Are you a highly sensitive person (HSP)? If so, you’re not alone. It is estimated that roughly 15 to 20 percent of the population is highly sensitive. Scientists now believe there is a gene behind this trait.
But what does it mean to be highly sensitive? The HSP is generally defined as someone with “acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to external (social, environmental) or internal (intra-personal) stimuli.”
The bad news is that being highly sensitive can make many “normal” life situations feel awkward and downright uncomfortable. But fear not, there are some benefits to being highly sensitive, and I’ll share those a little later in this post.
Signs You May Be a Highly Sensitive Person
If you are curious whether you may be part of the population that is highly sensitive, here are 10 signs to look for:
- You are quick to feel negative emotions such as sadness and anxiety.
- You may feel physical symptoms concerning these emotions, such as headaches and muscle tension.
- You become overwhelmed with physical stimuli such as sound, light and smells.
- You have never felt comfortable around crowds. The energy of the group quickly overwhelms you.
- You become very emotional over the injustices of the world. (you cry or become angry at the thought of children or animals being harmed, as an example)
- You often worry about what others think of you.
- You take things personally.
- You have a hard time letting things go and receiving critical feedback.
- You avoid most social situations and prefer to stay home alone.
- You startle easily by loud noises.
Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person
As I mentioned earlier, while being an HSP can cause you to feel awkward or overwhelmed sometimes, there are some definite perks to being highly sensitive. For starters, you are someone who can enjoy subtle sensory detail that a majority of the population misses. You get pleasure from noticing the end-of-day light play. You’ll see subtle shades of colour and texture and feel immense joy at the complexities of Indian cuisine.
You’re also someone others like being around because you are aware of others’ feelings, needs and emotions. Because of this natural empathy, HSPs make great teachers, managers and leaders.
HSPs are also incredibly creative. Many artists, musicians and famous actors are highly sensitive people who have gifted the world with their talent and insight into what it means to be human.
As you can see, if you can manage the negative aspects of being a highly sensitive person, you can reap some great rewards.
If you or someone you love suspects they are an HSP and would like to explore treatment options to manage those negative aspects; please contact me. I’d love to discuss how I may be able to help.