Have you ever been told you're 'too sensitive'? Do you get easily overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the world? Perhaps you're highly attuned to the emotions of those around you. If so, you might be what's known as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).
Being a Highly Sensitive Person is not a weakness; it's an amazing trait that influences how you experience and interact with the world. It can at times, however, be challenging because many highly sensitive people struggle with anxiety.
From a young age, I knew I was sensitive, and people often pointed it out to me. I felt like there was something wrong with me. Why did I get so affected by the world around me? Why did I feel my emotions so intensely? Why did noise bother me so much?
Everything began to make sense once I realized I was a highly sensitive person. After years of believing that I was flawed in some way, I realized that I needed to find a way to work with my HSP traits rather than try to change them into something I am not.
Before I get into some strategies for dealing with life as a highly sensitive person, let us first define what it means to be an HSP.
Understanding High Sensitivity
So, what does it mean to be a Highly Sensitive Person?
Highly sensitive people, often referred to as HSPs, are individuals who possess an increased sensitivity to external stimuli, including emotions, sensory experiences, and their environment. Dr. Elaine N. Aron, a psychologist, is known for popularizing the term and conducting extensive research on the subject. HSPs make up approximately 15-20% of the population, so if you're an HSP, you're certainly not alone.
Being highly sensitive means you're more susceptible to the nuances of your surroundings. You might notice subtle details that others overlook, experience intense emotional reactions, or feel deeply connected to the people and the world around you. This heightened sensitivity is not something to be ashamed of; in fact, it's a gift that can lead to incredible insights, creativity, and compassion.
Characteristics of Highly Sensitive People
HSPs share several common characteristics, which may include:
Emotional Intensity: HSPs tend to experience emotions intensely, both their own and those of others. This depth of emotion can be a beautiful gift but can also lead to emotional overwhelm and exhaustion.
Sensory Sensitivity: They may be more sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, and tactile sensations, which can easily trigger stress and anxiety.
Empathy: HSPs often have a strong sense of empathy and can easily pick up on the emotions and energies of people around them, which can lead to burnout.
Overwhelm: HSPs are more prone to feeling overwhelmed in chaotic or overstimulating environments.
Deep Thinkers: They tend to be deep thinkers and process information more thoroughly, often displaying creativity and a unique perspective on various subjects.
Attention to Detail: They have a knack for noticing subtleties and nuances that others might miss, making them excellent at tasks requiring precision and creativity.
Challenges Faced by Highly Sensitive People
While being an HSP is a gift, it's not without its challenges. Highly Sensitive People often find themselves overwhelmed by sensory input, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. It's not uncommon for HSPs to struggle with setting boundaries or to feel misunderstood by others who don't share their sensitivity. The emotional intensity experienced by HSPs can be both a blessing and a burden. On one hand, you have a deep capacity for empathy and understanding. On the other hand, this emotional depth can lead to feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
So, How Can Highly Sensitive People Overcome These Challenges and Thrive?
Life as an HSP can be challenging, but it's also full of amazing opportunities. Here are some strategies to help you navigate the world as a highly sensitive person:
Self-Acceptance: The first step is to embrace your sensitivity as a gift, not a flaw. Accepting yourself as you are is the foundation for growth, self-compassion, and improved mental health.
Self-Care: Prioritize self-care to help regulate your emotions and sensory experiences. Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to calm your nervous system.
Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect your energy and minimize stress. Learn to say no when necessary and limit exposure to environments or people that drain you.
Stress Management: Develop effective stress management techniques, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet. Reducing stress can significantly improve your ability to handle overwhelming emotions and decrease anxiety.
Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help you stay grounded in the present moment, allowing you to observe your thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them.
Seek Support: Surround yourself with a support network of friends and family who understand and respect your sensitivity. Consider seeking the support of a life coach and/or joining HSP communities or support groups to connect with like-minded individuals.
Emotional Intelligence: HSPs often possess high levels of emotional intelligence. Use this to your advantage in relationships and personal growth. Learn how to communicate your feelings effectively with others.
Find Compatible Environments: Choose career paths and environments that align with your sensitivity. You may excel in creative, compassionate, and nurturing roles.
Time Management: Manage your time wisely. Prioritize tasks and responsibilities and avoid overcommitting yourself.
Educate Others: Help those around you understand what it means to be an HSP. Increased awareness can lead to more empathetic and supportive interactions.
Let's explore the life-changing benefits of working with a coach and how it can be a game-changer for highly sensitive people and individuals struggling with anxiety and stress.
The Role of an HSP Coach
Coaching is an invaluable resource for Highly Sensitive People, as well as those who struggle with anxiety, stress, and burnout. A coach provides guidance, support, and practical strategies to help you navigate the challenges you are facing, especially as they relate to your sensitivity.
Benefits of HSP Coaching
Coaching for Highly Sensitive People is not just about managing challenges, it's also about embracing your strengths and finding beauty in your sensitivity. There are many benefits to HSP coaching, and below are just a few:
Self-Awareness: A coach can help you better understand your sensitivity and how it influences your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Through self-awareness, you can harness the strengths of being an HSP while managing its challenges.
Emotional Regulation: HSPs often experience intense emotions. Coaches can teach you techniques to regulate your emotions effectively, reducing anxiety and stress.
Boundaries: Setting boundaries is crucial for HSPs to avoid overwhelm. Coaches can work with you to establish healthy boundaries in your personal and professional life.
Stress Management: Highly Sensitive People are more prone to stress and overwhelm, but with coaching, you can develop strategies to manage stress. For example, meditation practices tailored to HSPs can help you stay present in the moment, reduce anxiety, and enhance your ability to cope with overwhelming situations and emotions.
Improved Communication: Coaches can help you enhance your communication skills, making it easier to be more self-aware and express your needs and feelings to others.
Goal Setting: Whether it's personal or professional goals, a coach can assist you in defining and achieving what's most important to you.
Building Resilience: HSPs can build resilience to navigate life's challenges. Coaches can help you develop a resilience mindset and coping mechanisms.
A coach can help with many more strategies and tools, particularly those tailored to the HSP they are coaching.
Finding the Right Coach
Choosing the right coach is crucial to your success in embracing your sensitivity and thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person. Here are some tips for finding a coach who can provide holistic life coaching and mental health support:
Specialization in Sensitivity: Look for a coach with experience working with Highly Sensitive People or those dealing with anxiety and stress. They should understand the unique challenges you face.
Holistic Approach: Seek a coach who takes a holistic approach, addressing both your mental and emotional well-being. This approach considers your whole self and promotes balance between the mind and body.
Proven Track Record: Research the coach's background and reviews from past clients. A coach with a history of helping individuals like you is a strong indicator of their effectiveness.
Compatibility: It's essential to feel comfortable and connected with your coach. Schedule an initial consultation to see if your personalities and goals align.
Moving Forward and Embracing Who You Are
Being a highly sensitive person is a valuable trait, but it can sometimes feel overwhelming. With the right guidance and support, you can learn to accept and embrace your sensitivities.
Remember, there is nothing inherently wrong with you. You are not broken. In fact, you are an amazing gift to the world!
Shoshana Abramson, Holistic Life Coach Work With Me
About Shoshana: I’m Shoshana, a holistic life coach and the founder of JSAbramson Coaching. Before transitioning to holistic coaching, I worked in the fields of mental health and addiction. With over a decade of experience in mental health, counseling, and holistic life coaching, I have had the privilege of guiding and supporting many people on their path to healing. My educational background includes a B.A. in psychology, a certificate in addiction counseling, and a certificate in NLP coaching (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). I take pride in staying updated with the latest research in mental health and holistic living, ensuring that the information I share is not only reliable but also backed by credible sources. My aim is to provide you with valuable information, insights, practical tips, and effective strategies dedicated to promoting mental health and overall well-being. Feel free to explore my other blog posts, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.