Highly sensitive individuals are people who frequently feel too deep or too much, according to Psychology Today. High sensitivity is described as physical, acute, mental, and emotional responses to internal or external stimuli. Despite being commonly associated with introversion, a person with high sensitivity may be an introvert, but also an extrovert or something in between. According to research, the brain of sensitive people is not same as the brain of the less sensitive ones and there are both positive and negatives sides.
As explained on Health Line, a person who is highly sensitive has a very sensitive nervous system and this is not a condition or a disorder, but has to do more with a person’s personality or sensory-processing sensitivity. Dr. Elaine Aron emphasizes that 15 to 20 percent of the world population has this personality trait.
In order to increase the awareness about highly sensitive people and to help understand what it means to posses this trait, the focus of this article is to present the major characteristics of high sensitivity and the positive and negative aspects of it.
How Does It Feel to Be Highly Sensitive?
As seen on Psychology Today, research points out that highly-sensitive individuals possess some or all of the below-mentioned personality traits:
• They are uncomfortable in loud environments and are too sensitive to sounds, smells, sights and excessive activity around them; loud concerts and fireworks are definitely not their thing due to the high level of noise
• When they are hungry, they easily become angry; also known as “hangry”
• They perform at their best when in private; in public, they usually perform poorly because of the pressure they experience
• Having several tasks or different things to do at once makes them nervous and their stress elevates; they also have a higher risk of poor performance
• They have the ability to sense when others are disturbed and therefore know when to lower the music or dim the lights to help others feel more comfortable
• Highly-sensitive people tend to retreat when things become too much for them so, after a long and busy day, a dark bedroom may be the ideal place to recharge
• These individuals dislike seeing violence in media, whether in movies, TV shows, video games, etc.
• Highly-sensitive people have a lot of appreciation for art and creativity and they will be deeply moved when they are at an art exhibition or at the theatre
The Pros and Cons of Being a Sensitive Person
As explained on Mind Body Green, all people experience moments of high sensitivity, for example, when going through breakup or when we are being scrutinized by closest ones. However, for people with high sensitivity, almost all of their emotional and physical experiences are processed deeply.
Therefore, as Anne Marie Rooney from Mind Body Green points out, this personality trait can significantly impact the individual’s way of life that does not often correspond with the expectations from the rest of the society. Hence, one’s friendships, work performance, and romantic relationships can be affected. Unfortunately, these people, due to being too aware of their surroundings in most of the time, have a higher chance of experiencing anxiousness and depression.
Nonetheless, though being a highly-sensitive person has its lows, it is not necessarily a bad thing and these individuals do have a lot of things to be grateful for and can live a happy and healthy life.
After we learn more about the benefits of being a highly-sensitive person, we will present useful tips on how can highly-sensitive individuals cope with the stress they often go through.
Being a highly-sensitive person has a lot of advantages. Here are the major ones:
• They care deeply- if their close one is going through a period of struggle, a highly-sensitive individual will be there to offer their insight and think deeply on the subject with the goal to help you feel better and maybe find a solution.
• They are very passionate- these individuals have topics that they are extremely passionate about and as explained on Huffington Post, passion is a driving force behind happiness and success that helps us live quality lives.
• Meaning is important to them- these people are also passionate about the search for internal meaning and when something does not feel significant, they cannot do it anyway.
• Excellent problem solvers- If you need a person to help you with a problem, a highly-sensitive individual is the right way to go- they are not the absent-minded-type-of-people as you may think. Due to their high level of contemplation and pondering and their cognitive dedication to problems, they can be of great assistance when there is an ongoing issue or a question that needs to be answered.
• Enjoy being a part of deep and important conversations- most highly-sensitive individuals dislike small talk and trivial topics, they are the ones who want to spend their time discussing meaningful topics with like-minded people.
• They are very sincere- for highly-sensitive people, one of the things they are not good at is showing fake interest, whether in topics, people or activities that do not suit them. They want to have more time to work on themselves, their current friendships, and their interests that help them feel satisfied.
• Sensitive to animals- because of being able to notice the things that are less noticed in life and because of their high emotions and energies, most of them are sensitive to animals and how they are treated.
• Very diligent- they are hard-working individuals and are proud of the tasks they perform and always make sure they are done properly. This is why they make great employees in places that provide space and autonomy.
• They possess a lot of creativity- these people are known to draw a lot of inspiration from their complex inner lives and find inspiration from aspects of life that others usually neglect and thus, create joy, beauty, and inspiration for others.
How to Minimize Stress If You Are a Highly-Sensitive Person
As Shannon Kaiser from Mind Body Green explains, highly-sensitive individuals are not just people who get their feelings hurt easily, but they are people who possess a complex inner life and have an active imagination. Hence, facing criticism or going through a breakup may be much more stressful for them than for people who are not highly-sensitive.
Kaiser believes that the first step towards lower stress is to recognize that you are a person who feels stronger than other people; whether it is good, bad or beautiful, and accept that this is alright.
And, she puts forward a couple of tips to make it through challenging emotional situations easier. Check them out in the list below:
Instead of becoming angry to people who offend you, focus on your journey and remember, when you believe in yourself, what others have to say does not matter.
Always know that not everything is about you; if a person’s opinion is not of importance to you, you should not respond emotionally and take it personally-most of people’s opinions arise from their own points of view.
Do not apologize for feeling too deeply or caring about the world and people you love- the world definitely needs more people who love and care genuinely.
Marwa Azab from Psychology Today points out that you can make the most of your high sensitivity by following these several tips:
• When multitasking, try and lower the number of tasks
• Reduce the chance for burnout by focusing on early signs like anxiousness and feeling overwhelmed
• Decrease the amount of intense stimuli in your closest surroundings
• Try mindfulness meditation to be able to cope with high sensitivity
• Strengthen relationships through your high sensitivity-become a better partner or a co-worker
• Always take into account the numerous benefits your high sensitivity offers
• Enjoy in your high sensitivity and creativity- write, pain, draw, etc.