When someone hears the term “sensitive child” or “highly sensitive person,” they may assume that it means a person who’s shy, emotional, or gets their feelings hurt easily. These are common misconceptions, along with the idea that “highly sensitive” is just another term for “introverted,” when in fact, 30% of HSPs are extroverted.
HSP isn’t just a categorical label referring to people with certain traits; it’s an actual biological trait discovered in men, women, and children, along with over a hundred animal species, including fruit flies, primates, cats, and dogs. The trait is characterized by a sensitive nervous system, thought to be an evolutionary survival strategy for more easily identifying threats and changes in environment.
HSPs are often more impacted by stimuli such as violent movies, loud noises, and bright lights. They tend to process deeply, be more anxious than non-HSPs, and feel overstimulated more easily. While the trait may be inconvenient or difficult to manage at times for those who have it, it also tends to be accompanied by gifts such as creativity, intuition, and high levels of empathy.