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High sensitivity at work: how to deal with it?

Recognizing and differentiating differences is important. People with High sensitivity have perfected this gift. This has its good and bad sides, both in terms of work and dealing with other people. Highly sensitive people quickly become as Wimp or crybaby reviled. Highly sensitive people behave differently in certain situations. Does that make them less resilient, incapable of criticism or even underperforming? We want to pay more attention to the topic of high sensitivity and are looking into the following questions: What effects does high sensitivity have on the job? How can I, as a colleague, deal with a highly sensitive person? Or am I even highly sensitive myself?

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what is high sensitivity?

Everyone is exposed to a flood of data every day - without any action of their own. Usually a filter in the brain sifts one Most of it as irrelevant out. In the case of highly sensitive people, this filter is less active or not at all.

Much more stimuli from the environment are absorbed and processed - many things that other people would not even notice. Combined with the intensity of the impressions, overstimulation and overstimulation are more common. The terms high sensitivity and high sensitivity are often used synonymously, but there are voices that distinguish between:

  • High sensitivity

    Accordingly, high sensitivity is a neurological property that stimulates human beings through the classic five senses (i.e. smell, hear, see, taste, touch) a great deal faster, more intense and more pronounced perceive. The reaction of a highly sensitive person is correspondingly more intense, because the impressions of the environment have a much stronger effect on him.

  • High sensitivity

    If, on the other hand, there is talk of high sensitivity, this refers to a gift that can almost be described as spiritual. These people will be sixth or seventh sense Said: You go into a room full of people and can quickly determine which person is in which mood. The empathy is many times more pronounced in these people.

The concept of high sensitivity has recently been experiencing a minor one Renaissance. The observations on this are not all that new. In German-speaking countries, the psychiatrist Ernst Kretschmer had already gotten to know each other in the twenties and the psychologist Eduard Schweingruber in 1935 sensitive people employed.

The abbreviation associated with high sensitivity HSP However, it was only shaped by the American psychologist Elaine N. Aron in 1997. HSP stands for Highly sensitive person, which in German was often translated as “highly sensitive person”, hence the term “high sensitivity”.

The Opinions differ about ithow many people can be classified as highly sensitive. Aron assumes 15 or even 20 percent of the population, other researchers and experts place the quota at 5 to 10 percent.

Recognize high sensitivity: property with many facets

Even if they are often referred to as burden is experienced and the lack of understanding of outsiders is sometimes great: high sensitivity is no disease, therefore no diagnosis is required and no “symptoms of high sensitivity” are spoken of.

Rather, high sensitivity is described as a temperament, character trait or personality trait. It occurs equally in men and women. Researchers suspect that highly sensitive due to neurological peculiarities absorb and process external stimuli more intensely. It is now even assumed that this is inheritable.

Investigations in the magnetic resonance tomograph show that in HSP the areas in Brain much more active who are responsible for processing sensory impressions.

This gives rise to some characteristic features of high sensitivity:

  • height sensitivity the senses
  • intense Emotionality and long reverberations of feelings
  • easy Overexcitability
  • pronounced Processing depth and
  • Strength Networking in thinking

High sensitivity test: am I affected?

How can you recognize high sensitivity? There are a variety of them Characteristics and symptomswho show the highly sensitive. Certainly one or the other characteristic also applies to people who are not highly sensitive. It is difficult to say to what extent tests on high sensitivity provide final information. The perceptions of each individual are too individual and subjective.

Therefore, advisors on the topic emphasize again and again that it depends on the result in addition to the dedicated discussion with the topic of high sensitivity arrives: The high sensitivity test is less about individual features than about the Abundance and extent.

The following questions will help to reveal the difficulties that you - sometimes unconsciously - are confronted with in everyday life. Take some time, relax and see what might apply to you:

  • As a child, were you reticent or even fearful?
  • Do you often feel misunderstood and misjudged by those around you?
  • Do you know how incomprehensible comments you made to you "Now don't be so sensitive!" or: "You just have to take a more relaxed look at it." or: "You are always so awkward!"?
  • Have you often wished you had a thicker skin and could just let accusations and unobjective criticism ricochet off?
  • Do you tend to look at things in a very differentiated way and discover nuances and aspects that other people are indifferent to or miss?
  • Do you often question yourself and wish for a more robust psyche?
  • Do you struggle with overstimulation caused by strong background noise and many people in one place, such as at concerts or the weekly market?
  • Are you bothered by sensory stimuli such as heat, cold, drafts and strong smells?
  • Are you sensitive to caffeine and alcohol?
  • Do you have any allergies or food intolerances?
  • Do you react violently to pain?
  • Do you find it difficult to concentrate when you hear irritating noises such as a cracking heater or an engine ignition?
  • Are you struggling to make decisions?
  • Are you easily frightened when you concentrate on something and are suddenly pulled out of your occupation?
  • Are you worried about new, unfamiliar situations?
  • Are you very much in love with details and cultivate “Prussian virtues” such as a sense of duty, thoroughness and reliability?
  • Do you use these virtues in a perfectionist manner and are you always striving to deliver an all-encompassing, high quality of your work?
  • Do you have creative inclinations such as painting or making music, are you interested in beauty and culture?
  • Do you tend to brood and think a lot about social issues? Do you have values ​​such as environmental and nature protection and justice?
  • Are you very empathetic and often listen to the worries and needs of others?
  • Is it difficult for you to say no when someone asks you for help?
  • Can you handle many things at the same time or do you feel overwhelmed?
  • Do you have a strong need to retreat and do you tend to take breaks to recover from many impressions?
  • Do you also read between the lines and perceive vibrations or dissatisfaction that other people tend to hide?
  • Are you yourself often torn between two extremes emotionally? Exuberant joy on the one hand, then great depression on the other?
  • Can you easily abstract and look at the big picture?
  • Do you quickly feel personally attacked and are easily injured?
  • Would you like to resolve conflict situations at all costs and forego your position?
  • Do you often react with physical symptoms to stress and strain?
  • Are you very imaginative and are you often dreaming about?
  • Do you appear mostly naive or unworldly to other people?
  • Do you prefer in-depth exchanges with your fellow human beings rather than superficial platitudes?
  • Are you spiritually gifted or very interested in it?

Of course, this high-sensitivity test cannot replace therapy with a psychologist or coaching, but only one reference point represent. However, if you were able to answer more than two thirds of the questions with yes or tended to answer yes, there is some evidence that you are highly sensitive.

Living with HSP: pros and cons

In addition to the ones mentioned, high sensitivity actually brings with it some properties that valuable for employers are - so high sensitivity can be a curse and a blessing at the same time. A peculiarity of highly sensitive people, for example, is difficult to deal with irrelevant, undifferentiated criticism.

This requires the boss more empathy and appreciationwhich unfortunately is not always the case. The ability of highly sensitive people to absorb stimuli quickly and process them poorly means that they are the ones who are first hit in an unfavorable working atmosphere - for example through bullying.

At the same time, they can be an important one indicator be for something is wrong. So can Grievances Detected and remedied at an early stage - all colleagues benefit from this in the long term.

But let's go into a little more detail ...

The positive sides of high sensitivity

Highly sensitive ...

  • have a great deal of empathy.
  • have Quality awareness.
  • are receptive to Dissatisfaction and emotional vibrations.
  • often draws great meticulousness and greatness perfectionism out.
  • often have a very good one overview.
  • have popular properties such as punctuality, Reliability and diligence.
  • have a very differentiated perception.
  • are solution-oriented.

The negative side of high sensitivity

The other side of the coin are problems that are driven to extremes by the originally positive characteristics: This is how introduces excessive demand to one's own quality of work, so that what is relevant can hardly be separated from what is less relevant. This in turn leads to time delays, followed by stress and, finally, mistakes - a huge number of negative consequences.

They see accordingly Downside of high sensitivity out. Concrete:

Highly sensitive ...

  • are more prone to stress.
  • feel fast Overwhelmed.
  • tend to Allergies and food intolerances.
  • find it hard to to delimit.
  • are scary, prone to excessive reactions.
  • are irritated faster and therefore also have a high need for retreat.

High sensitivity at work: tips against overstimulation

Once the child has a name (namely HSP), it is easier for many highly sensitive people to deal with. This is also where the crux lies: The realization that you are highly sensitive, shouldn't cause withdrawal. It is more important to learn how to deal with it.

Highly sensitive people can only get theirs in direct contact with other colleagues qualities unfold. As a person affected, you should be aware of how you react to stress. This requires your own physical perception to analyze, to see how you are feeling, before You are overexcited.

If this state is recognized before the immediate moment, various Take countermeasures. Some are intended for acute cases, others require planning. These tips can be implemented quickly:

  • Breathing exercises

    Breathing exercises like those used in the theater can be easily implemented at any time. It is particularly important to breathe out slowly through the mouth. The nerve plexus in the chest and stomach region, the solar plexus, is activated.

  • Move

    Movement is also not to be underestimated. Make yourself a cup of tea in the tea kitchen, then take a walk in the fresh air for a few minutes. If it is seen rather critically when an employee leaves the workplace outside of the break times, a Go to the copier or to the toilet help to avoid a stimulus situation.

  • Direction of view

    Sometimes a look outside helps to sort your thoughts again or you close your eyes completely for a moment. Make a conscious effort to block out some of the stimuli around you and just focus on yourself.

  • Sources of noise

    Anyone who already sits in a smaller office and suffers from outside noise should keep the door closed. Try to turn off additional noise sources such as the radio while you work. If that doesn't work, earplugs can help reduce noise and eliminate a stimulus.

But sometimes that's not enough. The biggest challenge for highly sensitive people in the job is less about the professional requirements than about their Reconciling sensitivity with the job. A well-founded career choice is therefore of great importance:

  • Career choice

    A dilemma is that many highly sensitive people cannot assess themselves correctly, but at the same time have many interests and gifts. When choosing a job, it's not just about content: your strengths and weaknesses are important, but you also have to determine the framework conditions in order to be able to adapt them if necessary. The characteristics of highly sensitive people vary in strength and it is not possible to predict in detail how the environment will be shaped for all jobs, but some statements are possible. For example, call centers or hospitals are generally not known for having quiet workplaces.

  • Framework

    Smaller offices instead of open-plan offices, no hour-long meetings and regular break times that are adhered to: These are framework conditions that are particularly important in the case of high sensitivity. In a good work environment, you should also talk to your boss and colleagues. Try to explain the high sensitivity and make it understandable. That can be enough for others to be a little considerate and better understand your reactions and behaviors.

  • specialization

    In general, highly sensitive people are particularly suitable for areas of activity that have to do with thoroughness and differentiated perception. In the technical area, these can be tasks with a control function. But highly sensitive people will also find suitable tasks in quality assurance, marketing or communication. Many are active in the social or creative field or become self-employed, as this allows them to adapt the working conditions to their personal needs.

This is how colleagues can deal with highly sensitive people

In order to deal with high sensitivity at work, it can be sufficient for the normally sensitive to make an effort to identify the special features of the highly sensitive mentally understandable. So how such people fare when overstimulated and how they can help themselves.

A person who describes himself as highly sensitive knows about his strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing is that you as a colleague take seriously and not dismiss it as ramblings.

This is even more true in the case of conflicts. Even highly sensitive people are not perfect, they make mistakes. If you have criticism, please do so constructive. Above all, give factual feedback. Highly sensitive people are masters at differentiating and have a great aversion to generalizations.

To be able to empathize with others - at least to a certain extent - is a testament to this social competence. That includes that Respect idiosyncrasies, for example when the colleague wants to spend the break alone. Many highly sensitive people need this time for themselves to be able to regenerate.

If you can manage not to take the boundaries on the part of a highly sensitive person personally, you can with one understanding, loyal colleagues count on who is at your side.

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