Emotional Hypersensitivity at Work
January 13, 2021 09:00

Today we are highlighting Hypersensitivity Day to better understand this special kind of personality. From a psychological standpoint, hypersensitivity is defined as a personality trait built around strong emotional sensitivity. Today, it affects one out of five people. Researcher Elaine N. Aron, who studied the subject in the early 1990s, has dedicated many studies and books to it, including People Who Are Afraid of Being Afraid: Understanding Hypersensitivity Better. 

Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear, Surprise, Disgust... These emotions that we all go through might seem insignificant to many. To “hypersensitive” people, these moods are often increased tenfold by external stimuli. They usually feel things in a much more intense way, which can often lead to amplified reactions, positive or negative. 

Hypersensitivity can manifest itself through different reactions (although these are not clearly identified). A hyper emotivity facing events, the desire to cry in front of art or landscapes, getting upset over trivial details, the fear of being afraid, a very developed empathy and a high need to make sure others are feeling comfortable, are common characteristics to hypersensitive people. Natacha explains:  

At work, these emotions can sometimes be misunderstood, and sometimes cause these hypersensitive people to isolate themselves and their suffering is rarely recognized. Having a tough time accepting a negative feedback, bursting into tears when someone raises their voice, getting angry over something unnecessary, a high sensitivity to noise Natasha explains: “All these things that can sometimes make collaboration more difficult within the company for the person suffering from hypersensitivity as well as for their colleagues. Although it can be a bit difficult to figure out if a person is hypersensitive or not, it can be noticed based on the reactions defined above. 

A few tips to better manage hypersensitivity at work. 

I am hypersensitive: 

  • Isolate yourself when needed, in a quiet place to avoid any stimuli that could disturb you as much as possible (meeting rooms, bathroom, park ...). 
  • Take time for yourself, even at work. If you enjoy being alone, do not hesitate to go out for lunch on your own, to take some time for yourself by going for a walk... 
  • A little meditation with the alternating breathing (Nadi Shodhana). This method consists of slowly inhaling through the right nostril by blocking the left nostril, then exhaling through the left nostril by blocking the right nostril with your fingers. 
  • Learn to say no when you feel like something is too heavy to carry so you don't get overwhelmed later. 

know a hypersensitive colleague: 

  • Make sure that their work environment suits you (light, noise, clutter, etc.). 
  • Practice the Sandwich method to make a critical feedback (1 positive point - the feedback - 1 positive point) to avoid rushing your colleague. 
  • Allow the person to take time for themselves if they feel the need to and avoid misplaced remarks (Non-violent communication). 
  • Make sure the person in front of us is comfortable with their workload. 

This hypersensitivity can often be viewed as a “weakness” by employers, but it represents an undeniable quality since hypersensitive people have extraordinarily strong empathy (perfect for teamwork), boundless creativity (your future Artistic Director), super-developed intuition (for incredible confidence).  

“My creativity is not particularly expressed in my daily life, in my personal life, but I am very creative in business. I'm a source of suggestions, I regularly initiate new projects, promote new ways of working, set up processes in order to make activities more fluid and more natural."   

We truly hope this article can help you understand what hypersensitivity is and how-to daily deal with it in your workplace or your personal life. All the points explained above do not necessarily mean that you are hypersensitive, the diagnosis must be made by a psychiatrist to adopt the best therapeutic strategy. 

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Emotional Hypersensitivity at Work