China Elevator Stories

Being A Highly Sensitive Person In Urban China

What is it like to be highly sensitive in China?


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


What does it mean to be a Highly Sensitive Person (short HSP) living in one of China’s biggest cities?

It means that there is a lot of external stress. Sometimes much more than the stress you’d have to cope with back home. Millions of people, hundred thousands of vehicles, ten thousands of sounds, thousands of smells – this might be hard to bear for a not so sensitive person, but if you are highly sensitive, your system will be completely overloaded by the masses of people, feelings, smells, sounds and colors.

What can you do about it?

Find your oasis in the concrete desert. 

Your oasis might be a nearby park, the sea, a café, or simply your home. For me, my apartment is particularly important. Before moving in, I looked for an apartment with an extra bedroom. The bedroom is just for sleeping – my computer, the television, etc. stay in the living room. This way, I can really focus on resting in the evening.

Make time for spending time with just yourself. 

You might easily get exhausted just by going shopping or going to work – meeting up with friends can be fun but sometimes it’s also really important to just relax on your own and give your brain a rest.

Get out of the city when you have time to do so.

Go to the countryside, climb a mountain or just relax in a place with fresh air, nature and not too many other people.

Spend your time on creative endeavors.

Read a book, write something, make a painting, cook something, make music, grow a plant. Find activities that you find fulfilling and relaxing.

Although living in such a huge city does have its negative sides, it can also be very inspiring for a Highly Sensitive Person: The markets, the colors, and the stories people will tell you can all be very beautiful. 

Traveling through China’s vast countryside is also an experience I would never want to miss that I would recommend to others.

Even though the pressure of living in a mega city like Shenzhen puts a lot of stress on a person’s nervous system, I’m still very grateful for the time I have spent here and the inspiration I get every day from living here.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person living in China?

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