Understanding Emotional Sensitivity

If humans have one defining characteristic, it's constant change. Whether they come in big or small waves, we're constantly changing in one way or another. And emotional sensitivity is another changing factor.
Understanding Emotional Sensitivity

Last update: 27 November, 2019

Emotional sensitivity is feeling through emotions such as empathy, tenderness or hatred, and jealousy. According to biology, sensitivity is the effect of the perception of internal and external stimuli.

In that sense, different stimuli can provoke different emotions. In turn, emotions make us feel a certain way. The mind is a powerful player in our making, so let’s take a closer look.

Difference between sensitivity and hypersensitivity

We want to highlight that a person with a good level of emotional sensitivity holds a special gift. Being able to identify with others, such as when watching a powerful movie or reading an emotional novel, can have great benefits for your mental health.

However, hypersensitivity can lead people to wrong conclusions and perceptions that have little to do with reality.

For example, a hypersensitive person might interpret a stare as a challenge. But in reality, that person simply might have poor vision and as a result, might have to squint to see better. People with hypersensitivity can benefit greatly from a self- and circumstantial- check before drawing their conclusions.

Does our emotional sensitivity ever change?

Absolutely. Our perception of reality and the emotions that it causes can change easily. It can change with each new experience, a trip to the psychologist’s office, upon starting a new job or moving to a new city, etc.

What does science say about the matter?

Looking at the studies from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, categorizing the tests on emotional sensitivity was so complicated that there are still no clear results.

emotional sensitivity

We have to approach the topic of the human mind carefully as it’s incredibly difficult to understand in its entirety. The study tested many factors such as:

  • Self-control: the ability to control one’s own emotions.
  • Life satisfaction: the ability to be happy in varied circumstances.
  • Comprehension of one’s own emotions: based on innate logic and reasoning.
  • Perception of the emotions of others: focusing on understanding external stimuli.
  • Emotional sensitivity: the main factor in the study.
  • Empathy: the emotional involvement in the feelings or circumstances of others.

Results and discussion regarding emotional sensitivity

Although there’s still so much to be learned in this psychological study, the researchers did reach some important conclusions. First, the tested factors are all interconnected. Thus, a subject with a high level of self-control also showed a high level of life satisfaction.

On the other side of the spectrum, a subject that had a poor perception of others’ emotions also had trouble understanding his or her own. So, our question is: do people who use logic and reason to all of their mental processes fully control their emotional reactions? We think so.

Emotional education is key

People can be very sensitive to many external aspects. If they’re able to face them calmly and logically work things through, they won’t have trouble navigating their way through a difficult situation. Self-control and self-management are key factors to living a stable life.

Emotion versus reason

Don’t forget that every process to some degree has its strengths. Controlled emotional sensitivity is a great way to understand life as a whole.

emotional sensitivity

But, letting emotions control a situation entirely, without any trace of reasoning, can lead to big mistakes that might burn bridges.

Emotional sensitivity: accepting help

Nobody has to face hardship alone. We have different sports, leisure and health resources, such as meditation or martial arts. These activities can shape our ethics and inspire us to act differently. Cooperation is the foundation for progress and we should take advantage of resources for personal progress.

Psychological help is another alternative. Psychologists can guide us through to face our problems if there’s a need. And to wrap up, we also want to mention that self-checking or analyzing for problems in order to confront them is another way to grow as an individual.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Kaufman, A., & Kaufman, J. (2001). Emotional intelligence as an aspect of general intelligence: what would David Wechsler say? Emotion,1(3), 258-264.
  • Salovey, P., Mayer, J., & Caruso, D. (2002b). Th of emotional intelligence. In C. Snyder &
    handbook of positive psychology (pp. 159-1 Oxford University Press
  • Mayer, J., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. (1997). The emotional IQ test [CD- Rom]. Needhsam, MA, USA: Virtual Knowledge.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.