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San Diego Blogger Releases New Book On Sensitivity

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Book cover, "A Highly Sensitive Person's Life"

A new book by a San Diego blogger offers advice for those who experience the world at a different level.

"A Highly Sensitive Person's Life,” by Kelly O’Laughlin, explores the world of highly sensitive people.

For some people, a hug makes them feel happier, while a sad song makes them feel sadder. A lot of commotion makes them feel like they want to escape into a small dark room. These intense emotional reactions may be part of an entire personality trait marking someone as a "highly sensitive person," O’Laughlin said.

O’Laughlin blogs about life as a “highly sensitive person” and shares her observations in a podcast. Highly sensitive people are now being studied by neuroscientists and geneticists to see where and how this trait comes into being.

O'Laughlin said she began learning about highly sensitive people after reading Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.”

“I discovered I was an introvert,” O'Laughlin told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. “It was really life-changing. And, I kept running across the term ‘highly sensitive person’ and eventually looked into it. I said, ‘Wow, this is me.’”

But being a highly sensitive person doesn’t mean it’s a negative trait, O'Laughlin said.

“A lot of these traits can transfer well into certain professions like doctors and nurses,” O'Laughlin said. “You definitely want a compassionate doctor caring for you.”

The term was coined by Dr. Elaine Aron, and she believes up to 20 percent of the population could be considered highly sensitive.

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