ow to make the most of your high sensitivity
- Reduce the number of intense stimuli in your environment.
- Limit the number of tasks when multi-tasking.
- Avoid burnout by noticing early warning signs, such as feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
- Get your thoughts and deep emotions on paper so that they won’t cloud your brain.
- Try mindfulness meditation, especially to deal with high sensitivity to pain. This will teach you to acknowledge pain as the sum of sensations suspended from the label of pain.
- Take advantage of your creativity: draw, color or write.
- Take advantage of your predisposition for higher empathy to strengthen relationships—to become a better co-worker, and to assure your self-worth.
- Be comfortable in your sensitive skin, own it and never be ashamed of it.
- Be honest about your predisposition to be a HSP, especially in close relationships. But, don't forget to highlight the positive aspects: more empathy, deep thinker, able to see things from a different perspective, appreciation of arts and music, and others' positive qualities.
- It is innate. In fact, biologists have found it in over 100 species (and probably there are many more) from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’. To learn more about this, see Research.
You are more aware than others of subtleties. This is mainly because your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. So even if you wear glasses, for example, you see more than others by noticing more.
You are also more easily overwhelmed. If you notice everything, you are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.
This trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called “shy.” But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSPs are extroverts, although the trait is often mislabeled as introversion. It has also been called inhibitedness, fearfulness, or neuroticism. Some HSPs behave in these ways, but it is not innate to do so and not the basic trait.
Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. In cultures where it is not valued, HSPs tend to have low self-esteem. They are told “don’t be so sensitive” so that they feel abnormal.