Model: HSP stimulation threshold

May 4th, 2018

HSP is Highly Sensitive Person. It indicates the ~ 20% of the population which processes more deeply the stimuli from the environment.


Every person (and animal) has a natural threshold for stimuli. When something in your environment triggers a stimulus above that threshold, you will become aware of it.

The term HSP indicates those people that have a very low threshold. Thus they process more stimuli from their environment.


Every person prefers to be

optimally stimulated


When we get too little stimuli, we get bored.

When we get too many stimuli, we get anxious.



This threshold is also influenced by variable factors:

Sleep-deprivation and relaxants (eg. alcohol) increase the threshold, causing you to become less sensitive to stimuli.

Caring more and stimulants (eg. caffeine) lower the threshold, cause you to become more sensitive to stimuli.


Say you are in an environment which offers you a pleasant amount of stimuli. (eg. your work) Awesome!

But you've had a couple of short nights. You might be bored, because this causes you to register less stimuli. So you might drink some coffee to get to an optimal level.


Say you are in an environment which offers way to much stimuli. (eg. bar or night club) Not so great... You're getting over-stimulated and anxious.

But you can drink some alcohol, causing you to register less stimuli.



When people get too much stimulation for too long, they become overstimulated. This state is often difficult to get rid off.


It's also part of a common misconception about HSPs

People sometimes think: "a highly sensitive person = a sensitive person = someone who is always nice and cares and notices"

And usually this often correct. HSPs can notice more. Can see all the detailed signals you are communicating (without even realising) And can understand you more deeply because of this.

But when overstimulated, are often the opposite. They are already overly stressed and anxious.

And suddenly they need to care about all stimuli you provide. On top of all the other stimuli.

Trying to read your communication in extreme detail.

But right now this will cause even more stimuli. They will become even more stimulated.

While what is needed is space and quiet. A way to relax and wind down.