Although the very term “a highly sensitive person” may seem puzzling to us, research indicates that they can constitute as much as 20% of the population! Despite many other similarities, highly sensitive people are not introverts and show a number of specific characteristics that we can observe in everyday situations. How does this work in practice?
Being an HSP, or a highly sensitive person is characterized by a much stronger experience of stimuli compared to other people. Different ways of perceiving and experiencing reality also can convert into specific behaviours. Based on the work of Dr Elaine Aron, the author of the questionnaire to determine the severity of this attribute, we have created a statement of behaviours indicating that a person has a high level of sensitivity to stimuli.
1. An overwhelming amount of tasks
For a highly sensitive person, a big problem is a situation that requires them to do several things at once. They become more nervous and it is more difficult for them to be productive. This leads to frustration and additional stress.
2. Confusion from noise
An HSP definitely does not do well in places where there is an overload of even one stimulus. Their senses become overloaded and they hear too many sounds, registering every movement or smell. All this causes a drastic reduction in the ability to focus and concentrate.
3. Hungry means angry
A somewhat humorous saying “a hungry man is an angry man” takes literal meaning in the case of an HSP. The feeling of hunger causes them to become angry, which they can offload onto others.
4. Dangerous observations
An HSP values their privacy very much and they can only focus on work and use their full potential in the conditions of “intimacy”. When they are under observation, e.g. during the assessment of the project by a supervisor, they will behave unnaturally. In this situation, an HSP feels overwhelmed and confused.
5. Sensitivity to art
Not all highly sensitive people like every kind of art, but if they find a particular work or artist they are attracted to, they feel it much stronger than others. Works of art evoke an entire palette of feelings, thoughts and emotions in an HSP.
An HSP will notice that someone is uncomfortable before the person becomes fully aware of it. Such people have an amazing ability to detect and analyse the smallest details of facial expressions, gestures or behaviours.
After work or a meeting with friends, an HSP needs to cut themselves off from the surrounding stimuli. Instead of active rest, they may prefer lonely relaxation in a darkened bedroom to be able to recover. It’s their form of relaxation and it has to be respected.
8. Tolerance of loud sounds
An HSP usually does not like concerts, loud parties or fireworks shows. The threshold for their noise tolerance is much lower than for the average person, so remember not to expose an HSP to such discomfort.
9. Scenes of violence
Brutal battle scenes in films or computer games are actively rejected by a highly sensitive person, although for the majority of society such images are no longer discomforting. Remember that keeping an HSP company means no horror films at the cinema.
The list of behaviours of a highly sensitive person can be longer, but that doesn’t mean that life with such a disposition is filled with annoyances! Despite a greater inclination to depression or anxiety disorders, an HSP has a number of assets. They are more diligent and accurate in what they do. They are able to focus on details that others disregard and are often above-average creative. They only need to create conditions in which they can use their talents and respect being “alternative”.