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Highly Sensitive Person: The Personality Temperament

Updated on October 8, 2012

HS People

A Highly Sensitive Person also known as HSP’s are a group of people that make of 20% of the population. It is an innate trait of being highly sensitive, a highly sensitive person processes information differently to others because they process information more carefully, and this is because the Nervous System is different.

How do you know if you’re Highly Sensitive?

There are many books written on the topic by psychologist,however there are some things that give you an understanding to the traits of a Highly Sensitive Person:

*Affected by other people’s moods?

*Moved by works of Art or Music?

*Affected by Criticism?

If the answer is yes to the above questions, there is achance of being a Highly Sensitive person and this will affect life in both apositive and negative manner. (link to the test at the end)

The positive aspects of being a highly sensitive person is they usually make the most loyal workers and make an effort to put in a good performance in what they do, they work very well alone and come up with great ideas which are due to their trait of processing information deeper.

A highly sensitive person is most likely a highly intelligent person and has great imagination;they excel in the fields of Art, Music and Creative Professions.

The negative aspect of High sensitivity is that they are easily overwhelmed by stress andnegativity, this may cause depression and they are more likely to self medicatein forms such as alcoholism or stress aiding medication.

Their ability to perform in high stress situations is limited because they process informationdeeply and don’t work well in these situations for example a highly sensitive student is less likely to raise their hand in class.

Related traits and Misconceptions

A HSP is easily mistaken and described as being very shy, timid,too sensitive and introverted. Although these traits are closely related a Highly Sensitive Person is different as stated by Elaine N Aron thepsychologist the researcher and pioneer. For a shy person wouldn’t speak on astage because of fear and on the other hand a HSP will not speak on stage because it will take longer to process and think about rather than fear.

Highly Sensitive Children

As it is a trait from birth, there are children that arehighly sensitive and should be treated differently.

A HSP child will be deeply affected by all forms of abuse, such as verbal and physical far greatthan non HSPs. Parents of a HSP child should punish the child milder and make teachers aware of the child’s trait.

There is evidence suggesting HSP children with good childhoods turn out better in life, however those will poor childhoods usuallysuffer with bouts of depression and low self esteem throughout their lives.

HighlySensitive People at Work

HSP employees make great worker, they are very loyal and thoughtfulto the customer’s needs. They work best in quiet environments and are good for the social energy of the work place.

They do not work well when being watched so therefore other methods of observing the HSP should be used.

A HSP needs time to be alone so at break hours at work theymay be less social and take time to be alone to process their thoughts.

They are less likely to be noticed at work as there are not boastful;however they are very valuable and usually very highly intelligent.

Highly Sensitive Students

HSP students may seem shy and quiet in class; they may alsobe called introverted. However this may not be the case, a HSP will be quiet inclass because it takes them longer to process information as they think deeply.

They will also under perform in a noisy class or when being teased as it wears them down more, their grades are rarely a reflection of theirintelligence as they are prone to under performance.

They will excel in creative subjects or topic that they aremoved by, they make good readers but will under perform when teased.

How to Treat a Highly Sensitive Person

Be aware they are more sensitive and will take things toheart, even if they don’t show it. Being sensitive is not an indication ofweakness and so should not be treated in that manner.

A HSP will recognisethe little things they will appreciate any form of kindness vice versa theywill not forget easily if they have been maltreated in any way. A highlysensitive person may take longer to forgive.

Highly Sensitive People in Relationships

Research shows that a HSP may fall in love more deeply thanothers, they also sometimes have avoidance behaviour. HSP are loyal in their relationshipsand they don’t take break-ups and the stress of a relationship very well.

Some Facts about HSPs

*Animals can be highly sensitive too

*30% of Highly Sensitive People are Extroverted

*They are good at reading people someone that knows a HSP may think they read minds!

*Males are just as likely to be HSP as females

*They notice things that others wouldn’t

*They can be referred as ‘Gifted’ set of people

*There intelligence can easily be overlooked, they may notbe the top in class or the best student


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am an HSP also and my grades reflected underachievement as well. I found myself reading too deeply into some test questions until they didn't make sense anymore. I always felt distracted by other people and felt like classes are not designed for an HSP to do well at all. I only did good when I felt like my teacher was an hsp also or I was really interested in the subject.

    • johnshade profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pandora

      Thanks for the comments. high sensitivity is a great trait with good management.And your right stress is the main factor.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Another great hub on sensitivity. I am highly sensitive, and find that my sensitivity can be mistaken for weakness. I have read the books and websites on this topic, and endeavour to try to cut down on stress as much as I can. Thanks for writing about this highly misunderstood topic!

    • lea86 profile image


      7 years ago

      I strongly believe that I am in this category, however I don't take drugs or alcohol to release stress. Recently, I am trying to overcome my sensitivity because it can lead to unstable emotion and will cause to depression. I am learning not to take things seriously.It is true that HP people are not the best student because their concentration are control by emotion.They are at their best when their emotion is stable.

      Thanks for the hub, it gives me more information about HP people.

    • johnshade profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pandora

      sounds great susan, your right it takes families a while, it took my family about 18 years to realize, i am more sensitive than others.

      same with me I can off medication nd changed my life style, stress was my trigger

      Good luck with your book- it will be a great help to HSP's :)

    • susanmarion profile image


      8 years ago from Bunnell

      My family had no clue about HSP's and I am one. I suffered from depression much of my life, using exercise to avoid medications. Then I figured out how to change my thinking so I didn't take so much on. Now I have a book coming out about how I did that. A happy ending!

    • johnshade profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pandora


      Yes studies have shown that HSP's tend to be highly intelligent. It one of the traits. Beware however A-students are not necessarily the smartest, educational success is not a reflection of intelligence

    • profile image

      Highly Sensitive Person 

      8 years ago

      Are Highly Sensitive People always considered to be more intelligent? Is this a trait of the condition?

    • BennyTheWriter profile image


      8 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

      Some real eye-openers here. It was interesting to see how HSPs differ from shy people; "outgoing" and "social" people definitely tend to oversimplify the experiences of more withdrawn people.


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