The benefits of being HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)

I love the saguaros across the street in the preserve.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal “The Superpowers of Highly Sensitive People,” journalist Elizabeth Bernstein talks about strategies sensitive people use to cope with overwhelming moments. (I love Bernstein’s articles and the fact that she’s an Elizabeth Anne like me. Although I’m an Ann without an e.)

She admits she’s what known as an HSP herself.

At the end of the article is a test you can take to determine if you’re an HSP too. I did, and according to the quiz, I passed with flying colors.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

HSPs process information more deeply than other people. They’re very responsive to emotions, both their own and those of others. And they’re often more attuned to sensations, such as taste, touch, sound or smell. 

Scientists have been examining HSPs for decades. Researchers believe that sensitivity occurs on a spectrum: About 20% to 30% of people are HSPs, including both men and women. A similar amount have low sensitivity, while the majority are in the middle. 

High sensitivity—another term is environmental sensitivity—is an innate, stable trait, requiring some HSPs to employ next-level coping skills. They use strategies such as setting boundaries, scheduling downtime and planning positive experiences.

These tactics often enable them to thrive in their personal lives and careers. They are also a great blueprint for everyone.

I thought it was an interesting concept to think about. It reminded me of a picture book manuscript that I wrote when my son was young. He told me his friend’s feelings were only in black and white while he had feelings in many colors — more than you can find in a large crayon box.

I won a couple awards with that manuscript, although I didn’t find a publisher.

I do agree with the journalist that the way HSPs cope are helpful to everyone. Set boundaries, allocate your energy, schedule downtime and things that make you happy, Sometimes I sit down in the yard, listen to the birds and watch the clouds. Then I feel recharged.

Do you think you’re an HSP? Who in your life do you see as a highly sensitive person? What are your thoughts with the coping skills mentioned in the article?

Views from my week

Cardinal with pink flamingos

A cardinal hung out with the birthday flamingos.

At first the birds were avoiding our back yard like the plague. I guess the flamingos I got for my birthday looked too menacing. After tossing birdseed at the feet of the flamingos we got our first visitor. A bright red cardinal.

The quail are still wary and they walk on the opposite side of the yard — as far away from the flamingos as possible.

Here’s are other views from the week:

sunset on a cloudy day

Sunset on a cloudy day.

sunset reflected on trees

I loved how the sunset reflected on the trees.

A view of snow covered hills on a morning walk in the neighborhood.

The cardinal hanging out on a rock.

Other exciting news. We got our dishwasher installed. We got the solar approved. I turned on the breakers to the solar and the house didn’t blow up. I was more than concerned about that!

I went to a lunch with a very energizing and encouraging speaker. I almost groaned when the waiters served the typical chicken lunch. But it was the best chicken banquet meal I’ve ever had. Tender, juicy and flavorful with tons of veggies. Good speaker, good lunch. I feel spoiled.

What are some of the highlights from your week so far?

Another one bites the dust

saguaro fallen down

Another saguaro down.

We’ve lost three saguaros since we’ve moved here. The fourth one went down last week.

I was sitting by the window in the casita and glanced outside as a huge saguaro crashed to the ground. I was glad I wasn’t standing in the way! That was the first one we lost.

We called a cactus doctor and he walked around our yard diagnosing saguaros.

He found one with a disease and he recommended having it removed or the disease would spread to our other saguaros. That project included not only paying the cactus doctor, but getting a permit from the city. An inspector came out to look at the saguaro and signed off on the permit. Then we had to hire another company to cut down the saguaro and remove it. That was saguaro number two that bit the dust.

The third was in the front yard and one of our only ones with arms. It was turning brown from the base that was slowly creeping up. The cactus doctor told us we’d need to brace it if we wanted to keep it. A neighbor told us that the previous owners had that saguaro treated for something a couple times. One day we walked out the front door and it was down.

Then last week after all the rain and a big wind, this smaller one was laying on the ground. The cactus doctor told us that once they fall they are traumatized and can’t make it if they’re replanted. In spite of his words, I wish we would have tried to replant the first one that fell.

We asked our gardener to try to save this guy. There’s a crack along the crown but we hope it lives.

This saguaro has been given a chance to live.

What special plants or trees do you have that need attention?

Unusual gifts

Presents from my kids.

My son, his girlfriend and my daughter spoiled me with a pile of gifts for my birthday. The packages arrived all week and I was instructed not to touch or open anything. On my birthday morning, my husband stacked the gifts on the counter in our casita.

This whole pile is to make a cup of coffee. That’s right. All these items are used for “Pour Over” coffee. When I last went to Berkeley to help my son post foot surgery, I learned the arduous task of pour overs. The first time I made coffee my son said to me, “You didn’t let this bloom long enough.”

It did taste bitter, a side effect of not enough “bloom.”

If you’re curious what was in all the packages, the big bag held the grinder. The smaller packages included Ethiopian beans, a scale, a bowl to put on the scale to weigh the beans, a glass carafe to make and hold the coffee, coffee filters, a platter to put under the grinder (from a Finnish artist — since I’m of Finnish descent) and a special kettle with a thermometer on it to get hot water at the exactly correct temperature.

Here are the presents unwrapped — the Pour Over paraphernalia.

Why did they choose to give me pour over coffee equipment? It’s because at my son’s house, I began to enjoy the process of making coffee every morning. When I returned home, I called my son and said that my Keurig coffee — even the special Starbuck’s Holiday Blend — was tasteless. I could have been drinking water.

Here’s the secret recipe to making a good cup of pour over coffee:

Fill the kettle with water and turn on the burner.

Weigh 30 grams of beans in the small bowl.

Put a filter on the Chemex carafe.

Place the carafe on the scale.

Grind the beans right before the water is at the correct temperature.

Pour hot water into the filter to get it wet.

Pour water out of the carafe.

Place ground coffee into the wet filter.

Pour 60 grams of hot water from the kettle over the coffee grinds — making sure it’s all wet.

Let it “bloom” for several minutes. Bubbles will appear on the surface of the grinds.

Pour 100 grams of hot water onto the filter holding the ground coffee beans.

Wait for the coffee to drip.

Repeat three more times.

The result is an excellent, bold, full flavored cup of coffee! There’s something about the process that is relaxing and satisfying. Otherwise, it would be too much work — even for superior tasting coffee.

A friend from Palm Springs called with birthday wishes. I asked her if she knew about “Pour Over” coffee. She said, “Yes. My two son-in-laws have all that stuff. The glass carafe, the coffee grinder. I have to get to work in the morning. I drink a cup of instant.”

We met friends at a restaurant for my birthday dinner. They walked in with a huge wrapped gift. It reminded me of when I was a child and I’d get a large doll in a big box! I was so excited.

What was in the box? Pink flamingos. Now I need to find a home for them in the yard!

Have you heard of Pour Over coffee? Have you tried it? What are your thoughts of pink flamingos?

So far, so good

“Happy March First!” my mom would call and say. It was a contest between us to be the first to call on the first day of each month. I miss being able to call her today.

Yesterday our new dishwasher arrived and was installed. I’m so thankful the first one delivered was broken and I sent it back. The motor would have blown out with the faulty wiring, like our old one did. It’s a blessing we had to wait several weeks for the new one to arrive. It wasn’t until last week that we figured out we had an electrical problem and not an appliance issue.

I’m not upset at having to buy a new dishwasher, because the old one was, well really old. It didn’t work that well and everything came out wet or spotted.

Life is quiet and good. I even finished preparing our taxes for the CPA yesterday. I scanned all the paperwork and was able to email it rather than stand in line at the post office.

Until I got the taxes done, I wasn’t allowing myself any time to revise my NaNoWriMo manuscript or to look for publishers for my picture book manuscript about my mom. No, I was focused on getting the taxes done. Do you know what happened? I procrastinated and wasted time reading articles on the internet for days.

Do you procrastinate with chores you don’t like (like preparing taxes) or do you get things done right away?

Is it that time already?

Roadrunner on my patio. They are vicious to other birds.

When I picked up my phone this morning, I discovered something really annoying.

Text messages. These weren’t text messages from family or friends. These were from politicians or campaign staffs. I had 20 of them!

Didn’t we just have an election? Why did my infrequent random texts from politicians turn into a stampede? 2024 isn’t that close. Do our politicians do anything besides raise money?

I’ll admit if there’s someone I support, I’ll donate a little money. But I mean “a little.” Then my info gets sold to other campaigns. Sold and sold, over and over. I guess it’s another way for campaigns to raise money.

Then I find more than 20 text messages on my phone from people I don’t support and would never support.

I can’t imagine what it will be like a year from now!

Any suggestions on how to get off these campaign text lists?

Fun times in the neighborhood

The entrance to our neighborhood.

In spite of my solar craziness that I wrote about HERE, I had some fun last week.

A friend who does the neighborhood newsletter with me, invited me to go to the driving range. I got a new five wood for my birthday and was anxious to try it out. It was a warmish day with blue skies and a slight breeze.

This is our second trip to a driving range in two weeks. The first time, I was so nervous I could barely hit the ball. I’m not sure why? Maybe it’s because it’s been since my knee surgery that I’ve golfed and I doubted I still could. I wrote about my golf adventures growing up HERE including racing golf carts in the woods.

I calmed down on my second trip. I hit some good shots and that’s what brings golfers back to play. I was smiling the rest of the day. We’re going to play a round of golf in the near future.

Saturday, we played pickleball on the tennis court which is two blocks from our house. We had to measure and lay down vinyl lines to make the tennis court pickleball-sized. Our neighbors had never played before, but they learned from Youtube videos and picked it up quickly.

My husband and I have only played a few times, but we had fun hitting and chasing after balls. We’ll try to get out a few times a week. It is fun to play.

I guess that’s why I had fun this week. I played! Playing is joyful.

I found an article about the benefits of adult playtime. Here’s an excerpt:

Play helps:

Relieve stress. Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Improve brain function. Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.

Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. Young children often learn best when they are playing—a principle that applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and solve problems.

Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to include a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.

Keep you feeling young and energetic. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you function at your best.

What are your thoughts about playing? What do you enjoy playing that makes you happy?