High sensitivity – recognizing signs and learning how to deal with them

Are just a few more people around you too much, or are you insane with street noise, flashing lights, or a combination of these things all at once? Or do you meet other people and do you immediately understand their emotional state? If so, it could be that you are highly sensitive. But what is that exactly?

High sensitivity – how do you recognize it?

The American psychologist Elaine Aron coined the term high sensitivity in the 1990s. according to her about 20 percent of the population highly sensitive, you also perceive stimuli from the environment as others perceive. According to the psychologist, high sensitivity is not a disease, but a special kind of Stimulus processing in the nervous system. It is a character trait that those affected cannot shed.
Affected people react e.g. B. sensitive to sounds and smells, as well as to light. They quickly suffer from sensory overload, for example if there is constant noise, people are talking to each other and then the phones are ringing. Others are stressed by crowds at concerts or shopping. At the same time, highly sensitive people are particularly sensitive and sensitive with a high degree of empathy because they can grasp the mood of other people more quickly.

I am everyday life and in society Highly sensitive people often encounter a lack of understanding or sometimes even rejection because they perceive others as outsiders or have different needs in certain situations. According to Aron, it could be because of the cultural attitudes of Western countries that sensitivity is still seen as something negative.

Possible signs of high sensitivity

  • stronger pain perception

  • Noises, smells or bright lights are perceived as disturbing or unbearable

  • Tendency to get exhausted and overwhelmed
  • Diligence, conscientiousness, thoroughness e.g. B. when completing tasks
  • perfectionism
  • Aversion to conflict, preference for harmony
  • Multitasking is difficult
  • tendency to be alone
  • Tendency to thoughtfulness and introversion
  • jumpiness
  • Test anxiety and nervousness, e.g. B. when others watch you work
  • greater sensitivity
  • rather introverted as extrovert behavior
  • advanced creativity
  • high enthusiasm
  • strong susceptibility to other people’s moods

The more of these signs apply to you, the higher the probability that you are highly sensitive. However, the symptoms can vary in severity.

Causes of high sensitivity

at High sensitivity is not a disease, but rather a personality trait, was inherited. children, the one People who are predisposed to high sensitivity are more likely to develop this trait when they are more exposed to certain environmental stimuli.

Researchers used MRI to examine different areas of the brain of highly sensitive people and found that greater activation of the insular cortex is visible. Part of the brain – also “seat of consciousness” called – which is associated with the processing of the various sensory stimuli. Because of Researchers were able to determine activation patterns in the brain that highly sensitive people can perceive positive, but also negative feelings of others more strongly than the average person.

Diagnosis of high sensitivity

Since hypersensitivity is not a disease, the exact name and the existence of the phenomenon are disputed among scientists. It is undisputed that people can react very differently to stimuli.
In order to diagnose a high sensitivity, a questionnaire used, which is filled out with self-descriptions of the person concerned. The document is based on the example of researcher Elaine Aron. The disadvantage of this variant is the risk of confusion with other mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorders. However, since research on this topic is still in its infancy, there is no suitable alternative yet.

The high sensitivity test

To determine high sensitivity, Elaine Aron developed a test in which people respective degree of agreement for 27 statements such as “strong stimuli such as loud noises or chaotic scenes bother me a lot”. The test can be broken down into three components:

  1. The first component is easy excitability, which is caused by being overwhelmed by internal and external demands.
  2. The second component, aesthetic sensitivity, receptivity to stimuli.
  3. The third component, the low perception threshold, is expressed in a sensory arousal that is perceived as unpleasant when it comes to external stimuli.

Dealing with high sensitivity

To an outsider, people with high sensitivity can be taken for complicated and unsociable. However, this quality is not only a curse, but can also be a blessing if handled correctly.


First things first: accept the high sensitivity and the fact that you feel and react differently than others. Depending on your sensitivity, you should take time for yourself and rest without completely isolating yourself from others. A healthy middle ground is the best solution.

self love
Learning to love yourself doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and continuity. Instead of wanting to conform to society’s norms and downplaying your own feelings, you should learn to accept and love your character traits. While it may be difficult at first, the sensations are not a weakness to be ashamed of, they are simply a part of who you are.

Let your head rest
Many highly sensitive people ponder and analyze a lot. Movement is essential for the brain to rest. Therefore, exercise regularly, do yoga or go for at least one rest walk every day.

Face the high sensitivity

It is said that those who avoid more and more stressful situations become even more sensitive. Instead of hiding in your own four walls, YOU should face your triggers without overtaxing yourself. Go e.g. B. Go to a party or company where you are exposed to your triggers. Afterwards, treat yourself to rest and a break. As a result, the body and psyche learn to deal better with such situations.

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