Has someone ever told you that you are “too sensitive” or too much of an over- thinker? When you see something beautiful that others find “okay,” it is moving to you. If you are on a rollercoaster overwhelmed by the flickering lights, twists, turns, and drops, you could end up avoiding it with a passion. You may easily feel overstimulated. This could mean that you are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

Being an HSP is not necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of HSPs sees the world in a deeper way than their peers do. They see the beauty and wonder that others may overlook which can be a great quality in an artist. HSPs, however, deal with the challenges of anxiety where they avoid anything that overwhelms them.

If you appear to be overly sensitive, you can live your life the way everyone else can as long as you know how to cope when life gets rough.

High Expectations of Others

People who are highly sensitive can pick up on the feelings of others. You may have trouble saying no to someone who needs you because you can feel their disappointment. For example, there could be a concert you and your friend are going to, but that friend wants another friend to come along. You wish it was just the two of you, but you think your friend will be mad or disappointed if you say no. This makes you pressured to say yes.

You could also feel like it is your responsibility for the people around you to be happy. Because you are highly perceptive, it bothers you when the people around you feel bothered. It is like you are a human sponge for others emotions/issues. This ability can make you want to fix the problems your peers are going through instead of listening and providing support.

Your Own Worst Critic

Highly Sensitive People tend to ruminate on problems and doubt themselves. You could be auditioning for a piano recital, but one loud sound or people talking can throw you off. All you will think about is that one mistake you made during the audition even if it was something minor.

Even an embarrassing moment can put you down all day like if you tripped in front of a bunch of people. Even if no one laughed at you, the moment will still play in your head like it is the worst thing that has happened.

The Struggle to Tolerate

You could be sensitive to sounds or smells that others around you may tolerate better. For example, you could want to leave a concert because of the smell of cigars in the air. While others may be used to this smell from attending a lot of concerts, you cannot handle it and need to leave early.

It can also be hard for you to tolerate other daily stressors like being hungry. If you are waiting in a restaurant for your food after 45 minutes, you may get irritable and call it quits.

How to Cope

The trick to coping with being an HSP is by removing yourself from overwhelming stimuli. You can do this by removing yourself from toxic people who drain your energy and place heavy demands. Learn to say no to these people instead of thinking so hard about their feelings. In the end, it is about what you can handle. Do not be involved in situations that can raise your anxiety towards levels higher than you can tolerate.

You can also find ways for your home to be a relaxing environment like soothing music or dim lighting. Allow yourself to do things for yourself that make you happy like read a good book, meditate, take a relaxing bath or speak to a friend.

If you are still having struggles being an HSP, feel free to contact me to learn more about how anxiety therapy can help. As an HSP myself, I can help provide you with the necessary tools when you feel overwhelmed and help you embrace who you are.

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