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15 top characteristics of Highly Sensitive People

Hypersensitivity is not a long calm river, we sail more on an ocean with the infinite unfolding of deeper waves that sweep our emotions, sometimes we plunge into dark abysses or rise with the waves to touch the sky! This ocean is the mirror of the intensity of our feelings, the depth of our emotions and the vastness of our thoughts...

Let's dive together into this untamable and wild personality trait: hypersensitivity! I suggest you discover or rediscover 15 top characteristics of Highly Sensitive People to recognize if you are a hypersensitive person or not.

So how do you know if you are highly sensitive? Of course, the most accurate method would be a personality assessment, which we could carry out together by booking a free discovery call, if you would like to. The advantage of a personal assessment, beyond the detection of high sensitivity, is to also determine where it does affect your life the most and then give you the keys to tame it. You can also take the test that you can find here, it is a little more elaborate one which can give you a better level of your sensitivity.

Now… is being highly sensitive a disorder? NO! Not at all. I won’t lie, being highly sensitive can be a source of suffering if you don’t know about it, or try to repress it, but it also comes with absolutely amazing blessings… It is a gift!

15 top characteristics of Highly Sensitive People

So what are the 15 top characteristics of Highly Sensitive People

Sign nr. 1 : Emotional intensity

You often feel that your emotions are overflowing. And they do… they overflow because you have a much richer and wider range of emotions than most people. Because your brain is wired differently, you are intensely crossed by both positive and negative emotions for extremely subtle reasons and this… non-stop. Your emotional palette is much more colorful than the majority, so you experience extremely nuanced and yet very intense emotions.

So you may cry often or be easily emotional... watching a movie, hearing the suffering of another person, watching the news... But that is just the way you are… you are touched by very little things and almost everything.

Sign nr. 2 : An overdeveloped sensory awareness

All the stimuli from the environment not only reach you in detail, but you also perceive them as amplified. Your five senses are particularly reactive and sensitive. You perceive stimuli that escape most people, but too often these stimuli can become very intrusive.

High sensory sensitivity is a particular and sometimes intense sensitivity to certain sounds, to certain smells, to certain light or even to certain textures on your skin.

It can be one of the toughest things to deal with, if you are highly sensitive.

If light, smells, sounds, and touch can be particularly pleasant in many cases, they can also become extremely unpleasant and overwhelming in other situations… all of these because of your different neurological system.

Sign nr. 3 : The feeling of lag

You’ve always had the impression of being different, even feeling that you don't belong to this world.

How many times did I ask myself : why did I choose to come here? Why did I land here? And most of the time this question is related to the lack of compassion I see around. I watch with sadness the epidemic of materialism, of selfishness and the lack of empathy and I can’t find myself in a society that doesn’t have my values but quite the opposite.

Because we recognize people’s true feelings and motives, we can see past their camouflage and see the real person underneath. We know where they’re coming from but don’t understand why they are not seeing the bigger picture of life like us.

So, yes! We feel we don’t fit anywhere. Caught between two states of mind : the alien and the super hero. One wanting to escape this world, the other one wanting to save it!

But let me tell you something… you belong precisely to this world because you have something to offer that nobody else does.

Sign nr. 4 : Empathy

Empathy is the ability to feel the emotions of others. It is to have a higher degree of awareness and attunement to people around you, especially people’s moods, micro-expression and behavior that are missed by people who are not highly sensitive.

You are someone who is particularly open to others on a human level. You have the capacity to reach out to others easily. People trust you spontaneously and you easily attract them. You are sensitive to the feelings and emotions of others, you are never indifferent. On the contrary, others’ emotions and feelings touch you intimately.

Empathy is a beautiful and precious human quality and can be extremely constructive but there is a catch. The complication is that you must learn how to protect yourself, and to not let yourself be invaded by other’s emotions, which is a frequent consequence of an overdeveloped empathy.

Sign nr. 5 : Sense of justice

There is often a particular sensitivity to certain forms of injustice that feeds the sensitivity of highly sensitive people.

Oftentimes you may even take strong stands for what you really feel passionate about. You are willing to stand up for certain causes, be brave and speak up about injustice. For you, it is not just some issue… like a political issue. No, it becomes a personal issue, an issue that is so important to you that you just can't ignore it.

Sign nr. 6 : Highly developed intuition

Your great sensitivity allows you to perceive things that often escape the majority of people or might be considered as points of detail. As a result, you have often developed an internal matrix that allows you to cross-check your different perceptions (sensations, emotions, interpretations) instinctively. Unconsciously this will lead you, very quickly, to conclusions that are more than often correct about day-to-day events.

You are able to predict the developments and evolutions of situations very easily because you have a considerable amount of information, conscious and unconscious.

A little side-note advice: lean on your intuition, it is often on point for you! When you're not sure what to do, when things feel unclear, check in with your intuition, and let your gut feeling guide you!

15 top characteristics of Highly Sensitive People

Sign nr. 7 : You think a lot.

HSP are deep thinkers. You're not afraid to think about complex and deep things. You're not afraid to go deep with stuff, really get in there, ask hard questions and look at important issues.

You have a higher brain activity and, sometimes, your mind can operate like an instant mind map, also called arborescent thinking, that keeps growing and growing instead of a more linear thinking. Arborescent thinking means that, when you think about something, you immediately start to unfold a wide variety of other thoughts, in several directions, sometimes at the same time. Then it goes on from an idea to a whole bunch of other ideas. Sometimes you can even lose track of the first topic. Does it ring a bell? Do you sometimes wish that you could switch off your mind? Sorry for the bad news guys, but you can’t! You just can’t!

Sign nr. 8 : A heightened body awareness

The same stimulation you get from your external environment is also applicable to your body’s perceptions. You are extremely receptive to what is happening inside you. No pathology or physiological disorder can escape you. Not only do you clearly feel the slightest internal change, but you are also particularly sensitive to pain.

If some HSP may be relatively indifferent to their body signals, others, on the contrary, may take these internal feelings into account and explore them systematically. Sometimes it can lead to hypochondria and you may be tempted to consult more than necessary.

Are you a highly sensitive person or an empath? Take the test below to find out.

test: are you highly sensitive

Sign nr. 9 : Relational intensity

You tend to invest a lot when you meet someone you like, whether in love or in friendship. You are an A to Z person, capable of a lot of commitment, so of course you have generally relationships of intense quality, but it makes you also very vulnerable to breakups or conflicts.

And yes, it is very difficult for you to accept any loss or to face confrontational situations. In any relationship, you invest yourself completely, so when you grieve, the height of your emotions will be comparable to the depth of the feelings you had for the one you lost or had a conflict with.

In addition, you do not understand that others don’t feel the connection into a relationship as intensely as you. This explains the tendency of some highly sensitive people to flee the commitment to avoid the suffering that they associate with the emotional and relational investment. Avoidance can become their mechanism to protect themselves from new hurt and new wounds.

Sign nr. 10 : Mood Reactivity

Being very sensitive to variations in the environment, your mood tends to fluctuate according to your day and the events that punctuate it. People around you, if they are not accustomed to your functioning, may find you unpredictable and difficult to pin down because you can pass from one state to another, without any apparent reason.

But of course, there is a reason around your reactions, only that it is imperceptible for the majority. You simply cannot distance yourself from a context that has a direct influence on your mood. When those around you feel sadness, anger, or tension, you soak it right up. They probably don’t realize that when you’re trying to cheer them up, you’re trying to make the bad feelings go away for yourself too.

For the same reasons, you can also "overreact" depending on the situation, on the people involved and, of course, depending on what triggered you. Even minimal stimuli can have a direct and intense impact on your emotional life, so it is essential to express yourself to better manage these feelings that overwhelm you.


Sign nr. 11 : High interpersonal sensitivity

Impossible to fool yourself: you are extremely aware and receptive to the slightest variations in the attitude of the people you meet. Nothing escapes you. And this can be a source of significant suffering. The slightest unspoken reproach, the slightest disapproval, the slightest negative reaction are likely to hit you head-on and destabilize you. It is like poison for you.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that HSPs often understand other people better than those people understand themselves… just because they can feel exactly what they feel.

But it is also true that it can be difficult for you to open up about what you're perceiving from someone else without taking the risk of being dismissed or mocked… more so if your interlocutor tries to hide their own feelings from you.

So it will cost you greatly and have consequences for your own balance, cognitively and emotionally, because you will have to take it upon yourself and adapt to the situation, keeping everything for yourself without saying one word.

Sign nr. 12 : Esthetic and emotional creativity

HSPs tend to be moved by art and beautiful things in general. A painting, a piece of music, a landscape or a particular light can move you beyond words. This exaltation of looking at beautiful things can often free yourself from deep and buried emotions, from existential feelings.

That’s why creativity is your escape place where you can express yourself and your deepest emotions. But when I say creativity, I am not just talking about art. Even though many artistic people are highly sensitive people, I am also talking about gardening, cooking, home decoration…

There is another creativity that is rarely mentioned and it is our creativity in our relationships with others… and this is a big one!

Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of the creative process in our emotional well-being. But this study goes beyond that. It seems that highly creative people are more inclined to attract partners with whom to create deep emotional bonds that would increase over time. It appears, through these studies, that creativity seems to be the fundamental element so that boredom and dissatisfaction do not settle in any stable, long-term relationship.

Sign nr. 13 : Overstimulation

I don’t believe it’s that far-fetched to say that anyone can experience overstimulation, but HSPs are at a higher risk of feeling it more often. Even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with becoming overstimulated, for you, too many stimuli or too intense stimuli can throw you into a state of confusion and creep up on you. You might find yourself stuck in a critical “flight or fight” dilemma, or experience manifestations of stress and anxiety.

What’s important is knowing the signs and symptoms of overstimulation and how to overcome it. So remember to check in on yourself often — notice how your mind feels, your body feels, what your mood is like. These little check-ins can often help you pinpoint if you’re overstimulated or give you warning signs that something has to change to overcome these states of crisis.

15 top characteristics of Highly Sensitive People

Sign nr. 14 : The tendency to ruminate

You may find it difficult to make decisions. Why’s that? Because you consider the multitude of possibilities that each situation offers. And, in addition, you are easily influenced by the environment, the positions of others, your moods and last minute events...

When you have a choice to make, you tend to think deeply about each option in all its details, you weigh the pros and cons. You tend to think (too much), even to ruminate, without being able to act. The doubt is the one that weighs you down… and handicaps you.

Let your spontaneity be the source where the action takes place. Let your emotions carry you in order to position yourself. They will often lead you in a very fair way… with also the little help of your great intuition.

Sign nr. 15 : The “no-boundary” tendency

Highly sensitive people are known to be really good at loving people. They are the best friends, the reliable co-workers, the caring neighbors and the loving partner.

They are great at holding space for people by making them feel safe, seen, appreciated and loved. They are just there for others.

Although those are great things, but it also comes with a catch. Caring, being the person that people can come to, being always in service to others, can also be used against them, if they do not have healthy boundaries. Having healthy boundaries is one of the most essential things for highly sensitive people.

Because of your giant heart, you might get overwhelmed, depleted and worn out by giving so much from your heart. So you really need to have healthy boundaries, first of all, to be able to give freely, but also to not give everything, so that you end up as a shell of yourself.

The starting point to keep healthy boundaries is to learn how to say no, because chances that you have a hard time to do it are likely… just because you are generally a people-pleaser, always avoiding to disappoint those around you. But more than often, it is you that you are harming.

So these are the 15 main characteristics of High Sensitivity. Did most of them resonate with you? All of them?

Did you get one of those aha moments… oh my gosh, this makes so much sense?

Let me know in the comment section below which ones do you relate with and share with us if you experience other traits.



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What is your biggest struggle?

  • Feeling emotionally drained

  • Moving on and letting go

  • Criticism and conflict

  • Being under pressure

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