Highly sensitive people are quickly overwhelmed by over-stimulation (including external stimulation) or have learned their lesson to escape more stressful circumstances than others do. They may notice every detail in a situation. A study by Friederike Gerstenberg compared sensitive and non-sensitive people on a task of deciding whether a T turned in different ways was hidden among many Ls turned on a computer screen in different ways. After doing the task, HSPs were faster and more precise, but also more stressed than others. If the situation involves many things to remember, becomes noisy, or is long (as in a two-hour commute), they may wear it out earlier from having to do and see so much.

Nevertheless, high sensitivity is not about being disturbed by elevated stimuli levels, although this happens naturally when too much surrounds us. Be careful not to mix being an HSP with another problematic condition: sensory discomfort can be a sign of disorder called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) due to sensory processing problems rather than having unusually good sensory processing sensitivity.

Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) is the quality that makes a person highly sensitive (HSP). It is a genetic characteristic with which some people have from birth. The nervous system of the person is extremely sensitive to any stimulus — including external stimuli from the world and other individuals, as well as internal stimulation such as feelings and intense thinking about a situation. They pay more attention to subtle facial expressions.

An HSP, or someone with SPS, actually absorbs, or experiences more intensely, more information than the average person. SPS means you feel more deeply than other people, which can be both a blessing and difficult at times. As a result: you do things other people don’t do. Because your nervous system constantly absorbs so much information, you can get over-stimulated and exhausted, especially in high-stimulus settings. As a result, SPS is regarded as a normal, neutral feature. People with SPS are healthy HSPs. You have a slightly different experience of the world than people without that characteristic.

On the other hand, individuals with sensory processing disorder process information in a way that becomes mixed up. Being an HSP with SPS is healthy and advantageous and makes the person more unique.