4 Tips for Managing the Challenges of being an HSP

As lifelong sensitive people, we know that being highly sensitive can be both a gift and a burden.  While sensitivity can be a valuable trait that helps us navigate the world, it can also bring challenges and difficulties. In this blog, we'll explore the burden of being a sensitive person and the challenges that people who are highly sensitive face.

First, it's important to understand what we mean by sensitivity. Highly sensitive people (HSPs) are individuals who have a heightened sensitivity to the world around them. This can manifest in many ways, including being easily overwhelmed by noise, bright lights, or strong smells, feeling deeply affected by others' emotions, and being highly empathetic and intuitive.

Strong Emotions

One of the biggest challenges that HSPs face is managing their own emotions. Because they feel things deeply, they can be easily overwhelmed by negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, or sadness. This can make it difficult for them to cope with everyday stressors and may lead to feelings of isolation or a sense of being different from others. To be fair, it’s not uncommon for those negative emotions to be the result of picking up on the vibe of someone else. We often feel things that are either “not ours” or as a result of someone directing their negativity towards us. Either way, it’s overwhelming. Even a text message or email can carry an energy with it that affects us. It can be exhausting!


Another challenge is dealing with overstimulation. Because HSPs are more sensitive to their environment, they can become easily overwhelmed by too much noise, too many people, or too much visual stimulation. This can make it difficult for them to function in certain environments, such as crowded or noisy spaces. We often work with clients to help them find accommodations that ease the overwhelm of certain environments. For example, sometimes we coach clients to wear sunglasses in "big box stores" that use fluorescent lighting or carry ear plugs such as these that only dull the surrounding noise, not what you actually need to hear.


HSPs may also struggle with setting boundaries. Because they are empathetic and caring, they may tend to take on other people's problems and emotions as their own. This can lead to feelings of burnout or exhaustion and may make it difficult for them to prioritize their own needs. “People-pleasers” are frequently HSPs.

The burden of sensitivity can also affect HSPs' relationships. They may feel misunderstood or unsupported by those around them, or struggle to find people who understand their unique perspective. Additionally, HSPs may have a tendency to internalize criticism or rejection, which can make it difficult for them to form close relationships, as relationships can feel painful.

How to Deal

So, what can be done to alleviate the burden of sensitivity? Here are a few tips:

  1. Recognize your sensitivity as a strength. While sensitivity can bring challenges, it is also a valuable trait. HSPs are often creative, empathetic, and insightful, and their unique perspective can be a great asset. It’s not all bad! Owning and being forthright about one’s sensitivities before there is an issue with a friend or family member can help them understand you better and prevent some problems from escalating.
  2. Set boundaries. Learning to say “no” and prioritize your own needs is essential for HSPs. This can help prevent burnout and promote self-care. Despite what some people-pleasers may think, “no” can be said kindly and does not necessarily mean that an argument will ensue.
  3. Find supportive relationships. Surrounding yourself with people who understand and appreciate your sensitivity can be invaluable. Seek out relationships with people who share your values and are willing to support you. You don’t have to be liked or understood by everyone, but if you find others who get you, life is a lot easier. (This may only be a few people).
  4. Practice self-care. Engage in activities that help you feel calm and centered, such as meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature. Prioritizing self-care can help you manage the challenges of sensitivity. We cannot emphasize enough the power of any activity that calms the central nervous system and helps you to “reset”. Ideally, a preventative practice is best.

If you want to learn more about how to navigate the world, or specific problems, as an HSP, please reach out to us here. We have helped many people learn more about their “HSP operating system” and gain more tools and understanding that improve quality of life.

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