Emotional sensitivity in psychology is defined as a capacity of certain individuals, they can easily identify their own and others’ emotions. In this way, they manage to react in a way that is adapted to the perception they had of those same stimuli; interpreting them in a way that could negatively affect them. Therefore they are susceptible and at times they will feel a great emotional impact.
Statistically, a small group of people can show this characteristic as part of their psychological faculties. It can be described as a positive skill because other qualities such as intuition and empathy are manifested . Together, all these elements allow these individuals to be sensitive to any personal and other emotional or sentimental factors.
However, on some occasions it can be a condition that represents dealing with difficulties, both emotionally and socially. It is a very particular condition , no case is the same as another, so it cannot be assumed that it can be considered a problem. Some people who have been diagnosed describe it as a skill that has allowed them to have better communication or relationships with others, but other people also believe that it is a limiting factor.
By understanding what other people’s needs are, but also your own, you begin to take actions that are focused on finding the means to solve them. However, when a person has high sensitivity, they may not know how to control it , it can cause certain effects that harm their health and tranquility; even affecting their mental state and their social relationships.
Some patients may manifest moderate emotional sensitivity , they are only susceptible to experiencing the effects of certain signals. In contrast, other people will have a higher intensity sensitivity, which makes them vulnerable to a greater variety of stimuli.
What is emotional sensitivity?
It is defined as emotional sensitivity to a set of behavioral traits that show excessive empathy towards everything related to the emotional. People with high sensitivity show tendencies or predisposition to have a low tolerance for negative emotions or feelings.
These individuals face difficulties adapting socially due to their vulnerability. Emotional sensitivity can also be referred to by the acronym PAS, these are the initials of the words ” Highly Sensitive People “. These individuals feel the need to structure their habits and needs in the same routine, which allows them to face certain psychological challenges in their daily lives.
In this way, it makes it possible to survive certain events that cause them a great emotional impact . They tend to describe it as something difficult to face, especially when it comes to criticism or being judged, for this reason they develop certain skills or habits in their behavior that allow them to stay safe.
According to the studies carried out on this subject, it is estimated that at least 30% of the world population presents this psychological characteristic . Emotional sensitivity is a relatively new term in the world of medicine. It is also a condition referred to by the term ” Environmental Sensitivity” , initially only diagnoses were made in children and there were few cases of registered adults.
These individuals have a tendency to show patterns of thought that are recurrent, they always focus on deep analysis of topics to which they are sensitive. The mind of these people evaluates and compares information that is registered in memory, it can include past scenes related to those of the present. It is about creating planned strategies that allow them to cope with situations that represent discomfort or fear .
Emotional sensitivity is very intense and can be described as a roller coaster of emotions . Compared to other people who do not have this degree of sensitivity, they are sensitive to any subtlety or detail. They may feel vulnerable to any comments or opinions that are not necessarily expressed in reference to them.
In this sense, it is not only about verbal or physical interactions with other people or with the environment. Perceptions such as those from textures, flavors and colors for example are also included. People with emotional sensitivity are prone to overstimulation or information saturation.
What are the characteristics of emotional sensitivity?
The characteristics of emotional sensitivity are easier to identify by those who possess it. That is, from the external perspective, other people might find it difficult to perceive this quality in another. We must also consider that it is a psychological aspect that is personal , each individual will notice it for themselves.
Only a small part of the population shows clear evidence of having a high degree of emotional sensitivity. These people are fragile in terms of being able to tolerate certain types of judgments or treatment , so it is recommended to show consideration towards them for their vulnerability.
The following describes the characteristics of emotional sensitivity, they are the main indicators that allow its identification. However, it is important to clarify that not necessarily all these elements must be presented in the same diagnosis; each person and case is different . If an individual manifests at least five of the following characteristics, it can be confirmed that they have emotional sensitivity. They are as follows:
- Sensitive people have a hard time forgetting or downplaying certain thoughts and emotions. Nor will they be able to do the same with the opinions expressed by other people, especially when they are negative.
- Physical symptoms such as migraine headaches, stomach problems, and stress can occur .
- Some daily habits can be affected by drastic changes in the mental pattern that are usually generated when they are exercised. That is, the sequence of actions that the person usually performs can be influenced by various external elements . For example, stopping eating a certain food or physical activity because a person made a comment regarding their body weight.
- The hours of rest and sleep can increase or decrease considerably.
- Sensitive people tend to be socially anxious and tense.
- In some cases, self-flagellation or any other type of self-inflicted physical damage may occur . This is common in cases in which the person begins to feel the need to experience physical sensations that can make them feel better.
- The fear of rejection is a latent factor in any social situation. Therefore, any type of action will begin to be carried out that can guarantee them to avoid suffering public humiliation.
- Making constant comparisons between themselves and other people is common in emotionally sensitive individuals. This applies both to the personal and social spheres, but also to the financial part and in relation to work.
- They may consider that they are unhappy because of the guilt of others . Resentment, anger, and feelings of injustice are often applicable to various areas of these people’s personal lives. They tend to be upset because from their perspective they have not been able to achieve their goals, due to the limitations set by other people.
- It is common to show concern about what other people might be thinking of them .
- Any decision or action made by another person can be considered personal .
- They can easily feel offended , even if they are not part of the action or topic that is being discussed at the time.
- They may feel the need to hide their feelings , because they feel ashamed, but it can also be because of maintaining a continuous state of self-protection.
- It is difficult for them to accept criticism even if it has a constructive purpose. Feedback based on the exchange of opinions or ideas is an activity that is difficult for them.
- They tend to feel that people judge them , even if they have no evidence to show that it is true.
- They can show exaggerated reactions to any action or opinion that they consider offensive or. provocative .
- They tend to show discomfort when in certain social situations they realize that they are incapable of being part of them.
- They avoid intimate or romantic touch with other people with whom they do not trust. They are concerned about not receiving approval and therefore are irrational with fearful behavior.
- They avoid attending events where there are crowds of people, if in a space there are a large number of attendees they will try to flee from this site.
- They are disturbed at the receiving negative news through the mass media . The great impact these have on your emotional state makes it possible to show intense and violent reactions.
Importance for psychology the study of emotional sensitivity
The importance of studying emotional sensitivity as a psychological peculiarity that only some individuals develop, lies precisely in determining how it works. That is, it is a characteristic that can be adapted and developed in certain people. These same individuals manage to identify that they feel fatigued, anxious and stressed in certain social contexts. It is even possible that constant changes in mood and phobias are shown.
Psychologists have learned to care for patients suffering from emotional sensitivity by attending to their needs. Some treatments have made it possible for them to lead a better life by having peace of mind and balance. Some techniques may have benefits such as breathing or relaxation techniques. However, the use of other types of strategies is proposed that would help them better manage their own emotions and the criticisms of third parties.
Emotional sensitivity is a condition that does exist, psychologists have managed to confirm that its diagnosis has been increasing in recent years. In part, the reasons could be due to the current rhythm of life, but neither should we forget the biological and particular factors of each patient.
The intensity of both one’s own and others’ emotions could have a long-term impact on each person. It even means the development of certain psychological limitations that would negatively affect their quality of life.
It should not be forgotten that emotional sensitivity means having a high capacity to feel and perceive emotions; patients who possess this ability could react in different ways and even disproportionately. Because there are reactions that demonstrate their susceptibility and insecurity due to having difficulty managing their emotions, it is recommended that other people be considerate of their condition.
In some cases it could be due to certain past experiences or accumulated learning that is associated with certain stimuli. These people often do not know how to deal with this condition, limiting their personal well-being ; faced with the outside world, he cannot interact properly. They can be affected by other people’s opinions or unexpected reactions that can be interpreted as a threat.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.