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So I'm a Highly Sensitive Person, Now What? - A Survival Guide for Highly Sensitive People

Updated on June 27, 2016

My biggest weakness is my sensitivity. I am too sensitive a person.

— Mike Tyson

So Just How Sensitive Are You? Let's Find out Before We Begin.

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Discovering that You are One of the Highly Sensitive Clan

So now you know. How does it feel? I'd wager that you are feeling a mixture of relief and curiosity with a healthy sprinkle of joy.

That's how I felt after spending my entire life up until that moment believing I was an alien of some kind - and not even the cool kind, more like the boring, soppy doormat kind...

What Comes Next?

To start with, it's time you stopped:

  • Feeling guilty
  • Hating on yourself
  • Hiding away from the world (at least slightly)
  • Putting yourself down
  • Feeling inferior to everyone else
  • Feeling like you're the only one
  • Watching others and wishing you could be more like them

And time you started:

  • Researching the HSP trait or what it means to be a highly sensitive person
  • Finding others like yourself
  • Embracing your high sensitivity and all the wonders it holds in store
  • Reading and learning about HSP who have successfully negotiated life and all its trials and tribulations - despite their sensitivity
  • Learning within which careers and lifestyle HSPs thrive in so you can start afresh with an idea of where you are going



Some Questions Answered


ANSWER 1: No, you are part of the 15 - 20% that make up the highly sensitive population. You are a valuable member of society. You teach, nurture, advise, feel and love.

Highly Sensitive Person Questions

QUESTION 1: Am I weird?

ANSWER 2: First off, understand that your brain is pretty much wired to take everything personally. It's innate to HSPs so you can't stop it but you can learn to deal with it and I'll give you some techniques in this guide.

QUESTION 2: How do I stop taking everything so personally?

ANSWER 3: Highly sensitive people can be successful in whatever they wish. However, it's probably easier for us to pursue careers that match up with our innate gifts. Careers like teaching and counseling. I'll share some career types with you later in this guide.

QUESTION 3: How can I be successful when I'm so sensitive?

ANSWER 4: You can't stop, but you can learn to get better at controlling it and dealing with it when it overwhelms you. I'll share some techniques to help you do that.

QUESTION 4: Is there a way to stop being so sensitive?

ANSWERS 5: With your ability to understand others and care for them, nurse, teacher, counselor. With your ability to be creative, writer, artist, designer, and with your ability to mimic and act, an actor, comedian, entertainer. I'll share some more with you further on in this guide.

QUESTION 5: What kind of career can I have as a highly sensitive person?

I have a high degree of sensitivity, always have. I was very shy as a child. I don't know why that was.

— Nick Nolte

Highly Sensitive People Poll

How well have you managed to integrate into society as a highly sensitive person?

See results

Now You See me, Now You Don't!


Tips and Techniques to Control Your Sensitivity Levels

Forget the Blame Game

"Non-sensitive," "Normal," call them what you will, they don't get us -- we don't get them.

Whatever you do, don't blame them. Family, friends, strangers -- whoever, blaming them for making you feel bad won't help. Don't get caught up in the blame game.

It doesn't matter how or why they hurt you, don't dwell on it because it will rot away inside you and manifest as even more powerful anxiety, followed by pain in your body, back, allergies, you name it.

Always Pack Your Survival Kit

Plan ahead and pack yourself a little survival kit before you go anywhere there might be a risk of you becoming overstimulated. Take some:

  • Earphones for the subway
  • A hat and sunglasses for the concert to make your world a little smaller
  • Some soft music on your ipod for those loud places that leave you shaken
  • A stress ball, a symbol of power you can hold in your hand

Stop, Look and Speak Mirror Technique

For highly sensitive people, the best friends we can have are ourselves. All highly sensitive people have an inner dialogue ongoing at all times anyway, but sometimes our minds can runaway on negative tandems. Loneliness, shame and feelings of unworthiness can often take over and leave us feeling empty.

Each time you pass a mirror, smile, nod, compliment yourself. When you're feeling down, go stand in front of the mirror, stare deeply into your eyes and tell yourself it's going to be okay.

Counsel yourself with a reassuring smile. Believe me, it works better than staring into space fighting an inner battle.

Focus on Your Gifts

Don't spend your life or those moments of overwhelm focusing on all the negative aspects of your trait. For every bad aspect, there's a dozen good, for example:

  • "I take things too personally," can instead become, "I'm open and honest with my feelings," "I love loving others," "nothing makes me happier than seeing others smile and laugh."
  • "I get sun burned easily," can become," "My skin is so smooth," "I feel the wind, the sun and soft textures against my skin so effortlessly."

Cherish the gifts we have.

Immerse Yourself in Nature from Time to Time

Nature, pets, a pond, a stream, gentle wind, whatever you can, if it's natural it'll heal you better than anything else can.

Highly sensitive people thrive near water and in the arms of nature and so it's only "natural" that we spend as much time in it as we possibly can.

You'll find your anxiety and stress levels drop considerably when you just spend even as little as 5 minutes a day in nature's embrace.

Sound the Retreat

When the world is going into meltdown around you, people are losing it, arguing or even joking and things are getting loud with energy bundles flying around -- retreat. Don't excuse yourself, just GO get out of there and go sit down somewhere for a while until its over.

Hanging around will only leave you shaken and draw unwanted attention. After all, who likes explaining their sensitivity to non-sensitives?

Keep Yourself Busy

Take up some hobbies, get creative, use your natural gifts to build something, a garden, a pond, paintings, art, writing. Express yourself and your innate creativity and you'll find you settle into a rhythm that leaves you content with life.

Regular Naps to Recharge

Either sleep well or take regular naps. Highly sensitive people need a lot of sleep to function in society and to maintain an overall level of happiness. For some of us, it's not possible to avoid daily immersion in the hubbub of this high-speed society and that can lead to anxiety and fear if we aren't well rested.

I'm sensitive and get easily upset and insulted.

— Sia Furler

My Time!


Careers for Highly Sensitive People

Whether we like it or not, the bills need to be paid and that means someone has to work. Sure, we all have to do jobs we don't like sometimes in order to bring in some quick cash or even a prolonged stream of cash when times are tough BUT as highly sensitive people, we'll never thrive in jobs like:

  • Shelf stacking
  • Cashier
  • Factory
  • Waiting tables
  • Cooking
  • Office jobs

Our specific set of abilities just doesn't match up with that kind of work therefore we'll always be feeling like we want more and that we're worth more. The road to happiness is paved with things you enjoy and excel at doing and that's where you should begin.

You might be tied to a job right now or stuck at home on benefits, it doesn't matter, there's always time to invest a little of yourself in learning more about the kind of career best suited to you. The list below only scratches the surface. Each of those careers can be broken down into smaller and smaller niches like:

Writer--->novel writer--->eBook writer--->Fantasy eBook writer--->Fantasy short story eBook writer--->blogger--->article writer--->journal writer--->short story course--->dream.

See which of those careers suits you and break it down into a starting point like I have done above, then start there.

It may be back to front but it helps you work out where you can make a start and what path you should take to reach the pinnacle.

Sensitive Skills
Creativity, Imagination, watchfulness
Creativity, Imagination, watchfulness, love of nature,
Understanding, caring, nurturing, patience, love, creativity, desire to help others
Mimicking skills, perfectionism, understanding of people, intuition
Understanding of people, patience, loving, nurturing, listening, guiding, creativity
Creativity, ability to thrive alone, perfectionism, imagination
Dog Walker
Nurturing, loving, caring, patience, understanding of animals
Nurturing, loving, caring, patience, understanding of people
Imagination, creativity, subtlety
Imagination, creativity, perfectionism, intuition,
Keen senses, imagination, creativity, intuition, love of nature and people
Imagination, creativity, patience, perfectionism

Highly Sensitive Famous People We Should be Inspired By

Highly sensitive famous people can be an inspiration to us

They made it -- why can't we? It's tough, yes, but circumstances, challenges and obstacles are actually there to mold us into stronger and more beautiful characters much like a sculptor hammering and chiseling away at a slab of granite. It always takes on a more beautiful form, but to reach that point, it needs to endure a little rough and tumble.


Bruce Willis

  • Name: Walter Bruce Willis
  • Born: 19/03/1955
  • Birth Place: Idar-Oberstan, West Germany
  • Childhood: Severe stuttering
  • Occupation: Actor
  • Persona: Softly spoken, shy, timid, humble, polite, man of few words
  • Quote: "I'm a sensitive guy. People think they know the real me, but they don't. And then they write things that make me sound like such a jerk."


Winona Ryder

  • Name: Winona Laura Horowitz
  • Born: 29/10/1971
  • Birth Place: Winona, Minnesota
  • Childhood: Bullied as a child
  • Adulthood: Suffered attack of severe anxiety and loneliness in 1993
  • Occupation: Actress
  • Persona: Softly spoken, sensitive, intellectual, dreamy
  • Quote: "You go through spells where you feel that maybe you're too sensitive for this world. I certainly felt that."


Frank Ocean

  • Name: Christopher Francis Ocean
  • Born: 28/10/1987
  • Birth Place: Long Beach, California
  • Occupation: Singer/Songwriter
  • Persona: Softly spoken, shy, timid, humble, polite,
  • Quote: "I'm extremely compassionate, loving, all of those warm fuzzy things, but the outer shell doesn't project that all the time."


Amy Adams

  • Name: Amy Lou Adams
  • Born: 20/8/1974
  • Birth Place: Vicenza, Italy
  • Childhood: Shy, quiet,
  • Occupation: Actress
  • Persona: Shy, anxious, dislikes being in large groups
  • Quote: "But I had that same feeling of being exposed when I was a waitress, I have it at parties...i'd love to be a diva. But I'd then have to send so many apology notes for my abhorrent behavior."

I'm one of the most sensitive human beings on Earth -- and I know it.

— Jean-Claude Van Damme

Groups and Forums for Highly Sensitive People

I know what it is to be overwhelmed by the world outside your door whilst also feeling lonely and misunderstood. You want people to just see things from your point of view for a change -- but it seems they never do -- unless of course, they are highly sensitive people.

When you need a chat or to feel like you're with kindred spirits, sensitive souls, try these forums and pages.

Facebook: Highly Sensitive People

A closed group with almost 3,500 members, you can feel safe in the knowledge that whatever you say here stays here, invisible to members of your Facebook account. If you need advice or simply to talk to other HSPs, this is a warm and friendly place to visit.

The HSP Dimension: Expressions of Highly Sensitive People

This is a fun forum where highly sensitive people can share their stories, recipes, ideas and just about anything. It's a nice little corner of the world where HSPs can mingle and be as one.

Facebook: Highly Sensitive People Support Network

A Page with over 7000 likes, this page is filled with great information and articles on highly sensitive people and is updated daily.

Facebook: Highly Sensitive Souls

Another closed, private and friendly group, Highly Sensitive Souls allows you to explore your sensitivity with other HSPs, both familiar and new to the trait.


You go through spells where you feel that maybe you're too sensitive for this world. I certainly felt that.

— Winona Ryder

Who You Need to Know about in the World of Highly Sensitive People

Elaine Aron

Elaine Aron is a clinical psychologist, highly sensitive person and the author of the HSP life saving book, The Highly Sensitive Person. Highly sensitive herself, Elaine Aron began studying the trait of high sensitivity in 1991 and her website contains a wealth of useful information for HSPs as well as the HSP test.

Maria Hill

Maria Hill's website contains information on a range of health topics for highly sensitive people, from emotional well being to dealing with stress. Well worth a visit for the curious HSP.

Peter Messerschmidt

Peter began writing about the HSP trait in earnest in 2001 and has since amassed a wealth of both inspirational and eye-opening material. He draws on his own experiences as a male HSP in his writings and is someone all HSPs can relate to. Check out his stories at his website,

Useful Books for the Highly Sensitive Person

I grew up weird - very sensitive and highly inhibited. I felt like I was born in the wrong time zone to the wrong people at the wrong place.

— Marla Gibbs

Fragile but beautiful


Useful Websites to Get You Started on the Road to Self-Employed Success (This site.) is a great place for you to get started as a freelance writer.

Here you can write:

  • Stories
  • Articles
  • Reviews
  • Memoirs
  • Blogs

With the wonderful and helpful community and a "pay-per-view" payment system, if you write enough, you'll get noticed and not only make a little money but also hone your writing skills.

Fiverr is a place where you can market your skills (ANY SKILLS - EVEN DANCING SEMI-NAKED AND SINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY) and get paid while you hibernate at home.

A great place where you can get paid to write articles. Work your way up the skill levels and get paid even more when you reach "Elite" level. A great place to start or simply earn a little extra money on the side.

You Are Highly Sensitive - Congratulations!

You're not alone, there are millions of us spread far and wide across this planet. I myself have traveled thousands of miles from one side to the other, despite my sensitivity, and seen it for myself.

We are privileged to be this way. If you haven't understood that yet, you'll learn to when you start living like a HSP and stop trying to fit into a non-HSP world. I'm not saying DON'T fit in, I'm just saying that there's a place for us here but we'll only realize that, truly, once we do what's natural to us, love, care, nurture, teach, create and be proud to do that instead of being ashamed to be different.

Just imagine a world with no sensitive people. You can't can you?

Free Resources for Highly Sensitive People

How do you deal with the challenge of being highly sensitive? Please share your thoughts below.

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    • wpcooper profile image


      3 years ago from Barstow

      I actually needed this article today because of an episode when I as leaving probably had nothing to do with me but I took it personally.

      good layout and nice anecdotes and examples. Great topic and your supporting evidence is rather keen.

      many elements here i would like to emulate.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      3 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Great article! Reactions ...

      That bit about getting out in Nature is so true. Thank You, God, that my college campus had a peaceful, tree-lined river. Walking alongside it on the way to class used to calm me down.

      I knew I was highly sensitive, but didn't realize that's why I need so much sleep. Mystery solved ...

      But the absolute best part of your Hub was the Mike Tyson quote! It made me laugh! Being sensitive can cause you to bite others on the ear ... don't laugh ... it's true!

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      4 years ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      Great hub :) You have described me :) God bless you! Wish you a very happy 2016!!!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What a great hub, so well written and set out. I came under the standard variety "highly sensitive" category but can function normally in the world. Voted up.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      5 years ago from Hawaii

      An incredible, well-written hub, Richawriter!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      When I stumbled across Elaine Aaron's book a number of years ago, I finally felt validated! I have already been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, but I think that these are functions of me being a highly sensitive person. It is good to know that there are others who know and understand this trait. I don't feel so alone!

    • russinserra profile image

      Russ Inserra 

      5 years ago from Indianapolis, In

      Great article. I will be following up on some of the links you have suggested.

    • miriamyentraccm profile image

      Miriam Parker 

      5 years ago from Ontario, CA. 91761

      Thanks for writing this article about highly sensitive people. Myself and my daughter (24 years old) both fall in this category. =)

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      5 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Great news!

      You are most welcome and I'm always happy to find other sensitive people like me. I can also see from the topics you write, that you are a sensitive person.

      Thank you for stopping over.


    • anweshablogs profile image


      5 years ago

      It was really enlightening and I just came to know from this article that

      I too fall under some category. Thankyou so much.

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      5 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hi easylearningweb,

      Thank you. I guess I pretty much use every little building block hubpages have provided, and often in ways they weren't meant for!!

      Thank you for stopping over.


    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      5 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Well Anwesha, if I can assure you then I myself am also assured, very very very assured!

      Are you a HSP Anwesha?


    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 

      5 years ago from U.S.

      Well organized, interesting hub. I like how you used the call outs with your questions and answers. Voted useful and interesting!

    • anweshablogs profile image


      5 years ago

      Feeling assured.


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