The Stress Risk for A-type HSPs

When you’re Highly Sensitive you’re more observant. This makes you more perceptive to your environment and what is needed. This can make you more responsible, more creative and give you a strong drive to do good. When you’re an A-type personality, an achiever, chances are that you’re not just Highly Sensitive, you’re also a Sensation Seeker.

Their drive to achieve may cost them their peace of mind when – used to and seeking higher levels of stress (because that’s where the excitement is!) – they don’t get enough down time to settle their nerves and catch their breath.

Overextending yourself like this can work wonderfully well, until it doesn’t. You may deplete your body to the point of adrenal fatigue or burn out, without understanding what went wrong. You may lose your drive and want to hide away at home. It can feel like you lost yourself.

Yet what’s crucial for Highly Sensitive Sensation Seekers to understand is that they have two sides. They are both the person who gets overstimulated more quickly and the person who jumps in and gets involved. For them, balance is possible, it’s just a much narrower path than it is for most people. At its most intense, it can be like walking a tight rope: balance is an ongoing practice.

The achiever side of you wants to take risk, try new things, be pro-active and successful. The more introverted side of you wants to move more slowly, keep things the same and not have to deal with so much stimulation.

To thrive long term as as Highly Sensitive Sensation Seeker requires really getting to know yourself.

  • What do both sides of you need?
  • What do you need to do when you went too far in one direction?
  • How can you recognize stress, and do something about it, before it floors you?
  • How can you balance both sides of you so that you feel satisfied and not in a constant inner tug-o-war?

These are not easy questions to answer. Yet, they’re important to examine. Depending on the state of your natural batteries, you may be able to “wing it” for quite some time. When the fly-crash cycle gets to be too much, or you’ve overtaxed yourself too often though, you’ll find yourself suddenly needing to cope with a lot less energy.

Imagine this like being a driven yet confused teenager with a trust fund. At first, it’s o.k. to run around, go on trips and get in over your head because you can always check into that expensive spa when you get overwhelmed. You reboot, take your time, and get back on the road. Yet, that whole scenario changes when your trustfund runs dry.

The same happens with our body. Your body is your natural trust fund. You can do a lot of crazy stuff early on in your life and still be o.k. It’s only when that trust fund energy starts to run out that you can suddenly get into a lot of trouble, because your old security blanket disappeared.

This is such an important topic that I spend an hour on it with Diana from

We both experienced burning out, and now as coaches we also work with people who burned out. In this conversation, we give a lot of practical examples of what burn-out is and how to recognise it.

We spend the first 40 minutes discussing signs and symptoms and reasons for burn-out. At 41 minutes into the conversation, we switch to how to get OUT of burn-out.

If you recognise this in yourself and want to prevent burning out (or need to get back to balance) I have a programme that can help. It’s a system for addressing stress and self-care that came out of my own (dramatic) burn out / CFS / adrenal fatigue experience and it’s an approach I still use today to keep my Sensation Seeking side balanced.


Listen to the information below:


Signs to watch out for:

  • trouble sleeping
  • being tired all the time
  • feeling like a failure if you don’t perform optimally
  • being surrounded by people who work really hard and congratulate you for doing extra
  • not being sure how to say no or when enough is enough and you can let something go
  • striving for the best quality all the time
  • feeling unlike yourself: being increasingly moody, unhappy, grumpy, tense
  • worrying more about what is expected from you, than how you feel
  • worrying about not being good enough
  • you wouldn’t know who you are without your work
  • worrying that if you let go, everything will fall apart
  • people tell you that everyone is tired, it’s normal, you just have to get over it and keep going
  • sacrificing your own rest constantly because other people need you
  • having all kinds of vague physical symptoms but medically, nothing seems to be obviously wrong

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