17 Triggers That Suggest You’re More Sensitive Than You Think

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding highly sensitive people. Sensitivity is sometimes mistaken for weakness or over-reactivity. But the truth is that sensitivity is not a flaw, and there are actually many benefits to being sensitive. Here are 17 triggers that suggest you may be more sensitive than you think.

Overwhelmed in Crowded Spaces

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Feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed in crowded spaces is a common experience among highly sensitive people. After spending a lot of time around people, sensitive people often need some time alone to decompress and regulate themselves.

Deeply Affected by Others’ Emotions

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If you’ve noticed that you seem to be more affected by people’s emotions than others, it’s likely that you are a highly sensitive person. Sensitive individuals are great at picking up on and understanding the feelings of those around them. They are usually more empathetic than average, making them wonderful friends and listeners.

Startled by Sudden or Loud Noises

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According to Julie Bjelland, when you’re a sensitive person, seemingly miniscule sounds and disturbances can have a larger impact than you may expect. If you find yourself flinching or becoming startled by loud bangs, balloons popping, or even something as small as the microwave pinging, you may be more sensitive than you think.

Intense Reactions to Art or Music

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Highly sensitive people are prone to being more moved by the arts than their non-sensitive counterparts. If you notice that you’re frequently moved to tears by impactful music, performances, or art, you might be a sensitive person.

Heightened Physical Sensitivity

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Many people only think about emotional sensitivity when they think about sensitive people. But actually, highly sensitive people have a wide range of sensitivities, including physical sensitivity. For example, you may find that certain smells, textures, or bright lights make you more uncomfortable than others.

Affected by the News or Tragic Events

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While some people can watch the news every day with no issue, this can be a bad idea for sensitive people. Sensitive individuals are usually significantly more affected by tragic stories than others. As such, it is often recommended that they refrain from watching or reading too many upsetting stories to preserve their well-being.

Difficulty with Criticism

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Sensitive people often have a harder time hearing criticism, which they tend to take more personally than others. If you notice that you ruminate or spiral after receiving criticism, you may be more sensitive than you thought.

Need for Deep, Meaningful Relationships

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Superficial relationships and small talk don’t usually mesh well with sensitive people. These individuals tend to prefer deeper connections, often with a smaller selection of people, over lots of friendships that live on the surface.

Sensitivity to Caffeine or Medications

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As we mentioned before, sensitivity doesn’t just refer to emotional sensitivity. Psychology Today points out that highly sensitive people are also more prone to being strongly affected by caffeine and other substances. As such, it’s important that they avoid consuming too much of these substances when this is the case.

Overthinking and Worrying About Social Interactions

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Do you find yourself overthinking and worrying about things you’ve said or might say in social interactions? If so, it’s possible that you’re a sensitive person. Sensitive individuals are usually more deeply affected by the perceptions and opinions of others, leading to more social anxieties.

Necessity for Alone Time to Recharge

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According to Sensitive Refuge, highly sensitive people are more likely to be introverts than extroverts. As such, it’s no surprise that these individuals commonly need more alone time to recharge after social interactions. Social events often feel overwhelming and draining for sensitive people, leaving them in need of some quiet time alone.

Strong Connection to Nature and Animals

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Sensitive individuals often feel a greater sense of connection with nature and animals, finding a sense of peace and freedom in the natural world. They also tend to have a greater amount of empathy for animals than average.

Sensitivity to Changes in Environment

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Those who find themselves picking up on small details and environmental changes are more likely to be sensitive. Sensitive individuals are more affected by subtle changes in things like light, temperature, and weather.

Difficulty in Highly Competitive Settings

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Sensitive individuals usually prefer to work together with others rather than compete. Competitive environments can be overwhelming, stressful, and emotionally exhausting for sensitive people. This is largely because they value emotional connections over competition or winning.

Perfectionism and High Self-Expectations

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Because sensitive people are more sensitive to criticism, rejection, and failure, they often set higher standards for themselves and can be rather perfectionistic. If this sounds like you, it’s likely you’re more sensitive than you may have thought.

Intuitive Understanding of Others

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Do you ever feel like you naturally know things about others without needing to ask them about them? If so, it’s possible you’re a highly sensitive person. Sensitive people often have a stronger sense of intuition than others, picking up on subtle cues that give them insight into the emotional world of those around them.

Dislike of Sudden Plans or Surprises

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A phone call from an unknown number, a surprise social event, or unpredictable plans can all set the alarm bells ringing for sensitive people. They usually prefer to know when and how things are going to happen to avoid the stress of unexpected events.

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