Thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person: Tips for Managing Sensitivities and Finding Balance

Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) are individuals who have a highly sensitive nervous system, which makes them more responsive to stimuli in their environment. This sensitivity can manifest itself in various ways, including a tendency to be easily overwhelmed by noise, light, or crowds, and a heightened sensitivity to emotions and social cues. While being highly sensitive can be a gift, it can also pose challenges for those who experience it. In this blog, we will discuss what HSPs are, how their sensitivity affects their daily lives, and how they can best manage their sensitivities.

What are HSPs?

HSPs are individuals who have a heightened sensitivity to their environment, which can make them more aware of subtleties in their surroundings. This sensitivity can manifest in various ways, including a tendency to become easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli, a heightened emotional awareness, and a greater ability to pick up on social cues.

Research has found that approximately 15-20% of the population can be classified as HSPs. HSPs are not limited by gender, race, or culture and can be found in all walks of life. The trait of high sensitivity is often present from birth and can be a genetic trait, although it can also be influenced by environmental factors.

Is HSP a mental illness?

No. The way I like to explain it is that being an HSP is just like knowing that you have a particular operating system. There’s nothing wrong with the operating system, but it may need certain accommodations to help it run more efficiently.

How does being an HSP affect daily life?

Being an HSP can present both benefits and challenges in daily life. HSPs are often deeply empathic and have a strong ability to connect with others emotionally. They may be highly creative, intuitive, and insightful. However, HSPs can also be more easily overwhelmed by their environment, leading to anxiety, stress, and exhaustion.

HSPs may find that they need more downtime than others to recharge and process their experiences. They may also need to take more breaks throughout the day to avoid becoming overwhelmed. HSPs may be more sensitive to loud noises, bright lights, and other stimuli, leading to a need for quieter, more peaceful environments.

How can HSPs best manage their sensitivities?

While being an HSP can present challenges, there are many strategies that HSPs can use to manage their sensitivities and thrive in their daily lives. Here are some tips:

  1. Practice self-care: HSPs may benefit from regular self-care practices such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, or other forms of relaxation. Taking time for self-care can help reduce stress and anxiety and provide a sense of calm.
  2. Create a quiet, peaceful environment: HSPs may benefit from creating a peaceful environment at home or work that is free of loud noises or bright lights.     Creating a peaceful space can help HSPs feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed.
  3. Learn to say no: HSPs may need to say no to social events or other activities that may be too overwhelming. Setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care is important for HSPs to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  4. Develop a support system: Having a support system of friends and family who understand and support an HSP's sensitivity can be beneficial. This support system can provide a sense of validation and help reduce feelings of isolation.
  5. Seek therapy: HSPs who struggle with anxiety or depression may benefit from seeking therapy to help manage their emotions and develop coping     strategies for their sensitivity.
  6. Practice self-compassion: HSPs may be more prone to self-criticism or negative self-talk. Practicing self-compassion and kindness towards oneself can help HSPs develop a more positive self-image and reduce feelings of anxiety or overwhelm.

Being an HSP can present both benefits and challenges in daily life. HSPs can best manage their sensitivities by practicing self-care, creating a peaceful environment, learning to say no, developing a support system, and/or seeking therapy. I love working with HSPs! As one myself, I love to share how to best use and protect this operating system. If you would like to learn more about therapy or coaching with one of us, please contact us here.