One of the best and worst parts of being a highly-sensitive person is how I “absorb” the emotions or vibe of the room and company I’m in. If someone I’m taking to is sad, I feel that sadness in a vivid, though not-quite-first-person way. If someone is anxious, my blood pressure tends to rise a little in response. If someone is happy, I feel the happiness. Likewise, if there is a mood of a room, I feel that pretty acutely. I am good at picking up on little cues and interpreting them in relation to all that is going on, even if I’m not always conscious of those cues and what my subconscious brain has determined they mean.
In addition to be a HSP, I’m also pretty introverted. I loooooove alone time. It’s one of my most precious commodities and I need to intentionally incorporate alone time into my life in order to stay mentally healthy and give my brain a break.
And for some reason, I just realized that part of the reason is that when I’m alone, I don’t have any external emotions or vibes to absorb. I’m not “on alert” in a way that I just can’t avoid when I’m around people. Even when I don’t want to, if I’m around people I am attuned to their vibes, picking up on their physical cues, and my brain is working to put those into a coherent framework and I start thinking about what I need to do or can do to enhance their positive feelings and soothe their negative feelings. Being alone gives my brain a chance to turn off its hungry, relentless receptors and just…. be. Just be in whatever I’m feeling and thinking. Being alone, I can finally just feel what I, myself, feel and can then process those feelings (consciously or subconsciously) as needed, without the distraction of other people’s emotions complicating the swirl of reactive and affective events in my poor little overwhelmed psychical life.
In a sense, my brain gets to be fully mine only when I’m alone. No wonder I cherish alone time so much and no wonder it is so restorative.