Ever met someone who seems to feel everything more than the rest of us?
They may be a highly sensitive person. That is, in short, an HSP. About 20% of people are HSP. But often we don't realize what that really means.
Are you wondering how to recognize a highly sensitive person? You are in the right place.
It's not always obvious, but there are signs you can look out for.
Today we are going to share 13 of these signals with you. So make it easy and keep reading.
You might discover something new about the people around you!
1) They feel deeply
Highly sensitive people are known for their deep feelings. Something that may not phase you could cause a strong emotional response in them.
From joy to sadness, HSPs experience emotions in ways that can seem intense to others. It's not a drama – it's just how they are put together.
2) Sensory overload is real for them
You know that feeling when everything is just too much? The lights are too bright, the noise level too high, the room too crowded?
For highly sensitive people this can be a daily reality. They often become overwhelmed when their senses become overloaded.
If someone you know often seeks out quiet, calm spaces, he or she may simply be trying to control their sensitivity.
3) They are easy to move
I'll never forget the day my friend Sarah showed up at my door with a home-cooked meal after I'd had a bad day.
She had gone out of her way to make my favorite dish, just to cheer me up. While this may have been a small gesture to some people, it meant the world to me. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thanked her.
Being deeply moved by acts of kindness is a common characteristic of highly sensitive people. And if you notice someone getting emotional over what seems like small things, they may just be an HSP.
4) They take longer to make decisions
Ever heard of decision fatigue? It's the exhaustion that comes from making too many decisions, and it's a real challenge for HSPs.
According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyHighly sensitive people tend to take more time to make decisions because they weigh every possible outcome.
5) They feel the emotions of others
Imagine walking into a room and suddenly feeling a wave of sadness, only to find out that someone in the room has just received heartbreaking news.
This is a common experience among highly sensitive people. They have a unique ability to absorb the emotions of those around them, almost as if they were their own.
This deep empathy can make them great friends and listeners, but it can also be overwhelming.
6) They need time to recharge
After a day full of meetings, social interactions and noise, I often find myself needing to retreat to a quiet corner of my home. I just need some time to myself to recharge my batteries.
This isn't me being antisocial, it's a necessary part of my day as a highly sensitive person. If you know someone who also needs their 'me' time regularly, he or she might be an HSP just like me.
7) Criticism hits them hard
Let's face it: no one likes to be criticized. But for highly sensitive people, criticism can feel like a punch in the gut.
It's not that they can't handle feedback; they just process it more deeply. They may think about it, lose sleep over it, and question its value.
8) They notice details that others miss
Have you ever walked past a beautiful sunset without noticing it? Or did you miss the subtle change in a friend's mood? Highly sensitive people probably don't have that.
According to psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron, who first identified the HSP trait, Highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties in their environment and pick up fine details. So if you know someone who always seems to notice things that others miss, he or she may be an HSP.
9) They are deeply connected to nature
For as long as I can remember, I have always felt a deep connection with nature. Taking a walk in the park or spending a few moments watching a sunset can have a profound impact on my mood.
This is not unusual for highly sensitive people. Many HSPs report feeling a strong connection with animals and the natural world.
10) They cannot tolerate violence or cruelty
No one likes to see violence or cruelty. But for highly sensitive people, it's more than just an inconvenience: it's downright unbearable.
Violent movies, news stories about harm, and even unkind words can deeply upset an HSP. If there is someone in your life who seems particularly affected by such things, he or she is more likely to be an HSP.
11) They become overwhelmed by time pressure
Deadlines. Schematics. Timers. If just mentioning these words makes your stomach growl, welcome to the world of a highly sensitive person.
The pressure of a ticking clock can cause significant stress for HSPs. The next time you recognize this trait in an HSP, let's be empathetic and try not to rush him.
12) They are often introverts
Not all HSPs are introverts, but many are. For these individuals, being with many people for extended periods of time can be exhausting.
They often prefer one-on-one conversations over large group conversations. So if you know someone who often opts for quiet nights during large social events, he/she may be a very sensitive person.
13) Change is difficult for them
For most people, change is a challenge. Science tells us that the brain identifies changes as threats. But for a highly sensitive person it can feel like their world has been turned upside down.
They often need more time to adapt to new situations and routines.
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