HSP Care Kit: Making a Personal Info Guide

Mary Seph
5 min readJun 14, 2021


Letter board that says “Notice Your Senses” with a few flower sprouts placed around it.

Sensitivity is a characteristic that has many interpretations in the Western world and its definition in the local populace can greatly vary from its established definition. Sensitivity is also represented in many different ways in fiction: a person who cries easily, someone who is good at taking care of others, a good listener, an empathetic person, etc.

What these representations have in common is that the person senses and reacts: a person becomes upset because of something, a person sees someone in need and lends a hand, a person accepts to listen to someone else’s problems, and a person reacts with care to someone in a bind. This trait described as high sensory capability is what Dr. Elaine Aron found, describing people with this trait as “highly sensitive people” or HSP. She noticed similar traits between people, but this “sensitivity” was related to a mental illness or gender. In her research, she described highly sensitive people have four common traits or D.O.E.S as explained by psychologist Kati Morton:

  • D — Depth of Processing. Highly sensitive people look into things more deeply. For example, seek time by themselves to process how something would affect others.
  • O — Over Stimulation. Highly sensitive people tend to overload with information and may avoid strong smells, noises, and/or fabrics. While this is similar to sensory processing disorders, it is merely one trait of highly sensitive people.
  • E — Emotional Reactivity and Empathy. Highly sensitive people can read the vibe of a room and a person, and may even take on other people’s moods. This absorption and interpretation of sensory data differ from empathy which is defined as understanding and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another without having them fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner (Merriam-Webster). HSPs may not necessarily understand why they are experiencing another’s feelings and emotions. Some may not be adept at handling this influx of information, absorbing moods like a sponge without a limit. While empathy and high sensitivity are not the same or mutually inclusive, HSPs can also be empaths. They can also display compassion — try to make others feel better — regardless of their capability of empathy.
  • S — Sensing the Subtle. Highly sensitive people notice subtle changes like facial expressions. This relates to absorbing and interpreting sensory data.

As someone who identifies as a highly sensitive person and knew boundaries were desperately needed, I searched for self-care advice by other HSPs.

From Simple Happy Zen’s video series “Healthy Habits for Highly Sensitive People” and Kati Morton’s video titled “Are you a highly sensitive person?” I developed a self-care guide. In the brainstorming phase, I reflected on the attitudes, thoughts, and reactions towards the world. This guide is divided into five sections: Triggers, energizers, suggestions for mindfulness, positive habits to add to my morning and night routines, mindfulness during exercise, and a general action plan.

List of Triggers

These are my triggers. I looked back on moments I recalled being upset for reasons I could not justify with the nature of emotions and found quite unusual. I try to avoid these and make plans to minimize if I’m unable to get around them.

  • Loud noises (cars, machinery, TV, voices, music, violence, upsetting situations (i.e tragic stories))
  • Bright lights
  • Lonely senior citizens
  • Negative voice tones
  • Many sudden moods/mood shifts
  • Many sudden tasks
  • Being observed in real life
  • Criticism
  • Many movements in view
  • Traffic
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Clutter
  • Too many people in the vicinity

List of things that brighten the mood

While this list is short, each item is highly effective at its best moments. I didn’t include things for relaxation as I interpreted this as a boost in energy rather than finding emotional stability.

  • Quiet time (Library; alone)
  • Music
  • Being around nature
  • Art: music, paint
  • Morning stretch
  • Regular breaks


I’m not an active person, so I rely on dragging myself to the gym for fitness. This is where I found one of my triggers, loud sounds (music). This is a vague action plan for health and fitness.

  • Be aware of noisy gyms
  • Headset
  • Journal worries

Watch out thoughts

  • Prevent negative thoughts
  • Notice if that anger/emotion is foreign
  • Shield against negative moods & let go

In the practice of mindfulness, I listed key ways to tackle negative emotions with emotional distance being the focus. To prevent negative thoughts, let them wash over without getting attached. For example, an instinctive response to negative news or an opinion I do not agree with. To notice an emotion is foreign, put distance between the emotion and examine, for these foreign emotions easily slip through without permission. I take a step back and notice this emotion isn’t mine and I don’t need to get so worked up over it. Lastly, to shield against negative moods directed to me or others in the close vicinity, I need to prevent them. If I get wrapped in it, my mood will sour and my mental health will take a toll. Letting this happen isn’t a smart option because nothing positive is happening. Eventually, I could hurt someone for being incapable of handling my emotions.

Night and Morning Routine

These are two expectations for the focus of morning and night routines, energizing and relaxation. I considered journaling or reading at night would be part of the latter.

  • Energize and relaxation
  • Journal/read

Action Plan (Next Steps)

In the end, this guide was made to be actionable. These are the next steps I planned on taking. Very straightforward.

  • Journal worries (Bullet Journal)
  • Try meditation (with app)
  • Avoid triggers actively
  • Conscientious about emotions
  • Night routine
  • Find nature sounds (Spotify / Youtube; playlists, apps)

Thank you very much for reading! I would like to know your personal experiences that you think align with being HSP or any funny story you would like to share. I hope you have a wonderful day!


Check the notes that made this article possible in Mary’s Mind Garden.



Mary Seph

Green-living | Productivity | Eco-minimalism They/them. 🌲 linktr.ee/Mary_Seph 🌲