Signs Of A Highly Sensitive Person

Are you a highly sensitive person? Do you know someone in your personal or professional life who may be highly sensitive? 

High sensitivity can be defined as acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to external (social, environmental) or internal (intra-personal) stimuli.

A highly sensitive person (HSP) experiences the world differently than others. They tend to be creative, insightful, and empathetic, but it also means they’re more prone than others to stress and overwhelm.

Here are signs of a Highly Sensitive Person:

They think and feel deeply.

One of the hallmark characteristics of highly sensitive people is the ability to feel more deeply than their less-sensitive peers. They like to process things on a deep level. They’re very intuitive, and go very deep inside to try to figure things out.

When life throws them a curveball, they retreat deep into their shell, thinking through every aspect of what transpired before taking any action. Small things (in their own life and other people’s lives) can have a big impact on them.

Silhouette of asian woman behind the tree branch near the endless ocean

They’re very sensitive to lights and sounds.

A person who is highly sensitive will get easily startled due to their nervous systems being dialed up even in low-risk situations. 

This is why they have a deep reaction to sounds and lights. Certain pitches really irritate them, and loud sounds grate on their nerves. Blinding or large lights make them anxious and uneasy.

Similarly, their favorite song can send them into a zen-like trance or completely overhaul their mood for the better. And dim, calming lights put them in a comfortable zone.

They withdraw often.

Whether they’re an introvert or an extrovert, they need plenty of downtime, preferably alone. Solitude calms their overactive senses.

They often find themselves withdrawing to a quiet, darkened room at the end of a long day — in order to lower their stimulation level, soothe their senses, and recharge.

They’re extremely detail-oriented.

Highly sensitive people are the first ones to notice the details in a room, the new shoes that you’re wearing, or a change in weather.

They’re as sensitive to details as they are to feelings. They see details that others miss, and aren’t content until they’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s. This is a strength that is highly valuable in the right profession.

They are more “porous” than other people.

It’s not unusual for an HSP to walk into a room and immediately sense the moods of the people in it.

That’s because highly sensitive people are very aware of subtleties — including facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice — that others may miss. They absorb more from their environment than other people do. 

These things “get into” an HSP more easily than they do others — almost like they’re a sponge for the environment around them.

Pair this with the sensitive person’s naturally high levels of empathy, and it’s no wonder HSPs feel emotions that are not their own. As a result, highly sensitive people tend to suffer from frequent emotional exhaustion.

They take criticism harshly.

Words really matter to HSPs. Positive words can make them soar, but harsh words will send them crashing to the ground. Highly sensitive people have reactions to criticism that are more intense than less sensitive people.

Their strong feelings and intense emotional reactions can make criticism hard to take. Though they may overreact to criticism initially, they also have the tendency to think hard about things and explore them deeply. 

While a highly sensitive person can be aware that constructive criticism is usually given from a good place, it can be hard for them to keep their feelings from getting hurt when someone gives it.

They cry more easily.

Crying can be extremely cathartic and healthy and, for an HSP, it’s quite common. A highly-sensitive person is likely to cry more often than others due to their heightened sense of emotion.

That’s why it’s important for highly sensitive people to put themselves in situations where they won’t be made to feel embarrassed orwrongfor crying easily

If their friends and family realize that that’s just how they are – that they cry easily – and support that form of expression, then “crying easily” will not be seen as something shameful.

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