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  • Writer's pictureDr. Elena Duong

Highly Sensitive Person At Work

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Do you identify as being highly sensitive? Has it been difficult for you with all the changes at work during the pandemic? If you are struggling, you are not alone. Many people have been struggling through it all. Our bodies do not want change…it likes homeostasis, especially for highly sensitive people.

What Does it Mean to be Highly Sensitive?

According to Dr. Elaine Aron, leading researcher and author of The Highly Sensitive Person (1997), individuals are born highly sensitive and whether the trait continues on depends on their environment. Some common traits of being highly sensitive include being affected by other people’s moods, feeling overstimulated by one’s environment, needing time to process information, tending to be more observant and/or conscientious, among other traits. Depending on how you look at the traits, it can be seen as beneficial. We believe being highly sensitive is a significant strength.

Benefits of Being Highly Sensitive at Work

  • You tend to be more alert and aware of subtle changes, which allows you to see whether something is working or not

  • You are likely empathetic and insightful, which oftentimes means you have good people skills and are understanding of others

  • Most workplaces appreciate folks who are conscientious since it likely means you are a diligent and hardworking employee

  • Often, highly sensitive people are linked with creativity and innovation due to their traits, which is advantageous for companies

How to Cope at Work

Even though being highly sensitive has its benefits, it's not always easy to have these traits as an employee, especially if your company is not accepting or supportive of you. If this is your experience, you may benefit from the following suggestions:

  • Become aware of what you need at work

    • What overstimulates you, and what does not?

  • If you need something that human resources/management can help change, advocate for yourself and your needs

    • For example, setting boundaries. This can mean you might need a break between meetings to reset yourself

  • Get to know your talents and what you bring to the table

    • You are worth more than any one job!

  • Practice and schedule in self-care time at work and at home

    • Examples: Going for a walk, listening to soothing music, or planning for alone time

It is not easy to live in this noisy world as a highly sensitive person. Learning and accepting our highly sensitive selves is a strong first step since we likely received inaccurate/negative messages about our sensitivity. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being highly sensitive. We hope people who are highly sensitive can view their traits as a gift.

If you want to learn more about highly sensitive people, feel free to click here.

If you want mental health support in your journey as a highly sensitive person, feel free to contact us through our site. Our psychologists both identify as being highly sensitive individuals. We are here if you need us.

Stay tuned. The next topic is "Empath or Highly Sensitive Person?"


Written by Elena Duong, Psy.D.

Edited by Susanna La, Ph.D.

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