Do you find yourself easily agitated by bright lights, loud sounds, strong scents, and intensity in films and on TV? If so, you’re not alone. 15-20% percent of us are categorized as highly sensitive people (HSPs).
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Johan Olers, HSPs receive sensory data extremely easily. For example, smells, noises and visual stimuli that non-HSPs wouldn’t even notice can be quite intense for HSPs. Studies have also shown that Highly Sensitive People need more rest and downtime than most. Doctors suggest that HSPs take at least one full day off per week to recuperate from the rigors of our overbooked, intense daily lives. It’s also important to not judge yourself or feel bad if you are more sensitive than others. I know this may be easier said than done, but try to view it as having superpowers. Here are the key facts you need to know.
Am I an HSP?
Being an HSP isn’t a bad thing—it means you’re more aware of subtleties and nuances. You probably feel emotions quite deeply and make for a passionate, intense lover as well as a great friend. Being shy and being an HSP is not the same thing—I am certainly not considered to be a shy person, but I am definitely an HSP. Someone once referred to me as an “extroverted introvert” and I think it’s accurate!
Sit quietly and take a look at this list. If you answer “yes” to several, it’s likely that you are an HSP.
- Do you feel bothered by bright light even when wearing sunglasses?
- Are you easily flustered when a deadline leaves you with a lot on your plate?
- Do you get upset by violent or intense TV and films?
- Do you often feel the need to withdraw from everything and everyone?
- Do loud sounds and bright lights make you very uncomfortable?
- Do rough linens and clothing make you very uncomfortable?
Dr. Johan Olers also has an online quiz you can take to determine whether you’re an HSP: http://hsperson.com/test/
How to take care of yourself
HSPs are easily disturbed and overwhelmed. If you are aware of this, you can start taking better care of yourself so that you can live a more content, comfortable life. Examine your daily life and take note of how you could streamline your “to do” list. Perhaps it’s as simple as making an actual list and prioritizing what you really must accomplish and in what order. Here are some easy ways to better care for yourself if you’re an HSP:
1. Stop watching so much television and try a social media detox once or twice a week.
2. Spend more time reading, walking or just sitting quietly enjoying nature. These activities will help bring balance to your life.
3. Weed out outings such as bar-hopping or going to loud clubs if they make you uncomfortable due to excessive sensory input. Don’t worry about being teased by friends when they’re heading out and you opt to go to yoga or hit a bookstore instead.
4. Cut down on caffeine—try switching to green tea for starters if you’re a coffee person already. Also, avoid soda and sweetened beverages. Slowly decrease your caffeine intake and perhaps swap green tea for herbal now and then.
5. Get plenty of sleep and try taking naps. Here’s an article I wrote on napping, which you may find helpful: https://www.myhealthcaretips.com/mint-health-benefits-and-properties/
6. Take downthttps://www.myhealthcaretips.com/mint-health-benefits-and-properties/ime for yourself each day. Try learning yoga and a meditation technique—both are great ways to spend time observing your breathing and checking in with yourself.
7. Set healthy boundaries. Don’t let others steal your energy, and be clear when you need to end a conversation in order to take care of yourself.
Remember, as noted above, being an HSP is not a bad thing. Taking some precautions to conserve your vital energy is all you need to do to live a more balanced life.