Episode 73: The Evolution of Sensitivity with Julie Bjelland

Part 2 of the HSP Series

20% of the world’s population is made up of people who carry a character trait called high sensitivity. That amounts to 1 in 5 people so the chances are high that either you or someone you love is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). HSP’s are often overloaded with the chaos of the world and more keenly impacted by both positive and negative experiences. Today’s show dives deep into the HSP trait and coping skills needed for HSP’s to thrive.

My guest Julie Bjelland, LMFT, has a private psychotherapy practice in California. Julie teaches innovative online brain-training courses and has written several books, including Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person. She’s a highly sensitive person and is the mother of two HSP children. Julie’s mission is to help HSP’s suffer less and access their gifts more. 

We discuss character traits that are common among HSPs, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, negative self-beliefs, and a sense of obligation to take care of others’ needs over their own. And we also explore the research which shows specific differences in the HSP’s brain, most notably increased activation of the amygdala, which controls the “fight, flight, or freeze” response to stimuli. Julie shares why she feels sensitive people have always been needed among the human species for survival, evolutionarily speaking. And I inquire about a possible connection to epigenetics and we muse about how transgenerational transmission of trauma might relate to sensitivity. 

What we know for sure is that our world needs sensitive people and in order for sensitive people to thrive they need to focus on balance in life and to recognize their own gifts of intuition and compassion. Julie shares specific examples of the brain training that can help HSP’s shift their lifestyle so it supports them. Check out Julie’s website for great resources that can help.



Brain Training for the Highly Sensitive Person by Julie Bjelland




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