6 Ways to Stop Being Over Sensitive

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over sensitive

Rome visit, June 2008 – 57 © by Ed Yourdon

I admit it. I am highly sensitive! I know I am highly sensitive and I accept that fact; now my challenge is to learn how to deal with it and I will share what I have learned. (also read: How to Stop Being Frustrated)
Over sensitivity is said to come from a negative thinking pattern, but that way of thinking, is there for a reason and that is the first thing you need to learn. You have to understand what is going on inside your brain!

  1. Understand. According to research about 20 % of all people are highly sensitive. Carl Jung called it innate sensitiveness. Thus, you and I have a more detailed nervous system than normal and this makes us over analyse. Some people get introverted, some are shy and some get a social phobia. I get irritated and angry with people who affect me negatively. How do you react? If you know how you react then you can do something about it.
  2. Build self-esteem. Often sensitive people have problems with self-esteem because they over analyse everything and they tend to turn negative conclusions inwards and blame themselves. Read my series about building self-esteem.
  3. Focus. When you feel highly sensitive it is often because you have had a negative experience that awakes memories of experiences from the past. You will start comparing, analysing and jump to negative conclusions. What you have to practise is to move focus to something positive. It can be difficult to change focus but you have to be persistent and if you have to then fake it till you make it!
  4. Put sensitiveness to good use. I have chosen a life path that fit my personality. It is difficult for me to have someone telling me what to do all the time. It makes me over analyse the situation and I end up arguing with my boss. That is why I run my own business as a writer and therapist. I try to be true to myself and put my sensitivity to good use and to the benefit of others. What can you do?
  5. Lighten up. Do not take critics too serious and try not to analyse. Use meditation, do sports, have a massage or a nice cup of tea. Do anything you can to loosen up and be less serious. Use humour and self-irony.
  6. Listen. Instead of analysing then repeat the sentence that made you feel hurt and listen to the person who delivered the message. Try to understand what was actually said and see the world from this person’s point of view.

If you really want to make a personal change and stop being over sensitive, then read my ebook that discovers the six mechanisms behind personal change. The six mechanisms are: Attitude, worldview, language, sensemaking, action learning and faith.


  1. All easier said than done. And it would take a conscious effort in the moment to do all of this, but emotions would more likely overcome rational thought.

    • It is easy to say once you have understood what has to be said. It took me years to realise these things and it will take a lot of work to do these things because self improvement takes time.

  2. Here is a different perspective. You cannot be over sensitive! Sensitive is to sense what is going on around you so if it isn’t there, you can’t sense it. We should strive to be as sensitive as we can possibly be.
    The problem arises when we “interpret” what we sense incorrectly. We can draw the wrong conclusions or motivations from the actions of people even though we accurately sense some message.
    This interpretation may yield new solutions. I am a big fan of humility. Don’t assume you know what someone is thinking. Ask them. then you can tell them they are wrong.

  3. It’s easier to give advice than take it and it makes you look benevolent and smart. You are neither of those things. This post generalises hugely, doesn’t take individual causes of sensitivity into account and therefore expects far too much.

    People are way more complex than posts like this give them credit for. Yeah I am sensitive, I also have Aspergers and like many people would find your “solutions” quite useless.

    • Hi David. The Internet is full of advice and how-tos; some of it is useful and some of it is not, it depends on what your needs are. The content of this post is my experience and a lot of people have found it useful. My wife has OCD (Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder) and she found my experience very useful.
      If what I write can help just one other person to a better life, then it is worth writing 🙂

  4. ChrisfromDublin says:

    Erik you have dealt with David’s beligerent comments in a very calm and rational manner. The work you have done on yourself seems to have been worth it :;)

  5. Good post:)
    The only problem is that I am so sensitive that it bothers me even though I know someone is joking. For example someone may say “you are so blond!” sarcastically (even though I have light brown hair) and I am bothered by it the rest of the day. I know they are not serious about it and they won’t think of it the rest of the day but it stays with me until I go to bed. I know its not trying to be offensive and I don’t over analyze but it’s still like a horrid wound…

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