Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

Do you know that almost 20% of human population come in the category of highly sensitive people ?  Being sensitive is a human trait. But if someone is overly sensitive, he comes under the category of Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) . We continuously come around HSP in our lives. Very few of us are able to note them as we simply are too busy with our own work and lives. An HSP is a person with high sensitivity such that he has acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to external (social, environmental) or internal (intra-personal) stimuli.  HSP reacts more intensely to experiences than the average person. They process both positive and negative information more deeply, so they can easily become overwhelmed by stimuli like loud noises, crowds, and high-pressure situations. A highly sensitive person may be an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between. He has as greater ability to listen and affirm, greater empathy and intuitiveness, better understanding of others’ wants and needs. Not all HSPs have same levels of sensitivity. The levels vary from person to person. Some individuals may be highly sensitive to just one or two stimuli, while others may be strongly affected by more. A HSP notices small details that others miss, and certain situations impact him more than they impact others. His sensitivity is his greatest strength as it makes him perceptive, compassionate, and wise . But as the same time, being highly sensitive poses its own set of challenges too. A HSP does things to protect his sensitive system, and other people may not realize the real root of his actions.

A Highly Sensitive Person has many of the below attributes

  1. Cannot easily let go off negative thoughts and emotions
  2. Feels stress or headache in unpleasant situations
  3. Eats or sleeps too less or too much on bad days
  4. Experiences tension or anxiety easily
  5. Feels low when he falls short of his own expectations
  6. Fears rejection for minor situations too
  7. Feels unhappy from negative social comparison
  8. Gets angry or resentful about unjust, unfair, annoying situations in life 
  9. Thinks/worries about what others are thinking
  10. Tends to take things personally
  11. Feels hurt easily
  12. Hides negative feelings and keeps a lot of negative emotions inside
  13. Doesn’t  easily accept critical feedback, even when it’s given reasonably and constructively
  14. Finds  people are judgmental, even when there’s no strong evidence
  15. Overreacts to real or perceived slights and provocations
  16. Feels uncomfortable in group situations and feels unable to be oneself
  17. Becomes self-conscious in romantically intimate situations
  18. Feels uncomfortable in large public crowds
  19. Feels uncomfortable when exposed to bright lights, loud sounds, or certain strong scents
  20. Reacts easily at sudden noises, fast traffic, or other unpleasant surprises
  21. Gets upset when watching or reading negative news in the media

If you have most of the above attributes, you are a highly sensitive person. Don’t worry if you are so ! Just be yourself. Work on handling your sensitivity by learning social skills, meditation, yoga, exercise, reading self help books. Most importantly choose your work and people with whom you associate often such that your sensitivity becomes an asset. For example, you will be a great nurse, social worker and child nanny since you can empathise easily with others. You can become a software programmer, analyst or a back office executive so that you are shielded away from too many activities and people. Choose your life partner and friends who understand and respect your highly sensitive nature. There is nothing wrong in being a highly sensitive person. You should learn to channelize this wonderful gift in the right way. That’s all !

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