The development of the Psychology field throughout the last decade has been extraordinary. We are at a point where mental health is as important, if not more important, than physical health, and with this comes a huge problem. Unhealthy psychological behaviours are very difficult to identify without the help of experts because of its non-material and subjective nature. This is the case for Highly Sensitive People (HSP), as studies have shown that around 15-20% of the population are highly sensitive, but most people don’t even know what it means (Morin, 2016). So, in this article, I will be addressing 7 things that only HSP can relate to as a way to build awareness around this topic.
Noisy environments are chaotic
Even though no one likes getting their eardrums blasted by loud noises, you especially cannot stand noisy environments. Are you someone who gets extremely annoyed at parties and, for some reason, no one else seems to be bothered by the loud noises? If you can completely relate to this, you are probably an HSP. The main reason you cannot stand noisy environments is because they overwhelm your senses, be it sight, sound, or smell, and cause you to mentally shut down since you cannot process every little thing that is happening around you (Morin, 2016).
Little sleep feels like hell
Once again, little sleep probably feels bad for everyone. Sleep is essential for everyone after all. It all depends on how well you handle little sleep. The question here is: How bad do you feel when you do not get enough sleep during the night? If you are an HSP, you will most likely feel terrible, to the point where you cannot do anything normally. The main reason little sleep affects you more than others is because you, as an HSP, spend considerably more energy processing information (Granneman, 2019). Not getting enough sleep means that you miss important time to rest and reset your senses.
You get extremely “hangry”
“Hangry” is a word that has been popularised and comes from mixing the feelings of “hunger” and “anger”. When you get “hangry”, do you feel so irritated that you want to take it out on others? Well, it might not be because you are a bad person, but rather because, as an HSP, you are susceptible to extreme feelings of irritability when “hangry” (Granneman, 2019). The main reason for this is that, according to Dr. Aron, HSP are more prone to suffer from dips and spikes in blood sugar levels (Granneman, 2020).
Pressure of being under observation is overwhelming
Do you feel like your performance dips whenever someone is watching you do something? Are you extremely self-critical to the point where you start doubting yourself? These two questions will help you determine if this point is relatable to you. As an HSP, you are your own worst critic and handle failures worse than the average person. As such, the fear of failure when someone else is watching can make you feel an overwhelming pressure and cause you to underperform both on challenging and usual activities (Scott, 2020).
You say yes when you want to say no
Do you ever find yourself doing things or going to places you don’t want to be in just because someone asked you? Two of the main traits that you have as an HSP is that you are highly empathetic and aware of other people’s feelings (Granneman, 2019). Because of these traits, you want to avoid letting people down at all costs and say yes to things that you really do not want to do. For example, if one of your friends asks you to come to a party, and you say yes even though you hate parties, you are most likely an HSP.
You absorb other people’s feelings as your own
Have you ever felt a certain way without knowing exactly why? Did it happen to match the feeling that one of your friends had at the time? If you answered “yes” to both questions, there is a good probability that you are an HSP. Absorbing other people’s feelings as your own can be attributed to your high level of empathy and ability to understand other people’s feelings (Granneman, 2020). There are even situations where you cannot distinguish your own feelings from other people’s, which can be exhausting for your mind. One example of this is if your close friend is stressed because of a job interview, and suddenly you feel stressed as well, even though you do not have any important event coming up.
You are overly analytical and observant of other people
Do you ever find yourself questioning small details about a conversation you had with someone? As an HSP, you are extremely observant and might notice things that other people do not. Additionally, you might start over analysing what each of these small details meant, specially when you suspect the other person was not being honest or is upset with you (Granneman, 2019). For example, you noticed during a conversation that your friend was trying to avoid eye contact with you, and that his/her tone of voice did not match what they were saying. And then, once the conversation is over, you find yourself stuck with those two small details in your mind. If you can relate to this situation, you are likely an HSP.
To conclude this article, HSP are people who are very susceptible to their environments and generally have a stronger reaction. Noises, conversations, feelings, visual information, everything is processed to a depth that other people would not even imagine. It all comes with the cost of having a high degree of exhaustion, both mentally and physically. And as mentioned before, 15-20% of the population are HSP, so either you are an HSP, or know someone who is an HSP. In the end, HSP’s are great friends because of their empathy and ability to understand others, but need to take care of themselves and their senses.
Granneman, J., 2019. 13 Problems Only Highly Sensitive People Will Understand. [online] Highly Sensitive Refuge. Available at: <https://highlysensitiverefuge.com/highly-sensitive-people-problems/> [Accessed 22 October 2020].
Granneman, J., 2020. 27 Things You Do Because You’re A Highly Sensitive Person. [online] Highly Sensitive Refuge. Available at: <https://highlysensitiverefuge.com/27-things-people-dont-realize-youre-doing-because-youre-a-highly-sensitive-person/> [Accessed 22 October 2020].
Morin, A., 2016. 9 Common Traits Of Highly Sensitive People. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: <https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201609/9-common-traits-highly-sensitive-people> [Accessed 22 October 2020].
Scott, E., 2020. What Is A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?. [online] Verywell Mind. Available at: <https://www.verywellmind.com/highly-sensitive-persons-traits-that-create-more-stress-4126393> [Accessed 22 October 2020].