Have you ever been told you’re too sensitive? Do you often feel like you’re overwhelmed with emotions and feelings? Do you ever feel like you’re a mess, but not sure why? If any of this describes you, you might be a highly sensitive person.
Also referred to as empaths, highly sensitive people often carry a big load of emotions and it feels like a lot. A whole lot. If this is you, you can rest assured that you are not a mess, rather you are a highly sensitive person.
Highly sensitive people are not alone. There is a specific gene related to sensitivity but it is carried by only 15 to 20 percent of people. There are many highly sensitive individuals, however they are the minority.
Below are 14 signs you might be a highly sensitive person and what to do about it.
Criticism impacts you in a big way. You find yourself being highly reactive to comments. Likewise, even if you simply think that you might have done something wrong, it can really bother you.
2. The moods of others impacts you in a big way.
You feel what other people are feeling and you pick up on their moods very easily. If someone around you is in a bad mood, it impacts you. Same if there is someone around you that is in a happy mood.
3. You notice things that other people don’t.
You pick up on subtle things in your environment as well as in conversations that other people don’t notice.
4. You have heightened senses.
You feel, smell, taste, see and hear things more strongly than others. Noises can startle you and bright light can feel like too much. On the other hand, you also notice gentle noises, lights, movements, materials and faint smells that others miss. Likewise, you are easily startled. This can be difficult for you. You are easily startled by sudden motions or noises.
5. You have heightened intuition.
You can’t explain why or how, but you know things. You just do. Likewise, you have a built-in lie detector test and you can tell whether people are being truthful or not just by how their face looks or the tone of their voice.
6. You can feel what other people are feeling.
Because you are sensitive to the emotions of others, you can actually feel what they are feeling. It is not uncommon for you to walk into a room and get a sense of what the people are feeling without even talking to them.
7. You need your alone time.
You have a definite need to withdraw and be alone for some time to get relief from the stimulation of the world around you.
8. You become overwhelmed easily.
When you have too much to do it makes you feel rattled and overwhelmed. Likewise, if you are around too many emotions from too many people, this alone can make you feel overwhelmed even if everything in your own life is just fine. At least once per week you get to the point where you feel fairly frazzled and have to decompress.
Likewise, you have a lot going on inside you in terms of your feelings and because of this, even the slightest things can throw you off balance and cause you to feel annoyed, frustrated or irritated.
9. You have a low tolerance for your own discomfort as well as the discomfort of others.
You have a lower tolerance than others for being uncomfortable. It’s also hard for you to see others in pain or even just uncomfortable. You cringe at the thought of someone’s injury and if someone is in pain, you feel it. Deeply.
10. You are easily fatigued.
Because you have a tendency to feel the emotions of others, when you are around other people for extended periods of time, you often feel drained. Even just your day-to-day encounters with others, can be tiring.
11. Everything has a specific “feel” to it.
People, places, even times of the day or days of the week and times of the year have a specific and definite “feel” to them. The same goes for colors and smells.
12. Other people tell you you’re too sensitive.
You have often been told by others that you’re too sensitive, that you wear your heart on your sleeve or that you are overly emotional. Or that might not happen anymore but you remember being told as a child that were too shy or too sensitive.
13. You are attuned to the needs of others.
It is like second nature to you to know how to help others feel more comfortable. Because you are so tuned in with the feelings of others you instinctively know what they need. Likewise, their needs and their comfort are important to you.
14. You can’t handle negative images.
You can’t stand to see or hear about violence or tragedy. You feel like you have to avoid negative images in the media because they bother you in such a big way.
What to do.
If you are a highly sensitive person it can be really hard, but there are also many benefits to being a highly sensitive person. Here are a few tips for the highly sensitive person living in a not so sensitive world:
- Eat healthy and keep hydrated.
- Limit your activities and be sure to schedule in downtime.
- Avoid stimulants, such as caffeine.
- Keep your life as simple as possible.
- Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Create a peaceful home environment.
- Avoid unnecessary or self-imposed stress.
- Limit exposure to toxic people.
- Plan your time but remember to be flexible.
- Practice being in touch with your feelings.
- Tell yourself it’s okay to be a highly sensitive person.