16 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person and What That Actually Means

Fill in the blank: A sensitive person is someone who _________.

Cries at “small” things?
Shows “too much” emotion?
Doesn’t like to hang out in crowded bars, malls, or other busy areas?
Is “easily offended”?

It’s true that this type of behavior is common in highly-sensitive people. But being a highly-sensitive person is so much more than being “overly-emotional.”

Being a highly-sensitive person is a gift to yourself, those around you, and the world. For many of us though, it may be hard to see it that way until you have a better understanding of what exactly a highly sensitive person is . . .
 
 

What Is a Highly Sensitive Person?

A Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP, is someone who processes sensory information more deeply than others.

Research shows that highly sensitive people have a different brain chemistry than other people in that, in certain situations such as a crowded mall, there is more blood flow to the areas of the brain that are responsible for emotion, awareness, and empathy.
 

A Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP, is someone who processes sensory information more deeply than others.

 
What does this mean?

It means that the brain of an HSP reacts more to certain stimuli than the brains of non-HSPs. This is why highly sensitive people are often labelled “overly-emotional.”

HSPs have high sensory processing, meaning that a highly sensitive person experiences higher levels of cognitive processing, hypersensitivity to external stimuli, and high emotional reactivity.
 

 
 
In a nutshell, a highly sensitive person is someone who processes more of the world around them and thinks A LOT about the things going on internally and externally.
 
 

How Do You Know If You Are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

If you experience or relate to most of these signs, you are likely a highly sensitive person:

  • You cannot stand to see cruelty or harm in any context, probably changing the channel when an animal abuse commercial comes on
  • You are exhausted from being around other people and need a lot of alone time to recharge
  • You are overwhelmed by all of the stimuli in crowded areas
  • Time pressure really bothers you
  • You think very deeply about everything
  • The feeling of clothing is important to you. You can’t just wear any ol’ material because you don’t like the way it feels on your skin
  • You are easily stimulated by caffeine, sugar, prescription medication, or alcohol
  • Criticism is difficult for you to process
  • You have an aversion to change and probably have a solid morning/bedtime routine
  • You are a vivid dreamer and daydream a lot. You likely had a very active imagination as a child
  • You absorb the emotions of others, so much so that you might not know which emotions are yours and which belong to someone else
  • You feel the highs and lows of your blood sugar levels
  • You are extremely observant and notice everything around you
  • You need a lot of sleep because even a normal day can be exhausting
  • You are deeply moved by beauty – nature, art, and music stir up a lot of emotions for you
  • You have a wild appreciation for things around you – the beautifully designed building or children’s laughter

Did you answer “Yes” more often than not? Welcome to the party my friend!

Discovering that you are an HSP is the first step in learning more about yourself on a level you didn’t know existed.
 

HSPs experience higher levels of cognitive processing, hypersensitivity to external stimuli, and high emotional reactivity.

 
It is also the first step in learning how to take care of yourself. Because of their sensitive nature, HSPs need more self-care than others and it is important that you develop a self-care practice that works for you.

Need some self-care ideas? Check out 6 Essential Self-Care Practices That Will Help Reduce Your Anxiety
 
 

Being a Highly Sensitive Person: The Takeaway

Being labelled as “sensitive” in our society is often seen as a bad thing. But it isn’t.

Highly sensitive people have passion, compassion, and empathy. They truly care about everything, enjoy meaningful relationships and conversations with others, and bring so much love and compassion to the world.

Embrace your highly-sensitive characteristics – you have so much to offer the world.



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