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. In fact, 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 not so great news is, being highly sensitive can make many life situations feel awkward and uncomfortable. But no worries, 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 may be quick to feel negative emotions such as sadness and anxiety.
- You may feel physical symptoms in relation to these emotions, such as headaches and muscle tension.
- You may become easily overwhelmed with physical stimuli such as sound, light and smells.
- You may have never felt comfortable around crowds. The energy of the crowd easily overwhelms you.
- You may 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 may often worry what others think of you.
- You may take things personally.
- You may have a hard time letting things go and receiving critical feedback.
- You may often avoid social situations and prefer to stay home alone.
- You may startle easily to loud noises.
Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person
While being a HSP can cause you to feel awkward or overwhelmed at times, there are some definite superpowers to being highly sensitive. For starters, you are someone who can enjoy subtle sensory detail that a majority of the population misses. You might get pleasure from noticing details of the sensory aspects of your world. You might notice subtle shades of color and texture and feel immense pleasure at the complexities of yummy foods, lighting candles, bubble baths, oils etc.
You’re also someone others like being around because you are aware of others’ feelings, needs and emotions. You likely feel your feelings very deeply, which means your capacity for joy and gratitude are immense. Because of this natural empathy, HSPs make great teachers, helpers and leaders.
HSPs can also be 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.
If you can manage the challenging aspects of being a highly sensitive person, you can come to love and cherish this aspect of who you are.
If you or someone you love suspects they are a HSP and would like to explore treatment options to manage the challenging aspects, please get in touch with me. I’d love to discuss how I may be able to help.