15 signs you’re too sensitive (and what to do about it)

Have people told you that you’re too sensitive as you always react deeply and emotionally?

You also may get confused about why situations affect you more than they seem to affect others.

In a culture that sometimes sees emotions as “weak,” being tagged as highly sensitive can be overwhelming.

So it’s important to know the reasons behind your sensitivity and understand why you act that way so you can find ways to thrive being one.

15 character traits of a highly sensitive person

Here are signs to tell if you have a sensitive soul.

While you may not relate to all the signs listed here, most highly sensitive people (HSP) experience most of these things.

1) You can’t let go of negativity

No matter what side of the bed you woke up on, you find your mind surrounded by negative thoughts.

You can’t help but worry about what your day will be like.

You tend to keep a lot of negative emotions and hide your feelings from the world.

You feel that your thoughts are too embarrassing to share and that letting them out will make you more vulnerable.

Being too sensitive can turn even your brightest days into a horrifying nightmare.

2) You’re your biggest critic

Not only do you push yourself too hard, but you’re also beating yourself when you miss your goals.

You set incredibly high expectations and standards, yet tend to neglect your efforts.

You also think less of yourself when failing below your benchmark.

When you frequently criticize yourself and everything you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

And by doing this, you’re turning out to be your worst enemy.

Shaman Rudá Iandê, in his Out of the Box masterclass, has this to share on how you can find your worth and value by recognizing your weaknesses and insecurities.

“I ended up transforming my whole life, getting rid of many imprisoning structures, and finally [getting] much more freedom and joy in my life.”

– Rudá Iandê

3) You take things personally

Since you doubt and think so little about yourself, you expect people to do that to you as well.

You tend to get offended by the actions or words of others even when it’s not pointing at you.

You also often feel you’re to be blamed when something bad happens.

You are obsessed over the interaction you have and allow that one comment to make you unhappy.

When you always let things get to you, you’re giving people and the world the chance to upset you.

If you’re struggling with yourself, remember that there’s a way to cope when depression hits.

4) You worry about what others think of you

The fear of other’s opinions on you is holding you back.

You often feel that people are checking out your every move.

You don’t just feel anxious around people you know, as you also feel that way with your circle.

You also place too much value on pleasing others as you’re scared of facing their supposed criticism.

When you conform to what others think or may not think about you, you’re limiting your potential.

Worrying too much about the thoughts and opinions of others is harmful to your self-image and can affect your mental health.

5) You take criticism harshly

pexels liza summer 6382711 1 15 signs you're too sensitive (and what to do about it)

It’s hard for highly sensitive people to keep their feelings from getting hurt when someone gives them critical feedback.

They struggle with how the world perceives them.

And those criticisms, even when said in a good way, turn out to be a validation of the negativity they’re also throwing at themselves.

Even if it’s constructive criticism about your work performance or the latest dish you cook, that feedback tends to get into you.

You get terrified and tend to think hard about the things you can’t accept.

When someone makes an off-hand remark, it seems to hit you right at your core.

And often, HSPs take their irritability with the people closest to them. So in case, you’re wondering why you get moody without a clear reason, it’s because of your sensitive nature.

6) You’re easily startled by bright lights or intense noise

You react a lot when the unexpected happens in your environment.

Even sudden noises, traffic, strong scents, and unpleasant surprises tend to disturb you and put you on the edge.

Those things that don’t bother other people seem to bother you. You tend to jump when you notice a bright light being turned on or hear a loud, unfamiliar sound.

You feel uncomfortable as you need to be prepared for any situation.

7) You fear rejection

While rejection is part of life, you find it more difficult to handle and deal with it than others.

You tend to be anxious and worried too much about what other people think.

You have this feeling of not being wanted, valued, or accepted.

Most of the time, you’re not showing your true self or wearing that new cloth in fear that other people will reject you.

Having this constant fear of rejection prevents you from pursuing a romantic relationship.

This fear also blocks you from starting your dream business or accepting a promotion at work so you have to find ways to cope with rejection.

8) You’re emotionally reactive

Report shares that a highly sensitive person easily gets startled as their nervous systems get dialed up even in low-risk situations.

For instance, when someone cuts you off in line, you start to scream and curse the person. And this creates more stress, anxiety, and problems.

It’s because highly sensitive people have a strong connection to their emotions.

Most of the time, you find yourself getting stressed out, irritable, and angry over little things.

You tend to overreact even to small matters and trivial events that pose little or no threat to you.

While it’s reasonable to get upset when something serious happens, it’s not good to sweat the small stuff.

So like everything else, emotional stability is something that you can develop even if you have a sensitive soul.

9) You’re overwhelmed by large crowds

Highly sensitive people avoid large public crowds that will trigger their anxieties.

They tend to prefer smaller spaces where they can connect more with the emotions of others.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron estimates that about 70% of HSPs are introverts, so even if you’re an extrovert, you often turn down social invitations.

You also feel uneasy when too many things are happening simultaneously.

Even when everyone in the room starts talking at the same time, you get overwhelmed and exhausted.

Most of the time, you have this feeling like you don’t belong.

So if you’re overwhelmed with large groups of people, clutter, and chaos, it’s definite that you’re a sensitive soul.

10) You’re easily upset by the media

pexels vanessa garcia 6326181 1 15 signs you're too sensitive (and what to do about it)

The world’s current pandemic situation is relatable and can cause everyone to feel upset, and anxious. But being tense over other small matters is a different case.

Since highly sensitive people are emphatic, they find negative news or any display of violence unsettling.

Thus, they avoid negative news and dislike violent shows or intensely scary movies.

While there’s no reason to take what you read or hear in the news personally, you can feel the plight of what others are going through.

So even if movie scenes affect you and you worry endlessly over what you’ve read, it’s a sign of your heightened sensitivity.

11) You feel unhappy on social media

Doing a quick scroll on your Facebook, Instagram, and even Tik Tok account makes you feel inadequate.

You feel a sense of insecurity as you have this tendency to compare your life with others.

While others use social media to connect with their family and friends or be entertained, it harms your happiness and well-being.

Those posts from celebrities, influencers, personalities, and friends you follow make you think of what you don’t have.

In a study published by the American Psychological Association, comparing yourself to others based on what you see on social media brings negative effects, and can lead to depression.

These platforms give you that “fear of missing out” feeling (FOMO) and a sense of loneliness.

12) You’re quick to put yourself down

When you make a mistake, a bad decision, or fail at something, you fall into the trap that you don’t deserve anything.

Listening to voices in your head saying negative things about you makes you feel insecure and invaluable.

And believing puts limits on your abilities and affects your mood. It holds you from achieving great things.

Negative self-talk and thoughts damage your self-esteem and sense of value.

While most of us are guilty of doing this, it’s a habit that has to stop.

13) You’re self-conscious in romantic relationships

While you love someone profoundly, your insecurities and sensitives are putting a strain on the relationship.

Certified life transformation coach Natalie Maximets, shared that aside from self-criticism, overreacting to situations is one personality trait that can be damaging to a relationship as it can turn conflicts into a vicious circle.

As HSPs experience emotions on an intense level, their relationships follow suit.

They seek personal space and affection, worry about their partner’s approval, and feel unsettled by their partner’s behaviors.

Sometimes they also overanalyze every action, and those small fights and disagreements tend to overwhelm them.

When stress becomes too overwhelming and exhausting, they worry about its possible consequences.

As they put their partner’s needs before their own, they also feel disappointed when their expectations in the relationship aren’t met.

14) You’re compassionate and empathetic

Highly sensitive people have a way to understand and be in tune with the feelings of others.

Their sensitivity makes them compassionate and understands the people around them.

As they are empathetic, others tend to trust them more and lean on them for support.

So if you’re quick to empathize and can easily put yourself in someone else’s shoes, then it’s clear that you’re a highly sensitive person.

Being compassionate and empathetic are great traits that you possess, which are also signs of the strength that you have.

No wonder you’re the kind of person anyone would want to have by their side.

15) You experience life intensely

pexels shvets production 6984658 1 15 signs you're too sensitive (and what to do about it)

Highly sensitive people are intuitive and connected to their emotions.

They tend to seek meaning and eternal truths in all that they do.

You’re certain that you’re an HSP when the reasons below make you comfortable and at peace being one:

  • You reflect on topics more deeply than others
  • You’re drawn to activities that bring meaning to your life
  • You have a great capacity to feel and are often creative
  • You’re conscientious and notice details that others overlook
  • You’re keen on details and are likely to address them
  • You take great pleasure in the wonderful nature that surrounds you
  • You find beauty in mundane things

Being a highly sensitive person means that you’re deeply moved by beauty.

You have a rich inner life that some people seek to have.

Deal with your highly sensitive nature

Being sensitive is your innate trait and there’s nothing wrong with that.

HSP isn’t a disorder or mental condition. Studies even share that almost 20 percent of humans have this personality trait.

So the next time someone says that you’re too sensitive, don’t let it affect you. Keep in mind that being sensitive isn’t a bad thing at all.

And it’s perfectly normal to be one.

To better understand yourself, know that there are 10 types of highly sensitive people out there.

While there are challenges that come with being too sensitive, it’s something that you can deal with.

And since too much of a good thing isn’t great, you can work on keeping your sensitivity in check.

By shifting your perspective and coping with it, being highly sensitive won’t feel like a struggle.

Let’s go over how you can take it under control.

1) Understand your feelings

Pay attention to your feelings. Writing your feelings has surprising benefits and impacts on your life.

Release your emotions out using your journal instead of unloading it on those around you.

Know the reasons why you feel upset, lonely, frustrated, and fearful without engaging with them.

This way, you’ll know and understand what triggers you to get too sensitive.

2) Fill yourself with positive thoughts

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

When people criticize or say things about you, don’t dwell on it. Taking things personally will only affect your mental well-being.

And when you focus on the negative labels, you’re focusing on them instead of the great qualities that you have.

Try to be compassionate, understanding, and gentle to yourself as you are to others.

3) Limit overthinking everything

Don’t let distressing thoughts from the past or things that haven’t happened yet to plague you.

Research says that overthinking can lead to emotional distress and can also cause mental health problems.

Just be mindful, embrace your fears, and focus on things you can control.

4) Live in the moment

Keep your focus in the present.

Pay attention to what’s happening around you. When you work, travel, or do something, be present where you are.

Nothing is better than doing things that will improve your mood. When you read, write, or drink your tea, immerse yourself into it.

And when you reward yourself, enjoy every moment of it.

5) Practice meaningful self-care

pexels andrea piacquadio 3799470 1 15 signs you're too sensitive (and what to do about it)

Whether you’re too sensitive or not, self-care is important for everyone. It can make us healthier and happier.

Here are activities worth considering:

  • Get more sleep
  • Read a book
  • Play soft, inspiring music
  • Eat dark chocolate without the guilt
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood
  • Treat yourself on a date

And when you do something, pour out your love and energy into it.

6) Connect with fellow HSPs

You’re not alone as kindred spirits are out there.

Finding and being with people who empathize and understand with you can bring wonders to your well-being.

You’ll feel a sense of calmness and power that comes from being with like-minded sensitive souls.

As most HSPs are into yoga, healing, holistic nutrition, visual arts, music, and counseling, you can join online community groups where you can engage with them.

7) Know that it’s not all about you

Realize that not everyone’s behavior and thoughts are a reaction to you.

Most probably, they’re having a bad day or facing an issue so what they said or do isn’t about you at all.

Stop assuming that every criticism is pointing at you.

Don’t see yourself as the main character in everyone’s life.

Until you know it’s you, it’s pointless to worry about it.

Lean into your sensitivity

It’s important to know how you can deal with being highly sensitive to improve your relationship with yourself, with people, and with the world.

By trying to understand and nurturing the essence of your sensitivity, you can turn it into a beautiful strength rather than a burden.

Keep these things in mind:

  • The key to succeeding as a highly sensitive person is to accept yourself
  • Embrace the challenges and strengths of your sensitive soul
  • Understand that your heightened awareness and deep mind can focus on positivity
  • Instead of shying away from your sensitive personality, give it space to flourish in the right way

Everything comes down to what you make out of being one.

Because it’s our relationship with ourselves that determines our happiness and our connections with the world.

You’re here to witness the good and the bad without losing yourself in the process.

It’s just a matter of making conscious choices about the people, activities, and environment you engage in.

You deserve to be happy being the sensitive person that you are.

And you can always be the great person that you desire to be.

So go on, embrace your sensitivity. And always remember to give yourself a loving hug.

Picture of Czaroma Roman

Czaroma Roman

Czaroma is a content strategist and copywriter with a purposeful mindset. She finds fulfillment in crafting content for entrepreneurs and life coaches. In a place of love and growth, she's raising a tribe of three with her husband - and writes to inspire people to create impactful relationships. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/czaroma LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/czaroma-roman-39a55117/

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.