I JUST FEEL TOO MUCH – By @EvaMenovsky

By Eva Menovsky




A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

To her

a touch is a blow,

a sound is a noise,

a misfortune is a tragedy,

a joy is an ecstasy,

a friend is a lover,

a lover is a god,

and failure is death.

—Pearl Buck

I often hear-

“You are too much”

“Too intense”

“Too emotional”

“Too dramatic”

I am a highly sensitive person, and throughout my life, I have often been misunderstood.

Everyone has always believed sensitivity is a burden. Something you need to overcome. “Stop overreacting.”  This expressed in finding myself weak or damaged.

It’s only now, that I start to embrace my sensitivity as something positive.

It is definitely hard to be so sensitive (or to deal with an HSP).

But there are a lot of upsides too.

A highly sensitive person experiences the world differently than others. Which makes them more creative, insightful and empathetic. Which is very good for being a creative in advertising.

It’s a natural trait that about 15 to 20% of people have. So chances are, you are too.

Our HSP brain actually works differently,  we have an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system and a deeper cognitive processing of physical, social and emotional stimuli.

HSP has three different kinds of genes:

The ‘Sensitive’ Gene:

Serotonin is a hormone that stabilises your mood. The serotonin transporter is a chemical that helps move the serotonin in and out of the brain. It is basically an on/off switch for all the mood-balancing. HSP has a special variation where your serotonin levels are lower, which makes them more sensitive to their surroundings – and more likely to learn lessons from them. This also shows increased activity on the cingulate area and the insula – two areas that, together, form the “seat of consciousness” and moment-to-moment awareness.

For an HSP, almost everything about the brain is wired around noticing and interpreting others. Highly sensitive people actually become more alert, almost “more conscious,” in a social context. If you’re an HSP, you are very aware of other people’s mood and your surrounding and chances are – you are right. So trust your intuition.

The Dopamine Genes:

There are about 10 different gene variants related to dopamine, that are different in HSP.  Dopamine is the brain’s ‘reward’ hormone. It’s what makes you “want” to do certain things, and then feel a sense of victory or happiness when you do them. HSP feels less ‘rewarded’ by external stimuli. They are more rewarded by positive social or emotional cues, which makes them more tuned in. It is the part that allows them to hold back and be thoughtful and observant while they process information. This also helps them prevent from being drawn to the same highly stimulating situations that end up overwhelming them. The biggest gene variant are on the dopamine receptors, which means HSP are more sensitive to dopamine in the first place. Which makes them more sensitive for loud noises and big crowds. This is also the reason they can easily feel excited or happy – or sad.

The “Emotional Vividness” Gene:

This gene is related to norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter, located in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), that mainly helps with the body’s stress response. VmPFC is the area hooked into several systems involving your emotions, your values, and processing sensory data. HSP perceive the emotional aspects of the world more vividly than others.  This gene allows emotional enhancement to have a much greater effect on the vmPFC as it processes experiences. Which means you create more internal emotional responses to your experiences.

They have stronger emotional reactions than others. So, if you seem to feel things more strongly than other people do, it’s because your brain is wired that way. HSPs are finely tuned to pick up even subtle emotional cues and react to them. They are more likely to notice emotional undercurrents, which others often miss. It is directly linked with the level of empathy and awareness for other people’s feelings.

There is also more activity in the mirror neurons, which helps them understand what the other person is doing, or what they’re experiencing, based on their actions. They do that by comparing the other person’s behaviour with times they have behaved that way — effectively “mirroring” the other person to figure out what’s going on for them. This allows them to feel empathy and compassion for others. When we recognize a feeling someone is going through and relate to it, it’s because of this system.

As a highly sensitive person, these mirror neurons are both your superpower and, at times, more than a little inconvenient — when you can’t watch certain TV show as everyone else because it’s too violent. But it’s also what makes you warm, caring, and incredibly insightful about what other people are going through.

These four aspects –  the depth of processing, being easily over-aroused, emotional reactivity along with empathy, and sensing subtleties – are a useful way to think about high sensitivity.

Biologists believe the same trait has been found in at least 100 other species.

Being highly sensitive can be an evolutionary advantage. HSP can pick up on more environmental cues, recognise things that others don’t, and make smart decisions in seemingly new or unusual situations. Which is strategically smarter.

No one processes anything deeply without emotional motivation. That is, their key trait, depth of processing, is necessarily driven by their emotional reactivity.

They learn more from their experiences because after each experience they are more pleased or upset by the outcome and think more about the experience than others would

Part of HSPs’ survival strategy is correcting their behaviour when they have made a mistake.

After all, the essence of their trait is adapting. They take note of and respond to their environment in a way that will best help them to survive and thrive.

Their sensitivity allowed them to have the ability to see things others don’t, and that makes you especially valuable.


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