I used to feel like an outcast. It all started in primary school when I was forced to function in a class full of 30 children. I felt completely overwhelmed by seeing the others run around, playing and hearing them talk and sometimes even scream. I would come home feeling exhausted and not being able to place my ‘symptoms’ rationally, I developed physical symptoms. Being at school often gave me severe stomach aches and when it got too much for me, I would get the flu so that I could withdraw myself for a few days.
As I grew older, I still didn’t know what was ‘wrong’ with me and why I wasn’t able to enjoy the things other kids enjoyed. I’d rather be playing at home alone than getting overwhelmed engaging in other children’s games. When I was a teen, I didn’t like horror movies like my peers, because they would leave me feeling anxious for the rest of the week. I absolutely detested parties, because loud noises, lots of people, flickering lights and the smell of other people’s sweat just made me feel miserable. Only years later, I discovered that I was an HSP.
HSP stands for Highly Sensitive person. This phenomenon is more common than you think: research has shown that 1 in 5 people is an HSP. So what is it? HSPs are people who have stronger senses than the average person and this can lead to overwhelm, stress, anxiety and exhaustion, among many other problems. In this article, I will share with you the problems HSPs can experience in our chaotic society and later on I’ll share the perks of being an HSP.
Being HSP can include the following characteristics:
Having sensitive hearing: being triggered by loud noises. This can vary between experiencing overwhelm while being at a party or walking through a crowded street and physically having ear pain and headaches while confronted with unexpected sounds.
Being sensitive to touch and having sensitive skin. This can include feeling uncomfortable when other people touch you unexpectantly or detesting uncomfortable clothes. Another characteristic is having allergic reactions to cleaning agents, perfumes or skin products.
Having sensitive eyes: getting triggered easily when seeing a lot of things. Examples are busy streets and social gatherings, but also bright lamps and flickering lights. Even watching fast movies can be exhausting.
Having sensitive smell and taste. Highly Sensitive People can have a strong sense of smell and taste. This can lead to feeling unsettled or even nauseous when smelling for example chemical cleaning products, strong perfumes, expired foods and pollution in the streets.
If you experience any of these traits, you are probably an HSP. I must admit that it sounds exhausting, but, fear not! There are also a lot of perks to being highly sensitive. I personally love being sensitive and I enjoy experiencing the beauty life has to offer. Below I will list my favourites!
- Seeing beautiful things around you
- Noticing how the sunlight reflects on the water
- Feeling euphoric when tasting amazing food
- Enjoying trying new foods
- Feeling relaxed when you smell the flowers and trees in the park
- Connecting to nature
- Feeling at home when you smell something familiar
- Feeling alive when a soft breeze strokes your skin
- Sunlight touching your skin and warming up your body
- Receiving a hug from someone you love
- Cuddling with your pets
- Walking barefoot on the beach and feeling the sand between your toes
- Listening to your favourite music
- Hearing the voice of your loved ones
Which perks of being highly sensitive would you add to the list? Comment below!