You may have been told you are “too sensitive” or you sense that you feel things more deeply than most of your friends and family members. You get overwhelmed easily and you aren’t sure why you can’t “handle” what other people can.
If the following set of questions (adapted from Elaine Arron’s HSP self-test) ring true for you, you are most likely among the 15-20% of the population with this trait.
1) I am easily overwhelmed by noises/more than one thing happening in my environment
2) Other people’s moods deeply affect me
3) I do my best to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations
4) When I was a child my parents and teachers told me I was sensitive and/or shy
5) I notice things in my environment that might get overlooked by others (eg. changes in a room, scents in the air, fine details)
Being a Highly Sensitive Person is nothing to be ashamed of. You were born with this trait and you are in good company. In a room of 100 people, 14 to 19 others would answer TRUE to the above questions too! And, without us HSPs in the room, there would definitely be a void. There are some wonderful gifts in being a highly sensitive. Yes, you may get overwhelmed easily but on the flip side you are attuned to the feelings of others – you notice when others are upset and as a result you have a deeper sense of empathy and compassion for them.
While I am a therapist who is not big on labels, being able to recognize yourself as highly sensitive can be helpful. It can help you identify and build on the strengths this trait has to offer. Additionally, HSPs need to take care of themselves more intentionally than non-HSPs. When you can acknowledge that you have this trait, you can have awareness of this need for attentive self-care. Please note that self-care for the HSP is a need NOT a luxury.
One of the ways that you can intentionally increase self-care is to seek help from a Registered Psychotherapist. An RP can help by:
1) Introducing healthy coping strategies to help you with the stressors and feelings of overwhelm;
2) Helping you reframe negative beliefs about yourself, including your sensitivity;
3) Helping you accept and build tolerance for some of the emotions you are overwhelmed by.
If this resonates with you, please know that I would love to help by offering my services. Simply fill out the “contact me today” form on the right hand-side of this page and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Alternatively, you can call or email me to make an appointment or ask any questions you may have. I can be reached at 289-686-0903 or firstname.lastname@example.org