When it comes to crying during movies, Toy Story 3 is a double whammy. The tears begin when Andy leaves the toys for college. Then we see all the toys holding hands when they are about to be incinerated. The scene is a tear jerker!

Or how about when Mufasa dies in Lion King and his young cub son tells his dad he can’t die?  It rips your heart out! I also cried during the capture of the horse in Warhorse; Lone Survivor deeply affected me; Braveheart, The Patriot…and especially, The Passion, led me to tears and deep emotions.

If you cry during movies, you could be one of about 20% of people considered to be highly sensitive. Now, not everyone who cries during movies falls into this category. But if you feel deeply when negative and positive emotions are presented, you fit this category of being highly sensitive.  And despite the criticism we hear about people being too sensitive these days, this is not a bad thing.

Sensitivity is a personality trait. It can be good as long as you don’t allow emotions to overwhelm you or lead your decision making. The key is to learn to handle intense emotions in order to prevent them from impacting your relationships negatively.

When you feel you need to get control of intense emotions, a good strategy is to distract yourself with something completely off the topic for a few moments. For example, count to 10 in Spanish, or name four cities that begin with A. Doing this will engage a part of your brain that counters the deep emotional feeling and brings the thinking part of your brain back on-line.

Another strategy is to take a time-out when emotions overwhelm you. This gives you time to calm down your physical body and think better. Just take a few deep breaths.

One of the positives of being highly sensitive is that it often goes hand in hand with empathy. An empathetic person can tune into the feelings of others, pick up on hurts, and be more creative in dealing with people. This is part of emotional intelligence and serves relationships well.

So use that emotional intelligence! Feel deeply and express love and compassion to those around you. And go ahead and cry during movies! Don’t be afraid to admit you are highly sensitive. The world is a better place with people like you.

Highly sensitive? Embrace it!