Am I Too Sensitive?

This is from Oprah Magazine(Nov 2012) An article adapted from the most notable book in HSP field by Dr. Aron(The Highly Sensitive Person). This is a very personal issue for me. I know there are many who have this condition going unrecognized, and undiagnosed.


For more than 20 years, Elaine Aron, PhD, has been studying highly sensitive people: individuals with a particular genetic characteristic that makes them keenly attuned to the world around them. Because they process sensory input more deeply than others, HSPs tend to be more empathetic and thoughtful, but they’re also easily overstimulated and require frequent respites of peace and quiet. Aron’s quiz can help you determine whether you share this trait. For each statement, select the ranking that best describes you.

Am I Too Sensitive – Highly Sensitive Person Quiz –

With your hyperawareness come many strengths. HSPs consider matters deeply and often have unique and interesting perspectives. You are intuitive and tend to be an emotional leader (the first to be outraged by injustice, for example). But because you’re so tuned in to the subtleties of your surroundings, you can feel overwhelmed in chaotic environments. You’re not necessarily shy or introverted; you simply think more clearly when you’re not overstimulated—which is why navigating unfamiliar places and meeting many new people at once (think cocktail parties or client presentations) can be especially taxing. To avoid shutting down in such situations, it can help to prepare in advance. Rehearse what you want to say. Brainstorm conversation starters. Bring a friend for social support. Take frequent breaks. It’s crucial for HSPs to build downtime into their lives. Make rest a priority at least one day a week. Take time off every three months. Learn to meditate. And try not to overextend yourself when it comes to family and friends. Thanks to their affinity for reading other people’s emotions, HSPs frequently dole out more support than they can afford to give. To handle your physical sensitivities, choose decaf tea, coffee, and sodas. And carry a snack with you (preferably some form of protein) so you never get too hungry. Finally, keep in mind that HSPs tend to change careers several times. More than most people, you crave meaningful work—but a job that’s too stressful won’t make you happy. It may take several tries to find the right fit.

If you know an HSP…

Remember that this friend or loved one is a package deal. You may feel frustrated by her “touchiness,” but if she weren’t as sensitive, she might not have the empathy and conscientiousness you value so much.

Simply realizing that certain environments can be overstimulating may make it easier to avoid them when you’re together. When your HSP needs to be alone, don’t take it personally; quiet time allows her nervous system to recharge. And when conflicts arise, be as gentle as you can(especially if your HSP is a child). HSPs don’t need strong messages to understand they’ve made a mistake; they take even the slightest criticisms to heart.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Nicholas says:

    Very interesting! I took the quiz… It’s not a matter of being “too sensitive”, I like to think, just sensitive, but perhaps also not always knowing how to use that sensitivity in the best way. This is the kind of sensitivity I am guessing Elder Thaddeus had, and it was the Prayer above all that taught him how to use it to heal other people through love.

  2. lilyboat says:

    I think you are right with your guess! What better place to practice your sensitivity than a monastery! In my case, I can sense the person’s mood very well-by feeling that same emotion; but this requires great discernment!-, and I can use that information in interacting with that person more accordingly. It’s not easy being an HSP, but it could also be a beautiful path, a beautiful journey.

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