Do loud noises, strong smells and visuals, or rough textures tend to overwhelm you easily?
Does the need for a quiet and private place drive you to withdraw when you feel swamped during a busy day?
Do you get flustered when you have much to do but little time to do it?
Have others ever called you “sensitive” or “shy”?
These traits may mean that you are a highly sensitive person. How would you know for sure?
How to Tell If You Are a Highly Sensitive Person
In general, a highly sensitive person is extremely perceptive and affected by a variety of external stimuli. They are more aware of nuances that others miss, but they’re also easily overwhelmed by sensory input. The main reason for such a response is that their brain processes incoming information more deeply.
What specific aspects would help you determine if you fall into this category?
You may be a highly sensitive person if you…
- Feel uncomfortable in noisy environments – You may have a lower tolerance for loud music events, fireworks displays, or busy open office settings. The sights, smells, sounds, and activities in those situations put your senses into overdrive.
- Become quickly overwhelmed in pressure situations – When things are too chaotic, complex, intense, or different from the norm for a long time, your anxiety level increases notably. You may also struggle with staying on task when you have too many things to handle.
- Retreat when your senses become overloaded – You’re in need of equilibrium at the end of a busy day or week. You need quiet time in a dark bedroom or another private place to find your balance once again.
- Grow angry when you’re hungry – Lack of nourishment may hinder your functioning, and your frustration shows unmistakably.
- “Choke” when you’re under scrutiny – You most likely work best in private. But when you’re put on display, perhaps in front of your boss during a presentation, you often falter under the pressure.
- Have a keen sense of other people’s discomfort – You may easily recognize when someone else feels overwhelmed by a situation.
- Are easily moved by artistic expressions – Paintings, music, movies, or theatrical performances tend to touch you more than others. It’s not just that you have a special appreciation for creativity, but it consistently stirs your deepest emotions.
How to Cope with Being a Highly Sensitive Person
Such aspects as managing your environment and time, as well as taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, lie at the foundation of coping if you are a highly sensitive person.
Consider some examples:
Eating regular nutritious meals throughout the day will help you keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Intense hunger can be very disruptive for a highly sensitive person and make it hard to concentrate. Greatly limiting caffeine intake may also help you feel more calm and collected.
Reduce sensory disturbances in your environment
Limiting your exposure to stimuli that causes you problems can be done in various ways. For example: To lessen annoyance with bright lights, you could use bulbs with a lower lumen count in your home. Or you could avoid going to places you know have powerful lighting. To reduce agitation from noises, you may want to have at least one quiet space in your home to which you can retreat when you find it necessary.
(Tip: If you’re not at home, consider using noise-reducing headphones to block out the distractions so you can concentrate and have some personal peace of mind.)
Develop a schedule that works for you
A packed timetable will only frazzle you. Adjust your schedule and structure your work and home life in a way that it will give you the time and space to get things done. When you can start your day calm and unrushed, it can carry you through the whole day. And, in order to get all your errands done, you may want to consider living outside an average person’s schedule. That may mean going to the grocery store in the evening or to the movie theater on weeknights.
Make time to relax
After a busy work day or an event that challenged your senses, you must take some time to decompress and find your equilibrium again. Aside from your quiet space and soft lighting, you may want to find other ways to make your home more calming to your senses. Perhaps you can decorate it in a way that is pleasing to your eyes, reduces clutter, or uses gentle and calming aromas. Seek out beautiful surroundings outside your home, during regular walks in nature, restore the peace and balance you desire.
How to Thrive as a Highly Sensitive Person
Aside from just coping with your high sensitivity, you may also want to consider how you can tap into the benefits of your traits.
Yes, there are a lot of benefits. Being a highly sensitive person isn’t anything bad. You don’t need to be fixed!
Consider, for example, that while you may feel difficult emotions with more intensity than others, you can also feel the most beautiful emotions more deeply.
In fact, you can be highly aware and observant of your environment. Also, your capacity for picking up on matters that others miss can provide insight most people don’t have. In turn, that can help you be more empathetic—a very positive and endearing quality that draws others.
This deeper insight can also inspire your imagination, allowing you to construct an intricate and vibrant inner world that fuels creativity, intuition, and clarity. As a matter of fact, high sensitivity and creativeness often go hand-in-hand.
So, don’t ever think that as a highly sensitive person you can’t thrive. Quite to the contrary. Recognizing who you are can lead you to open up to a whole new awareness and understanding of yourself—one in which you thrive, not simply live!