Have you ever been told that you’re too shy or sensitive? Do you cry easily? Do you feel overwhelmed when there is too much going on? As a child, did you have an active imagination and vivid dreams?
If so, you might want to take the highly sensitive person test.
Take the Highly Sensitive Person Test
Are you highly sensitive? To find out, take this 23-question, true/false highly sensitive person quiz. The more questions you answer “true,” the more sensitive you are.
The highly sensitive person test is based on work by Dr. Elaine Aron
What does it mean if you test as a highly sensitive person?
Congratulations! It means you’re part of the 15 to 20 percent of the population that have a rare but powerful trait.
Highly sensitive people (HSPs) react more intensely to experiences than the average person. They process both positive and negative information more deeply, so they can easily become overwhelmed by external stimuli like loud noises, crowds, and high-pressure situations.
High sensitivity is a normal trait that is found in about 1 in 5 people, according to Dr. Elaine N. Aron, researcher and author of the book, The Highly Sensitive Person. High sensitivity is innate, meaning HSPs were probably born this way. (Our HSP quiz was adapted from Dr. Aron’s book.)
Brain-scan studies show there are actually differences in the level of neural activity in the minds of HSPs, compared with non-HSPs. HSPs tend to have more empathy, pay closer attention to their environment, and are more attentive to social cues from others.
They tend to cry easily and have strong emotional responses. The reason? They have a deeper level of cognitive processing and notice even the subtlest sensations — all of which can easily overwhelm them, Dr. Aron tells the Wall Street Journal.
High sensitivity isn’t just an introvert thing, although introverts and HSPs have some similar tendencies, such as shying away from crowds and needing time alone in a quiet space to recharge. However, about 30 percent of HSPs are actually extroverts.
Dr. Aron and her team are making a documentary about high sensitivity, which will feature musician Alanis Morissette, who describes herself as an HSP. The documentary is titled “Sensitive,” and you can read more about it here.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person Can Be Your Biggest Strength
We believe that being a highly sensitive person is a gift. At the same time, it’s not always easy. Many of the questions on the highly sensitive person quiz may have even reminded you of times that your sensitivity felt like like more of a liability than a strength.
For example, it’s normal to feel misunderstood for your sensitivity. And every HSP must also dealing with periods of overstimulation or overwhelm. HSPs also experience a stronger impact from the environment around them, whether that environment is healthy and supportive or unhealthy and toxic.
So, at different times, being a highly sensitive person can feel like both a blessing and a curse.
But you need to know that testing as a highly sensitive person isn’t just normal and healthy; it is, for many people, a superpower.
And almost every single one of those people struggled for years to understand their sensitivity and draw on it as a strength.
For example, Mahatma Gandhi is widely believed to have been an HSP. He spent years in prison, in both South Africa and India, and watched as religious violence nearly undid his work — but he lead by inspiring others, and eventually he left one of the greatest legacies of peace the world has ever seen.
Gandhi isn’t the only HSP to make the most of his gift. Many musicians, doctors, artists, writers, nurses, teachers therapists, moms and dads, and people from all other walks of life are highly sensitive — and many of them draw on their sensitivity as a source of creativity, empathy, caring, and leadership.
You’re not crazy. You’re gifted. You’re a highly sensitive person.
Read more at our sister site, Highly Sensitive Refuge — the word’s largest site for HSPs.
More resources for highly sensitive people:
- 21 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person
- 14 Things Highly Sensitive People Absolutely Need to Be Happy
- These 3 Uncommon Sets of Genes Make You a Highly Sensitive Person
Image credit: Mirko Stoedter