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 know there is a serotonin-connected 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 bad news is being highly sensitive can make many mainstream life situations feel awkward and downright uncomfortable. But fear not, there are some benefits to being highly sensitive, and I’ll share those later.
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 (of many more) signs to look for:
- You are quick to feel sometimes overpoweringly strong emotions, such as joy, fear, and sadness.
- You may feel physical responses in relation to these emotions, such as butterflies or muscle tension.
- You are acutely aware of physical stimuli such as sound, light, coarse fabrics, and smells.
- Crowds can be a challenge. The energy of a crowd is intense, at best.
- You care deeply about the injustices of the world (e.g. you cry or become angry at the thought of children or animals being harmed).
- You are attuned to others, including both consideration and worrying what they think of you.
- You process deeply and may need extra time to do so.
- You have a hard time letting things go and receiving critical feedback.
- You prefer to socialize in small groups and quiet places or just stay home.
- You startle easily.
Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person
As I mentioned earlier, while being a HSP can cause you to feel awkward or overwhelmed at times, there are some definite perks to being highly sensitive.
For starters, you are someone who can enjoy subtle sensory detail that a majority of the population misses. You get pleasure from noticing the end of day light play. You’ll notice subtle shades of color and texture and feel immense pleasure at the complexities of flavorful cuisine.
You’re also someone others like being around because you are aware of others’ feelings, needs and emotions. Because of this natural empathy, HSPs make great teachers, managers and leaders.
HSPs are also 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.
As you can see, if you can manage the negative aspects of being a highly sensitive person, you can reap some pretty great rewards.
If you or someone you love suspects they are highly sensitive and would like to explore treatment options to manage the negative aspects, please get in touch with me. I’d love to discuss how I may be able to help.