About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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Reader Interactions


  1. Kristen,
    I will be curious to find out where I rank on the scale for HSP?? I have often remarked to my husband or close friends that sometimes it is hard being me…I am so sensitive to everything (both sensory and emotionally). But, you are right, the very things that sometimes make life difficult for me, make me a more compassionate and empathetic person. God has a reason for why He designed me like He did. The more I spend time with Him, the more He awakens me to the reasons why I am like I am…what a relief reading your post today!!
    Blessings and ((hugs)),

  2. Enlightening! Before I even took the test, I said an AMEN! I could so relate to your examples of sensitivities. I have always been easily overwhelmed by my surroundings. Noises, smells and lighting are the worst. My kids think it is hysterical that when the doorbell rings, I nearly jump out of my skin. (And it is usually punctuated with a little verbal yelp.)

    Don’t get me started on how I handle (or don’t) too many demands on my time. I have always thought I was just an extreme introvert. I was also 24 of 27. Thank you for sharing this and for pointing this in a positive direction.

    • It *is* enlightening, isn’t it, Kim? After discovering this I wanted to say, “Where have you been all my life??”

      And since taking that quiz, I have also discovered how much more insight it gives me to my own personality type (ISFJ). It is fascinating!

      Thank you for joining the conversation today, Kim! So appreciate you.

  3. Krysten, this post made me smile because I had the EXACT same reaction when I found out HSP was a thing.

  4. Kristen
    Thank you SO much for this — so helpful!!!! My husband is so sensitive that he screams when I drop something! I also have at least one if not two, young grandsons who are very sensitive. This article and the links will enable us to understand ourselves and each other.

  5. Thank you for sharing. I am definitely a highly sensitive person. This helps me to understand myself more and know God created me like this and I am part of His plan. The part on the test about withdrawing when overwhelmed is SO ME. As a pastor’s wife, this can present some problems. It helps me to understand why I do what I do. God uses us the way we are.

    • Sooo glad it’s not just me, Debbie.

      And this right here? “It helps me to understand why I do what I do. God uses us the way we are.” You hit the nail on the head. Thankful for your comment here today…and for you. xo

  6. Hi Kristen,

    Many years ago I read the book, “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron. So I discovered that about myself awhile ago but it’s reassuring to find people who understand this even now. And the online test you referenced is by the author of the same book.


  7. This is intriguing. I took the test and I’m definitely highly sensitive, but not as high of a score as yours. There are certain smells that instantly give me a headache, like Diesel, but I like the smell of gasoline. Almost all of the lotion smells at Bath and Body Works give me a headache, but the old school classic perfumes like Estee Lauder, do not. I have a blood hound nose, too. And, I have excellent hearing. If I love the music, I love to have it up loud. I love sawdust, but the mention of confetti or glitter drive me crazy. Grocery and clothes shopping drive me crazy, but antique and thrift stores are home away from home. Crowded restaurants, especially when you are so close to other tables that you feel like you are packed in like sardines, make me twitchy.

    Heading to Costco, where I’m sure to learn more about my HS tendencies 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Erin, you have me laughing so hard right now. Oh yes, the dreaded Costco. So many things, so many people. But a necessity just the same. 🙂

      Love reading about your sensitivities…nodding with many of them. Thank *you* for sharing!

  8. I totally get this whole idea! I can step into an environment and it all overwhelms me or relaxes me. I notice decorations on the walls and how colors blend together or don’t! 🙂 If things are out of place or it just doesn’t blend it throws me off and I think too much about it. Restaurants with too much noise or movement make me uptight and I just want to take my food and leave.

    I have also noticed how I can sit in a room with other people and can perceive by the way they are responding whether they are comfortable or not and what can be done to ease their uncomfortableness.

    I knew I was highly sensitive to those kinds of things but didn’t know people actually did studies about it! Interesting!
    And I would agree with you: The better I get to know myself, the better I give to others around me! Thanks for sharing, Kristen!

  9. 25 out of 27– but more importantly, now hopeful. I just bought the book referenced by the author of the test. I have been described as introverted, shy, taciturn, and the “b-word” often. I believed that I had a social anxiety disorder (which may still be true), but I am very curious to learn more about this HSP. I am an educational therapist, working with adolescents, and yet, I had not heard of this before. Thank you for bringing this to light.

  10. I recently took the test and while I’m not as high on the scale, and I’m more extroverted, I am relieved to know I’m not crazy.

  11. I don’t know how I stumbled upon this article but I’m kinda glad I did. I got 26 of 27 with the possibly of 27 only because one of the questions had me a little confused. I think I understand what it is saying but not too sure so I left it off. My husband always says I must have bloodhound in me because he can’t sneak anything by me. I didn’t know this was a thing and now I know I’m not crazy! I love my quiet time and now I know I have a very good reason why and it’s not just getting older.

  12. I recently read Tsh’s post too, and discovered there’s a name for what/how I am! I’m extroverted but definitely highly sensitive- I scored 24/27, so immediately purchased an eye mask! I am extremely sensitive to noises and smells, but agree that the way I am makes me more sensitive to others, more compassionate, and more discerning. Now that I realize that I am a HSP, my plan for 2015 is to learn how to prevent and/or deal with it better than I have been. I’m thankful for God’s grace and tender mercies, and that He made me just the way I am.

  13. Oh Kristen, I have recently been on this journey myself. What an EYE OPENER! I finally looked into what the definition of introvert looked like. Well, it looked like ME! It explained SO MUCH about who I am, what I like and don’t like and….like you….what bothers me. It has been so freeing to have a definition that helps me reorganize my life so that I am taking care of myself in light of this new discovery. Enjoy your new discovery! It will make life easier now that you know! {HUGS}

    • “It has been so freeing to have a definition that helps me reorganize my life so that I am taking care of myself in light of this new discovery.” ~ I like the way you explain this, Cheri. And it’s so important to learn how to care for ourselves because when we do, we can better care for our loved ones, too. Love you, friend!

  14. This sounds so simple…so why haven’t I heard it quite like this before. Going to be really pondering all I’m doing in these next couple of months…
    Thanks for an eye-opening idea Kristen!
    Happy 2015 to you!

  15. One of the things I wrote for lessons learned in 2014 was that I don’t know myself at all. I love reading this post and feel that maybe it is definitely God’s heart for me in 2015 to get to know me. It makes so much sense. Thank you for writing this.

  16. How comforting to read this just now! Such a good reminder to myself that this is indeed the way I am wired. I read the HSP book several years ago and “saw myself” in many, though not all, of the examples but it is just NOW that I am realizing how this really impacts me day in, day out. I think it shows up most when making decisions…. Your quote sums it up quite well and is something I will be carrying into the new year. Thank you so very much for sharing this!

  17. Thanks for your words and the link. I’ve known I was highly sensitive, but having a test confirm it was…gratifying? I forwarded this on to one of my four young adult children. Pretty sure he’ll score high too and this will help him as he begins graduate school to be a counselor. Wishing all a Happy New Year and that we really lean in to who God created us to be!

    • Same here, Jane. I knew I was sensitive in some ways, but it was gratifying to do more research on the subject *and* begin to see it as something that can work for me rather than against.

      A happy New Year to you, too! Grateful for you.

  18. I do not even have to take the test! I wrote a poem years ago and a few of the the words were, “I feel everything so intense, from the brush of a feather to the prick of a pin.” My husband had a severe brain injury 11 years ago, he said if it were me with the injury he would call me Ivana the Terrible! Meaning with a brain injury everything is magnified many times!

  19. Kristen,

    Just took the test and scored a 23. Oh I know I’m highly sensitive. I cry and get upset easily. Doesn’t take much for me to want to withdraw and be alone. Also feel others pain and want to fix it. If you’re hurting I hurt! Like Bev I feel it’s hard to be myself. You have an HSP with Hyperactivity. I can’t sit still long & want to dance or move around a lot. God made us all & He has a plan for us all!

    Blessings in 2015

  20. I’m an HSP too. When I move to Colorado Springs we should get together and have a nice quiet cup of decaf. 🙂

  21. I’ve always knew I was a sensitive person on my own but now I’ve seen it written down and can now know what to pray over with God. Thanks. Sharon

  22. It is so helpful when we can learn from others ABOUT ourselves. Putting a name to something might make our quirks more understandable.

  23. What an eye opener. I took the test and scored very high too. It happens I was in the middle, literally of traveling. My sister lives 5 hour from me and I had the Mega Bus trip to take home yesterday. Then 3 hours in my car to take my daughter home today. My HSN was very glad to be alone on the 3 hour drive home. My car traveled 1,000 miles since Dec. 23rd.
    Time to rest and reflect on this knowledge. I have been doing temp jobs the last 2 years and now I look at the experience differently. I will consider HSN before taking another poistion. It isn’t a flaw, but a gift. Thank you for shaing.

  24. Wow. God knew I needed to read this. The past two weeks, in the hustle of the holidays, I realized how sensitive I am (I scored a 23/27 on the test too). My grandmother has a tendency to holler to get her grand kids’ attention, and this year I realized how shaken I would feel after she hollered to me. (She just feels she needs to raise her voice for some reason) I also have noticed that when people tell me “no” to something I asked them (even if they’re joking), I beat myself up inside wondering what I did wrong. Now to learn how to live with being sensitive I guess… 🙂

  25. “you were made on purpose for a purpose”
    so blessed my heart today!
    thank you for sharing ♡

  26. Loved this, Kristen! I had the same reaction when I discovered there was a reason for my sensitivity and it wasn’t that I’m crazy! I’m about halfway through “The Highly Sensitive Person” and enjoying the chance to reframe life’s experiences through this new lens. I’m finally beginning to look in the mirror and say, “I praise You because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works really are wonderful.” For the longest time, I knew in my head it was true and I’ve always believed it for everyone else…but not me. Oh gosh, I’m going to cry. I’m just finally getting it and you’re right, it deepens my love for Him and lets me love the world in whole new ways.