Staff Picks Book Review - Sensitive: The Hidden Power of the Highly Sensitive in a Loud, Fast, Too-Much World

Friday, June 30, 2023

Sensitive: The Hidden Power of the Highly Sensitive in a Loud, Fast, Too-Much World by Jenn Granneman and Andre SoloFounders of the Highly Sensitive Refuge site who tell visitors “high sensitivity can be strong” and “it’s okay to be a highly sensitive person”, Jenn Granneman and Andre Solo share their thoughts on how to develop the gift of sensitivity into a powerful tool to enhance your own life and the lives of others around you. Being labeled as “sensitive” has a largely negative connotation in the modern society, describing someone who is easily offended or lacks mental toughness. We instill this bias against sensitivity and emotional awareness early with lessons like “sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you.” 

As with many books of this genre, readers may find little bits of themselves in the personal descriptions. A particularly interesting chapter was the one dealing with empathy, a difficult thing for those who sense the needs of others so acutely. The cure for this, the authors argue, is compassion. More than empathy, compassion is when action is combined with a sense of sorrow for someone else’s plight. Another consistent message is the harm of overstimulation, both from the physical environment and from other people in school, the workplace, or the technology that we have few safe harbors from.

A book easily enjoyed by those with no training in psychology, Sensitive: The Hidden Power of the Highly Sensitive in a Loud will hopefully leave readers with an awareness of something about themselves or a better understanding of the behavior of a family member or colleague at work. Not every therapy or life-practice brought up is practical for the life of the everyday person, but for those who enjoy emotional self-discovery, this book and others on this recommended list will be worth your time.

Life in Five Senses:  How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and into the World by Gretchen Rubin

For more than a decade, Gretchen Rubin had been studying happiness and human nature. Then, one day, a visit to her eye doctor made her realize that she'd been overlooking a key element of happiness; her five senses. She'd spent so much time stuck in her head that she'd allowed the vital sensations of life to slip away, unnoticed. This epiphany lifted her from a state of foggy preoccupation into a world rediscovered by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. In this revelatory journey of self-experimentation, she explores the mysteries and joys of the five senses as a path to a happier, more mindful life. "A Life in Five Senses" is an absorbing, layered story of discovery filled with profound insights and practical suggestions about how to heighten our senses and use our powers of perception to live fuller, richer lives, and ultimately, how to move through the world with more vitality and love.

Good Anxiety:  Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion by Wendy Suzuki

Drawing on her own intimate struggles and based on cutting-edge research, Dr. Suzuki has developed an inspiring guidebook for managing unwarranted anxiety and turning it into a powerful asset. In the tradition of Quiet and Thinking and Fast and Slow, Good Anxiety has the power to permanently change how we understand anxiety and, more importantly, how we can use it to improve our lives for the better.

The Power of Writing It Down:  A Simple Habit to Unlock Your Brain and Reimagine Your Life by Allison Fallon

For anyone feeling stuck and looking to make sense of life, author and writing coach Allison Fallon shares a simple practice and proven method to reclaiming your narrative, increasing your emotional and spiritual health, and discovering more clarity and freedom in The Power of Writing It Down.


Find Your People:  Building Deep Community in A Lonely World by Jennie Allen

In a world that's both more connected and more isolating than ever before, we're often tempted to do life alone, whether because we're so busy or because relationships feel risky and hard. But science confirms that consistent, meaningful connection with others has a powerful impact on our well-being. We are meant to live known and loved. But so many are hiding behind emotional walls that we're experiencing an epidemic of loneliness. You were created to play, engage, adventure, and explore with others. In Find Your People, you'll discover exactly how to dive into the deep end and experience the full wonder of community. Because while the ache of loneliness is real, it doesn't have to be your reality.

The Book of Boundaries:  Set the Limits That Will Set You Free by Melissa Urban

Since launching the mega-bestselling wellness program, the Whole30, Urban has taught millions of people how to establish healthy habits and how to deal with pushback and peer pressure. Now, in The Book of Boundaries, she shows how establishing boundaries is the key to better mental health and self-confidence, improved productivity, greater energy, and more fulfilling relationships. In her no-holds-barred and still empathetic style, Melissa Urban offers: 130+ scripts with language you can implement today to instantly establish boundaries with supervisors and colleagues, family members and children, friends and lovers, and yourself; actionable advice to help you communicate clearly and with compassion; ways to read the signals that someone's about to push your boundaries; tips to help enforce your limits around food, drink, tech, and more.

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