responding to the body language of the individual, to their words and tone, and to the unexpressed energetic message – all things that others think are being suppressed. Their discomfort is real! Thus they may isolate themselves from others.
You can support the Sensitives (adults and children) in your life:
- Six-sensories who don’t understand, often feel scared and overwhelmed
- Teach them different is not bad; their gifts (intuition, empathy, etc) are not crazy
- Allow them to verbalize their experiences
- Keep your own energy and emotions calm when communicating (especially when offering criticism or suggestions)
- Focus on their gifts: compassion, empathy, creativity, intelligence; rather than challenging behaviors
- Help them realize they may be affected by the moods of others: family, other students, people in malls, etc
- Provide structure and familiar routines
- Stay present:
Breath – be the observer of the breath, and the mind calms. Say: Take a slow, gentle breath in; as you do, watch how your chest and abdomen (tummy) move out; as you exhale (breathe out), see how your chest and abdomen move back inward once again. Take a few more breaths, just watching the movement.
Relaxation –When the body is tense, the shoulders rise up and the chest can’t breathe as fully; so you breathe faster. The mind interprets this as anxiety, making the situation worse. Say this: Close your eyes and say in your mind what I say out loud. I relax my toes and feet. I relax my ankles and calves. I relax my knees and thighs. I relax my hips and waist. With my next breath I breathe this relaxation into my back. I relax my lower back, middle back, upper back. I relax my shoulders away from my ears. I relax my neck, jaw, chin, tongue, cheeks, nose, eyes, forehead and temples. I’m fully relaxed from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Breathe in peace and exhale tension. This is an excellent technique to fall asleep at night. (If you are interested, I have a professionally recorded relaxation CD available on my website.)
- Teach grounding techniques (often more beneficial than meditation for Sensitives): “Tree” – Sit or stand with your feet on the ground. Imagine the trunk (torso) of your body is the trunk of the tree. Feel the strength of the tree move down through your legs and feet (the roots), anchoring you into earth. This is a great technique when someone is anxious, agitated or experiencing hyperactivity.
- Use your own energetic skills to clear the negative energies from physical spaces
- Find a mentor or counselor who understands Sensitives to learn how to manage the sensitivities, deal with the experiences and recognize their inherent gifts
- Continue to educate yourself about Highly Sensitive People, Indigo Children and Crystal Children
I believe Sensitives are the seeds of the future that we strive for—a peaceful world that promotes and maintains ecological and social responsibility. We – the Sensitives who have come before – have an extraordinary opportunity to parent and mentor Six-Sensories to achieve their destiny. I hold the Sensitives in my life (and yours) in love and light. May we all know and attain our highest purpose.
Judy Lipson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and educational strategist in West Bloomfield. She helps clients of all ages who have learning difficulties; work or school related anxiety; ADHD; Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorders; and those who wish to Remember and Become Who You Really Are. Contact Judy at 248.568.8665 and firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www. SpiralWisdom.net for more information.
Published in Bamboo Magazine, January 2012