Highly Sensitive Refuge
A woman enjoying the benefits of being a highly sensitive person

7 Secret Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person

The day after I moved out of my dorm, I fell into a great big sea of tiredness. Everything was so intense and draining. It took months to get over the intensity of three years of college.

Meanwhile, my college friends were going on with their lives as if nothing was wrong. I was confused. Why was I having all this trouble and they weren’t? We did the same things in college, had the same deadlines, and hung out together. So why was I such a burned-out mess, while they were fine?

The answer came a few weeks later when I read a book about high sensitivity. The book was called The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine Aron, and it felt like home.

Although I finally felt like there was nothing wrong with me, I also thought that it was very, very unfair. When my college friends were fine moving quickly from one place or activity to the next, I looked at them with envy, because I needed lots of quiet time to process in between.

Still, high sensitivity is a character trait, not a disorder, so it should have good parts too, right? At least that’s what I kept telling myself. I researched the benefits of being highly sensitive. Every article I read said basically the same thing — that being a sensitive person means being creative, having high levels of empathy, and being keenly aware of subtleties.

In my head, these things didn’t sound as great as not being overwhelmed all the time. After a while, I came to realize that being highly sensitive actually does have benefits. But for me, these benefits were slightly different than the ones mentioned in those articles.

Here are seven secret benefits of being a highly sensitive person (HSP) that I have discovered to be true for myself.

Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person

1. The simple life is good enough for me.

There are few things that make me happier than having a good conversation in a cafe with a friend. I also love walking to the grocery store through a quiet neighborhood in the morning when the world is slowly coming to life. One of my favorite things ever is taking a bath and reading a book. These little things are easily accessible, making it so much easier for me to have a nice life. No need to spend a lot of money or push myself to extremes.

2. I see connections that others miss.

People who can remember a lot of facts always intimidated me. I went to an honors college, where lively discussions were a favorite activity of both teachers and the other students. But me? I hated discussions. Especially because the other students could pull out specific facts and talk circles around me. The result was a lot of insecurity on my part combined with absolutely no chance of me joining in.

What surprised me, though, was that usually my final grade was higher than those who sounded so smart in class. Eventually, I realized that my brain works differently. Instead of remembering facts, I see connections. I understood the material, but I tended to forget the specifics. What this meant was that writing papers, creating presentations, or using the material in any other way came more naturally to me. Because I see connections, I can link and combine different ideas more easily.

3. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

I always thought the saying, “It’s the small things in life” sounded very, very cliché. Then I realized that I am capable of being happy all day long just because I saw a parakeet flying in the wild in my hometown. It wasn’t a hallelujah-my-life-is-complete kind of happiness. It was more of a childish excitement — and who wouldn’t want to be able to feel that type of awe so easily?

4. I feel physical sensations intensely.

I love the feeling of a soft blanket against my skin. The touch of a loved one has a similar effect. When I walk out the door and the smell of spring hits me, I’m in a good mood for the rest of the day. Similarly, an HSP friend of mine has a particular sensitivity towards sounds. The right soundtrack with the right film will truly move him to tears.

5. I’m a good judge of character.

This one originates from my life coach who said that whenever she travels, she automatically knows who to trust. I think I have this skill, too. I am very focused on the people around me and notice all the small things. Whenever something feels or looks off, I do not approach.

6. No need for high doses of medicine, caffeine, or alcohol.

Along with having a sensitive mind, I have a sensitive body. I used to take the amount of aspirin prescribed for three year olds and my headache would be gone. One cup of coffee is more than enough to last me a whole day, and I feel tipsy after 1.5 glasses of wine. This means that I don’t have to spend a lot of money and don’t have to put a lot of foreign, and potentially harmful, substances in my body.

7. I live for a good atmosphere.

When a get-together with friends is nice and the conversation flows naturally, it feels as if I can surf on the atmosphere. My mood tends to be linked with the general atmosphere of the room. This can be annoying when the atmosphere is bad, such as when there are a lot of long, uncomfortable silences. But when everyone is enjoying themselves and the situation feels effortless, it makes me feel great.

Perhaps you recognize yourself in some of these benefits. Most important, I hope you think differently about your trait of high sensitivity. For me, noticing the good aspects of being highly sensitive helped me accept and love myself. I am no longer envious of those who can keep going and going, for I know my life is rich in detail and color.

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