9 Life Hacks for Highly Sensitive People
Have you ever felt that you feel “too much,” or that you feel things “too deeply”? Or, have you ever noticed that you are acutely attuned to bright lights, itchy clothing, strong scents and loud noises? There’s a chance that you could be a highly sensitive person, or, a HSP for short. Recent research has found that roughly 20% of people are born HSPs, indicating that HSPs have a hypersensitive nervous system at a genetic level. This means that your sensitivity is not something you are able to just “turn off.”
If this sounds like you, don’t panic! Being highly sensitive can have many uniquely positive aspects, such as a greater capacity for empathy, a rich sensory life (i.e., a deeper appreciation of food, music, nature and the arts), a greater awareness of nuances and subtleties in meaning, a greater emotional awareness or attunement, and a higher degree of creativity.
Of course, if you are a HSP and you’re reading this, you likely already know that being highly sensitive can also bring its own set of challenges; the biggest of which is an increased vulnerability to emotional overwhelm. The sheer amount of sensory information HSPs are constantly taking in can sometimes be “too much,” which can result in fatigue, stress, anxiety, or pain. HSPs can also be more highly affected by other people’s emotions. For example, being near someone who is very upset could be more distressing for someone who is highly sensitive. Some research has found that high sensitivity can also be associated with unhealthy perfectionism. HSPs may also need more alone time to retreat and “recharge,” although it is a misconception that all HSPs are introverts. A more general challenge that some HSPs face is simply feeling abnormal or damaged in a culture that seems to devalue sensitivity and introversion.
To reap the benefits of your sensitivity while shielding yourself from these pitfalls, consider trying these 9 life hacks:
- Avoid multitasking with too many tasks.
- Reduce the number of intense stimuli around you.
- Write down your thoughts or deep emotions to declutter your brain.
- Practice mindfulness meditation.
- Combat burnout by noticing early warning signs.
- Be comfortable with and accepting of your sensitivity. Own it shamelessly.
- Use your empathy and emotional intelligence to strengthen your relationships—to become a better partner, friend, coworker, parent, and to assure your own self-worth.
- Take advantage of your creativity and get involved in whatever art form you are most drawn to.
- Be honest with yourself about your sensitive nature. But, be sure to acknowledge the positive aspects: more empathy, deep thinker, able to see things from a different perspective, appreciation of arts and music, and others’ positive qualities.
Beverly Reed, MACP, is trained in many areas such as anxiety and depression, plus many more. For more information on Beverly and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.