We all feel overloaded or overstimulated from time to time. But does this happen to you more often than to someone else? Then perhaps you are highly sensitive. High Sensitivity (HSP) is not a psychological disorder, but ‘just’ an inborn character trait. People with HSP have exceptional qualities, but it can also be difficult to deal with HSP. HSP therapy offers support when your high sensitivity gets in your way.
Symptoms of HSP
About 15% to 20% of people are highly sensitive to a greater or lesser degree. Someone with HSP is more than average aware of the situation around him and inside. This ensures that an HSP person constantly receives a lot of information. Moreover, this information is processed quickly and thoroughly. Under ideal circumstances, this has many advantages, but logically it also leads to overloading. So we describe someone with HSP as oversensitive to ‘stimuli’. Do you recognize yourself in some of the following symptoms? Then you are probably highly sensitive.
- You don’t like too many sensory stimuli, such as lots of sounds, busy images, strong smells, or unexpected touches.
- You startle easily, for example from sudden, loud bangs or scary moments in movies.
- You can judge situations well and notice danger faster than others.
- You are aware of your own emotions and mood and can judge those of others well as well.
- You are able to put yourself in another person’s situation or emotions and show empathy.
- You can completely lose yourself in a beautiful book, movie, music, or art and are often deeply moved by it.
- You are always very aware of the atmosphere in a room and this influences your own mood.
- You tend to overthink situations unnecessarily.
- You are sensitive to pain or hunger and react strongly to alcohol or caffeine.
HSP in practice
HSPs have special qualities due to their strong awareness and empathy. They are good at processing information, applying nuance, and assessing situations. They also have an eye for detail, can focus well, and have great human insight.
The other side of the coin is that it can be difficult for an HSP to guard their own boundaries. The need for withdrawal and time alone is often explained by others as shyness or a lack of social skills. This is often not the case but still causes HSPs to tend to conform to the norms of their environment. This soon results in over-stimulation.
Dealing with HSP
Continuous overstimulation can have serious psychological consequences. If you often go beyond your limits, you initially experience fatigue, stress, and moodiness. If this lasts too long, it can turn into anxiety and panic disorders, burn-out, and even depression. HSP therapy ensures that you will see and treat your high sensitivity as a quality instead of as a handicap.
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Therapy for HSP
During the therapy, indicating boundaries is often central. First of all, you learn when you become overstimulated and what signals precede this. Then you work on adjusting your lifestyle so that overstimulation does not occur too often. Attention is also paid to what you can do to relax when it does become too much for you. By creating better circumstances for yourself, you get the space to make use of the benefits of HSP!