13 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person

High Sensitive Persons are born with a more reactive nervous system.  Intertwined with introversion, mental illness, and an encompassing empathy HSP's make up 1/5 of the population.  Here are 13 Signs you're a HSP:


1. All of your senses are highly acute and you're very reactive to sounds.  You get startled easily and notice sounds other people miss.  Any tiny noise like the sound of someone walking, a TV on in the background, or a loud air-conditioning unit feels at the forefront of your mind.  You love listening to music because you hear the individual instruments and the blend of the harmonies and get consumed in it.  You may especially hate yelling or fireworks or thunderstorms and you love closing your door and wearing headphones to block out sounds.  


2. You notice textures. You notice minute differences in how different fabrics feel against you and are even picky about certain foods just based on their texture.  Even the feeling of touching newspaper or certain types of velvet you avoid because the texture bothers you so much.  Physical touch is really meaningful to you, but you might hate it when strangers try to hug you.  


3. You get hurt easily and not necessarily emotionally, but physically.  When someone touches you it feels like they're hitting you.  When someone brakes too fast in a car, it affects you so much.  You bruise easily and might have a significantly higher or lower resting heart rate or body temperature than other people.  When you get mosquito bites, you itch until they bleed because it's so intense.  You get injured a lot and feel subjectively as if you experience pain stronger than other people.  Because of all of this, you've probably developed a really high pain tolerance.


4. You feel sickness in an extreme way and may even get sick more often.  Some people may accuse you of being a hypochondriac, but it's just that you are more aware of everything going on in your body.  You have the ability to feel specific nutrient deficiencies and if you have low iron or are dehydrated, it affects you more than it does other people. Everything feels like emergency and you get exhausted very easily.  If you listen to someone describe a pain or sickness in their body, you'll feel it in yourself.


5. Hyper-awareness to visual stimuli. You notice details in everything around you and see things in your surroundings that others miss.  When it comes to people, you can read other's body language and know what they're feeling without them telling you.  You may be very sensitive to certain types of light and be very particular about how a room is set up.  HSPs can be really talented at decorating and arranging a room to create a certain ambiance and may impulsively clean and organize so things can be a certain way.  You appreciate nature in a way that is child-like and are perceptive and complimentary to what others are wearing.


6. You're psychic.  You know things without knowing how you know them.  You can tell what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at them and are very intuitive about reading people and making decisions.  You can predict other people's behavior and decisions.  People come to you for advice and emotional support, because you make them feel understood. Romantically, you know know whether or not you're compatible with someone almost immediately.  Your dreams may even be predictive or used by you to better understand what you're feeling.


7. You're very sensitive to violence and may avoid horror movies or anything portraying war.  Even a clip of someone shooting a gun or seeing images of a natural disaster may give you nightmares and affect you immensely.  Watching a clip or even hearing a story about someone dying in a certain way can instill permanent fear in you.


8. Extreme empathy.  You feel other people's emotions and listening or reading about what other people are going through makes it feel as though it is happening to you.  There's not an emotional barrier between you and other people and you often cry because of what other people are experiencing.  If someone is stressed or angry or hurting or excited or happy you feel the same.  You can immediately read the emotional dynamics of a room and know how to change things with the tone of your voice or your facial expressions to make people feel differently.  Sometimes you feel as though you vicariously live through other people's experiences and because of this get immersed in books and movies and music.  Learning about traumatic events like genocide and war can be especially triggering to you and it's often impossible for you to look at things objectively.


9. You care about social justice issues.  Because of your empathy, everything is personal to you.  You easily identify with the other and statistics about suffering feel emotional and emergency.  You impulsively help people by donating your money and can be controlled by your empathy.  When it comes to working toward a cause or helping out other people, it's very difficult for you to say no.  It is automatic for you to prioritize someone else's needs above your own and because of that it's easy for the HSP to be extremely unhealthy and neglect their own emotional health.


10. You cry a lot.  Crying is a normal part of your life and something you've become very comfortable with.  Every type of emotion can make you cry if you feel something strong enough and it is this intuitive release when you feel overwhelmed. Throughout your life it has been embarrassing when you start to cry at inopportune times—like in class or at a meeting or in the middle of a conversation.  Your emotions come on so strong all at once and sometimes when you cry you don't even know why you're crying.  You're the person who cries in every movie, in so many books, and even when you're really happy.  You cry for other people as well, strangers even.  You've gone months where you cry every single day.


11. You're extremely creativehave an eccentric imagination and gravitate toward different art-forms.  It's not that you like a certain art form or are talented at it, but that you NEED art in your life to remain emotionally healthy.  You get completely immersed in music and books and movies and poems and paintings and you feel understood, are able to express yourself in a way that you can't when you're just talking to people.  You journal a lot and can explain some types of emotions only through writing or dance or drawing or film.    


12. You're an introvert.  And even if you're an extrovert, you're a practical introvert because of how much processing time you need.  Alone time is a must in your life and you start to feel emotionally suffocated if you don't get enough time away from the world to just think and be.  You value silence and reading and watching netflix and listening to music and taking time to rest.  You get easily drained by being around people since you absorb all of their emotions, but some people are better than others.  Some people have calming essences and barely drain you at all.  Because of your creativity and the way your brain overanalyzes everything, you can entertain yourself and are rarely bored.  


13. You have a mental illness.  Most people with HSP also have a mental illness and their already extreme emotions can become exemplified even further into a panic attack or manic episode or compulsion or period of depression.  This is why it's so important to practice self care, learn how to say no and guard alone time.  If they don't have a mental illness, HSP's can understand those who do much better than the average person.  From a young age, the HSP will benefit immensely from developing healthy ways to process emotions and decrease stress.  


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