There are quite a few things highly sensitive people do differently! Even though you might be tempted to think that the people who possess these attributes are shy, introverted or they lack social skills, high sensitivity is in fact an innate personality trait that can be found in 20% of the population. According to Elaine Aron, Ph.D, clinical psychologist and author of “The Highly Sensitive Person,” who first researched this trait in the early 1990s, highly sensitive people have the ability to pick up on subtleties that others might miss (for example a look or a feeling); she says that, "It's like they're wearing an extra pair of glasses." Highly sensitive people are very easily stimulated, they usually process information in a more elaborate way. That’s why they take longer to make decisions, they are easily affected by other people’s moods, they are very sensitive to pain (whether it’s physical or emotional), they are highly conscientious, they usually avoid violent movies and TV and they are more emotionally reactive. Just like Edgar Allan Poe said, “Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” Here are a few things highly sensitive people do differently that will show you that possessing this trait has its benefits too:
1. They Feel More Deeply
Highly sensitive people do feel things more deeply than most people, since they usually process things on a deeper level. Ted Zeff, Ph.D., author of “The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide,” says that, "They're very intuitive, and go very deep inside to try to figure things out." They are more aware than others of subtleties and they pay attention to details. That’s why they will always remember your birthday and they will notice if you got a new haircut. They usually avoid watching violent movies because they are easily affected by all those negative images. They feel overwhelmed by feelings quite often and they usually cry more easily.
2. They React with Their Emotions
Well, it’s easy to understand why they do this. Since they feel things more deeply and are easily affected by any kind of stimuli around them, they usually react with their emotions, even though they are pretty rational most of the time. For them, this is pretty much an instinctual thing, so this is just how they are. They get easily carried away and they are emotionally reactive.
3. It Takes Longer for Them to Make Decisions
Since they process information in a more elaborate way, it usually takes them longer to make certain decisions. They notice all the subtleties and all the little details of a certain thing and this makes it even harder for them to decide. Apparently, highly sensitive people (HSP) are hardwired differently than the rest of the population. Researchers from Stony Brook University in New York and Southwest University in China have found that “HSP subjects undergoing an MRI have greater activity in areas of the brain concerned with high-order visual processing, with participants spending longer examining photographs given to them while they underwent the test, and in general paying closer attention to detail than non-HSPs.”
4. They Are More Prone to Anxiety and Depression
This is definitely one of the biggest downsides to being a highly sensitive person. Elaine Aron says that this thing can happen only if you’ve had a lot of past negative experiences, such as "if you've had a fair number of bad experiences, especially early in life, so you don't feel safe in the world or you don't feel secure at home or ... at school, your nervous system is set to 'anxious.'" Although this is an innate trait, there are certain things you can do to control your emotions and to not let them overwhelm you, like get enough sleep and exercise regularly, avoid too much caffeine, eat healthy, minimize your exposure to chaotic situations and highly-stimulating environments or you can even seek professional help.
5. They Are More Detail Oriented
Highly sensitive people are very detail oriented, they are extremely aware of their surroundings and they pick up on subtleties. They have a rich and complex inner life and they are highly conscientious. Because they are aware of every little detail, they can easily feel overwhelmed sometimes. For example, a person watching a sad movie doesn’t just cry more easily, they experience actual grief symptoms.
6. They Are Very Intuitive
Highly sensitive people are very intuitive. They can easily sense if what someone is telling them is in fact a lie. They can read people sometimes and they do count on their instincts. Elaine Aron considers this trait to be extremely beneficial and here is the example she gives: “Imagine deer in a large field with different, definable patches of grass. Some patches of grass are better than others. Noticing which ones are better and where they are will pay off, even if there’s a small difference. However, if all the deer paid attention to the patches of grass, there’d be no advantage to being sensitive.”
7. They Love Passionately
Highly sensitive people love others with every fiber of their beings. They are extremely empathetic; they can easily place themselves in other people’s shoes and they understand why people act in a certain way. They are extremely attached to their loved ones, whether we are talking about their friends, their significant other or their family members. When it comes to romance, they love profoundly, but they are easily hurt, since they feel like people tend to forget about them or their needs.
8. They Are Very Affected by All the Problems in the World
People who possess this innate trait can be profoundly affected by all the problems in the world and by all injustices. They care about world issues, they usually do a lot of volunteering and they are always trying to help others. They can even get involved in all kinds of activities like protests or strikes, just to make things right again and to help justice prevail.
9. They Cry More Easily
Well, it is true: highly sensitive people do cry more easily and they can really be affected by that situation that makes them feel sad. It’s not something shameful, it’s just a form of expressing their feelings, so try to be a little more understanding next time you see your friend crying while watching a movie! Also, they are easily startled and they feel shaken up by all kinds of changes in their life.
Being a highly sensitive person has a lot of advantages too: you can relate more easily to other people, you are very empathetic and you tend to experience life at a very profound level. Are you a highly sensitive person? Do you know any other things highly sensitive people do differently? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!