People who are classified as highly sensitive persons (HSPs) see and experience the world in a different manner. They comprise 15 to 20 percent of the population, so being called an HSP is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, this innate, biological, heightened sensitivity is a trait observed in over a hundred different species, including horses, dogs, cats, birds, fruit flies, and primates.
Being born with a high level of sensitivity, highly sensitive people process information deeply and are hyper aware of subtleties most people simply overlook. HSPs have a tendency to be insightful, creative, and empathetic. However, because of their intense sensitivity, they tend to become overwhelmed quickly and overstressed. They are also prone to irritation, agitation and anxiety when the cause of their distress is not addressed or alleviated.
If you suspect that you are or a loved one is a highly sensitive person, be on the lookout for the following signs:
- You find violence or cruelty of any kind abhorrent and extremely unsettling.
- You are very sensitive to time pressure; so much so that you are sometimes unable to function when subjected to time pressure.
- You are usually emotionally spent from absorbing the feelings of others.
- You avoid conflict because it makes you physically ill.
- You get poisoned easily by negativity and criticism.
- You think too deeply, so that sometimes you tend to negatively overthink every single detail.
- You tend to have a high “startle reflex,” i.e. you are jumpy.
- You require plenty of time alone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an extrovert or introvert.
- You like to reflect and seek to answer life’s big questions.
- You have a lower tolerance for physical aches and pains.
- You are sensitive to coarse, scratchy fabrics, as well as tight, restrictive clothing.
- You have a very hard time dealing with and are upset by change.
- You have difficulty dealing with changes in your surroundings, so you don’t find traveling and moving places fun or exciting.
- You suffer from chemical sensitivity, so that stimulants like coffee and depressants like alcohol very quickly affect you, and household cleaners can make you feel ill.
- Your senses are heightened, so certain overpowering scents, whether from perfumes, scented candles or hand sanitizers can overwhelm you.
- You’re so conscientious since you hate making mistakes.
- You’re in awe of beautiful things, including art, music and the like.
- You’re perceptive and insightful.
If you’re a highly sensitive person, know that you are not alone, and there are people available to help you cope better with what life throws at you. Just give us a call.