Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? (Learn the Character Traits)

are you a highly sensitive person mother and daughter
Research suggests approximately 20 percent of the population is highly sensitive and the trait is equally divided between males and females.

Patricia Young, LCSW, Coach, Counselor & Therapist for the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is a professional who serves a community of HSP clients. You or someone close to you may be a Highly Sensitive Person. Read on for more information. I think you will find it fascinating!


Introduction: The Highly Sensitive Person

I am happy to welcome Patricia Young, LCSW to Sassy Sister Stuff!  Recently, I invited her to write a guest blog post when I learned about the fascinating work she does and the many people she helps.

Many times in both my professional and personal life, I have been told to “get over” my feelings… or not “think so much”… or even not be so sensitive. Yada, yada! 

I have even been told to stop making decisions based on my feelings about an event or situation. 

Therefore, when I met Patricia and learned about Highly Sensitive People and how she helps them learn to navigate through life, I was immediately intrigued.

I did some research on the topic and discovered I have many of the characteristics. 

Patricia has graciously provided us with a brief overview of the characteristics of a Highly Sensitive Person here. You may well recognize these characteristics in yourself, or someone you love.

Sometimes the terms introvert, shy, empath and hypersensitive are associated with HSPs. 

For more information, we invite you to visit Patricia’s website and social media platforms that are listed at the end of the article!   Thank you, Patricia!  

are you a highly sensitive person counselor
Patricia Young, LCSW & Life Coach for Highly Sensitive Persons

Have you been told you are too…?

Have you been told you are too sensitive, too picky, too intense, too dramatic, think too much, worry too much, too analytical?

If you answered YES to these questions, you might have been born with the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), also known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity.

It is a research-based term, and was coined by Dr. Elaine Aron in the 90’s. 

I Always Thought There Was Something Wrong With Me

I was born an old soul who is compassionate, creative, loyal, conscientious, and I notice things that others do not notice.

People tell me their problems and consider me a great listener; my intuition usually helps me know what others want and need. I prefer being with one person (or a small group), in a quiet, intimate environment.

I prefer deep meaningful conversation, and I love using my brain to solve problems. After I have been with others, I need time alone to recharge.

I Thought I Was An Introvert and That I Had Social Anxiety

I thought I was an introvert, and I thought I had social anxiety. Turns out, I do not have either.

I am a Highly Sensitive Person.

Fortunately, when I learned about the trait when I was in my 50’s and was already a therapist, it changed my life!

Highly Sensitive People have finely tuned nervous systems. It is how we are wired!

What is a Highly Sensitive Person?

Dr. Elaine Aron uses the acronym D.O.E.S. to describe the 4 Core Characteristics of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP):

D—Depth of Processing

  • Dr. Elaine Aron feels that Depth of Processing is a key component for HSPs;
  • Depth of processing happens in the pre-frontal cortex, so HSPs see breadth and depth of things around us;
  • HSPs reflect more than others on the way the world is going;
  • They think about the meaning of life;
  • They wonder about the quality of relationships they are in;
  • HSPs are highly aware of social justice issues.

O—Overarousal and Overstimulation

  • Feeling stressed out all the time;
  • Feeling burnt out frequently;
  • This may be the most negative thing HSPs experience since their current dominant culture is about doing;
  • Chronic overstimulation can lead to depression and anxiety.

  E—Emotional Responsiveness and Empathy

  • HSPs bring more emotional intensity and empathy in most every situation;
  • There is a difference between emotional intensity and emotional reactivity;
  • They can honor their emotional intensity—this is where they express feelings in the arts, writing beautiful poems, people who show or speak passionately about how they feel;
  • HSPs have more active mirror neurons.

S—Sensitive to Subtleties

  • HSPs can notice when the barometric pressure is dropping;
  • Some HSPs may have perfect pitch;
  • Often HSPs have more side effects to medications;
  • They are usually sensitive to changes in temperature;
  • They may notice the sound of a ticking clock or dripping water.

This is me! Now what?

Am I a Highly Sensitive Person?

If this sounds like you, you will want to learn as much about the trait as possible!

Dr. Aron’s research shows that HSPs who had difficult childhoods have higher rates of anxiety and depression. A difficult childhood could mean that your parents or caregivers did not understand your sensitive nature.

If you hate your sensitivity, there is a good chance you have some wounding, and in order to thrive as an HSP, you will want to do some healing work.

If someone you know and love has these traits, you may want to share this information. 

A Personal Note From Patricia

I am a wounded healer. I have had years of therapy, and I continue to work on my attachment injuries and I have learned how to lean into some of the challenges of being an HSP.

I’m very grateful for the gifts that come with being an HSP. 

If we are alive, we are going to have emotional ups and downs. Being human is messy! When we learn to embrace all parts of ourselves, things start to get really good!

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Check out Patricia’s podcast wherever you listen.

Where to Learn More About Patricia and Her Work

Patricia Young is a licensed clinical therapist, coach, podcaster, and public speaker. Her podcast, Unapologetically Sensitive, can be found on most podcast players.

Patricia works individually with people online globally, and she also runs an Online group for HSPs. You can find more about Patricia and her work at the following links.  

Website: https://unapologeticallysensitive.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOE6fodj7RBdO3Iw0NrAllg/videos?view_as=subscriber

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/unapologeticallysensitive/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@hsppodcast?lang=en  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Unapologetically-Sensitive-2296688923985657/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patricia-young-89834548/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/unapologeticallysensitive/_created/

If you would like more information about Highly Sensitive Person character traits, click here for 21 Signs that You’re a Highly Sensitive Person.

For more self-care/mental health articles, you can visit these posts here on Sassy Sister Stuff:

Making a Case for Positive Selfishness

7 Benefits of Regular Massage Therapy

Habits to Improve Mental Health + Sleep and Heart Health

Love to All!  ~ Susan

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