Highly sensitive people are a subset of the population who have elevated levels of a personality trait known as sensory-processing sensitivity.
Those with this trait display increased emotional sensitivity and a stronger reactivity to external and internal stimuli like pain, hunger, light, and noise.
Highly sensitive people are thought to be more affected than others by violence, tension, or feelings of being overwhelmed. As a result, they may make efforts to avoid situations in which these things are likely to happen. However, on the positive end, high sensitivity is thought to be linked to higher levels of creativity, deeper personal relationships, and a greater appreciation for beauty.
Being highly sensitive can come with challenges. You may struggle to adapt to new environments and circumstances; you might have inappropriate emotional responses in social situations; you may easily become uncomfortable in reaction to light, sound, or physical sensations. On the other hand, people with high sensitivity also report that they form deep bonds with others, experience exciting dreams and internal monologues, and find great enjoyment in art, music, and human connection.
Like with all personality traits, there are ups and downs to being highly sensitive. With proper support, recognition of your strengths and weaknesses, and a fitting environment, highly sensitive people can thrive.
Do you know someone who is highly sensitive? Here’s how you can support them: first accept and recognize that this is part of who they are and it likely can’t be changed; give them space to decompress; encourage self-care, and find strengths in their sensitivity that can help them and your relationship grow and flourish.
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