If You are Easily Overwhelmed, You Could be Highly Sensitive

As a child, were you extremely shy? Did you cry a lot? Did a lot of social situations feel overwhelming to you? As an adult, do you have a knack for highly-detailed work, and do you hate to make mistakes? If so, chances are you may have been born a highly sensitive person (HSP). Dr. Elaine Aron identified this personality trait back in the 1990s and showed what impact it has had on people’s lives. The condition actually exists in about 20 percent of the population.

You are extremely sensitive to subtleties in the environment. Sights and sounds can overwhelm you. From birth, as an HSP, you were wired differently than other people. Because of your sensitivity, you may have appeared weak and emotional to others. In school, you were probably targeted by bullies. At home, your role may have been the black sheep or scapegoat in the family. Problems with low self-esteem, depression or anxiety have likely plagued you throughout your life.

Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to reduce the negative effects of being too sensitive. One is to remove yourself from a situation if you are feeling overwhelmed. When the party becomes too much, leave early. Another is to accept the fact that you are easily overstimulated. See it not as a curse but as a gift. HSPs tend to be empathetic and compassionate. Reframe the situation so that you see yourself as an observer and not a participant. Honor who you are, and love yourself for being highly sensitive. Allow yourself enough space and time to be alone. Practice relaxation and meditation daily.

As a highly sensitive person, you are creative, artistic, detail-oriented, compassionate and conscientious. It is the kind, intuitive and caring nature of highly sensitive people that is needed in the world.