Esther Bergsma, MA, is a frequent speaker on High Sensitivity in the Netherlands. She is an author, trainer, scientific researcher, and expert on High Sensitivity. She wrote the book Hoogsensitieve kinderen (Highly Sensitive Children) which included research amongst over 700 parents, and the book the Highly Sensitive Brain (both are in Dutch).

Esther wants to create awareness about the trait from a more scientific angle. She speaks for medical professionals, psychologists, teachers, and managers.

Last year, she conducted international research to gain awareness on the trait of High Sensitivity in the workplace. 5500 Highly Sensitive Persons from over 20 countries participated and the results are as important for HSP as for employers. Connect with Esther through her website which she created as a place for HSPs to meet, learn, and share.

In this episode: HSP Brain

  • Esther shares her background as a scientific researcher, being a manager in an organization, and burning out.
  • Deciding to become an entrepreneur and specializing in coaching HSPs
  • To find out the traits of an HSP listen to episode 9
  • Why and how she wrote her HSP brain book
  • Esther is not a doctor nor has she done brain scans in her research
  • How stress impacts highly sensitives differently
  • Three areas: noticing, processing, and responding
  • The one thing HSPs notice with others
  • Main importance of processing
  • Third component is how responding is different for highly sensitive regarding stress, emotions, and strong self-reflection
  • What is the “optimal option ambition” and how it relates to perfectionism?
  • Brain areas that are activated and why we do the thing we “think is best for this situation”
  • The consequence you experience if not conscious of this
  • Steps to take to decrease stress, perfectionism (Episode 69)  and taking on the responsibility of other people’s work
  • Shifting your mindset about your empathy and how it has two sides
  • How are drive to do things “right” the first time can increase stress and perfectionism behaviors
  • Why social acceptance impacts how we think and actions we take
  • Brain area that is activated for thinking we will be excluded
  • People-pleasing behavior gets triggered when your mind says you will be banished from the tribe
  • Why you feel disappointed with others and what to do
  • Effects of positive/negative childhood on the brain development of HSPs by Bianca Acevedo and colleagues
  • Self-regulation both physically and emotionally
  • Importance of self-compassion and unlearning negative behaviors and unhelpful mindsets
  • Esther’s message for employers in corporations/organization of embracing HSPs and educating non-HSPs
  • Finding meaning in your work and self-care tips
  • The one thing you should never do!!!
  • Tips for managers of HSP employees and setting the team up for success
  • Creative in our solutions
  • Esther’s self-care practices (and it doesn’t include checking social media!!)
  • Shifting from being “productive” during self-care to being