We took this free HSP masterclass about High Sensitivity and Anxiety to understand why anxiety is high in Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs).
Julie Bjelland – a Psychotherapist specializing in High Sensitivity, host of The HSP Podcast, and creator of the Sensitive Empowerment Community, is the teacher of the class.
And not only did we learn why anxiety is high in the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), but also how to reduce it and the three brain differences between HSPs and non-HSPs.
You may need to take the free class on High Sensitivity and anxiety to understand the connection.
But for now, here are six reasons why anxiety is high in Highly Sensitive People, according to an HSP Psychotherapist.
P.S.: This post first appeared in our Newsletter, The HSP Edit. Subscribe to receive new posts in your inbox.
6 Reasons Why Anxiety is High in Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs)
1. Negative Labeling of Sensitivity
Highly Sensitive People have often been called shy and introverted. And this is because of the influence of one’s culture and family experiences.
Yet, research shows that not all HSPs are introverts (30% are extroverts), and while the HSP trait is inborn, people learn to be shy.
Furthermore, being sensitive has often been seen as a sign of weakness, with HSPs told to “stop being so sensitive” and “toughen up”.
Due to this, many HSPs struggle to fit in and develop anxiety as a result.
2. Feeling Misunderstood and Different
Growing up in a family or society that doesn’t understand High Sensitivity makes it easy to feel misunderstood and different.
It’s also easy to wonder why you’re the only one affected by crowds, bright lights, little sleep, multitasking, cloth labels, office parties, and other issues many HSPs face.
And it’s easy for these feelings and worries to lead to anxiety.
3. An Overloaded Nervous System
By design, Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) have a more sensitive nervous system than non-HSPs. And this means that the effect on an HSP’s nervous system is more than that of a non-HSP.
So when this HSP encounters an environment with so much to take in and process, the nervous system becomes overloaded.
And if the HSP hasn’t learned how to calm a sensitive nervous system, they can fixate on everything going wrong and develop anxiety.
4. Not enough downtime for deeper processing
Another reason why anxiety is high in HSPs is the lack of or little downtime.
As we’ve already mentioned, an HSP takes more detail from their environment than a non-HSP. And because having the HSP trait means you process details at a deeper level than others, you are also prone to overwhelm.
So this then means that you need more time to unwind and recover.
But if your current situation doesn’t provide the time you need, not being able to rest and recover can cause your body and mind to fight back.
And this internal war can easily lead you, as a Highly Sensitive Person, to develop anxiety.
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5. Too much sensory stimulation
When your body takes in more details from the environment, your senses are more active than others. It means you are hearing, tasting, seeing, feeling and smelling different elements.
And unfortunately for you as an HSP, the fact that you process stimuli deeply means you are taking in more sensory information than your system can handle at a given time.
So you experience sensory overload and start to become anxious as a result.
And then, if you haven’t mastered how to reduce sensory overload as an HSP, repeated events cause you to develop anxiety.
Many HSPs are victims of wanting everything in their life to be perfect. They want to be flawless as a partner, parent, child, employee, sibling, and another title.
And as an HSP, you may nod yes to what we just said.
But being perfect isn’t an attainable goal, especially as a Highly Sensitive Person.
Because you see, the fact that you are detail-oriented means you’ll take longer than others to finish the same task.
It also means that some tasks will remain unfinished, and you will start to feel like a failure. Or, you may feel like you need to be better.
And as you may already know, these feelings are a huge catalyst for anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, self-doubt, and many other negative states of mind.
In the End
These six reasons why anxiety is high in Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) are to help you understand how suffering from anxiety relates to your trait of High Sensitivity.
We want to help you identify the elements and habits in your life that may be causing you to suffer from anxiety. So you can know what to do about them and finally learn how to reduce or become anxiety-free.
There are available tools and resources to help reduce sensory overload, calm your sensitive nervous system, understand High Sensitivity, and reduce anxiety and overwhelming emotions.
But first, take this free High Sensitivity and Anxiety class to learn more about what you can do from the HSP expert herself.
With love and kindness,