Three Things I Learned Being A High Sensitive Metalhead.

[source]

A highly sensitive person (HSP) who listens to one of the most brutal music genres out there is pretty weird, right?

A highly sensitive person (HSP) is a term for those with an increased or deeper central nervous system sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. Some refer to this as having sensory processing sensitivity, or SPS for short. [source]

Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, mainly in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues-rock, psychedelic rock and acid rock, heavy metal bands developed a thick, monumental sound characterised by distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats and loudness. The lyrics and performances are usually associated with aggression and machismo, an issue that has sometimes led to accusations of misogyny. [source]

Actually, according to science, HSPs listen to music on a deeper level and experience. The brain gives them de same rewards as they would get when socialising with other people as it connects them through the music with the artists. [source]

In my nearly 20 years of listening to Metal as an HSP, I discovered much about myself and my surroundings. I never backed away from the beautiful brutality of Metal, and here’s why.

It can help you with your emotions.

For starters, there is a spectrum of lyrical themes. While themes like alcohol, drugs, and partying are sung about and praised, many bands preach the exact opposite. Other bands sing from romantic sadness to social injustice, from unicorns and rainbows to deep philosophy. The music can be soft and, at the other end of the spectrum, be incredibly aggressive in playing style, utilising tremendous fast blast beats and distorted guitar riffs. Couple this with the number of lyrical themes sung and screamed about, and you have something for everyone, even for the more sensitive types around us. This music’s energy and emotional caress can help lift both mood and fatigue.

The community is there for you.

Next up, there are the brother and sisters of the metalhead community. No one is exempt from this brotherly/sisterly group of like-minded people. We are an all-approving bunch, from the hard knucklehead to the mellow hippie. Be who you want to be; if you listen to metal and are friendly to others, you are part of the group. This can be a welcoming thought for sensitive people, as they often feel different from their peers. I know I found like-minded people when I’ve got to know the community.
Despite looking like a rag-tag group of suspicious, obnoxious peers, you’ll find soon that metalheads are the friendliest and most helpful bunch you’ll find around.
Of course, because we love to see our musicians live and love to party together, there is one big problem for HSPs. Concerts and festivals. This brings me to my next point.

Be cautious of concerts and festivals.

For an HSP, there will be various problems when going to a festival that spans multiple days. An overload of impressions, sounds and social interaction will quickly deplete the mental energy of the day. As an HSP and concert/festival goer, my personal opinion is to minimise your days if you plan to go to a festival. Maybe you can find something outside the camping zone to unwind. Always prepare a safe-haven!

As for both concerts and festivals, earbuds are your best friend! Please keep them in your ears at all times, as they will protect your ears (a good tip for every festival-goer) and mute some of the impressions you get. Go alone or with friends and enjoy yourself, but know your limits.

Conclusion

While the life of an HSP is more complicated, there are ways to find solace from the world’s impressions. In music, there is a certain saviour. With the energetic approach of Metal music to lift you when you feel drained, the community will always be ready to lift you emotionally when the need arises.

Metal is not brutal. It is musically and emotionally intense.

If you have read this far, I thank you for it. As a starting writer, I’m always open to constructive criticism, hints and other helpful tips that you can give. Do not be afraid to ask me questions if you have feelings you may be highly sensitive yourself.

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Loving father. Metalhead. Aspiring article writer. Dreaming of writing my own short stories and publishing a novel.

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Alexander Tjoens

Alexander Tjoens

Loving father. Metalhead. Aspiring article writer. Dreaming of writing my own short stories and publishing a novel.

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