7 Surprising Things That Happen To Your Body When You’re A Highly Sensitive Person
Most sensitive people know that their emotions can be influenced by the subtlest of actions, but it's not just their feelings that can be so easily affected by others — they can have a physical response too. There are a number of physical symptoms of being a highly sensitive person, which can explain why sensitive people tend to get sick more often or deal with other health issues. Our brain and our bodies are very intertwined, so when you absorb a lot of information mentally, it tends to affect your physical health as well. And for highly sensitive people, who tend to have very strong emotional, mental, and physical reactions to external, or internal stimuli, this can be exacerbated.
"It’s amazing how much our mind and body are connected," therapist Celeste Viciere, LMHC tells Bustle. "Because there is so much stigma in our society, people tend to avoid talking about their emotions. When we do not talk or consciously think about our emotions, they are displayed through our actions and our bodies. I have had clients come to me due to recommendations from their doctor because of physical issues which they had not been able to solve."
Sometimes, these physical reactions are unavoidable, but dealing with your emotions by engaging in healthy habits can help alleviate any issues. Here are seven surprising things that happen to your body when you're a highly sensitive person.
Our moods and emotions aren't just processed in our brain and by our central nervous system, but by our enteric nervous system, aka the gut, as well. "As an [highly] sensitive person, the extra load of feelings you might be reacting to and processing may explain why you experience stomach pain or digestive discomfort," psychotherapist Kathleen Dahlen deVos tells Bustle. So if stressful or emotional situations often cause you to have stomach issues, this may be an indicator that you are a highly sensitive person.
"Twitching is another potential physical symptom," says Viciere. "Some people have found their eyes, legs, or other body parts begin moving more frequently, and they may not even realize it’s happening." Fatigue, stress, and anxiety can all trigger twitching, so it's no surprise emotionally sensitive people tend to experience it more often.
Hair loss can also occur as a result of unresolved emotion, and reactions to overwhelming internal and external circumstances. "The body is so focused on carrying emotional stress, its other systems become compromised and suffer," integrative therapist Dr. Karin Luise tells Bustle. "The body starts shedding layers of itself in an attempt to signal it needs to release toxins."
Having an extra sensitivity to emotional situations can also cause some skin issues. "Stressors can cause different parts of your body to actually break out," says Viciere. Although many skin problems can be physiological, psychological factors can activate or worsen certain skin conditions, according to Harvard Health. A trip to the dermatologist can help with any skin issues, but if you are having trouble coping with high levels of sensitivity, speaking with a therapist could be a good idea.
In addition to breakouts, unexplained rashes can also occur. "The rashes are the skin’s flare-ups (literally, like flares) signaling an imbalance that needs healing and agitation that needs releasing," says Luise. Once again, a dermatologist can help address any rashes that may crop up, but practicing self-care, or speaking to a loved one or therapist can also help diminish your stress.
"[Highly] sensitive people notice, react to, feel, and process more information than their counterparts," says deVos. "They are often more detail oriented, perceptive, and quick to respond to stimulation. As a result, they may be more prone to headaches or even migraines, as it’s harder to screen out stimulation, distraction and emotionally taxing situations." Because the brain is reacting to everything it encounters, headaches can be common for highly sensitive people.
For someone who is feeling things intensely, for themselves and for those around them, Compassion Fatigue is possible. "This is the equivalent of an emotional hangover," says deVos. "Everything impacts you in a deep and intense way, which, overtime, results in a decrease in your capacity to process and deal with emotions. This manifests as feeling blue, exhausted, or anxious."
Not everyone who is sensitive will experience these symptoms, but they are common in those who meet the profile for a highly sensitive person. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, and believe they are a result of being a highly sensitive person, engaging in self-care habits or speaking with someone you trust can help manage these symptoms if they are getting in the way.