Some people seem to be born with nerves on the outside of their skin. These people tend to be more sensitive than their parents, brothers and sisters, or the kids in their class. They can’t get through a movie (even a comedy!) or a TV commercial without shedding a few tears. The slightest bit of criticism causes them real pain, and they are empathic to anyone around them.
Chances are these people are told by everyone, “You’re too sensitive!” Well the truth is, some people are more sensitive than others. They are not only sensitive to emotions, but also to energy, sound, light, and other physical stimulus. These people are, literally, called Highly Sensitive People, or HSP for short.
Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?
Do the following characteristics ring true for you?
You’re very emotional
Whether positive or negative, you experience emotions intensely, react strongly to them, and cry easily.
You’re very compassionate and generous
You have always been a natural caretaker, seeking to offer comfort and help to those who suffer. You also go out of your way to avoid offending anyone or hurting their feelings.
You’re sensitive to criticism
Criticism doesn’t feel constructive so much as it feels personal and painful. You are not able to let it roll off your shoulders as others do, and therefore allow criticism to keep you safe in your comfort zone.
You feel different from everyone else and sometimes alone
You’ve always known, or had it pointed out to you, that you were somehow different from everyone else. Because other people have told you that you need to “toughen up,” you see your sensitivity as a weakness and often feel alone.
You’re sensitive to external stimuli
While no one else around you seems to notice that the buzz of the overhead lights is driving you nuts! As is the sound of your coworkers chewing, the rough fabric of your shirt and the smell of the extravagant flower arrangement.
You overthink and worry
You notice every detail and overthink what should be a simple decision, like where to go for lunch. You also get stuck in the rehashing and what-if rut.
You walk into a room and instantly get a “feel” for it. You know how people are feeling. This is fine when the energy is positive, but when it’s negative… watch out!
You’re often tired and overwhelmed
Because you deal with the emotions of yours and others, as well as so much stimulation all day-every day, you easily become overwhelmed by all of it and feel as though you need to sleep more.
What You Can Do
Living life as an HSP is not easy, but there are some things you can do:
- See your sensitivity as a positive, not a negative
- Remind yourself there is nothing wrong with you and you are not alone
- Avoid negative people, places and situations
- Set boundaries with people who take advantage of your compassion
- Learn to relax through exercise and meditation
- Give yourself the same sympathy and kindness as you do others
Maybe you wonder how highly sensitive people compare to super feelers?
Empaths, Highly Sensitive People and Super Feelers have some things in common;
· Tend to have high levels of empathy for others
· Often described as very sensitive individuals
· Ability to pick up on the feelings of others
· Can have “big hearts” and can feel the emotional pain of others
· May feel misunderstood by others
What are the differences between highly sensitive individuals and ‘super feelers’?:
The primary difference between ‘superfeelers’ and highly sensitive individuals is the latter’s stronger emphasis on their sensory sensitivities:
· Tend to be easily over-stimulated
· Overwhelmed by sensory stimulation such excessive noises, smells etc.
· Easily exhausted by crowds and busy places
· Need extra time alone to get their energy back
· Highly sensitive individuals – described as often feeling their five senses in their environment more intensely than others (such as feeling louder, colder, hotter etc).
· Some refer to highly sensitive people as having “psychic” like intuitive abilities
If at any time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed but the intensity of your emotions to or because of your sensitivity, it’s important that you seek the guidance of a therapist who can help you manage your emotions.
If you or a loved one are a ‘super feeler’ or a highly sensitive person and would like to seek treatment options, please schedule a new client consultation call with Lois. Lois is dedicated to helping clients feel more comfortable with all their emotions and to respond in ways that line up with what’s important to them. She helps clients connect the dots to see a fuller picture of what’s fueling their struggles, helps them to discover their strengths and learn to harness them so they can thrive.