How I Survived New York as a Highly Sensitive Person

So, I’ve always considered New York as every highly sensitive person’s nightmare: there’s lots of traffic, lots of people, lots of billboards, lots of noise, lots of lights, lots of high-rise buildings, lots of… everything.

Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) generally have difficulty absorbing stimuli. They easily get overwhelmed by lots of visuals, sounds, smells, emotions, people, traffic, etc. And so, New York being all that and something extra, I always thought I wouldn’t really love New York so much and never planned to go there. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle all the stimuli and therefore not enjoy the trip. Well, I went there some weeks ago with my family and I absolutely LOVED it.

Now, how’s that possible, you may ask (I asked myself that to be honest). I’ve reflected on it and I’ve come to the following conclusions that might help you too if you’re struggling with digesting too many stimuli all at once:

  • I’ve become much more strongly rooted within myself and I have learned to be sensitively selfish. By this I mean that I don’t have all my senses wide open thinking I have to be present to everyone and everything at all times. I’ve learned how to focus on myself, not look everyone in the eye and just look at what makes me feel good instead of wanting to catch everything that enters my field of sight.
  • I do a grounding exercise every morning in which I connect to the floor with my feet and visualise that I extend roots into the soil beneath. I connect with the ground and then from the core of the earth send up a protective shield that I place around my aura. I connect with my gut and know I’m safe within myself.
  • I’ve been living in the Tuscan countryside for nearly a year and basically nothing happens here all day long. I love it, because I get to recharge when I visit Florence, but it’s also created a certain thirst for stimuli being a Highly Sensitive Sensation Seeker; I need a balance between silence and stimuli. Maybe you can relate.
  • I know how to take really good care of myself. I eat when I need to eat (always bring a bag of something to nibble when I feel my sugar levels drop, even though I haven’t felt the need for it in NYC since the food was so good everywhere!), I make sure I drink enough water, rest when I feel like it and really just think about my own well-being all the time and not let pain, other people or bad energies influence me by just not engaging with them. When I’m in pain I stop. When other people drain my energy I close myself off to them and when a place doesn’t feel right I leave; simple as that.
  • I make sure I get enough sleep wearing ear plugs and claiming the single bed for myself. I was worried that sharing a room with my mum, brother and sister would make the recharging much harder, but actually, probably because we’ve had this union since childhood, we were super aligned and I was able to get a really good night’s sleep. The jet-lag didn’t ruin the experience either and that was probably because the excitement of being in such a cool city gave me adrenaline to get up early and explore.
  • Being really, really happy is the best protective shield against over stimulation. I’ve learned that my high sensitivity becomes a “problem” when I’m unhappy. I need to deal with problems in life (read; draining relationships) and therefore don’t have the good vibes that protect me from the bad vibes. It’s all survival and being extra sensitive just makes it worse. Now that I’m with the man of my dreams, do what I love, have an amazing dog and just feel really fulfilled, the possibly limiting aspects of my high sensitivity are nearly non-existent. Of course, I need to take good care of myself, but since that’s my default mode by now (and I also teach my clients that to make their own well-being their number one priority), I’m doing extremely well.

I’ve learned that balance is key. It’s of the essence to listen to yourself, feel what you need and cater to that, preferably even before the need comes up. Plan ahead, take your high sensitivity seriously and into account when arranging your visits, plan trips and activities; show respect for your trait of being easily overwhelmed. That said, whenever you feel really rooted within yourself, are truly fulfilled with yourself and your life, you’ll be able to handle so much more. Even New York.

Here’s some photos to give you an idea of my experience in the city that never sleeps (only the title gave me the shivers; luckily our room was at the back of the hotel and it was super silent. Thank you, Universe!)


It was truly impressive to see Lady Liberty in real life! It gave me goosebumps to see how fierce she was standing tall!


“You can get a woman out of Italy, but you can’t get Italy out of a woman!” Shared this pic on Instagram as well.


After a while Times Square did drive me crazy, but it was like that for all of us…


My motto!


LOVED this building, and the colours, and the stairs, and the tree… <3


Central Station!


Yellow cabs & American flags


Awesome art


Bike tour time!


Overwhelm, anyone? This is supposedly the best hot dog place in town. It was pretty good!

IMG-20190509-WA0001 (1)

Again, something with Italy 😉


Weirdest thing EVER: randomly ran into my high school friend in Central Park. He’s lived there for nearly a decade and meeting him was true coincidence… or was it? The Universe is AWESOME!


“Wanna come up for coffee?” I just loved  pretending to be in the movie scenes…


Central Park packed with people


Skyline from the beach in the awesome area of Williamsburg


Vegan Ramen with mother and brother (sis is taking the pic)


We totally loved New York!

Have you been? What did you like best? How did you deal with the overwhelm?

Love & courage,


P.S. Want to learn how to root more deeply within yourself and become sensitively selfish so you can face the world with a big smile (instead of wanting to hide away because of massive overwhelm)? Book a free discovery call here, and we’ll chat!


/ Reply

NYC is the best!! Except it’s not rome or Florence but thank God! I’ve been here for 35 years the only place I want to leave it for is Italy. I found a small little town in Umbria called spello, and I too have met a beautiful man I would like to send th rest of my life with.
I’m glad I found this article!!

/ Reply

Sounds divine, Kathleen! Happy it resonated so much with you 😊 you might enjoy my Facebook group The YES Woman too! 💖

/ Reply

Thanks for sharing this perspective. I learned in reading this that I’m an HSP too. I take NYC in small doses and have managed to have a good time there as well.

/ Reply

Wow, that’s a very big discovery! Congratulations! All the women I work with either know or find out that they’re HSP when working together. It’s so beautiful to help them turn this characteristic into a super power so they can use to it to their advantage instead of experience it as a limitation.
New York is truly fabulous and I can’t wait to go back! Want to explore Williamsburg more then; loved the vibe and all the food places! Yum! Have you been? Thanks for commenting and talk soon! XO Sophie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *