Being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is not a flaw, but a unique gift. As a licensed psychotherapist and a highly sensitive person (HSP) myself, I understand the challenges and beauty that come with being highly sensitive. In this blog post, I invite you to explore the intricacies of being an HSP, understand the signs that may indicate you’re a highly sensitive person, and discover practical tips for navigating a world that may not always grasp the depth of your experiences and emotions. Together, we’ll explore the benefits of psychotherapy, with a focus on somatic therapy and mindfulness tools, as powerful resources for supporting your journey as a highly sensitive person.
Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?
Dr. Elaine Aron, a pioneer in the field, describes HSPs as individuals who have a more finely tuned nervous system, making them more susceptible to external stimuli and deeply affected by their surroundings. This heightened sensitivity extends to emotions, sensory experiences, and the subtleties of the world around them. Nothing is “wrong” with being a Highly Sensitive Person – in fact, HSPs tend to be more empathetic, observant, and attuned to subtle changes in their environment.
What are the Signs of Being a Highly Sensitive Person?
If you resonate with the following signs, there’s a good chance you may be an HSP:
- Are you highly attuned to other people’s emotions, feeling easily affected by their moods and feeling their range of emotions?
- Do you often feel overwhelmed or overstimulated by bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells?
- Do you find yourself needing regular quiet time to recharge and restore your energy after social interactions or stimulating events?
- Do you become easily drained by large crowds or socializing for extended periods?
- Do you have a rich inner world, frequently engaging in deep reflection and experiencing emotions deeply?
- Are you highly perceptive, noticing details that others often overlook?
- Do you tend to avoid violent or intense media, as it affects you strongly?
- Do you cry often when watching shows and wonder why you have an “easier” time expressing emotions when it “doesn’t matter”?
If you answered yes to some of the questions above, you might be a Highly Sensitive Person. With knowing you are a HSP comes validation and a deeper understanding of yourself.
How Do You Thrive as a Highly Sensitive Person in an Overwhelming World?
Living as an HSP can present unique challenges, especially in a world that often values extroversion, quick responses, and constant stimulation. Here are some practical tips to help you embrace your sensitivity and create a supportive environment:
Embrace and accept your sensitivity as a beautiful aspect of who you are. Understand that your heightened awareness allows you to experience the world on a profound level.
Set and Honor Your Boundaries
Recognize your limits and needs, then establish healthy boundaries. Communicate clear boundaries with others, whether you need quiet time, space, or prefer mindful social time. Practice saying no when you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or even if you just want to say no!
Create Self-Care Rituals
Engage in regular self-care practices to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Prioritize activities that help you relax, such as meditation, spending time in nature, or engaging in creative outlets. Be mindful with who you spend time with as some relationships can be more draining than others.
Identify a Calming Safe Space
Create a space at work or at home that promotes calm, peace, and safety. You can experiment with your senses to find what works best for you – try different lighting, essential oils, music, a soft blanket, or whatever helps soothe you.
Find Supportive Relationships
Connect with others who understand and appreciate your sensitivity. A good friend will understand your need to disconnect at times in order to recharge and be more present later.
Learn Emotional Regulation
Develop coping tools for processing and managing overwhelming emotions. Engage in practices like deep breathing exercises, journaling, or talking to a trusted friend or therapist to process and regulate your emotions effectively. As a HSP, emotional regulation and processing is key to thriving.
How Can Psychotherapy Support a Highly Sensitive Person?
Psychotherapy can be an invaluable resource for HSPs, providing a safe and non-judgmental space to explore and understand themselves. A licensed psychotherapist, familiar with the intricacies of HSPs, can provide support tailored to your specific needs and validate your unique experience. Somatic Therapy and Mindfulness are two therapeutic approaches that can help you connect with your physical sensations, allowing for greater self-awareness and regulation of emotions. The mind-body connection is beneficial for HSPs to understand and utilizing mindfulness tools can help you form a deeper connection with yourself in-the-moment.
If you resonate with the experiences and challenges of being a Highly Sensitive Person, I encourage you to seek the support to learn how to thrive with this unique gift. As a licensed psychotherapist and fellow HSP, I enjoy helping highly sensitive individuals embrace their sensitivity, navigate life’s challenges, and cultivate emotional well-being. You are not alone on this journey – seeking support is a courageous step towards honoring your unique self and learning how to live as a Highly Sensitive Person in an overwhelming world. If you’d like to book a discovery call to see if we are a good fit, click here.
Recommended Book: The Highly Sensitive Person