How to be Happier as a Highly Sensitive Person

Being a highly sensitive person can be overwhelming. Still, it allows you to experience the world in a beautiful way that other people may not understand.

Woman holding cup of hot tea

Of course, that unique way of experiencing life doesn’t mean much if you are always on the verge of burnout. That’s why I put together this list of tips and coping strategies to help you be happy as a highly sensitive person. 

What is a highly sensitive person? 

Dr. Elaine Aron first described this term in the 1990s. She said that a HSP has a very sensitive nervous system and gets easily overstimulated and overwhelmed. Usually, sensitive people are introverts, but about 30% have extroverted personalities.

Other people often describe an empathetic person as “overly sensitive.” A delicate person has increased sensitivity in their nervous system to physical sensations, social experiences, and emotions. 

Common unhelpful phrases said to highly sensitive people: 

  • “You’re too sensitive.” 
  • “Lighten up.”
  • “Calm down.” 
  • “It’s not that bad.” 
  • “You think too much.” 
  • “You just need thicker skin.” 

If you hear many of those phrases from friends, family, and coworkers, you might be a highly sensitive person. 

Highly sensitive person traits.

  • Needing time to decompress during stressful days. 
  • Art, nature, and beauty move you deeply. 
  • You cannot watch scary movies or violent movies 
  • Overwhelmed by sounds, lights, and touch 
  • A deep thinker who spends lots of time deep in their thoughts 

If that left you scratching your head, and you now think you might be a compassionate person, you can do a HSP test here

How do you thrive as a highly sensitive person? 

If you are a compassionate person, you might be wondering how you can be happier when the whole world seems so abrasive and painful to you. 

It’s not only possible to survive your day-to-day, but you can also thrive. I have ten tips lined up to help you to enjoy your life as an empathetic person. 

But if you can only take one thing away from today, learn your sensitivities and accommodate them. Once you do that, the rest will follow.

1. Learn your Triggers

My top tip for a highly sensitive person is to learn your sensitivities and triggers. Understanding them is the best way to help you learn how to navigate the world as an HSP. 

Doing this takes some mindfulness, so start practicing this on a day you can stay home. Use the notes app on your phone to jot down anything that makes you feel anxious or stressed. These are your triggers.  

Once you learn how to do this in your own home, you can start doing it in public and at work. Then, after a few weeks, you can start noticing trends.  

You can also think back to times where you were highly stressed and see if you can think back to what triggered it. 

2. Accommodate your life for your triggers.

Now that you know your triggers and sensitivities, you can start accommodating your life to avoid or limit your exposure to these. 

For example, if your trigger is lots of conflicting sounds (which is different from loud sounds), you will want to avoid crowds and areas where lots of different things are happening simultaneously.  

Avoiding crowds and places that trigger you may not always be possible. You can choose to use earbuds to put your music or podcast to block out the sound or use noise-canceling earplugs that can help you filter out the unimportant. 

By accommodating your sensitivities, you can start having less stress and burnout and enjoy your life. 

3. Tell your family and friends about being a highly sensitive person

Now that you are starting to organize your life, you need to clue in your friends and family about your discovery of being a highly sensitive person. 

Your family and friends will better understand what you are going through and are less likely to get their feelings hurt when you need to skip things, or you need to decompress. 

4. Establish a calm morning and bedtime routine

I think everyone can do better by having a good morning and bedtime routine. Calming routines are necessary for an HSP. And the practice needs to be also calming. 

Morning Routine Tips for Highly Sensitive People: 

  • Wake up in plenty of time to not feel rushed
  • Spend some quiet time gathering your thoughts
  • Journaling your dreams or your feelings about the day 
  • Avoid screens for the first hour you are awake
  • Try a meditation routine 
  • Get some gentle exercise like Yoga

Evening Routine Tips for Highly Sensitive People: 

  • Dim lights an hour or two before bed 
  • Stop using screens at least an hour before bed
  • Use your bed for sleeping only
  • Decompress (Yoga, Meditation, Journaling are all excellent choices) 
  • Including some gentle stretching can help you fall asleep faster. 

Building a routine is as simple as adding a bunch of habits together. 

Choosing habits that help you feel calm and restored can help you avoid constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.  

Build calming routines at the beginning and end of your day can help set yourself up for a successful day. 

5. Finding gratitude for being highly sensitive

Suppose you are just discovering you are a HSP. In that case, you might have the voices of everyone in your life who has told you things like you are too sensitive, but there are significant advantages of being highly delicate. 

Taking time each day to journal or think about how being a sensitive person can be beneficial. If you struggle to see the benefits of being such person, here are 10 to start you out. 

  1. You experience beauty deeply and find it everywhere around you. 
  2. Your ability to empathize with people and help them heal is unmatched. 
  3. You know how to entertain yourself anywhere with your elaborate inner world. 
  4. You don’t only hear music. You feel it in your soul. 
  5. You genuinely care about the world around you, from the smallest ant to the tallest pine tree. 
  6. You don’t just eat food. You savor every flavor and sensation of a meal. 
  7. You make a very observant friend who can sense even small emotional changes in your friends. 
  8. You don’t just pass through the world. You truly experience it. 
  9. You pick up on subtle cues in people and the world that make you seem almost clairvoyant. 
  10. You quickly see mistakes in yourself and your work and are conscientious about doing a superb job. 

You can be thankful for being a highly sensitive person while still being sad about the struggles you go through that others do not. 

Thinking about how special it is can make the challenges feel like less of a burden.

Bathtub caddy with book and coffee

6. Spend time alone to recharge.

Part of being a delicate person is needing time to recharge. Of course, you can do this a little every day as part of your morning or evening routine, but you should also take periods to reset yourself. 

Spend an evening or an entire weekend relaxing and practicing self-care. Avoid social media, texts, and phone calls that are just going to bring you more stress. 

When highly sensitive person does not take the time to recharge and reset themselves, they can be barreling toward burnout and even depression. 

Simply by taking some time occasionally to shut the world out and recharge, you can avoid burnout and continue to be successful and helpful to those you care about. 

7. Self-Care is critical

Under similar advice to taking time alone to recharge falls regularly practicing self-care. 

Self-care doesn’t have to be to spa trips and massages. It can be as simple as learning something new or taking in some music or art and appreciating the beauty.  

Self-care can even be free. Meditation at home could be self-care, or a long bubble bath even. The trick to self-care is to do it before you feel you need it. 

Once you are already stressed out, it is hard to relax to enjoy your self-care. Schedule a small act of self-care every day and have a weekly self-care night so that you do not get to the point of being overwhelmed and needing one. 

Scheduling self-care at regular intervals can help you stay at a place of emotional equilibrium and calm yourself from all the bombardment of stimuli. 

8- Find gentle exercises that help you decompress.

You have probably heard that exercise can be very beneficial for your mental health, but if you are a highly sensitive person, there are so many things that can get in the way of exercising. In fact, exercising can sometimes feel overstimulating. 

Finding a gentle exercise that you enjoy can be your solution to exercising regularly. 

Some examples of gentle exercise: 

  • Yoga
  • Leisurely Walk
  • Leisurely Bike Ride
  • Water Aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Hiking 
  • Swimming
  • Tai Chi 
  • Pilates  

9. Find or create calm spaces

In the places you are the most, you should find or make a calm space to escape when the world seems to be crushing you with stimuli. At home, you might be able to dedicate a room, a corner, or even a place in your yard or garden to escape to when you need to calm down and bring yourself back to a normal amount of regulation. 

At work, you may need to find a place to take your lunch break or other breaks that are calming for you. I always like to find a nice, quiet area near a tree to reset myself. 

If you can’t find a calm place somewhere, you could also make a calming kit.  

Things you could include in your calming kit could be: 

  • Essential oils
  • Dark sunglasses 
  • Earplugs
  • A worry stone
  • A soft scarf or piece of soft fabric to hold 
  • Some lightly flavored candy 
  • Cards can help you remember tools and tricks to calm down when overwhelmed

Giving yourself space to calm down or having a calm down kit can help you avoid melting down and losing your cool because you are overwhelmed. Instead, you can find a way to bring yourself to calm and finish your day more relaxed. 

Blue tea candle lit

10. Set boundaries to maintain peace

Sometimes the best thing we can do to be happy as a highly sensitive person is to put some boundaries in place that help us to avoid our triggers. 

Telling friends and family that you will not be attending overstimulating things like loud places, crowded places, and things like scary movies can be a great way to start putting some boundaries up. 

You do not have to do everything you are invited to. If you are going to be miserable at the event, then it is better for you and the people if you stay home. 

Find ways to connect with family and friends that don’t overwhelm you, like small social settings or going for a nice walk through the neighborhood. 

Tell people when their behavior or choices are affecting you. Most of the time, other people do not realize that they are bothering you or causing you undue stress. And if they care about you, changing that behavior or choice should be pretty easy for them. 

By setting boundaries, we can avoid stressful moments and invitations and get to experience our friends and family in ways that are not overstimulating to us. 

For more resources, information, and reading, head over to hsperson.com. This is the best and most accurate source of information for highly sensitive people.

About Mello Woman

Thanks so much for stopping by. I am passionate about all things wellness and positive growth. Hopefully, this post (and the others on Mello Woman) will help inspire you in a positive way.

8 thoughts on “How to be Happier as a Highly Sensitive Person”

  1. I found this article really helpful since I am also a sensitive person and sometimes I feel really unhappy for some reasons. Thanks for sharing these tips

    Reply
  2. I did not realize that exercise might overstimulate. It makes sense though, all things considered. it’s nice that you’ve shared this info. Good food for thought.

    Reply

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