Up to 20% of American adults meet the criteria for being highly sensitive people, which means they pick up on more internal and external stimuli than average. While the HSP brain is hyperaware of its surroundings and is more active in the regions governing attention, emotions and decision-making, all this stimulation can be exhausting. As a result, circumstances that might be moderately stressful to a neurotypical person can cause a highly sensitive person to spiral into overthinking. Here are six other characteristics you likely share if you are an HSP.
1. You Need a Sanctuary
Though highly sensitive people have desirable traits like empathy, creativity and intelligence, they require more downtime to relax and process the experiences of each day. HSPs tend to prefer the comforts of home, where they can control environmental elements like lighting and sounds. Because they have such a rich inner life, HSPs thrive in solitude and have no problems being alone with their thoughts.
2. You Feel Things More Profoundly
Highly sensitive people are aware of their perceived shortcomings, thanks to a harsh inner critic. You may be acutely uncomfortable with conflict and criticism because you already spend so much time dwelling on your mistakes. Sometimes, you may wonder why you continue replaying the day’s events and obsessing over minor details, while others brush things off easily. HSPs can feel like there is something wrong with them for being so sensitive. As a result, many spend years denying their gifts and strengths.
3. You Are Empathetic
If you are an HSP, you are in tune with others’ needs and may go out of your way to please other people before doing kind things for yourself. You could have trouble saying no or routinely take on more than you can realistically handle, which will eventually lead to burnout.
4. It’s Challenging for You to Make Decisions
Because highly sensitive people are conscientious about the ripple effects of their choices, they often take longer to make decisions because they fear choosing the “wrong thing” even in low-stakes circumstances, such as figuring out what to have for lunch.
5. You Are Extremely Detail-Oriented
HSPs are highly perceptive and pick up on the tiniest things most people usually miss. You easily remember details about other people’s lives, and that kindness can help you make friends. On the other hand, your attention to detail can quickly become perfectionism if you’re not careful.
6. You Seek Meaning in Life
HSPs find motivation in work that feels like a calling, instead of a job that will earn them lots of money or authority. Because you are so vulnerable to the world’s injustices, you may seek a role with an organization that’s working to right those wrongs by leading activism movements and inspiring positive change.
Family-Owned Treatment for Highly Sensitive People
If you have spent your life confused and unhappy about your strong emotions, you may view alcohol and drugs as a refuge from the world. Being a highly sensitive person can be overwhelming, but these unique traits are nothing to be ashamed of.
At Hope by the Sea, we are one of California’s leading treatment centers for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our effective programming allows us to create an individualized recovery approach for each client who comes to us. To request help and verify your insurance coverage, reach out to us today.