How Do You Deal With Your Hypersensitivity At Work?

The professional world can be hard for anyone with acute sensitivity… Here are our tips.

Joy, anger, fear, sadness, surprise, or sheer disgust – we all go through a full range of emotions every day. They are essential to many of our thought processes, such as when we decide, take action, or step back from something. Even anger or frustration can be linked to self-protection. However, people with sensitivities experience these fundamental emotions much more intensely. How do they express their heightened sensitivity? What impact does this have on their career and professional relationships? What does daily life look like for them? We have an insider’s view of this personality trait – both valuable and debilitating.

Hypersensitivity, between emotionality and extreme responsiveness

Hypersensitivity is a personality trait characterized by increased emotionality and extreme responsiveness to stimuli. In terms of their environment and emotions – and the emotions of others – hypersensitive people have more intense feelings than most. Whether positive or negative, their emotional response to a situation may be exaggerated.

It also has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, hypersensitive people are extremely empathetic, intuitive, creative, compassionate, thoughtful, modest, gentle, and loyal, but they are also easily offended, irritable, anxious, withdrawn, tense, uptight, and often felt as if they are under attack. They feel emotions are on hold, expecting an emotional blue sky or storms that are brewing long before others.

Hypersensitive is usually the first to feel what others feel: “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought:” This person is in a bad mood. I don’t know why, but something is wrong. “Their usual response is that everything is fine, but then everything goes according to plan, and my intuition is confirmed again.”

This sixth emotional sense is characteristic of hypersensitive people. According to Melody Wilding, a Work Success Coach, they are so receptive that they react more strongly to environmental stimuli and notice more details than others.

Hypersensitivity in the world of work

Increased sensitivity can often lead to feelings of social inadequacy and awkwardness. The workplace is governed by a rational framework of specific codes such as bureaucracy, procedure, self-control, and social participation. It can be an anxiety-provoking environment for those who are hypersensitive because it implicitly discourages emotional excess. Work exposes us to stress, criticism, and the often exorbitant demands of others.

Hypersensitive people feel pressure quickly and may experience continuous mental and physical fatigue because of their fluctuating emotions.

Here’s how this intensity can translate into their daily lives: “First, my body is hypersensitive. Most of the time I am too hot or too cold and I have had several skin problems. My body has difficulty adapting to my environment. As for my emotions, they go up and down – I can go from euphoric to sad in a split second. It’s hard for me to accept disappointing others, and I can’t cope when colleagues or managers raise their voices. If someone criticizes me too harshly, I may burst into tears. »

The perception of hypersensitivity at work

This excessive emotional response means that hypersensitive people are at risk of being emotional sponges in the workplace. They sometimes find it difficult to find their place in the professional world because it’s a bit of a gamble. This extreme sensitivity, unknown to most, can often lead to misunderstandings.

A hypersensitive person can testify: “I need more recognition than the average person. For this reason, people think I am telling myself or that I need to put myself in the spotlight. I guess I’m pretty hard to read. Hypersensitive temperaments are in high demand in the professional world; they are deeply committed and, because of their great attention to detail and innate powers of observation, they naturally go beyond what is written in the job description. They bring a multitude of non-technical skills to any team and help foster better communication, creativity, and authenticity. »

Aggravating factors for hypersensitive

A toxic work environment

Light, odors, noise levels, personal space, and air circulation in the workplace can be harmful or difficult if you are very sensitive. For this reason, hypersensitive people prefer to work alone, in a quiet or enclosed office space.

Beyond these spatial requirements, this personality needs a caring, friendly, and supportive work environment to thrive, governed by mutual understanding and avoiding conflict, gossip, and mind games. As one hypersensitive explains: “I need a lot of recognition, especially for being on good terms with colleagues. “Because they are empaths, hypersensitive people find it difficult to work with and be managed by anyone; they have a deep desire to feel connected to the values of the company and the team. Finally, they are often more comfortable working in areas of customer service or care that embody humanistic values.

Too much workload

Working conditions or the nature of the work itself may aggravate hypersensitivity. This hypersensitive person has been forced to change careers to escape a job that was not suitable for her. She says, “I think business activities should be different for everyone. I found that my weakness was sales. I’ve had many jobs in sales, and sales are very difficult for a hypersensitive person like me because you are in constant contact with people all day, every day. I was euphoric every time I made my team and customers happy. But people are more inclined to say what’s wrong. I internalized the criticism every day and let it weigh heavily on me. It was unbearable, and that’s why I changed course. ,”

An era of hyper-connectivity

Hypersensitivity is not unrelated to excessive demands. It is amplified by the notifications, messages, images, and other stimuli that we receive continuously via e-mail, SMS, social networks, apps, and our peers. It is harder than ever to escape our environment; with our attention on limits and tolerance levels so quickly and irrevocably violated, emotions are bound to become overwhelming.

Learning to live with hypersensitivity at work

“Know yourself”: Hypersensitivity, especially in the workplace, can embarrass or even paralyzing, but ignoring it is the worst thing you can do. One hypersensitive recalls a total lack of understanding about it and the insensitivity of her colleagues: “When I talk to people about my hypersensitivity, the overwhelming response is like, ‘Oh yeah, so it means you cry when you watch romantic comedies.” But that’s far from the truth. It’s not a weakness either, because I realize that I’m more resilient than most in some difficult situations. It’s hard to accept the idea that you are different, that you are treated differently when at first glance you look like everyone else. It is often assumed that we exaggerate or do it on purpose – which it shows a weakness of character or a lack of self-confidence, but this is not true. I was born hypersensitive. “Accepting and living with increased sensitivity seems the best way to turn that trait into strength. For this hypersensitive, acceptance and introspection became her saving grace: “What helped me to face my hypersensitivity was first to understand it and to know myself. I believe that many of the challenges we face today can disappear or become more bearable if we take the trouble to understand them. Today, I try to prevent situations that could harm me by avoiding them or by finding an appropriate way to get around them. “There are some keys to personal development that help people deal with emotional overstimulation:

Find a quiet space on your own or take a break from an incident or situation;

Embrace your emotions and learn to express your needs and feelings;

Learn to let go and not focus only on the negative.

Self-knowledge is about being in tune with your likes and dislikes, understanding your limits, and making sure you are ready to meet life’s many challenges.

Turn off your emotions

Another way to approach a difficult task or situation is to strip it of any emotional charge. Instead of intellectualizing and thinking too much about the task at hand, try using the “deep work” approach. Staying focused and getting rid of distractions helps us make the most of our time. Getting rid of negative, positive, painful, annoying, or difficult energy from a situation by setting a time limit can help us stay on track and increase productivity.

Surviving in the Jungle

The professional world can be hard for anyone with acute sensitivities. Here is a selection of best practices that you can integrate into your daily professional life to find the perfect balance between feelings, emotions, situations, and behaviors:

Take part in a recreational or creative activity that gives you a break and silences your inner critic;

Get ready for sleep before going to bed with a relaxation ritual such as taking a bath, doing breathing exercises, meditation or reading, and making sure you are in a quiet place with soft lighting;

Take regular breaks to spend time alone, escape the chaos, and recharge your batteries;

Master the art of saying no, so you are not overwhelmed by the demands of others.

Put things into perspective, even your hypersensitivity

The circumstances in which we live are neutral. It is the thoughts we project onto these situations that generate positive or negative emotion, as psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett rightly explains in her 2017 TED speech.

According to Professor Barrett, we can control the emotions we feel by learning to direct our thoughts. Considering her hypersensitivity as an asset, a hypersensitive woman put this theory into practice: “Today, I love my hypersensitivity. I think I’m lucky to feel everything at 3,000%. Even if it’s sometimes really painful, it’s also what makes me extremely sensitive to those around me and compassionate, which led me to start an association. I often feel that people put blinders on to make life more bearable. I don’t put them on and I never want to.”

In this way, everything is relative, and we put things into perspective to moderate, slow down, or change our thinking about what once seemed problematic. This hypersensitive followed this strategy to deal with her hypersensitivity: “I become indifferent to what others think of me – if someone likes me, that’s great, but if someone doesn’t like me, that’s okay. I finally realized that I had the right, like any other person, to affirm my position and my emotions, and above all to say no. »

While society – and the workplace in particular – often values extroverted personality traits such as sociability, self-confidence, and fearlessness, hypersensitivity is undoubtedly a professional asset. Being an emotional sponge is a challenge, but it also allows you to look at the world differently, with a keen awareness of others and the environment, and a mind that is alert, thoughtful, empathetic, intuitive, and analytical. It is high time that sensitivity finally received the positive recognition it deserves.

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