If you’ve come to this page then the chances are something we’ve said about being an HSP resonated with you. These are the qualities of HSPs:
- Easily overwhelmed
- Nervous systems are more easily overstimulated
- Sensitive to noise, light, caffeine and people
- Can feel being in a crowd is too much after a period of time
- Experience other people’s physical symptoms or emotions as your own
- Can find physical sensations such as hunger or pain more difficult to handle
- Need more time alone and/or out in nature
- More aware of nuances in the environment or people around them
There are many more but this gives you a general idea and hopefully gives you a little flavour of whether you might be more highly sensitive than others – around 15 to 20% of the population are. There’s a further percentage who identify as being slightly more sensitive.
The difficulty for highly sensitive people is that in Elaine N. Aron’s 5 year study she identified that 42% of the population did not identify as being sensitive at all so as a Highly Sensitive Person you can often feel obliged to dial down your sensitivities to “fit in”. You can also feel that you’re being unreasonable if you want to flag an issue with noise or light. Since you’re so tuned in to your environment, other people and what’s happening around you, you can often sense when it might not feel “safe” to speak up about a sensitivity you have.
Highly Sensitive People can often soak up other people’s emotions without realising it. This is why you can feel drained or exhausted after a day spent around people. Meetings, crowds and events can all mean an HSP needs rest and time alone to recover.
Divorce and separation can present some particular challenges. If you are more sensitive to other’s emotions then picking up on the strong emotions of your ex-partner, your children, family and friends can feel particularly overwhelming. In addition to this separation often presents itself with a long to do list. This can leave HSPs feeling overstimulated and overwhelmed even before attempting any of the tasks.
This is why we put together our own PDF with 5 top tips for supporting yourself during in a separation as a Highly Sensitive Person. It flags issues that might be difficult for you and talks you through how to deal with them.