How Overstimulation burns out HSP Adventurers

Overstimulation is a problem for all HSPs. However, it’s particularly tricky for Highly Sensitive Sensation Seekers. Why? Because when you’re overstimulated, you feel bad. Sitting with your feelings of panic, depression, frustration, grief or anything else will probably be the last thing you want to do. What better to take your mind off things than a new adventure? Yay, just what the doctor ordered!


When you stay in a place of ongoing excitement and activity, your stress levels will rise to the point where you stop feeling your painful feelings. This is because when your body is in a strong stress state, there’s a biological mechanism at work that says:

“There must be LOTS of tigers. Therefore, we cannot afford to mope. Do the moping later. I repeat: do the moping later! Right now we need to keep going… because there are tigers, and lions, and bears and a tin man without a heart and a wizard who is just a guy behind a curtain and OMG WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, NEVER MIND!! JUST KEEP GOING”

From there, you can become an adventure junkie, and the push to keep at it will only get bigger, because somewhere deep in your bones you know that when you t

ake a real break, all those painful feelings will just come rushing in.

This is how being a Highly Sensitive Sensation Seeker can push you into burn out. You don’t notice because keeping busy feels so exciting. Besides, you have ways to work around those “dips” you experience and just push through. As you do though, you’ll start to tap into your body’s emergency energy stash. When that runs out, your system will suddenly crash.

Hand drawn illustration of an HSP adventurer carrying an HSP homebody on their backThe reality is, when you are both Highly Sensitive and a Sensation Seeking Person, you need to navigate walking quite a narrow path.

You are – essentially – two people in one. One part of you seeks adventure, the other part craves quiet and comfort.

No matter what you choose to do, these two parts of you are always with you, having opposite needs.


Since excitement can push your body into stress overdrive you have to learn to recognize when you’re pushing into overdrive. Instead of looking for adventurous distraction, you then need to take time to calm down and feel your pain.

Your inner “homebody” will keep you balanced and healthy when you let her. However, most of us received messages that our adventurous, daring side was our “good” side, and that our homebody side was our “over sensitive, shameful” side.

This leads to habits of pushing yourself too much, avoiding difficult feelings and not taking the time you need to rest and recover.

Finding the right balance, when you’ve been habitually out of sync so long, is difficult. If you no longer want to draw the line where you’ve always drawn the line, then where the heck do you draw the line? What are your healthy limits, and how do you recognize them?

There are lots of ways to find out. I found out by sitting at home, burned out – for several years – doing my mightiest to make some sense of the mess. Out of that came a method that I now teach in the Happy Sensitive Foundations Programme.

The tough reality is, as an HSP and a Sensation Seeker, you are part of a small crowd. About one in 5 people is HSP, but only a small percentage of that is also a Sensation Seeker.

That means that very few people “get” your conflict, and you’ll end up with a lot of “either/or” dilemmas that don’t seem to have much of a solution at first glance.

It’s possible to experience harmony with both these traits though. Yet, it does require learning to look at yourself as more complex than “it’s gotta be this or that”. The solutions that work for you will tend to be somewhat out-of-the-box.

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