Being highly sensitive is not a choice, it’s in our genes. A highly sensitive person (HSP) is someone who is extremely aware of details in their environment and who can also quickly become overwhelmed and overstimulated.
An HSP is also often described as someone who experiences things more intensely. Below are some facts that will help us better understand highly sensitive friends.
1 We look like everyone
You can’t see high sensitivity on the outside, so we don’t know who is highly sensitive. But highly sensitive people are everywhere, according to Dr. Aron, pioneer of high sensitivity research.
2 We didn’t know, until very recently, that there were others like us.
High sensitivity hadn’t been named or researched until the 90’s. It’s always been there, but it hasn’t always been named. Doctor Aron believes that about 20% of people are highly sensitive, that’s a lot of people!
3 We can be very sociable yet very sensitive
Although most HSPs are introverted, there are also HSPs who are extroverted. Who enjoy being around people and being in the spotlight, but who need time alone to recharge afterwards.
4 We process things more intensely
And this can be so tiring… Music and art can touch us, but going deeper into things can also be very tiring, sometimes draining us faster than the battery of your Iphone. Studies show that HSPs are different. Our brains show more activation in areas related to information processing, meaning we notice more details than other people.
5 And noticing all these details can wear us out pretty quickly
In one study, HSPs had to perform a difficult task, which they did more quickly and accurately than people who are not highly sensitive. But as it turned out, HSPs felt a lot more stressed afterwards. This is because we are easily overstimulated, even with (at first sight) simple tasks. Add to that some small talk or a busy bar and we’re set for the evening.
6 That’s why we don’t like it when people look at us.
We all have a certain level at which we can perform optimally. For us, it is overwhelming when we are being watched, which can cause a blackout during a presentation.
7 Loud noises and bright lights can be too intense
A car that keeps on honking or a buzz that doesn’t stop can be a drain on our nerves. “Sometimes we are so irritated and overstimulated that we even seem insensitive,” says Dr. Aron.
8 Even our dreams can wear us down
How can that be? How can sleep make you tired? But according to Dr. Aron, HSPs have more vivid and complex dreams.
9 We soak up the emotions of others like a sponge
Are you having a bad day? We have already prepared a cup of tea for you. We have an enormous capacity for empathy.
10 We are not too emotional, we have strong emotions
Highly sensitive people have stronger emotions, which we can use, says Dr. Aron. We process information carefully so that we can do something with it in the future. This makes us good partners and parents.
11 We’ve found a way to deal with it Just because
we feel everything so strong doesn’t mean we’re vulnerable. We just know our limitations.