While sobbing at the drop of a hat is known to be a key indicator of someone who is highly emotional, there are other not-so-subtle signs that you're a hypersensitive person. You just have to be attuned to the signals. Even though there can be a stigma when it comes to someone who takes things personally more than others, there are also benefits to being an individual who is more aware of their surroundings.
"Sensitive individuals are know to be empathetic, if coupled with high emotional intelligence (self-aware, self-regulated, socially skilled, and self-motivated) and well maintained self-care, sensitivity can be an all around asset," says director of clinical health psychology and founder of our new Health Psychology & Wellness Center at Behavioral Associates Dr. Michele Barton in an interview with Bustle over email.
If you're already aware that you're overly sensitive, try to learn how to become more emotionally intelligent, so you can avoid creating excess stress in your life. "Coupled with low emotional intelligence, sensitivity can cause anxiety, distress, social isolation, failure to thrive, and poor professional/personal experiences," continues Barton. Not sure if you're the type of person who views things through highly-sensitive glasses? Here are 11 signs that you just might be.
1. Your General Emotions Are More Extreme
Being sensitive doesn't necessarily mean that you're the type of person who cries all the time, but that your emotions are just a little bit more heightened than other people's. "In general, we are looking for levels of emotion that seem drastically different from the average person experiencing the same environmental stimulation. Extreme experiences like laughing much louder and longer than the other people in the comedy club, or crying more intensely than your friends watching the same sad movie," says Barton.
2. You're More Self-Aware Than Others
Hypersensitive people tend to be more self-aware. They are attuned to their emotions and can comprehend why exactly they are feeling a certain way. "Positively sensitive people are known to have high levels of self-awareness, with maintained self-regulation; this sensitivity enables them to be successful, thoughtful, attentive, well-balanced and socially gifted," says Barton. But be careful. If you have low self-regulation, it could make you emotionally unbalanced. "Sensitive individuals with low self-awareness and those with high self-awareness and low self-regulation, can result in unbalanced individual with poor social connectivity, poor work relations, unregulated self-care, and very high (externalized or extroverted) or very low levels (internalized or introverted) of emotional expression can result."
3. You're Detailed-Oriented
While you may be highly attuned to your emotions, you're also very aware of the details surrounding your environment. "Highly sensitive people have a lot of information being processed in more brain regions than non-sensitive individuals. This information in the brain of a sensitive person can be beneficial in the right environment as they have increased attention to details often overlooked by others," says Barton.
4. You Constantly Overwork Yourself
Highly sensitive people in the workplace tend to take on more than they can chew without realizing it, and because of this, burn out quicker than most. "This sensitivity and empathy can result in the sensitive person taking on too many responsibilities as to overcompensate for the lack of attention/initiative shown by low sensitivity people. This can create a situation in which a highly sensitive person is unable to self-regulate due to over-working and an inability to prioritized self-care over professional goals (I’ve seen this in clients...far too often)," says Barton.
5. You Become Easily Overwhelmed
Due to the fact that sensitive people tend to take on more emotionally and physically, it's sometimes easy for them to feel overwhelmed. "Under these circumstances, this person is likely to become more easily overwhelmed thereby compromising productivity, building resentment, and causing increased burnout potential. This creates and or increases the negative aspects of sensitivity, causing overstimulation by information and changes, irritability, explosive and uncontrollable emotions, disorganization, poor social functioning, and if not attended to can lead to severe withdrawal, anxiety and/or depression," says Barton.
6. You React More Quickly To Certain Situations
While highly-sensitive people tend to have heightened emotions, it can be harder for them to not jump to conclusions. "Some of the signs are an overactive startled reaction to innocuous noises, intense emotion, overreactions unwarranted by the circumstances, distrust, poor sleep quality, digestive issues, and an overall frazzled state," says Barton. "In many cases, this can be life-saving for police officers and others in the line of duty. Hypersensitivity is integral for patrolling the environment, protecting people, and staying alive. In other circumstances where the actual perceived threat is misinterpreted, meaning something is thought to be a threat when it actually is not, individuals can overreact emotionally and physically creating undue distress, anxiety, and eventually — if this continues over an extended period of time — can cause extreme emotional dysregulation, and exhaustion."
7. You Communicate Well With Others
The cool thing about being more in touch with your feelings is that you can normally easily connect with others."Functionally sensitive people are known to be organized, thoughtful, reflective, not impulsive, with good personal boundaries, and great people skills. They are organized, considerate, empathic, and motivated to succeed, all qualities that usually contribute to optimized performance in many work environments," says Barton.
8. You Tend To Attack The Person Rather Than Fix The Issue
The bad thing about being overly sensitive? You tend to attack people when you're frustrated instead of working on the problem together. "When you get upset, you attack the person and not the issue. You say things you do not mean, as you want them to feel as bad as you. You take things that people say as feedback in the worst possible way, never allowing for the fact that it could come from a good place and place of growth," says psychologist Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC in an interview with Bustle over email.
9. You Can Sometimes Overanalyze Situations
While other people might let go of the situation after a few minutes, sensitive people tend to replay the scenario in their head over and over again. "Playing out in your mind fights that have yet to happen, and may never happen. Daydreaming about disagreements. Not being able to let the thoughts of something that happened go. Letting them be intrusive and keeping you from being able to focus on what you need too" are all signs of someone who is hypersensitive, according to Martinez.
10. You Take Longer To Make Decisions
According to the the Huffington Post, because overly sensitive people are more detailed-oriented, they consider more factors when making decisions. While most mundane decisions might not seem like big deal to someone else, a hypersensitive person will weigh every possible outcome before making a decision.
11. You Like To Work Alone
Even though working in groups can be fun and collaborative, sensitive people tend to accomplish more when they're alone. According to HelloGiggles, sensitive people like to work alone because they get to control their environment and they get extra privacy that helps them focus.
If you tend to view yourself as an overly sensitive person, try not to see it as a negative. There are a lot of perks when it comes to being more attuned with your feelings. And while it might get exhausting every once in a while to be a hypersensitive individual, being aware of these signs can help you understand yourself better as well as know how to communicate with others, too.
Images: Pexels; Bustle
Happy shopping! FYI, Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which were added independently from Bustle's sales and editorial departments after publication.