Traits of a Highly Sensitive Person

Adapted from Aron (2016).

It is estimated that 15-20% of the population is highly sensitive. There is even a scale to measure it! (Benham, 2006). 

One of my clients introduced me to Elaine Aron’s book “The Highly Sensitive Person”. I went online to find out more – took her short test and knew from the questions that I needed to learn more. (Here is the link to the test).

In her book, Elaine Aron has 23 true or false questions as a self-test to identify if you are a highly sensitive person. I am a strong YES in 17/23 and ambivalent about the others. She says if you score 12 or more that you are likely to be highly sensitive. 

One of the statements was “being very hungry creates a strong reaction is me, disrupting my concentration or mood” (p. xxxiv). When I read this out loud my husband burst out laughing. This is a joke in my family. I carry food around with me in my handbag just in case I get caught somewhere with no food. 

I read the list to my husband to gauge his responses…. maybe everyone will score high. He scored 5.

I don’t drink coffee; it makes me clean the house for hours (some might think this is a good thing…. but in my case not, there is a frantic rush and then I collapse and need to sleep). I don’t watch horror movies (I still have ‘Scream’ from 15 years ago imprinted in my mind – never again). 

I plan my weekends in blocks. Blocks when I am with my family, blocks with friends and large blocks when I am alone at home and have no plans. I know from past experience that if I spend all weekend with friends and family that I leave the weekend feeling tired and unfulfilled. I just need a different balance to some other people.

For me, reading her book was a huge relief. There are other people who experience the world in the same way as me! 

Is this you?

Traits of a Highly Sensitive Person

Reference: Aron, E. N. (2016). The Highly Sensitive Person. NY, New York; Random House.

Grant Benham, The Highly Sensitive Person: Stress and physical symptom reports,

Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 40, Issue 7, 2006.