3 MIN READ | Positive Psychology

Signs You May Be a Highly Sensitive Person – and How to Cope

Dennis Relojo-Howell

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Dennis Relojo-Howell, (2020, March 7). Signs You May Be a Highly Sensitive Person – and How to Cope. Psychreg on Positive Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/highly-sensitive-person/
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Do you get overwhelmed by big crowds, bright lights, and loud noises? If so, you could be a highly sensitive person (HSP). This personality trait and how it affects those with it has more recently come to the fore, and studies show about 20% of the population are HSPs.

It is important to realise that being an HSP does not mean there is anything wrong with you. HSPs process information more deeply than other personality types, and thus loud, chaotic activities can be overwhelming.

Many HSPs are especially sensitive to noise. If this sounds like you, you may want to soundproof your home for the ultimate tranquil environment. Learn how to soundproof your home at https://aquietrefuge.com/soundproof-room-from-outside-noise/. In the meantime, here are other qualities of HSP individuals and ways to cope.

The power of high sensitivity

Being highly sensitive may feel like a drawback, but it has many benefits for both the HSP and others around them. Most artists are HSPs due to the characteristic of processing information intensely – observing detail or feeling deep emotion. These are essential abilities for creating meaningful paintings, sculptures, literature, or music.

HSPs are also very empathic. They can feel from a mile off if someone is having a hard time, and are very good at putting themselves in others’ shoes. HSPs thus make excellent carers and counsellors.

In such a chaotic and noisy world, we genuinely need more kind and caring HSPs.

The HSP and work

It is essential to select a career that allows you to use your HSP abilities without being subject to overstimulation and overwhelm all the time. Environments with open offices, frenetic activity, and high-stress levels are not good for the HSP. Look for slower-paced positions where you have a more authentic connection with people. HSPs love to make deep connections and have conversations about life’s big questions.

Due to feeling everything all the time, HSPs also need more time alone to process their day’s activities. This includes quiet activities that help neutralise everything that has been absorbed from others during the workday. This may consist of walks on the beach, yoga, and meditation.

Characteristics that make being an HSP a bit complex

You may find that you over-analyse things you said to people or things they said to you. It may keep you awake at night. Remember, most of the time, the things people say or do is mostly about them and what they are going through, not what you made them feel. 

You may also give yourself a hard time for not meeting goals, struggle with taking criticism, or worry about being rejected. Try not to be too hard on yourself and to give yourself credit for everything you do achieve.

Ditch the guilt

Sometimes you may need to decline invitations to go out when you are feeling drained, exhausted, or overwhelmed. This can be very stressful as HSPs hate to disappoint and try hard to make everyone happy. If you have reached your limits, you need to prioritise self-care.

Going out into big crowds or places where you know there is going to be a lot of noise – loud music, kids screaming – may put you into a cold sweat. If these kinds of activities are not for you, that is okay. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy leisure time. Invite a friend to join you doing quiet activities you enjoy.

Lastly, it helps to tell those closest to you what you have discovered about being an HSP and what your needs are. Your nearest and dearest love and care about you, they will understand.

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Image credit: Freepik


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He interviews people within psychology, mental health, and well-being on his YouTube channel, The DRH Show


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