You may have heard people claim that you’re “too sensitive” as if it were a bad thing. But maybe they are right.
It turns out highly sensitive persons (also known as HSPs) account for 15 to 20 percent of the population, according to Psychologist and HSP expert Dr. Elaine Aron.
According to Aron’s research, highly sensitive people have brains that function differently than others – having an innate ability to process information more deeply, pick up on subtleties and ‘read’ people and situations in between the lines.
It’s rare that we see sensitivity being accepted as a strength rather than a weakness. We’re constantly drilled with these notions that we need to be strong and possess a thick skin in order to make it in this world. But HSPs are rarely celebrated for the unique superpowers that enable them to be highly attuned to their surroundings and to the people around them. Highly sensitive people are often misunderstood to simply be shy, introverted, standoffish or socially anxious – but high sensitivity is none of these.
This breed of people has different parts of life that will keep them happier than most. Here are five things HSPs need to function at their best.
Extra alone time to retreat and be in silence
Similar to that of an empath, HSPs may feel overwhelmed by crowds and noise. In order to step back and process the events of their day, don’t be surprised to see that HSPs would rather choose to spend a quiet night at home or prefer one-on-one time with a close companion rather than with groups.
Many studies have linked the benefits of nature to improved mental health – and it’s even more heightened for HSPs. Not only do HSPs enjoy nature; they need it. Especially if HSPs live a life in the city, their nervous systems can become easily saturated with sensory overload through the sights, speed and sounds of modern living. Nature allows them to enjoy a reprieve from the hustle, bustle and stress they are faced with every day.
Wiggle room in their schedule
Sensitive people need a slower pace to feel comfortable in life. They hate feeling rushed or not having enough time to reflect on their decisions or weigh their options. Unplanned Saturday mornings may feel extra calming and restorative for them as these days establish that they don’t need to get dressed and ready to go anywhere anytime soon.
Appreciation and recognition
It can be hard for an HSP to have supportive friends or colleagues who will tolerate their frequently emotional nature. “Sensitive people can’t help but express what they’re feeling,” Aron told the Huffington Post. “They show their anger, they show their happiness. Appreciating that is really important.”
There is nothing that disinterests HSPs more than small talk or surface-level relationships. HSPs are quite selective about finding people with whom they can share intimate, meaningful interaction. Interestingly enough, it’s what makes HSPs great relationship partners. Not only are they cognizant of their needs but also of yours. It makes them happy to see you happy.