But even if you found a few things in common with the highly sensitive person test, you’re still not quite sure if you are one.
In this article, we want to make it easier for you to determine whether or not you really are an HSP.
So, read on to discover 10 signs you’re a highly sensitive person …
1. You cry easily
Now, before you quickly write off this point and say, “No, that’s not me,” think about it more deeply.
Culture has a lot more bearing than we sometimes realize on some aspects of our nature.
For example, as a highly sensitive person, you might frequently blink back the tears or push them down just because “It’s not manly to cry,” or “Big girls don’t cry.”
But while growing up, perhaps you found yourself crying more easily than friends.
And these days, you still make sure you have a few tissues in your purse or back pocket when going to the movies … just in case.
2. You grew up hearing, “You’re too sensitive.”
About that crying … even though you couldn’t help it, did you still get reactions from people such as:
- It’s not a big deal.
- There’s nothing to cry about.
- Why are you being so sensitive?
- You’re just too sensitive.
If so, you’re likely a highly sensitive person … and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
If it bothers you, try coming up with a return comment when people say it.
- You’re not sensitive enough.
- You’re too insensitive.
Or my favorite:
- The world needs more sensitive people.
3. You need alone time
It’s not that you don’t like people … you do.
In fact, as a highly sensitive person, you likely empathize with people more deeply than non-HSPs.
Therein lies the issue.
Because you are more sensitive to attitudes, nonverbal language, and moods, it can be exhausting to hang out among people.
- And this doesn’t just mean strangers.
- Sometimes you need a break from your own family.
Highly sensitive people need time alone to recharge and process or decompress after spending time with people.
4. You find yourself calmed by nature
You’ve likely discovered that your environment greatly influences your mood.
Perhaps you also know by now that the simple act of stepping into a peaceful backyard or taking a walk in a park does something special to your psyche.
In fact, “Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings.” (Source)
How much more so for highly sensitive people who find themselves more susceptible to issues of stress and anxiety?
If you find yourself feeling stressed or pressure, try going outside for even a few minutes.
Spending a few minutes under a beautiful blue sky or surrounded by trees and greenery can make all the difference.
5. You need more sleep than others
Growing up, you might have been one of the few children who didn’t mind hearing a parent say, “It’s nap time!”
Even if you didn’t love sleeping as a young child, if you are a highly sensitive person, there was likely a point in time when you realized that you enjoyed resting.
While everyone in the world today needs sleep, HSPs really do need more sleep than others.
Because highly sensitive people have deep processing systems and easily get overwhelmed, they feel refreshed and recalibrated by sleep.
When a highly sensitive person reaches that point of exhaustion, nothing will do besides taking a nap (or getting a full night’s sleep).
6. You try to avoid conflict
If conflict causes you higher levels of anxiety or stress than the average person, you’re likely a highly sensitive person.
Whether it’s competitiveness among family members or competition in the workplace, you try to stay far away from it.
And that’s a good thing!
There is altogether too much conflict in this world and we need a few more peacemakers.
7. Beauty affects you deeply
Although you feel deeply affected by the negative side of life, such as conflict and competition, the positive side influences you just as intensely.
As a highly sensitive person, you might find yourself at the point of tears when listening to a moving song (and wanting to replay the song a dozen times to experience the feeling again and again).
Or you might be driving somewhere and catch sight of a magnificent sunset or even a single tree growing in the center of a field, and want nothing more than to stop and take in the beauty and the feeling that it gives you.
And what do you do when you can’t get a vision of beauty out of your head?
8. You seek ways to express creativity
Highly sensitive people experience things deeply, and not only turn to music and poetry and art to enjoy, but also as a mode of creative expression.
Many musicians, artists, and other creatives are likely HSPs and they define themselves as shy, sensitive, and introverted.
Being a highly sensitive person might mean you seek ways to create art through making music, or writing poetry or short stories.
9. You feel drained by “small talk”
If you are a highly sensitive person, the worst thing about parties is not the loud music or even the crowd.
It’s the small talk.
It’s the necessity to listen to acquaintances talk about fashion and clothes and shoes and sports and all those topics that really have no worth.
This does not only mean face-to-face interaction.
It can also mean engaging in online discussions. An HSP can get totally drained by reading a dozen comments on a post, even if the issue being discussed is not drawing conflict.
While interacting online and via social media can provide an extra boundary, it can still feel tiring for a highly sensitive person.
10. You think deeply about past interactions
You might remember nearly every word of a discussion that took place years ago.
What is more, those interactions and conversations affected you deeply.
And that’s okay. It’s part of being a deep person and a deep processor.
You’re not alone.
If you find yourself struggling with the memories of harsh or difficult interactions, reach out to someone in your personal support group (a friend or family member) to talk about it.
Sometimes all it takes is having someone to talk with to help you move beyond a difficult memory.
The Beauty of a Highly Sensitive Person
So, maybe you’re just realizing you’re a highly sensitive person.
If you’re new to the concept, please know that being an HSP is not a character flaw or a disorder.
It is the way you are wired … the way your mind processes information, and has done so since you were born.
I recommend that you learn what you can about highly sensitive people and that you connect with others.
Look around you.
There might already be a few in your circle or community that you just never realized were HSPs.
It takes all kinds of people in this world …
And highly sensitive people are a beautiful part of it.
That includes you!