Here’s what I’d really like you to know about highly sensitive person problems.

If you are a highly sensitive person (HSP) and you are struggling with some (or many!) things related to your sensitivity, I’d really like you to know that you are not alone. Awareness of high sensitivity is still pretty low and most of us were never taught how to manage our sensitivities or how to thrive as a sensitive person in a world that mostly operates according to the preferences of the less sensitive. So being an HSP with problems is not all that unusual and in this article I’ll share with you the top 5 problems my HSP clients struggle with the most.

But before we get to all that, there’s another thing I’d really like you to know about HSP problems. And that is that all of these problems have solutions. HSPs are not doomed to a life of struggle. All of the issues I’m about to describe are very much figure-outable and you’ll find links to further resources related to each problem throughout this article.

5 Most Common Highly Sensitive Person Problems

1. Bad Career Fit

Given that one of my specialties is career coaching and there aren’t that many HSP career coaches around, it’s not terribly surprising that the problem I see my clients struggle with the most is a bad career fit (also known as having a job you hate).

With that caveat, I do believe that career struggles are a huge issue not just among my clientele, but within the broader HSP population in general.  Hundreds of HSPs do google searches for career solutions on a monthly basis, so if you happen to be one of them, you are most definitely not alone.

Highly sensitive people tend to have unique needs and preferences for their careers as well as their lifestyles as a whole. Unfortunately, most of us weren’t taught or encouraged to take these needs and preferences into account when making early career decisions. Consequently, way too many HSPs find themselves in workplaces and work cultures that aren’t set up to accommodate sensitive people and doing tasks that are not in alignment with their true passions and purpose.

Resources for solving HSP Career Problems:

HSP Career Guide

HSP Career Discovery Online Course

HSP Career Coaching 1:1 on Zoom

HSP Self Employment Mentoring 1:1 on Zoom

2. Intense Emotions

Another HSP problem many of my clients have struggled with is emotional turmoil.  Because HSPs have more reactive nervous systems than less sensitive people, HSPs’ emotions are both triggered more easily and felt more intensely.  HSPs are also more vulnerable to stress and fatigue, which make it harder to regulate emotions.  Aaand to top it all off, HSPs tend to be highly empathetic, constantly aware of and absorbing other people’s energies, which adds to their already heavy emotional load.  

Consequently, many HSPs experience emotional meltdowns and what I like to call “broken record emotions” or the same triggers causing issues repeatedly.  And since emotions are a physical phenomenon, many HSPs’ bodies are in a heightened state too frequently and with potentially negative health consequences.


HSP Self Care Guide (scroll down to the bottom of the page for a list of articles that are particularly relevant)

Self-Paced Coaching Session on Managing Intense Emotions

Stress And Overwhelm Coaching 1:1 on Zoom

3. Excessive Stress

Speaking of stress… excessive stress is the third problem many of my clients struggle with.  HSPs have a more reactive stress response system than non-HSPs. In other words, it takes less to trigger an HSP’s body to produce stress hormones and go into a fight-or-flight reaction than it takes to trigger a non-HSP’s body.  

HSPs are more sensitive, not just to obvious stressors, but to a broad range of environmental stimuli.  This includes sensory stimuli like lights,sounds, smells, and touch, social stimuli like meeting new people or receiving criticism, and emotional stimuli like our own and other people’s feelings.  A stimulus is anything that wakes up your nervous system, and being sensitive to stimuli means that it takes less to “wake up” an HSP’s nervous system.  

Because our bodies tend to be “on” more, HSPs need more recovery time and more diligence when it comes to other basic self care.  However, many HSPs aren’t getting these needs met and are experiencing excessive stress, burnout, and exhaustion just from living “normal” life.


HSP Self Care Guide

Self-Paced Coaching Session Bundle

Stress And Overwhelm Coaching 1:1 on Zoom


Another problem a lot of my HSP clients need to address is time scarcity.  Many HSPs struggle with time management and the feeling that they never have enough time.  In order to feel well, HSPs need to spend more time on rest and self care than the average person, which puts them in conflict with societal expectations around the amount of activity one “should” be able to engage in.  For some HSPs, this pressure to “do more” or to “do it all today” is exacerbated by their own creative drive and/or their tendency for high sensation seeking.

Resources for Addressing Time Issues

5 Time Saving Hacks I Use To Leave More Time for Recharging

How To Balance Your Conflicting Needs As An HSP-HSS

Self-Paced Coaching Session on Overcoming Lifestyle Overwhelm

Stress And Overwhelm Coaching 1:1 on Zoom


Finally, many of my HSP clients have struggled with relationships.  Having different needs and preferences than the majority can create turmoil for HSPs in several different ways.  Many HSPs struggle with boundaries and with balancing their own needs and those of the people around them.  They might sacrifice their own well-being to accommodate other people or be wracked with guilt if they prioritize themselves.  They might be so uncomfortable with conflict that they shy away from revealing their authentic thoughts and preferences to others.  And at the same time, many HSPs struggle with feeling different from others – feeling misunderstood and not fitting in.     

Resources for Managing HSP Relationships

HSP Relationship Guide

Self-Paced Coaching Session on Discovering Your HSP Confidence

Self-Paced Coaching Session on Setting Boundaries in Relationships

Stress And Overwhelm Coaching 1:1 on Zoom


If you’ve been reading this article and some or all of these descriptions sound like you, I want to (again!) emphasize that you are not alone.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  The HSP problems listed here are simply challenges that many HSPs face when they haven’t been taught how to understand themselves and their needs or how to take care of themselves.  I sincerely hope that you find the resources here helpful as you work toward finding the right solutions for you!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Anni! I'm a life and career coach for stressed out highly sensitive people. My mission is to help you discover your true self and create a life you ACTUALLY like.

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