A highly sensitive person (HSP) experiences our world differently than most people. It is a biological difference, not psychological, that they’re born with, highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties and process information deeply. They tend to be creative, insightful, and empathetic, but it also means they’re more prone than others to stress and anxiety
It is not a disease or a disorder. It’s often misunderstood because only around 20
Are you a highly sensitive person? If you relate to most of these signs, there’s a good chance you’re a HSP.
Indicators You’re a Highly Sensitive Person
1. You think deeply.
The cornerstone of being an HSP is you process information deeply. This means you do plenty of reflecting on your experiences — more so than other people. Unfortunately, this also means you’re more prone to negative overthinking. Sometimes you obsessively play events over and over in your mind or spiral into anxious thoughts.
2. You become emotionally exhausted from absorbing other people’s feelings.
Although highly sensitive people are not necessarily empaths, HSPs tend to “absorb” other people’s emotions, almost like an empath would. It’s not unusual for an HSP to walk into a room and immediately sense the moods of the people in it. That’s because highly sensitive people are very aware of subtleties including facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice that others may miss. Pair this with the sensitive person’s naturally high levels of empathy, and it’s no wonder HSPs feel emotions that are not their own. As a result, highly sensitive people tend to suffer from frequent emotional exhaustion.
3. Time pressure really rattles you.
For instance in school, timed quizzes or speed tests would have made you extremely anxious perhaps to the point of not being able to perform as well as you normally would. As an adult, when you have too many things on your to-do list and not enough time to finish them, you feel very stressed. HSPs are more sensitive to stimulation, and time pressure is no exception.
4. You withdraw often.
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you need plenty of
5. You’re jumpy.
When someone sneaks up on you, you jump like a frightened cat. Many HSPs have a high “startle reflex” because even in non-threatening situations, their nervous systems are
6. You emphatically detest violence and cruelty of any kind.
Everyone hates violence and cruelty, but for highly sensitive people, seeing or hearing about it can be extremely unsettling. You might be an HSP if you can’t watch very scary, gory, or violent movies without getting upset or even feeling physically ill. Similarly, you may not be able to stomach a news story about animal cruelty or similar brutal acts.
7. You’re a seeker.
HSPs seek answers to the big questions in life. They ask why things are the way they are and what their role in all of it is. If you’re a highly sensitive person, you may have always wondered why other people aren’t as captivated by the mysteries of human nature and the universe as you are.
8. Your clothing matters.
You’ve always been sensitive to what you wear. Scratchy fabric or restrictive clothing — like pants with a tight waistband or pantyhose — really irritate you. Of course, non-HSPs might dislike these things too, but an HSP will carefully select their wardrobe to completely avoid them. And if an HSP inadvertently wears one of these things out, the discomfort may detract from their entire experience.
9. Your pain tolerance is less.
Many HSPs are more sensitive to pain of all kinds — headaches, body aches, injuries, etc. — than non-HSPs.
10. Your inner world is alive and present.
Again, due to your deep processing, you have a rich inner world. As a child, you may have had several imaginary friends, enjoyed fantasy-based play, and were prone to daydreaming. As an adult, you may have vividly realistic dreams.
11. Change is extremely upsetting.
HSPs take comfort in their routines, because the familiar is far less stimulating than something brand new. For this reason, change — both positive and negative — can really throw off HSPs. For example, when dating someone new or getting a job promotion, HSPs may feel as equally stressed as they do overjoyed. Generally, HSPs need more time than others to adjust to change.
12. Sometimes your environment is your enemy.
Similarly, moving to a new home or traveling (even if it’s just a “fun” vacation!) can be quite difficult for you, because your senses are bombarded with so much new stimuli.
13. You’re misunderstood.
High sensitivity is often mislabeled. You may have been called “shy” or “anxious,” and perhaps it was implied that something was wrong with you. Similarly, many HSPs are
14. Conflict is your kryptonite.
When there’s tension or disagreement in your close relationships, you feel it deeply. Many HSPs even report feeling physically ill during conflict. As a result, some highly sensitive people become conflict-avoidant, doing or saying almost anything to keep the other person happy. It’s because conflict hurts so much.
15. Criticism is a dagger.
Words really matter to HSPs. Positive words can make them soar, but harsh words will send them crashing to the ground. Criticism can feel like a dagger, and negativity is toxic to the highly sensitive person’s finely-tuned system.
16. You’re conscientious.
At work and in school, you try hard not to make mistakes. You value more details than others because you’re more vividly aware of them.
17. You’re deeply moved by beauty.
Fine meals, rich scents, beautiful artwork, or stirring melodies have a deep impact on you. You may find that music or certain sounds put you in a near trance-like state, or the way the wind catches the leaves in the autumn sunlight leaves you awestruck. You don’t understand how other people aren’t as moved by beauty as you are.
18. You’re perceptive.
Because you notice things that others miss, you’re seen as perceptive and insightful. Even as a child, you may have been wise beyond your years. The world relies on highly sensitive people like you to make it a more compassionate, understanding place to be.
To get a better idea if you’re