• 10 Signs You Might Be a “Highly Sensitive Person”

    Are you a highly sensitive person (HSP)? If so, you’re not alone. It is estimated that roughly 15 to 20 percent of the population is highly sensitive. In fact, scientists now believe there is a gene behind this trait. If you are not sure and want to find out if you might be an HSP take a test here

    But what does it mean to be highly sensitive? The HSP is generally defined as someone with “acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to external (social, environmental) or internal (intra-personal) stimuli.”

    Signs You May Be a Highly Sensitive Person

    If you are curious whether you may be part of the population that is highly sensitive, here are 10 signs to look for that are more related to some of the challenges HSP can face:

    1. You are quick to feel negative emotions such as sadness and anxiety.
    2. You may feel physical symptoms in relation to these emotions, such as headaches and muscle tension.
    3. You become overwhelmed with physical stimuli such as sound, light and smells.
    4. You have never felt comfortable around crowds. The energy of the crowd easily overwhelms you.
    5. You become very emotional over the injustices of the world. (you cry or become angry at the thought of children or animals being harmed, as an example)
    6. You often worry what others think of you.
    7. You take things personally.
    8. You have a hard time letting things go and receiving critical feedback.
    9. You avoid most social situations and prefer to stay home alone.
    10. You startle easily to loud noises.

    Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person

    While being a HSP can cause you to feel awkward or overwhelmed at times, there are some definite perks to being highly sensitive. For starters, you are someone who can enjoy subtle sensory detail that a majority of the population misses. You get pleasure from noticing the end of day light play. You’ll notice subtle shades of color and texture and feel immense pleasure at the complexities of a certain cuisine.

    You’re also someone others like being around because you are aware of others’ feelings, needs and emotions. Because of this natural empathy, HSPs make great teachers, managers and leaders.

    HSPs are also incredibly creative. Many artists, musicians and famous actors are highly sensitive people who have gifted the world with their talent and insight into what it means to be human.

    As you can see, if you can manage the negative aspects of being a highly sensitive person, you can reap some pretty great rewards.

    If you or someone you love suspects they are a HSP and would like to explore treatment options to manage those negative aspects, please get in touch with me here.

    Rebecca Steele

    Rebecca Steele, MA, MSW, RSW is an individual therapist offering psychotherapy and counselling services in downtown Kitchener.


    She specializes in offering 1:1 individual therapy services to women who may be experiencing anxiety (eg. general anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, phobias, anxious attachment style, or ocd), depression, trauma (all types), emptiness, personal boundary concerns, low self esteem, or relationship concerns.


    Rebecca offers a variety of psychotherapy treatment approaches including: emotion focused therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt, dbt), psychoanalysis and Jungian approaches, clinical counselling hypnotherapy, mindfulness therapy, exploration of archetypes, and dream interpretation & analysis. Her therapy approach is called Smart Therapy™: Insight-Driven Depth Therapy


    Click here to learn more about her online Kitchener counselling practice!