Are you a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

I saw this pin recently on Pinterest and immediately sent it off to my sister.

We're both Highly Sensitive Persons (People? Peoples?). Anyway, we both identify with at least some of the below from a great HSP resource, The Highly Sensitive Person:

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
I'd say I'm on the less severe spectrum of HSP. A Moderate Highly Sensitive Person. Bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, and sirens aren't going to ruin my day or disable me, but I definitely notice them as undesirable. I kind of like the thrill of having a lot to do in a short amount of time. However, I cannot deal with violent or sad movies and TV shows. At all. Movies about animals or children in harms way, please just sedate me now. I've definitely used the coping mechanism of withdrawing into bed or a darkened room after a stressful day. I really find that it helps me to "reboot". Do I notice and enjoy fine scents, tastes, sounds or works of art -Yes! Do I have a rich and complex inner life - Yes! Was I sensitive (not so much) shy - Yes!

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? Take the Quiz to Find Out


Before realizing that HSP was a thing, I thought there was some defect in me. One of the great parts about being in your 30's is that you really start to understand yourself. "Oh you mean the fact that I find people incredibly draining doesn't mean I'm a psycho?" No, actually, you're an Introvert. "Oh and the fact that I sometimes go berserk over the sound of my husband chewing doesn't mean I'm crazy?" No, it's a condition called Misophonia (Maybe you have it too? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misophonia).

People are complex. It's a good thing! It gives us dimension. I love the study of personality and have taken numerous tests over the years for this that and the other thing.

In my 30 years, here are some of the things I've come to identify my personality with, whether it's cultural, geographical, medical or behavioral:

  • Introvert
  • INFP
  • Pisces
  • Dreamer
  • Migraineur
  • Creative
  • HSP
  • WASP
  • New Englander
  • Rhode Islander


Are you or someone you love an HSP? Take this quiz.

And remember, if you're not an HSP, it is a thing. We can't help it. We can't "toughen up" or just get over it. Because we feel so much, HSPs are often the most compassionate. So if you're not one, keep that compassion in mind and throw us a little when we need to retreat into a dark room to reboot!