If you are a highly sensitive person (HSP) who has trouble dealing with intense emotions, then please know that you are not alone. Among all the people who have taken my HSP Types Quiz, 89 percent state that their emotions are triggered more easily than most other people they know. And 86 percent say that their emotions get so overwhelming they experience meltdowns or blowups.

Why do so many of us have these issues? Is there anything you can do about it? Well, in this article, I’d like to share with you what I know.

Why HSPs Tend To Be Emotionally Sensitive

There are a few reasons why HSPs tend to be emotionally sensitive – some stemming from our biological makeup and some caused by the way our society in general handles emotions.

On the biological side, HSPs have more reactive nervous systems than less sensitive people. Therefore, HSPs’ emotions are both triggered more easily and felt more intensely. And because our nervous systems are activated more, we are more vulnerable to stress and fatigue. Being tired and stressed out, in turn, makes it even harder to regulate emotions and easier to get stuck in negative emotions. To top it all off, HSPs tend to be highly empathetic, adding to our emotional load.

On the societal side, most of us have not been schooled in strategies that promote emotional intelligence. Instead of learning techniques that help regulate and process emotions, most of us have been taught that negative emotions should be avoided and suppressed at all costs.

So if you’ve been feeling guilty or weak for not feeling in control 100 percent of the time, please stop. It’s not your fault.

What HSPs Can Do To Manage Intense Emotions

The good news is that there’s a lot that can be done to make navigating life as an emotionally sensitive person less stormy and more smooth sailing. Based on my own experience and based on the experience of many of my clients, here are the two things that make the biggest difference:

1. Get enough rest

Being chronically tired and stressed out makes it harder to regulate emotions. Being well rested makes it easier. Personally, I need a 9-hour sleep window most nights and an hour or two of quiet time in the evenings to wind down.


I used to think that there was something wrong with me every time I would get emotional. As if the ideal – the goal to shoot for – was to never feel anything. I didn’t realize it at the time, of course, but I was basically wishing to be a psychopath. No emotion!

Only the harder I would try to avoid and stuff the emotions, the more intense they would be when they would inevitably fight their way up to the surface.

Fortunately, I’ve since come to learn that experiencing emotions is healthy. Even unpleasant emotions have a purpose. I’ve learned to welcome emotions. Pay attention to them. Make friends with them. Ask what they are trying to tell me.

Instead of fighting a war against emotions, I’ve learned to move through them.

want to know more about processing intense emotions?

If you’d like to learn more about reading and responding to emotional messages in a productive way, check out my self-paced coaching session (video + workbook) on managing intense emotions.

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.

Related articles

How To Deal With HSP Downtimes
What’s Your Stress Threshold?
3 Reasons Why Highly Sensitive People Get Tired And Need More Rest
5 Pieces of Common Anxiety Advice That Often Backfire for Highly Sensitive People
Having Negative Emotions Doesn’t Make You A Negative Person
How To Find The Right Balance As A Highly Sensitive Person
5 Causes of HSP Overwhelm And How To Address Each
7 Benefits of Parts Work for Highly Sensitive People
What Is Parts Work?
What Is Emotional Regulation And Why It Matters For HSPs
Is There A Highly Sensitive Person Diet?
If Your Stress Reduction Efforts Are Not Working, This May Be Why
How To Resolve Highly Sensitive Person Sleep Problems With An Individualized Plan
How To Balance Your Conflicting Needs As An HSP-HSS
The HSP Characteristic That Has Hurt Me The Most
3 Mistakes I Made That Cost Me My Health As An HSP
5 Time Saving Hacks I Use To Leave More Time For Recharging
Top 3 Things I Do To Avoid HSP Burnout

This website is reader-supported.  If you purchase something through one of the links on this website, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Click the button below to read more about our policies.