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Are you a highly sensitive person?

Were you ever called sensitive by people around you? Do you experience everything intensely than those around you usually do?

Do you sometimes wish you do not feel as deeply as you do? Do bright lights and loud noises make you feel uncomfortable? Are you easily moved by the beauty of little things? Maybe you are a highly sensitive person.

Whenever I was called sensitive by my friends or family, I either brushed it off or got offended depending on the situation I’m in. It was not until a few years ago that I came across the term Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). As I read more about it , I figured out I am a highly sensitive person myself. After realising this, so many things made sense to me, I understood why I am the way I am.

A highly sensitive person (HSP) has an increased or deeper central nervous system sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli.

HSP is a term coined by Elaine N. Aron in her book Highly Sensitive Person in 1996. She is a research psychologist and a psychotherapist. She is a highly sensitive person herself.

Elaine N. Aron says ‘having a sensitive nervous system is normal, a basically neutral trait. You probably inherited it. It means you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings, a great advantage in many situations. It also means you are more easily overwhelmed when you have been out in a highly stimulating environment for too long, bombarded by sights and sounds until you are exhausted in a nervous-system sort of way. Thus, being sensitive has both advantages and disadvantages.’

A highly sensitive person might likely have a few or all of the below characteristics:

  • They feel emotions deeply and intensely.
  • They’re annoyed when people ask them to do too much in a short period of time.
  • It’s easy for them to be moved to tears.
  • They’re deeply moved by art, music, beauty.
  • Loud noises, bright lights, or uncomfortable fabric can be distressing to them.
  • They often need alone time to decompress. It’s easy for them to become overwhelmed when they have a lot to do.
  • They are spiritual people.
  • They have a rich inner life and imagination.
  • They are very empathetic.

Some facts about HSPs:

  • It is an inherited trait which affects 15-20% of the population
  • They have finely tuned nervous systems and notice details that most people miss.
  • Highly sensitive people have rich, complex inner worlds.
  • HSPs have a more active mirror neuron system in the brain which help them understand others’ intentions and the way they feel. This causes them to be more empathetic.
  • HSPs are great at noticing, relating, and comparing patterns from past experiences.
  • Having a sensitive nervous system causes HSPs to react stronger and recover slower from intense stimuli.

Is it a disorder?
No, it is not a disorder. It is a personality trait

Is it necessary to overcome being a hsp?
It is not necessary to stop being highly sensitive. We can rather understand the trait more so that we can embrace it and make the best out of it.

Someways you can thrive being a HSP:
-Learn to establish boundaries
-Do not hesitate to have some alone time whenever necessary

  • Try to maintain a proper sleep cycle
    -Try to limit the sensory overload
  • Understand that sensitivity is not a weakness but rather a strength

Check out here if you are a highly sensitive person or not

How to support your highly sensitive friend when you’re not highly sensitive

  • Supporting the HSP in your life can be as simple as a
    willingness to learn about the trait.
  • Don’t take it personally when HSPs ask for space. We need alone to recover from the sensory overload.
  • Instead of calling us too sensitive, appreciate our sensitivity and validate our emotions. ( You’re probably friends with us because we are kind and empathic, that’s because we are highly sensitive)
  • Engage in meaningful conversations. We hsps value deep and meaningful connections over small talk.
  • Understand that bright lights, loud sounds and crowded areas can be overwhelming for us sometimes.
  • This is an actual trait, so please don’t invalidate our struggles.

Highly sensitive people don’t need to be fixed. Telling a HSP to be not be sensitive is like telling a person to change their eye colour. It doesn’t make sense right? How can someone change their eye colour? It’s a part of their genetic makeup. The same goes for highly sensitive people. We are wired to care, to feel deeply, to be sensitive. The way highly sensitive people think and care deeply is a gift. It has the ability to make the world a kind place to live in.


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