14 Success Strategies For Highly Sensitive People

This is the second article in a series on Highly Sensitive people.

What does it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person? Do you want to know if you qualify… read this article: 23 Signs That You Are A Highly Sensitive Person.

How do you thrive as a Highly Sensitive Person?

Here are 14 Success Strategies for Highly Sensitive People!

1. Accept your sensitivity
Your sensitivity is a gift. I know it doesn’t always feel like it. But it is. I spent more than half of my life denying that I was highly sensitive. Until you acknowledge and say “yes” to your sensitivity you cannot begin to learn the tools that will help you leverage that sensitivity into a positive benefit.

2. Empower your sensitivity
It has taken me many years to get to the place where I can truly claim my sensitivity and use it as a powerful tool on my journey of self-discovery and deliberate creation. As a Highly Sensitive Person in an often over stimulating world, dampening your sensitivity sometimes seems like the best solution. And while that may be helpful, and even necessary, at first, ultimately you want to empower your sensitivity and turn it into a powerful ally in the creation of a truly brilliant life.

3. Connect with other sensitive people.
It is very easy to get caught up in the stress and overload of our frenetic, chaotic world. Sometimes it seems as if there is no one else as sensitive as you. And from that thought it’s a short slide down the slippery slope into feeling like you are crazy or weird or strange. So find some other folks who are highly sensitive and create a support group where you can go for encouragement and to remind each other that you are not alone and that you are not crazy. One important note on this: This group is not a complain and whine group! The point is not to compare notes on how horrible and insensitive the rest of the world is. You connect with other Highly Sensitive People in order to know that you are not alone and discuss ways to leverage your sensitivity to create positive changes in your lives!

4. Hang out with successful, not-so-sensitive people.
I know this seems like a contradiction of the last one. But I have seen it happen (in myself and others) where a sensitive person basically says “screw you” to the rest of the world and all of the less sensitive people and finds someplace to curl up in a little ball and hide. While this can certainly be a beneficial and sometimes necessary short-term strategy, it’s not an effective long-term solution. Those of us who are highly sensitive can learn a lot from people who are not sensitive. So find some not-so-sensitive people who are successful and begin hanging out with them. Observe them. Learn from them. Watch how they move through the world. Not so that you can dampen your sensitivity but so that you might learn how to bring your sensitivity into the world in a balanced manner.

5. Have a regular practice of “mindful exercise.”
Exercise is important for everyone. But especially so for Highly Sensitive People. Moving your body helps to get any environmental, emotional and energetic toxins out of your system. While any type of exercise is beneficial, workouts that incorporate your mind, body and spirit can be especially helpful. Try things like Yoga, Tai Chi, Akido. and Pilates. Dancing and rock-climbing can also be great opportunities for the body, mind and spirit to move. The bottom line is to find a form of exercise that touches YOUR body, mind and spirit.

6. Find successful HSP role models 
Do you know any Highly Sensitive People who have learned to not only survive in this world, but thrive in it? What lessons can learn from them? What life strategies can you emulate? If you can’t find role models in your own life, look in the wider world. What teachers, authors, artists, and entrepreneurs (yes there are successful AND highly sensitive entrepreneurs) can you find? Once you find them, again look for lessons and strategies that they are using to leverage their sensitivity into success.

7. Gently push yourself beyond the level of your sensitivity
Your sensitivity is a gift and strength. But in order for this gift to be of any value to you and to the world, you must learn how to put it into use. That means you have to stretch yourself and bring your sensitivity with you into places and situations where it feels uncomfortable. Just as you build muscle mass through resistance, you increase your ability to bring your sensitivity into the world by practicing and exercising.

8. Know your limits
Don’t push yourself so far that you blow a fuse! Become aware of the internal signals that let you know you are reaching maximum capacity. And when you notice them back off. You want to push yourself and strengthen your sensitivity, but not to the point where it causes you to blow a fuse!

9. Set up a consistent self-care routine
As a sensitive person you need more self care than others. Don’t compare yourself to less sensitive people. Get clear on your needs and take steps to ensure that those needs are met. If you need a massage every week, get one. If you need to take a bath with sea salts every night, do it. Your sensitivity is of no use if you are not able to function in the world!

10. Connect with nature as often as possible
If there is one consistent theme I have found among sensitive people it is the restorative capacity of nature. Even if you live in a city get outside every day. Connect with a tree. If you don’t want to look strange, pretend you’re leaning up against it waiting for some. But while you’re there, feel the restorative, grounding energy flowing through that tree.

11. Create safe spaces
It is very important for sensitive people to have safe spaces to go to when the world gets overwhelming. You need to know that no matter what is happening in the wider world, that you have a safe space, a sanctuary to which you can return and restore yourself. Ideally, your home is your sanctuary. If it’s not, start by taking a small space and turning it into a safe, private, sanctuary where you can go when you need quiet and solitude.

12. Limit your exposure to news
In some ways, this one suggestion may be the easiest and most powerful success strategy for Highly Sensitive People. And yet, I find it amazing how often this suggestion triggers people. They feel that if they don’t read the newspaper they’ll be missing out on important information. My response is that if reading the newspaper makes you feel like crap what good does that information do for anyone. I would much rather see you feeling great and doing positive things in the world, than see you feeling depressed and hopeless because you’re reading too much news.

13. Explore energetic healing modalities.
Try acupuncture, homeopathy, Reiki, energy medicine, flower essences and other forms of energetic healing. When you find one that works, schedule regular sessions.

14. Learn how to create positive energetic boundaries.
There are wonderful resources that can teach you to setup positive energetic boundaries. Read books by Caroline Myss, Donna Eden, and others. Once you venture into this world you will be amazed at how easily you are led to the information and teachers you need to get learn how to thrive in this world!

If you are a Highly Sensitive Person, I encourage you to begin using some of these strategies. Look through the list and pick one or two of these that resonate with you and begin integrating them into your daily life. You may be surprised at how quickly and dramatically your life can change when you actively employ success strategies specifically designed for Highly Sensitive People.

Please leave a comment below and let me know which of these strategies you already use and what other techniques you use as a sensitive person in this world.


20 responses to “14 Success Strategies For Highly Sensitive People”

  1. Hi Ed,
    Great post and you brought up so many important points. I have to admit that I had never heard the term HSP until I read your previous post. But I do fit the definition on all points. It does make life & relationships more challenging, but I wouldn’t trade the sensitivity for anything. One thing I learned and you mentioned is the importance of nurturing ourselves. As healers, we are of no use to anyone if we are not balanced. I have found a healthy diet to be key. It’s also important to remember to be true to ourselves.

  2. Tania: Great point about a healthy diet. How did I miss that one? 😉 As sensitive people we tend to be more sensitive to what goes into our bodies than other folks. So paying attention to what we’re eating is critical.


  3. Great tips Ed. I know I often really need that quiet time. Meditation is also wonderful but just getting away to quiet and solitude really helps.
    (somehow I always knew that hibernating with some good books and some beautiful yarns was not always a practical answer! But I’ve been tempted many times!!)

    Thank you for this series. It’s nice. I’ve thought at times that it was only me! Nice to know there are others.

  4. Thanks for putting this information out there, Ed. It is such a great resource for HSPs.

    I’ve always been very sensitive, and when I was growing up, I believed others who told me it was a weakness. In fact, until I started incorporating some of the strategies that you mention in your post, they were probably right in a way :). Over time, I learned that I was most effective in the world when I accepted my sensitivity, incorporated exercise such as yoga into my life, became vegetarian, stopped watching/reading news, and got clear on my own boundaries (emotional as well as physical). I love that you spoke about these and have also given HSPs even more strategies to use!

    Interestingly, I did also learn from others who were not so sensitive. For example, I learned how to become assertive – but, I have what a friend of mine called “gentle assertiveness”… kind, but firm ;). It’s incredibly effective! Overall, I’d have to say that my sensitivity is now my greatest strength.

  5. Thank you for these superb 14 tips. I am a sensitive person and will take these lessons and apply them to my life. Have a great weekend, Brad Newman

  6. I read the Highly Sensitive Person by Dr. Elaine Aron 6 years ago. This book changed my life. It taught me about myself. In this process of self-discovery, I was able to find a sense of peace and self-acceptance that I longed for all my life. Several years later, I went to a workshop in Pennsylvania for HSP’s. It was great! Dr. Aron was supposed to be there. However, due to illness, she could not attend this gathering. Instead, she had a conference call with all the participants. I spoke directly with her during this call. This first thing I said to her was that ” I wanted to thank her with all my heart for writing the Highly Sensitive Person. It was only after reading her book that I stopped feeling defective as a human being.” Then I asked her about the causes of selective mutism. Last, I asked her about what future research needs to be done in respect to educating students with high sensitivity. The learning style of HSP’s is very different than that of non-HSP’s. Their unique learning style needs to be understood by all teachers so that appropriate accomodations can be made to help children with high sensitivity thrive in school. Dr. Aron answered all my questions in an authorative manner without any prior knowledge of my questions. I have never met anyone who can think on her feet so quickly and answer fairly detailed/complex questions with eloquence and encylopedic knowledge. The woman is simply a genius!

  7. When I feel my emotions building up inside the best way to get back in balance is to go for a walk/jog outdoors alone while listening to uplifting classical music with no words. I run as fast as I can to release the built up emotions inside then I walk so that I don’t over do it. I do this until I have released all the emotions inside me. Music with no words helps clear my mind. I find if the music has words, they feel my mind when I am trying to do the opposite. Also, the temperature must be nice outside, if it is too hot or the sun is brazen, the exercise can cause stress. Exercising alone is also really good for an HSP, it gives you time to just be yourself and go at your own pace. This is the way I stay balanced. Also avoiding the news, and paying attention to my thoughts to make sure I am thinking positive about others has really helped.

  8. Nice posting. I resonate with it a lot. I am also an HSP, and a few months ago pushed too far (not intentional at all) I was in a state of panic and did not know what to do. I am relearning many of the traits that I had before, but being 24 it is a challenge because of my age I feel, (experience and age). I get into depression fits and get frustrated with them because of my sensitivity. Also does this happen to anyone else, if I am in a group of people and they are all talking I get a strong feeling of relation, as in what they are saying I have felt before or feeling presently. I am not engaging in the talking but listening. At first it scared me because it felt like a projection of my thoughts outward. Also it is hard to learn to cope with coworkers or other people that do not understand HSP’s and so I have to adapt to there situation, this can be very draining at the end of the day. Also I noticed that the moderator is from SF, I am as well, and in one way or another looking for other HSP other than online chat.

  9. Thank you for your helpful website. I would add two things:
    1) I describe myself as HAVING a highly sensitive nature rather than BEING a highly sensitive person. It might seem trivial, but I assure you that you will discover that what you put after “I am…” is very important, and ultimately we are each our True Self, not our nature or personality.
    2) I have experienced that those with a HS nature have a difficult time with BOUNDARIES regardless of “surrounding themselves with light” and other such techniques. This is because no true, lasting boundary exists until we honor who we are and completely accept ourselves. This is often done in stages, like the layers of a peeling onion — since we often come to adulthood already hampered by knowing our nature is not appreciated by the culture at large, we usually only come to full appreciation of it and our self over time. Only through rigorously observing ourselves and our reactions (as opposed to responses) to people and situations and then following those emotions/reactions back to there source, can we unmask and discover what holds us back from full acceptance of ourselves.

  10. i found becoming a vegetarian, eating healthy and light really help. i started practicing yoga 2 months ago and i can’t explain how euphoric it makes me feel-it’s like taking a drug. don’t let being a hsp define you, just let it be a part of you. also, don’t let it make you become a victim, it’s so easy for us to become depressed and feel useless. it also really helps to close the curtains and have a small light on when inside, it’s so calming. i used to try classical music but sometimes it can really grate on my nerves so i tried spa music (the soundscapes channel also plays it on comcast) and it calms me so much, and i know everyone makes fun of it! gardening and feeding the wild birds and having pets also really help me.

  11. WOW. I just stumbled upon your site today, after feeling jittery again after eating a meal…and suddenly…I have yet another group of things in my life that now make sense. I have been on an interesting part of my path this past year, and at the end of the summer, was drawn to Reiki. I just received my Level II attunements last week, and I feel like I am becoming even more sensitive…it feels like I have got a serious energy download going on–does this ring true for anyone else? Reiki self-treatments are very helpful for me, and feeling the connection with nature and my pets is also soothing. Also, “The Complete Book of Chakra Healing” by Cyndi Dale has helped me make more sense of why I go through certain things at certain times. Great energy info. Thank you so very, very much for creating this website! I am looking forward to realizing my divine purpose when the time is right! xoxo

  12. Hi, i have a little problem with my Highly Sensitive personality. I can resonate with everything said on being a HSP. But my problem is, I also have a high competitive and driven personality. So, there’s two side of me. What happens usually is, I went into a highly stress work or business and then, I’d stress out in the end. Then I’d rest for a month or two then begin the battle again.

    Now, my question is:
    Should I fight and change myself or should I stick to being a HSP?

    I am driven and have a high ambition, so I don’t want to settle choosing a job for HSP like care giving, etc.

    Please help. Thanks…

    • Hi Rey
      It’s very difficult to fight who you are. Being a Highly Sensitive Person is not like a bad habit that you want to change. It is an essential part of who you are. So I don’t think you should “fight and change” that part of yourself. However, you can learn how to use your sensivity in positive ways. You can also learn how to allow your sensitivity to flourish in the world. You don’t need to get a care giving job. Follow your heart and choose a job that you love and learn how to use your sensitivity within that environment!

  13. Hi Ed, I am so glad to read a reply from you. YOu just don’t know how much this means to me. Thank you for listening and sharing your thoughts.

    The thing about learning how to use sensitivity within environment got me a little confuse. Because in books written on HSP, they said to keep away from loud, aggressive people and from chaotic environment. To choose an environment suited for HSP.

    But the thing with me is, my dream contradicts with my personality. For ex, i wanna become a super talent agent, (you know how stressful and chaotic this job is). Fighting for clients, running around to beat deadlines, and also physically very demanding. and if I don’t keep up with the other more competitive agents, they will eat me alive. My health, mentally and physically suffers in the end, being fatigue most of the time in the environment that I live.

    My question is: How do i apply this “learn how to use my sensitivity in my line of work” where it’s not for the sensitive soul in the first place?

    I’m really confuse if I should just change my dream job and look for another job that suits HSP. I hope you get what i mean.

    Thank you so much for reading this far Ed. Your reply on my query will really help a poor sad soul. Have a great day ahead!

  14. From what I’ve learned, you need to train yourself to endure and live through discomfort. All of life’s pains are temporary and through a practice like yoga, you’ll learn to endure and appreciate your pain. Stay with tough situations and do not leave them. Flinching and running away from things will weaken you. Standing your ground, feeling the discomfort, and blowing through it will make you a stronger person… and this is precisely what the world needs right now, for intelligent and sensitive people to make themselves strong. (also, check out heart meditation. this is very empowering.)

  15. Hi, I’m an HSP and a massage therapist. I often find I am overwhelmed by the energy of some of my clients, can anyone help with strategies to avoid this happening please?
    I’d also like to hear from other HSP’s who receive massages and what they particularly like from a massage session.
    I’m about to give an HSP a massage and she and I are very concerned she will react to my massage. She has had such severe reactions in the past that she has had to take time off work. The least reaction she has had was a rash. Can anyone help with advice about massage techniques for HSP, who are also very sensitive to touch.

  16. Thank you very much for sharing this post and quality tips. Energy healing helps me, too. It is good to know that it helps you, too. A lot of my clients it helps, too as well as visualization. Thank you again. Julia

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