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What Does it Mean to be Highly Sensitive?

Being a highly sensitive person (HSP) is a personality trait characterized by heightened sensitivity to various stimuli, both external and internal. HSPs process sensory information more deeply and intensely than the average person, which can impact their emotional, mental, and physical experiences.

 

This trait was first identified by Dr. Elaine Aron, who coined the term "highly sensitive person" in the early 1990s.

coffee mug and candle.

What Does HSP Stand For?

Highly sensitive individuals, like you and me, tend to process information more deeply and intensely, which can lead to both strengths and challenges in our everyday lives. Here are some key aspects of being highly sensitive:

We Experience Our Emotions Intensely

Highly sensitive individuals tend to have strong emotions (both positive and negative). We be deeply affected by the emotions of others and may have strong reactions to them. We often exhibit empathy and understanding towards others.

Sensory Sensitivity

People who are highly sensitive can be more attuned to sensory input such as loud or annoying sounds, lights, textures, and smells.  We can be easily overwhelmed by loud or chaotic environments and may need more time to recover after exposure to such stimuli.

We Are Deep Processers

Highly sensitive individuals tend to process information more deeply and thoroughly. We notice subtle details that others might overlook and (over)think deeply about their experiences and interactions.

We Have a Strong Intuition

Many highly sensitive people have a strong sense of intuition. We often rely on our gut feelings to make decisions, however we can be known to doubt our intuition despite years of being right.......every time. 

We Are Easily Overstimulation

Due to our heightened sensitivity, HSPs can become easily overwhelmed by too much sensory input or emotional stimulation. This can lead us to easily feel of tired, stressed, and the need for alone time to recharge.

We Have Empathy and Compassion

Highly sensitive individuals often have a high level of empathy and compassion. We can easily understand what other people might be feeling or experiencing.

We Appreciate Aesthetics 

Many highly sensitive individuals have a deep appreciation for art, music, nature, and other forms of beauty. Some of us, myself included, are profoundly moved by artistic expressions.

We are In-depth Thinker

HSPs tend to think deeply and thoroughly about their experiences and the world around them. This can make us great problem-solvers and critical thinkers.

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