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  • Writer's pictureDr. Elena Duong

Introverted and Highly Sensitive?

Updated: 2 days ago

Have you ever felt out of place even after discovering your introverted traits? If so, you may also identify as highly sensitive.



As a quick review, being introverted simply means you draw energy from alone time while extroverted folks tend to gain energy from social interactions. On the other hand, being highly sensitive is a trait certain people are born with and can be seen within animals in nature. The highly sensitive trait is rather complex to explain, but there is a overall tendency to feel overwhelmed by various things, including scents, sounds, and more, depending on the individual. There are some overlapping traits between introversion and high sensitivity as well.

 

In knowing this, you may still be wondering if you are highly sensitive and introverted. In all honesty, it is not always clear-cut. The following signs may give you a head start in exploring these facets of your intersecting identities:


  • When things get too loud or busy (e.g., in a noisy party or crowded coffee shop), you may start to daydream or zone out to manage all the stimuli you are encountering.

  • Creating routines to minimize unpredictability, resulting in less overstimulation or feeling overwhelmed.

  • Setting time aside to decompress for your sensitive and introverted sides before/after a social gathering.

  • Not doing well when there is a time-pressure or during performance evaluation since you may feel the intensity of the stress more deeply, in turn impacting your performance at the designated task as well as leaving you frazzled.

  • You may be more intuitive since highly sensitive introverted folks are excellent observers, so it may seem like you can predict the future or other's patterns of behaviors.

  • You also may feel what other’s feel to the point of not being able to distinguish your emotions from theirs, which can result in avoidance to prevent feeling overwhelmed by emotions.

  • Avoiding specific genres of shows, movies, music, or books to prevent you from imaging or feeling certain emotions, including sadness and/or anger, since it may feel too painful to sit with.

  • You are more likely to notice the beauty in life and are moved by art, nature, music, or books, so you may become confused when others do not react in a similar way.

 

These signs are not comprehensive and can overlap with other personality traits as well. Hopefully, this brief introduction to the intersection of introversion and high sensitivity can help you be more understanding and gentle with yourself. It is difficult to move through the world feeling different or like an outsider, so having the terms or traits can help us feel less alone in this vast world.

 

If you are interested in seeking mental health services with us as you begin or continue your identity exploration, feel free to contact us.

 

Stay tuned. The next topic is "Mental Health & Nature."

 

Written by Elena Duong, Psy.D.

Edited by Susanna La, Ph.D.

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