What are the traits of a highly sensitive person? What are the characteristics of a highly sensitive person? How do you know if you’re a highly sensitive person?
If you do a quick google search on the internet, you might get a lot of different answers. So, I put together the most common traits and characteristics that the top websites relate to being highly sensitive.
Who knows, you might discover a brand new identity by the time you finish reading this.
Highly Sensitive Person Traits
An inner life almost as big as the world around you
One of the most common traits attached to being highly sensitive is having a deep inner world. And what does that mean? It means you have a complex thought life.
That you really feel things inside of you more than most people. I can relate on some level. I’m always pondering my future, reflecting on my past, and contemplating my present.
Sometimes I can feel things a lot. So much to where I have to talk myself out of my feelings in order to stay productive.
And I also wonder what other people are feeling and thinking, how my words and actions affect them, and if things are okay. It really is an accurate description to say that it’s like you have a whole other world inside of you.
Completely blocked off from everyone, except to the rare few that you’re comfortable letting in. Highly Sensitive People can probably imagine and visualize things better than most people because of how active their minds and hearts are.
If that describes the way your mind and heart feels to you, you just might be a highly sensitive person. And this is one of the best sensitive traits to have to be introspective in this way.
Because it helps you to grow as a person, and be better at living your life.
Discomfort with loud active environments
If not for the first trait, this would definitely be the top common trait of a highly sensitive person. Every single website I looked at on traits of highly sensitive people mentions a discomfort with loud noises.
One site even mentioned that HSP’s are easily startled by loud noises. The whole basis of this is that highly sensitive people are said to have a heightened sensory perception.
But let’s put it a simpler way. Let’s say a non-highly sensitive person likes the volume at a level 10.
If you’re a highly sensitive person, that volume might feel like a level 100. Sounds feel louder to you. And this trait goes beyond just sounds.
It translates to every sense. Slight changes in smells may also be too hard for you to ignore, or the bad taste of something you just ate, or the itchiness of some clothing you’re wearing.
Highly sensitive people are extra aware of these things. Adequate preparation can be your friend in managing this trait.
When you know you’re going to be somewhere that involves loud noises, have some earplugs with you to block it out. Although sometimes you might not be prepared for the extra stimulation that occurs in your day.
And this leads us to the next common trait of highly sensitive people.
Needing time alone
Everybody needs time alone once in a while. But in particular, a highly sensitive person needs time alone after a long day of stimulation from the outside world.
They need to not talk to anyone. They need to be able to make their surroundings be exactly the way they want to wind down.
Because when you’re outside in the world and with other people, you don’t get that choice. Non-HSPs, their first choice after work might be to go to happy hour with their co-workers.
For highly sensitive people, this would be crazy. They’ve had enough talking for the day, and the last thing they want is to be in a noisy bar with more people talking.
Unless you’re a highly sensitive extrovert (yes, extroverts can be highly sensitive). Instead, HSP’s generally prefer being in a quiet place, like a dark room, and just be able to relax and process their day.
Sound like anyone you know? Sound like you?
At least for myself, back in college when I’d have long days on campus, I always looked forward to being back in my apartment at the end of the day. It was quiet, I was alone, and I could just relax and be comfortable.
If this highly sensitive trait relates to you, then be sure to give yourself the alone time you need after a long day.
Avoidance of violence in TV or Movies
Among highly sensitive person traits, this is also quite commonly mentioned on the internet. It’s explained that for HSP’s, watching a violent movie can be too extreme of an experience for them.
In a way it kind of makes sense. Think about what are in violent movies. People screaming or yelling, guns fired, blood, and just the worst of human experience displayed on a screen for an hour or more.
Maybe we should be surprised there aren’t more people bothered by all that stuff. One website even described the potential for HSP’s to even feel physically unwell watching violent movies.
I can’t say that I’ve ever felt that way myself, but some images do stick in my head for a while and may occasionally replace over and over. So being very uncomfortable with violent tv shows or movies is a strong indication of being HSP.
Doing things in a short amount of time
Some people thrive on the pressure of a tight deadline. They work harder, they work faster, and they create something that other people praise and reward them for.
The highly sensitive person isn’t one of those people. Whenever they have to do things that are timed, or on short notice, the pressure can decrease the quality of their work.
As a result, they may end up not being viewed as good as what they do, but that’s not true. It’s just that they’re better at doing things when they have enough time to do it.
Because they get overstimulated easily, the stimulation and stress of pressure affect them more. So, it’s important HSP’s are given the proper time and space to thrive in their work.
It’s kind of unfortunate we live in more and more of a generation that wants things done fast and now. But still, there are jobs for a highly sensitive person that can give them the time they need to do their best work.
Creative jobs are perhaps an example of that.
Being emotionally touched by the creative arts
This highly sensitive person trait is one of the more positive characteristics of being an HSP. Some people listen to an emotional song or watch an emotional movie and enjoy it, but not necessarily be moved by it.
The Highly Sensitive person really takes in the expressions of creativity in the world and feels it deeply. They notice the subtleties of things more, which is another trait of highly sensitive people.
The subtleties of sound changes, or the distinction of colors in visual art. I know for myself when I listen to one specific song, I can get a little teary-eyed because of its beauty.
I know some people who tend to cry watching certain emotional movies. Highly Sensitive People truly embrace the emotion of whatever art they’re witnessing.
This makes them great companions to take with you for all kinds of creative events.
Getting drained by other people’s emotions
This is probably one of the more challenging highly sensitive traits. Being heavily affected by how other people feel.
Whether it’s about you or something the other person is going through, as an HSP, you feel other people’s emotions on a deeper level. It’s been described that HSP’s feel so deeply, they literally experience the other person’s emotions if they’re upset.
They detect what mood people are in when they get around them. While it’s a challenging characteristic, it can also be a really good one too.
You’re better able to understand what people want or need at the moment. And because of your ability to recognize that, you can be more helpful in fixing whatever is bothering someone.
Easily affected by criticism
Nobody really likes being criticized, but the HSP can take it especially hard. They can be very critical of themselves first of all.
Some sites describe Highly Sensitive People as being their own biggest critics. They have a strong desire to not make mistakes and make sure people are happy with what they’re doing.
I can relate to really trying not to make mistakes. I check e-mails I write multiple times to make sure I wrote it appropriately and error-free.
But the thing with mistakes is you just have to accept that they’ll happen, and that you can turn it into a positive by learning from it and doing better in the future. Critical feedback from others, even if given in a positive way to help improve one’s work, is still hard for the HSP to take.
It’s said that they work very diligently in order to avoid criticism if possible. But this desire to please can be unhealthy, as it can cause you to sacrifice yourself too much for the sake of others.
It’s important HSP’s develop a healthy understanding of criticism and learn to be satisfied with having done their best.
One of the lesser recognized highly sensitive traits is being hangry. HSP’s are described to be particularly sensitive to being hungry. And when they’re hungry, they can be angry about it.
Hence the term, “hangry”. Some have described this as possibly a sensitivity to changes in blood sugar levels.
Nonetheless, it’s important for HSP’s not to have to wait a long time in order to get a chance to eat.
If you identify with this as an HSP, do your best to have snacks with you wherever you go, and prepare yourself a hefty meal to keep your hunger satisfied for long periods.
Easily stressed by busy schedules
Similarly, with the earlier HSP trait of having to do work in a short time, HSP’s also tend to get stressed with having a lot of work to do in their day. One site described that they can often feel burned out with their jobs more easily.
They simply don’t like being busy at all. Typically they prefer to focus all of their time on one or two big tasks of the day at most.
But the remedy to a busy schedule is making sure you prepare a good relaxing time for yourself at the end of the day. Perhaps you can even give yourself time in between the work to have a short break to relax.
The busyness of our days isn’t always something we’ll be able to control. But if we manage it properly, we can be able to make the day go smoothly.
How do you know if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person?
The easiest answer to that question is if most of these highly sensitive traits describe the way you are and how you feel. But also, maybe it’s not always a clear cut yes or no answer.
There’s no scientifically 100% accurate highly sensitive person traits test after all. No quiz either.
And being highly sensitive is not something someone gives you a diagnosis. Like a disorder that requires treatment. It’s definitely not that at all.
Perhaps to some extent, all of us are a little bit highly sensitive in some ways. One person might be more uncomfortable with loud noises, but at the same time not need much alone time.
Another person could be very creative and have no problem seeing violent movies or TV shows. Whatever the case may be for you, there are ways to manage your highly sensitive traits, and fully embrace them as well.
You can be proud to recognize yourself as a highly sensitive person.
Inspiring Ted Talk on Highly Sensitive People
HSP articles you might like
Free Highly Sensitive Person Audio Book by Dr. Elaine Aron
Dr. Elaine Aron offers a lot of amazing research to understand what it means to be a highly sensitive person. She gives good tips on taking care of your unique needs.
This book will help you recognize that being sensitive isn’t a bad thing at all. You can click the image and select free with audible trial to listen to this audiobook.
Because it’ll be good for boosting your confidence as an HSP and help you to be happier.
24 Signs of a Highly Sensitive Person | Psychology Today
Being “Highly Sensitive” Is a Real Trait – Healthline
16 Habits Of Highly Sensitive People | HuffPost Life
Highly Sensitive Person – Dr. Elaine Aron
Highly Sensitive Person Traits That Create More Stress – Very Well Mind
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