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HSP / Highly Sensitive Person [Meaning, Features & Tips]

HSP / Highly Sensitive Person [Meaning, Features & Tips]

What is HSP (in other words: high sensitivity)? How can you deal with it if you are a highly sensitive person? Here you will find all the features and tips, for both children and adults.

What is the meaning of the term HSP (highly sensitive person)?

HSP stands for Highly Sensitive Person  and is a relatively very young term. The term was introduced in 1996. In short, it means that your senses, emotions and thoughts are more sensitive than other people.

Is high sensitivity a negative thing? Absolutely not!

Fortunately, high sensitivity is not in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) because it concerns innate character traits. And character traits simply have advantages and disadvantages , yet high sensitivity is wrongly sometimes misinterpreted as a diagnosis or disorder. It is therefore incorrect to use the word ‘symptoms’ instead of ‘characteristics’. In fact, it is more justified to see HSP as a talent.

HSP occurs in approximately 15 to 20 percent of people. So it is very normal.

Characteristics of HSPs

hsp highly sensitive

Below you will find the most important features of HSP. View the properties and test yourself whether you are also highly sensitive.

A word in advance: high sensitivity has nothing to do with spirituality and supernatural matters. Just because someone can perceive more subtleties does not mean that person is psychic. After the list below, we will briefly discuss the fact that this does apply the other way around: people with spiritual gifts are often highly sensitive.

  • HSPs can pick up subtle environmental signals.
  • They can be affected by how other people feel.
  • They need to be able to withdraw so they can be alone. That’s how they recharge. They also get extra tired of social contact, because they pick up on the emotions and energies of others.
  • Their senses are extra open, so they can easily become overloaded with things such as lots of lights, smells and sounds.
  • They have a rich personal experience inside.
  • They can be carried along and moved by a piece of music or art.
  • Can be deeply moved by art or music.
  • They are conscientious (conscientious).
  • They can easily be startled.
  • If an HSP starts something, it is also completely finished. He / she really goes for it!
  • Highly sensitive people like to take care of others, and even feel that someone needs help before the other has been able to ask for help.
  • They find authenticity important and therefore have sharp antennas for people who are not authentic.
  • Getting a lot done in a short amount of time can make them feel uncomfortable, irritated, and rushed.
  • They prefer not to like violent action movies.
  • When there is a lot going on around them, they feel a bit uncomfortable about it.
  • They find change challenging.
  • Parents and teachers called them shy when they were children. However, they are not shy but very social (it just takes them a bit more energy).
  • An HSP also needs more in-depth, distinctive (spiritual) conversations.
  • They have a better developed intuition.
  • There are not necessarily external characteristics of HSPs.
  • They can learn well (especially languages). Almost all gifted individuals are highly sensitive.
  • An HSP is very good at reading between the lines. A highly sensitive person perceives nuances in the voice, sound, pitch and body language very easily. This allows the other to be quickly seen through.

Highly sensitive people are not always new age children, but new age children are always highly sensitive. So take a look at the enumerations of the characteristics of modern children and lightworkers .

Consequences of HSP & tips: how can you deal with HSP?

hsp properties

Highly sensitive children and adults must adapt to the innate properties of HSP. That means:

  • More rest take for themselves.
  • Recharge himself by being alone more often We call that alone time, or me-time.
  • More frequent visits to nature so that over-stimulation of busy locations can be limited.
  • Letting go of feelings of guilt and inferiority about HSP.
  • Not adapting to the behavior of non-HSPs. In other words, ‘stay with yourself.’
  • Be alert to exaggeration and victim behavior: continue to take responsibility.
  • Develop assertiveness.
  • Continue to participate in social life.
  • Contributing to society by using their talent : because of their high sensitivity, they can process more information – and even better – than others. They are the ideal employee: loyal, conscientious, accurate, focused on quality and they have a lot of insight.
  • The fact that highly sensitive people absorb many emotions from situations does not have to be a disadvantage. HSPs can use their gift by enjoying life even more through fun events. Positive experiences – just like negative experiences – also have an extra powerful effect on highly sensitive people. So make sure you experience a lot of positivity by hanging out with nice people!
  • Use these tips to find more balance in your life.  For example, more balance can also have a positive impact on relationships.
  • Feel free to push your limits so that you get to know them better. Many HSPs find three appointments in a day on the edge, while others can easily cram a lot in between. Many non-HSPs go from appointment A to appointment B to phone call C to gym D to game night E to party F in one day and in the meantime they have contact with six people via Whatsapp. For an HSP employee, appointment B might have been enough to cancel all other appointments or not have booked them at all. This is of course not a problem, because everyone is different. On the other hand, it is not bad to push your limits. In any case, it won’t kill you.
  • Respect your boundaries and say no .
  • Feel your body consciously. Do a quick body scan.
  • Slow down your breathing for a moment and take a deep breath through your stomach – so actually let your stomach get bigger. Then let all the air out, along with a mantra like, ‘I let go of everything that is not mine, what is not today and what is not now.
  • Feel regularly how the ground carries you: make contact with the ground.
  • Clean your aura. That is very welcome after a day in which you have received all kinds of energies from others.

A very important one is that HSPs do not go too far in their talents of empathy and sensitivity. It is important to define (energetic) boundaries so that you are not saddled with other people’s misery and do not let others walk over you.

HSP is – just like autism – a strength and a talent.

Evolutionary Connections of HSP: The Arrival of New Age Children

The creator of the term HSP argues – on the basis of research from evolutionary psychology – that more and more indications are known about the evolutionary usefulness of people with HSP: high sensitivity entails all kinds of loving qualities, such as empathy, loyalty, conscience and altruism .

The rise in the number of highly sensitive children (New Age children ) could take humanity’s development to a new level of love and peace.

There is little scientific criticism of HSP, but mainstream psychology is not yet adopting it en masse

Psychological symptoms are generally difficult to substantiate neurologically. This applies, for example, to ADHD, and therefore also to HSP. In addition, there is little or no criticism of HSP because it is a normal condition in which some people are more sensitive than average people.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!