The Highly Sensitive Person

The Highly Sensitive Person 

It isn’t uncommon for many of us to hear, or have heard in our life that, we are “too sensitive.”  But, what if the reality behind this is, we are? Have you ever wondered, why am I so easily overwhelmed by things, get rattled easily in short spans of time, can’t watch certain movies or shows? Why do I tend to withdraw after a busy day and need quiet, even dark space for relief? Why are abrupt changes or shifts in my life overwhelming or even upsetting? Maybe, it’s because you fall in the percentage of people who identify as a highly sensitive person (HSP), more formally known as sensory-processing sensitivity (SPS). 

This innate trait is completely normal and is actually a reflection of a survival strategy some of our brains are wired with. Around 15-20% of the population identify with these traits and actually fall in the category of HSP. What being an HSP means is that, you process the world and your environment differently than others because of how intensely you can feel and experience it. 

Below is a small list of traits that encompass HSP, and by no means is all inclusive however may give some insight into whether you may fall in this area:

  • Easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input, i.e. sporting events, concerts
  • Highly conscientious of others
  • Easily affected by other’s moods
  • Needing to withdraw to have privacy and relief after a busy day
  • Highly self-reflective, taking more time than others to think things through 
  • Sensitive to pain, caffeine, medications 

What also defines a highly sensitive person is how they experience emotions. Those with SPS feel emotions more deeply and more intently than others due to how they can be aware of others’ subtleties more quicky, notice more in the environment and overall cognitively process the moments for longer periods of time. There is more complexity in how they perceive and interact in their worlds. 

Because of this high sensitivity, those with SPS may find themselves struggling with depression and anxiety more often because of how different it can make them feel from others. It can impact self-esteem as well as self-beliefs and can lead to unhealthy coping skills. With guidance, psychoeducation and bit of support and encouragement, people are able to harness their gift and utilize it to fuel creativity, innovation, and ultimately find that “goodness of fit” that matches their life and needs. 

If you are experiencing any of the above stresses, please reach out to us.