These “little” things make highly sensitive people happy — because they add up to “big” things.
A highly sensitive person (HSP) is someone who displays increased emotional sensitivity. They have stronger reactivity to internal and external stimuli and a rich inner life. For example, they may be more sensitive to lights, scents, and noise.
At the same time, however, they can also be more sensitive to music — they hear every melodic note, the beauty of which can bring them to tears — and the arts.
Walking through life this way is beautiful, yet can also be overwhelming and challenging. There is a lot of stimulation in this world for non-HSPs, so just imagine how magnified it is for sensitive folks.
Of course, while every HSP is different, there are some commonalities as far as little things that make them happy — which many HSPs can probably appreciate. Here are some of them.
7 Little Things That Make Highly Sensitive People Happy
1. A space of your own to regroup and recharge.
What brings you comfort? For highly sensitive people, having a safe space that’s all their own can be a lifesaver. It feels comforting to have control over a certain space, like a bedroom, office, or house — or even a carved out space in these spaces. It’s easy to create your own HSP sanctuary to create this quiet, relaxing oasis away from the hustle-and-bustle of the world.
This place can be your refuge when everything feels chaotic and overwhelming (which happens often for HSPs). Fill your space with things that bring you comfort or relief, such as cozy blankets, candles, or plants. If you’re sensitive to light, having a light switch dimmer can also be helpful, and having soothing music on standby can help, too.
The important thing is to create a safe space that makes you feel good, so that you will always know you have a place to retreat to as needed.
2. Having healthy boundaries — and following through on them.
Having healthy personal boundaries can bring benefits to your life as a highly sensitive person. However, creating them (and actually following them) can be a challenge, since HSPs are often people-pleasers and put others’ needs before their own.
Speaking of which, in interpersonal relationships, it might be difficult for you to separate your emotions from the emotions of others. This is exactly why you often have a hard time saying “No” to people.
But if you have boundaries set in place, it gives you the chance to focus on your needs and lets you properly rest and recharge before the next stimulating event. So the more you practice doing this, the better. And, speaking of rest…
3. Getting a good night’s sleep (since your brain is tired from all the overstimulation you’ve experienced).
Any healthcare professional would be quick to tell you how important it is to get a good night’s rest. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum of seven hours per night for adults 18 and up.
As a result, the cycle can be hard to break, which is why it’s important to practice good sleep hygiene, like going to bed (and getting up) at the same time every day, making sure your bedroom is not too warm, and using a white noise machine or eye mask. Many highly sensitive people benefit from ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), too.
4. Freely expressing your feelings and emotions.
As a sensitive soul, you probably find great value in relationships where you don’t feel like you have to hide your feelings. You feel close to these people — the ones in your inner circle — because you’re able to open up and have deep, stimulating conversations (which HSPs prefer to small talk).
The way you communicate will vary from person to person, of course, and it will also depend on if they “get” your sensitivity. And I encourage you to explain it to them, as knowledge is power — and perhaps they’re HSPs themselves and didn’t even realize it until you shed some light on the topic.
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5. Having a go-to “HSP mental health toolbox” for when the going gets tough.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for when HSPs get overstimulated. However, it’s smart to have a go-to “HSP mental health toolbox” ready for when the going gets tough.
I personally find that breathing exercises, or coloring, help calm me down and get me to stay present. However, you may prefer to put on noise-cancelling headphones and retreat into a book, meditate, or get out in nature. And, other times, you might need to do some other grounding exercises instead. To each their own.
In any case, having a variety of skills at the ready can make you feel more confident that you can handle any situation, even if you do get overwhelmed. In this week, you can “protect your happy,” too.
6. Cutting yourself some slack when having to make a decision.
However, sensitive people are also known for their incredible intuition, which can help guide them in the decision-making process. So if you sit with your thoughts for a while – through meditation or some other practice — you may hear the answer you’re seeking come to you.
But, since being an HSP can be exhausting (so much overstimulation!), be sure to exercise patience and cut yourself some slack.
7. Having a healthy outlet to turn to, like dancing or journaling.
Because sensitive people take in a lot each day, having a healthy outlet to turn to is a good way to cope with all of their emotions. Physical activities, like dancing or hiking, can reduce physical tension while also helping you express your feelings through movement. It’s also good for the outlet to become a daily ritual so you can try to prevent overstimulation before it gets the better of you.
Journaling is another way to work through your emotions and feelings. Some people say even doing so a few minutes a day is helpful. Or you can make a gratitude list each day — when you wake up or when you go to bed. So even if you felt overstimulated at the grocery store, you wwe grateful for the incredible sunset you saw on your walk home.
All in all, be you, HSP, and continue to do the little things that make you happy and bring you joy — for, collectively, they amount to big things.
My fellow HSPs, do you have any tips to share on living a happier life as an HSP? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
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