Mind & Meaning

5 Ways To Identify If You’re A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

May 23, 2023

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I devour health and wellness information, and love to share everything that works in my life, so you can use the same self care and lessons in yours!
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Empathic, and sensitive to the world around you? Maybe you’re an HSP. 

It’s 2016, and after a 14 year long relationship, I’m dating again. My boyfriend’s intrigued by all the newness, and he quickly discovers I’m highly empathetic, and very sensitive. Not news to me, but new territory for him to navigate. 

He sends me an article about HSP’s – Highly Sensitive People, and I’m immediately curious. This goes beyond my being just “sensitive”, something I’ve heard from others my entire life. 

It sounds like me to a T. I feel seen, I feel understood, and most importantly, I feel connected to others. There are suddenly others like me! 

People who can’t be in the sun, wind, or cold without tearing up, who cry at diaper and car commercials, and who jump out of their seats when watching thriller movies. And, who feel so deeply that sometimes they can’t separate themselves from others. Energy zapped in a moment from overwhelm. 

Sometimes it feels hard to explain to others. How after reading a book I have cried and felt depressed for days because I’ve connected so deeply to the characters that when someone is hurt, or dies at the end, it feels so real to me on such a deep level, that I feel like I’m in mourning somehow. 

I can’t even cut an onion without my eyes swelling shut!

Or, when I’m watching a movie with my partner, and there’s an unexpected knock at the door, or a car crash on the screen, I literally jump, and scream. It feels like I’m there in real time. It drives him wild by the way – maybe even slightly annoyed in a very loving way. I just can’t help it. 

So. let’s explore the fascinating world of highly sensitive people (HSP’S) for some self-discovery, and uncover some of the magical qualities that make us shine. I personally see this as my own beautiful super power, and if you’re an HSP, I hope you do too!

Grab a cup of tea, get cozy, and let’s dive into understating and celebrating sensitivity with all it has to offer, including self-awareness, and some self-care practices that will nurture this loving part of you. 

THe Gift of Empathy

  1. One of traits of highly sensitive people is the amazing capacity for empathy. HSP’s have a powerful ability to tune into the emotions and experiences of others. They often experience them as if they were they’re own. If you find yourself deeply affected by the feelings of those around you, or if you frequently pick up on subtle energies, you could be an empathetic HSP. 

**Self-awareness tip: Take time to reflect on your own internal emotions and notice how you react to others.. Pay attention to what allows you to connect with others on a personal level. What do you feel, how do you react?

Sensory Sensitivity

  1. Highly Sensitive People have heightened sensory perceptions. These can be both a superpower, and a challenge. If you’re an HSP you might find yourself easily overwhelmed by loud noises, bright lights, or strong smells. But on the flip side, you may also have an exceptional appreciation for art, music, and nature, as you can experience them with remarkable intensity. 

Recently, I attended a live wax museum at my daughter’s elementary school. All the students were able to participate, and they dispaid their live art in a large room for viewing. 

The moment I walked in I was immediately brought to tears. I was so overwhelmed by the packed room of people, the high energy that surrounded me, and the feeling of awe around all the hard work and beauty that was all around me. I had to stop and take a moment to ground myself before moving on. 

**Self-care tip: Create a calming sanctuary for yourself. Surround yourself with soothing, light, pastel colors, gentle, soft lighting, and calming scents. Take regular breaks to get out into nature, and immerse yourself in the arts to help you recharge and nourish your sensitive soul. 

Deep Emotional Depth

  1. HSP’s have a rich inner world and experience emotions with great depth, and intensity. While this emotional richness can be immensely fulfilling, it can also make you more vulnerable to emotional exhaustion and overwhelm. 

When I worked in HR, we would joke that I played two roles. HR, and a mental health therapy, because people would come into my office and off load their challenges. 

I felt grateful that people felt safe and trusted me with that vulnerable information, but I would often leave the office unable to do much or give much more of myself at home – feeling completely emotionally spent from the day at work. 

** Self-love tip: Practice self-compassion and honor your emotions. Allow yourself to feel deeply, but also establish boundaries to protect your emotional well-being. Engaging in activities that bring you joy, like journaling, creative expression, or engaging in hobbies, can help to process your emotions in a nurturing way. 

Intuitive Insights

  1. Highly sensitive people have an intuitive wisdom that guides them through life’s twists and turns. HSP’s often rely on their gut feelings and instincts to make decisions, as they have a remarkable ability to perceive small things that others may miss or not pick up on. 

It’s important to trust this, and know that your highest self is guiding 

You to your truest calling, and way forward. 

**Self-awareness tip: Cultivate mindfulness practices, such as meditating or journaling, which can enhance your intuition and keep you in touch with your true self. Take note when there are moments when your intuition has served you well and trust yourself to move towards the path that feels right for you, without the outside chatter of others. 

Nurturing your Sensitivity

  1. To fully embrace your identity as a highly sensitive person, it’s critical to make self-care and self-love a priority. 

**Self-care tip: Carve our regular time for quiet reflection to recharge your sensitive soul. Engage in things that calm your mind, such as reading, gentle movement, getting outside in nature, massage therapy, and soaking in a warm bath. Surround yourself with supportive and understanding friends and loved ones who appreciate and celebrate this gift you have. 

Being a highly sensitive person is an amazing gift that brings beauty, depth, and empathy to the world – and the world desperately needs you right now. 

By honing in and developing self-awareness, practicing self-care, and embracing self-love, you can manage the complexities of life as an HSP. 

Remember, you have a superpower, and even though others may have a difficult time understanding it, you are not alone. There are others out there similar to you. You have the ability to experience life’s joys and heartbreaks, with great depth. Embrace that sparkle, and let it shine. 

As you continue to embark on your journey towards self discovery and self-appreciation, cherish your gift, it’s wondrous and deserves celebration, and nurture.

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