“As a highly sensitive person, I can sense your mood from a mile away. Don’t try to hide it. You’re not fooling me.” ― Tracy M. Kusmierz
Have people labeled you as a great listener?
Do random strangers turn up to you for advice?
Are you able to catch up on subtle signs that most people would miss? Do you have a high level of self-awareness and can also read people without them uttering a word?
If any of these resonate with you, then you might be a Highly Sensitive person (HSP) .
The terms Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) or Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) were originally founded in the 1990s by research psychologist Elaine Aron, who stated that it is an inherent trait in people with highly sensitive nervous systems that helps them to better deal with the world by being more observant before acting.
Research shows that HSPs actually undergo increased blood flow in the areas of the brain that process emotion, awareness, and empathy. In fact, most of the HSPs are often empaths who have an innate ability to feel other people’s emotions, feelings, and needs.
They also have very rich inner worlds due to their heightened sensitivity and keen observation skills. They can very easily be awed by the beauty of a sunset or a fragrance of a flower.
Because of their hyperactive nervous system and heightened senses, they need a lot of alone time to recharge from the overstimulation of their senses. Intermittent Solitude is very essential and grounding for HSPs and non-negotiable if they want to function at their optimum capacity.
Knowing that you are an HSP and how your system operates can really help you to make the best use of your gifts of empathy and sensitivity.
Wondering if you’re an HSP, read on!
Here are 20 things you do differently because you are an HSP:
Being a HSP: In public
1. You tend to shut down in loud or over crowded places.
Since you have a hyperactive sensory system, you tend to get overwhelmed in crowded or loud places. You occasionally shut down or zone out mentally to escape the overstimulation of your senses or you try to leave such places physically as soon as possible.
2. You avoid news or media about suffering or abuse.
You avoid consuming content about any sort of suffering, injustice or abuse.
3. You are very compassionate and kind.
You are so sensitive to even the pain and suffering of others that you can start to feel their suffering as your own. You are so big on compassion and empathy that the slightest pain or suffering abound you, can move you to tears.
4. You get anxious during conflicts or disagreements.
Being an HSP, you tend to avoid conflicts or even minor disagreements because they can really overwhelm you. You can get really stressed and anxious if someone raises their voice at you.
In relationships also, the mood and feelings of your significant other can make you physically unwell and can affect your sleep or eating cycles. You can even get nervous and uncomfortable watching two strangers fight because you are very sensitive and tend to absorb other people’s emotions and energy.
5. Even a normal day at work can get really exhausting.
What is normal for some people can turn really exhausting for you due to your heightened senses. A normal day at work, being stuck in traffic or a visit to a crowded shopping mall can exhaust your senses due to hyperstimulation.
Most of the time you squeeze in a couple of minutes of silence for yourself during the day or you head straight to your bedroom when you return home to recharge yourself.
6. You are extremely observant of people and surroundings.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person, you are extremely observant of people and surroundings. You will tend to notice a change in someone’s tone when they are angry or a twinkle in someone’s eyes when they are happy or stress in someone’s life by their frown before anyone else can.
Your observation and intuition about people’s feelings are almost always on point.
Being a HSP: In Solitude
7. You have some particular morning or bedtime rituals.
You like to follow certain routines and rituals because they give you a sense of safety and comfort. You like certainty and familiarity and change can be quite stressful for you.
While subconsciously you know that change is inevitable and you cannot do much to control the outside people or circumstances, so you try to instill small daily rituals in your life to ground and anchor yourself.
8. You can get really worked up by strict deadlines.
Nobody likes to work under strict deadlines but for you, deadlines can make you really shaky and nervous. You like to be very detail-oriented and like to do a lot of research to finish tasks to perfection.
Any sort of time pressure can leave you with panic or anxiety attacks.
9. You can deeply be moved by art and beauty.
You have a knack for understanding and appreciating the subtlety of art and beauty. A piece of music, a painting, a good poem, or the hues of sunset can move you deeply and leave you feeling mesmerized.
You have a sense of wonder and curiosity due to your heightened senses and tend to be awed by the beauty surrounding you.
10. You have a rich and intense inner world.
You have a very deep imagination and a rich inner world. You never get bored in solitude as you have the depth and richness of your inner world to accompany you at all times.
11. You need plenty of sleep and alone time to recharge.
It is a no brainer that you would need plenty of sleep and alone time to recover from your overwhelming sensory exhaustion.
12. You have deep, strong emotions and you need alone time to process them.
If you really want to make the best use of your intuitive and empathetic nature, make sure that you always get plenty of sleep and downtime.
13. You seek a higher meaning in everything you do.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person, you do not believe in the conventional lifestyle of paying your bills and dying.
You are not motivated by just the monetary rewards from work. Yes, money is important and you do want to lead a comfortable life. But your deep thinking and big picture perspective will not let you settle for something that will fetch you only money.
You will always look for work and relationships that will help you to find a higher meaning and purpose in life.
Being a HSP: In Relationships
14. You can easily get into a fight or flight response with the smallest of arguments.
A lot of HSPs tend to suffer from anxiety and/or panic attacks. They already have a hyperactive nervous system and any small amount of stimulation can activate their fight and flight mode.
They usually avoid confrontation or any disagreements with their partner because it can trigger their anxiety or fight and flight mode in them.
15. When you fall in love, your emotions are really intense.
Since your sensory system is on overdrive, you feel all emotions very deeply. When you tend to fall in love, you tend to fall hard and heartbreaks can leave you devastated. Therefore, you tend to be very picky about your romantic partners and look for people who share your qualities of empathy and sensitivity.
HSPs are highly sensitive and can feel the pain and emotions of others, it goes without saying, they are all the more sensitive to their partner’s moods and emotions because they share an intimate bond with them.
If you’re an empath, who has not learned to set boundaries and the art of discriminating between your own feelings and feelings of others around you, you will have a hard time struggling with overwhelming emotions.
16. You swing between a strong desire to be alone and also be intimately attached.
People think empaths and HSPs can have the most wonderful relationships because they are sensitive to other people’s emotions and understand others so well.
But they don’t realize that relationships can get really overwhelming for empaths if they do not get alone time because their system can take only so much sensory stimulation. If you are an empath or an HSP, then look for a partner who understands and accepts your sensitive nature and also your need for plenty of alone time to recharge.
Being a HSP: How your body works differently
17. You will always try to adjust the volume and colors on your TV.
You will always try to adjust the color and volume of your gadgets because even a little extra audiovisual stimulation can overwhelm you. People don’t get your obsession with adjusting the volume but a loud volume is not just annoying, it can be physically exhausting for you.
18. You are very sensitive to fragrances.
Since you have a hyperactive sensory system; you are very sensitive to all types of fragrances. You can use this knowledge to utilize calming fragrances like lavender to soothe your senses and stay away from strong fragrances that can exhaust you.
19. You are sensitive to caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants.
If you are a Highly Sensitive Person, you should try to limit your consumption of stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, spicy food and other prescription drugs.
20. Your body is sensitive to fluctuations in blood sugar.
Have you noticed when you are hungry; you get really irritable and unfocused? It’s because you are really sensitive to fluctuations in your blood sugar level.
Do you think being a highly sensitive person is a curse? Let us know in the comments section what your views are on being a highly sensitive person.