7 Signs You Might Be a 'Highly Sensitive Person'

  • Author: Admin
  • January 28, 2023
7 Signs You Might Be a 'Highly Sensitive Person'
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A highly sensitive person (HSP) experiences the world differently than others. Due to a biological difference that they’re born with, highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties and process information deeply. This means they tend to be creative, and insightful but it also means they’re more prone than others to stress and overwhelm.

What is a Highly Sensitive Person?

A person who is very sensitive is one whose brain deeply processes all information, including feelings, thoughts, and sensory data. They become more sensitive than other people, both physically and emotionally, as a result. High sensitivity is regarded as a typical, healthy personality feature, yet it does have pros and negatives like any other personality trait. This characteristic is also known as differential susceptibility, environmental sensitivity, and sensory processing sensitivity (SPS).

HSPs are frequently criticized for being "over sensitive." However, there are benefits to having an HSP. It has numerous strengths as well as many obstacles, just like every other personality attribute. For instance, highly sensitive individuals often excel in creativity, empathy, and the capacity to see connections where others do not. High sensitivity is really associated with giftedness, according to Linda Silverman, director of the Gifted Development Center. The downside of these abilities is that the sensitive mind is easily overworked, making HSPs vulnerable to overstimulation or emotional overload.

You might identify a friend, coworker, partner, or even yourself as a highly sensitive person based on these characteristics. High sensitivity is fully normal, which means that it is not a diagnosis or a problem; nonetheless, because HSPs are a minority, it is sometimes misinterpreted. According to recent study, less than one in three persons are highly sensitive, and other experts have estimated the percentage to be as low as 15 to 20 percent. In any case, extremely sensitive people frequently feel isolated or "alone," partly because our culture downplays sensitivity and encourages us to keep our sensitive sides hidden.

How Do You Know If You're a Highly Sensitive Person?

1. You’re very aware of what’s happening in and around you:

HSPs “tend to be more reactive to” their environments, Dr. Jagiellowicz says, whether that’s their home, workplace, or the people around them. The key word here is overstimulation, she says—you don’t just notice whatever’s going on around you, but it easily overwhelms you. For example, you might immediately clock harsh lighting when you walk into a room and have trouble focusing on anything else because of it, or, in my case, a noisy and crowded morning commute may put you on high alert from the second you leave your house until you arrive at work, making you want to crawl back under your covers.

If this sounds familiar (or perhaps you felt overwhelmed just reading about my commute), Dr. Jagiellowicz says it’s a good idea to keep track of what makes you feel on edge—either make a mental note or write it in a journal or some other tracker—so you can try to minimize the impact going forward. If you find it nearly unbearable to start your morning with cars honking or people crowding onto your subway car, for example, you might try to plan your commute a little earlier than normal, if you’re able to, so there’s less traffic. Or maybe you get a lamp for your office desk so you can shut off the fluorescent overhead lights, or invest in noise-canceling earbuds to block out distracting sounds in your surroundings.

2. You’re constantly trying to make other people feel comfortable:

According to Dr. Fedrick, one potential explanation for HSPs' keen awareness of their environment is that "it's how they establish safety for themselves." She argues that they might be attempting to alter their environment to make it less stimulating and overpowering. And in accordance with a 2018 research review that Dr. Aron co-authored, this need for harmony may be seen in HSPs' propensity to help others feel more at ease, which is an adaptive reaction they've developed to boost emotions of safety. (In other words, they're attempting to maintain order in order to safeguard themselves.)

Of course, it's completely acceptable to want to protect and comfort those around you, but persistently feeling the need to "ensure that people around you have their needs fulfilled and are happy" can also result in negative people-pleasing behaviors, according to Dr. Fedrick. You might, for instance, prioritize the needs of others over your own or refrain from expressing your own emotions out of concern for the sentiments of others. Being aware of this tendency is a crucial first step in managing it, just like with the other HSP indications on our list. According to Dr. Fedrick, if you are aware that you frequently put other people before yourself, you may start looking for strategies to make sure you are also preserving your own wellbeing. Perhaps you learn how to ask for assistance when you're overwhelmed or to reschedule social engagements when you need some downtime.

3. You think deeply:

Being an HSP is characterized by profound information processing. This implies that you reflect on your experiences frequently — more frequently than other individuals. You're unfortunately also more likely to overthink negatively as a result. On occasion, you can mentally replay situations again or descend into nervous thoughts.

4. Change is extremely upsetting:

Because the familiar is significantly less stimulating than the novel, HSPs find comfort in their routines. This is why both good and negative change can seriously destabilize HSPs. For instance, when starting a new relationship or receiving a promotion at work, HSPs may experience both stress and delight in equal measure. HSPs typically take longer than other people to become used to change.

5. Criticism is a dagger:

Words really matter to HSPs. Positive words can make them soar, but harsh words will send them crashing to the ground. Criticism can feel like a dagger, and negativity is toxic to the highly sensitive person’s finely-tuned system.

6. You can easily empathize with people and may feel others’ emotions intensely:

According to Dr. Jagiellowicz, "very sensitive people tend to be exceedingly empathic—and frequently at their own expense." People might, for instance, intentionally or unintentionally take advantage of your thoughtfulness by calling you at 2 a.m. knowing that you'll answer the phone or by assuming that you'd be pleased to assist with a project at work.

According to Dr. Fedrick, HSPs also have a propensity to be hyper-aware of changes in the energy or emotions of other individuals. This includes observing a person's facial expressions or body language. For example, you may see that a friend's manner modifies subtly after reading a text message; perhaps they are avoiding eye contact or becoming more reserved than usual. Similar to how hearing about someone else's loss or suffering causes your eyes to start to weep up, Dr. Fedrick notes that while most individuals can sympathize with another person's plight, they might not necessarily feel the same degree of sorrow as you do as an HSP.

Overall, Dr. Fedrick says, having empathy for other people is a wonderful thing. However, there are moments when taking on other people's powerful emotions or tremendous energy might impair your emotional wellbeing. Being aware of those situations can help you create self-protection methods. For example, you might create limits with a depleting coworker or steer clear of scary movies or gloomy TV shows that make you feel overwhelmed emotionally.

7. You’re deeply moved by beauty:

You are profoundly affected by exquisite food, heady aromas, stunning artwork, or moving music. You can discover that some types of music or noises almost put you in a trance, or that the way the wind catches the leaves in the fall sun leaves you in amazement. You fail to comprehend why some individuals aren't as captivated by beauty as you are.