A good article defining empaths and some great tips on coping. I think the most important is to guard your energy against the emotions that become invasive and keep your own energy intact.
The 5 common Empath types
- Instinctively knowing the energy from people and places.
- Using sensitivity to promote peace, understanding and healing.
- Can easily manipulate energy
What is an Empath?
Everyone has empathy to varying degrees (maybe except a sociopath)..
It’s the ability to recognize and identify what other people are feeling, and respond accordingly and appropriately.
Brain regions have scientifically shown where and how empathy functions in the brain, through MRI imaging.
Empathy has both biological/genetic and spiritual aspects.
An Empath’s ability to pick up others emotions, emotional states, energies, surroundings, even pain or suffering is heightened, above average.
Also referred to as emotional hypersensitivity, or highly sensitive.
Empathy is a true gift and hugely beneficial for relating to others and the universe as a whole.
Empaths are often mislabeled as bi-polar, or manic depressive. Being an Empath is not a curse, although to many it can feel that way until they learn how to cope with all the stimuli they encounter.
For an empath a seemingly regular day can be overwhelming. Subtle stimulants encountered on a daily basis can be over-stimulating. Energies associated with touch, sound, scent, light, activity, conversation etc. are often too quickly or deeply absorbed, resulting in mental confusion, emotional upset, and potentially causing physical discomfort.
Being an Empath is part of your genetic make-up, there is no cure for it.
It has been said the 1 in 20 people are Empaths of varying strengths – which shows it’s a lot more common than one would think.
Traits and signs of an Empath or HSP (highly sensitive person)
- Knowing: Beyond intuition and gut feelings, Empath’s just know things. The more you become in tune with your ability the stronger this trait can become. Empaths frequently experience déjà vu and synchronicities. Synchronicity- think of it as a wink from the cosmos! Scientists see a theoretical grounding for synchronicity in fractal geometry, quantum physics, and the chaos theory. Its been determined that the separation and or isolation of objects from one another is much more apparent than real; at deep levels, everything — atoms, cells, molecules, people, plants, animals – are all participating in a sensitive, connective flowing network of information. Physicists have proven, as example, that if two photons are separated, no matter the distance, a change in one creates a simultaneous change in the other. Empaths are most likely to have had varying paranormal experiences throughout their lives as well. NDE’s (Near death experiences) and or OBE’s.
- Strangers unload emotion on you: An Empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own. It is not uncommon for an Empath to be told an entire life story by perfect strangers in a matter of minutes. People, animals and children are drawn to Empaths like magnets. It’s as if the Empath is a sudden sounding and solution board for other peoples issues, problems, or opinions. This is not simple casual conversation with strangers. This is a big one for me. When out and about, I am randomly bombarded with the chatter of other people. It does not take long for me to get a whole life story in a matter of minutes. It could all be symbolic but I wear certain stones placed in pendants when I go out and it seems to prevent this. When I forget to wear them, I pay the price of being emotionally drained. The two that work best for me are Labradorite and Smokey Quartz.
- Absorbing others emotions: Empath’s have a unique ability to pick up others emotional energy and take it on as their own. They also can change the energy in a room with their own moods and charisma. This could manifest itself in the form of any range of emotion, just from being near them or thinking of them, distance is no issue here. It is possible for an Empath to even pick up on negative thoughts from another miles away. You could find yourself suddenly brought to tears, or in a fit of rage, without much explanation.
- Public places are overwhelming: Any place that has collected or contains to much energy can be a miserable place for an Empath. Because of their ability to absorb others energies, places like shopping malls, concert venues, grocery stores, traffic jams, hospitals, retirement homes, even thrift stores, garage sales and graveyards etc…can be unbearable. Ever notice that you can hike in the woods for miles and not be exhausted, but a trip to the grocery store can be unbearable?
- Truth: An Empath just “knows” when someone is being dishonest or telling a lie. insincerity, phoniness, or fake behavior is easily spotted. Many Empath’s are constantly seeking and looking for truth and just behavior in those they associate with. This becomes more prevalent when an Empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels just plain wrong.
- Physical pain, suffering, or illness: Many Empath’s are bombarded with mysterious illness’s or pain that cannot be diagnosed by modern medicine. Being an Empath is draining. They are often fatigued, suffer from migraines, sore throats, aches and pains with no discernible cause. But the cause is clear, and it is from absorbing others energies, and until you learn to diffuse the energy you contain, these ailments will not resolve. Empath’s can also develop physical pains and ailments from others (especially those they are very close to). And more specifically in their throats and root chakra, as well as solar plexus. This is why grounding, staying true to yourself and voicing yourself are very important.
- Worldly news, radio, TV, newspapers, violence, cruelty cannot be tolerated: The more attuned an Empath becomes the harder it will be for them to listen or hear this type of information. It can become so intolerable that they have to halt receiving this information altogether.
- Digestive disorders, neck and back pain are common: The solar plexus chakra is based in the center of the abdomen, and known as the seat of emotions. This is where Empaths feel incoming emotions of another, which can weaken the area and lead to stomach ulcers, IBS, constipation, eating disorders and lower back problems from being un-grounded. Most Empaths unaware of their ability commonly complain of these ailments.
- Addictive personalities: Alcohol and drug abuse is common for Empaths, by polluting the mind an Empath can block out and protect themselves from emotional energies they do not want to feel and absorb, in a sense “go numb”, although this may feel good temporarily, it obviously causes a multitude of secondary problems. Additionally, substance attracts lower frequency energies, so it is especially important for Empaths to become addicted to sobriety, prayer, and God.
- Holistic, natural, herbal remedies and all things metaphysical naturally draw an Empaths attention: Empaths can be and often become natural healers (once they learn to use this trait properly) This may explain why so many Empaths are attracted to professions that involve healing; therapy, teaching, veterinarian work, psychiatry, and medicine. These are commonly chosen fields of work or study. However, you will also encounter those that wish to avoid these trades because of the overwhelming energies that can come from them.
- Creativity: Empaths are very creative: anything from music, drawing, painting, photography, acting, writing, singing and dancing to name a few are adored by Empath’s. They have a gift for creating, paired with vivid imagination. Their interests are vast, varied and ever seeking and changing! You will flutter from one thing to another never feeling like you can possibly learn enough. You may notice your side of the bed, stacked with books? Or you have a never ending list of hobbies, or quest for knowledge.
- Need for solitude: Although it seems a contradiction (because of appearing extroverted), an Empath requires large amounts of downtime and solitude to shut out the world, process and rejuvenate. This is not to be confused with avoidance, depression, or something being “wrong”. They simply need time to reflect and clear their minds. This is especially obvious in Empath children and is another reason many adult Empaths choose to remain single through their lifetimes. Empaths like to be alone. Being alone is not the same as being lonely for them. It is not uncommon for Empaths to remain single or childless throughout their lifetimes. And close relationships can be very challenging, unless respected boundaries are established.
- Empaths get bored and distracted easily: Work, school, and home life has to be kept interesting and stimulating, or they tune out and daydream.
- A love for nature and animals; Nature and the outdoors are especially important for Empaths to feel grounded, and to have peace. Water is especially helpful, and owning a pet is almost always essential for their happiness.
- Always looking for answers and knowledge: Empaths are often problem solvers, seekers of truth, and study many things. To have unanswered questions can be frustrating and they will endlessly search to find an explanation. If they have a “knowing” about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this quality is information overload, and a brain that won’t turn off and be quiet.
- Rooting for the underdog and underprivileged: Empaths are highly compassionate, anyone suffering, in emotional pain, handicapped, injured, or being bullied draws an Empaths attention.
- Cannot tolerate clutter: The immediate environment of an Empath is easily something they can control and is a reflection of their mental health. This is not to say they are OCD, but clutter is like mental weight for them, and blocks energy flow so they remove it. Their homes are simple and clean, and unnecessary clutter is promptly removed. You typically will not find an Empath hoarder.
- Cannot tolerate restrictive clothing or jewlery: Some Empaths may find that types of clothing textures, or jewlery can be to restrictive. They may feel uncomfortable, itchy, heavy, or just “not right”. A lot of Empaths therefore may appear as “plain Jane’s”, or may prefer ONLY specific pieces of jewlery or clothing fabric, that they tend to wear all the time.
- Freedom, travel, adventure, and the road less traveled: Empaths are natural born free-spirits. Anything that takes away their freedom is crippling and even poisoning to their happiness. This includes routine, strict rules, and codependent relationships. It is not unusual for Empaths to have experienced many things in life, even if young, making them appear wise beyond their years and as if to have an “old soul”. Many are born, and just skip childhood all-together, it is as if they were always an adult. Often many of their life experiences could be considered rather extreme, adventurous, or daring, allowing Empaths to be open and receptive to much more.
- Cannot tolerate narcissism: Overly egotistical people, or those that are self-centered and refuse to consider others points of view are intolerable and usually avoided as much as possible.
- Sensing the energy of food: Many Empaths don’t like to eat meat, seafood or poultry because they can feel the energy of the animal (especially if the animal suffered or was inhumanely treated before death), even if they like the taste. Weight issues can easily become a problem. There are also those HSP’s that become over-weight, using food to dull their emotional sensitivity.
- Can come off as moody, aloof, or disconnected: Depending on how an Empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and when they’ve taken on too much negativity will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. When you feel this way, a good question to ask yourself is; what am I carrying right now? Is this emotion mine?
- Empaths detest doing things they don’t enjoy: This is not to be confused with laziness, it’s just that an Empath does not like to do or live in a way that feels like a “lie”.
- The ability to feel time, days of the week/month, weather, or direction instinctively: It is not uncommon for an Empath to arrive at their destination without maps or directions, they can get there by “knowing”, same thing goes for time, and days of the week or year. They are also extremely sensitive to climate changes.
- No antiques, vintage or second-hand: Some Empaths prefer to buy new when financially feasible, this is to avoid absorbing the energies from a previous owner. I personally do not have a problem with this trait, and almost prefer second-hand, mainly because these shopping locations are not typically overly populated, and I don’t have a 6 figure income. I also find I become emotionally comforted by certain “used” items, but also repulsed by others. It just depends on the item.
- Great listeners: Empaths make great listeners another burden of to much socializing, despite their great listening skills , they can become over energized from others. They often only share their personal information with those extremely close or with those they trust. Empaths make great friends, but are crushed if the friendship is mistreated. Over time, they will become far more selective. Though they may have a large circle of friends and can blend in with just about any type of crowd or personality, they generally only have a few “close” friendships. Once those close relationships are established however, Empaths find a good exchange of love and respect. These relationships often last a lifetime
Signs of an imbalanced or sick Empath
- Physical pain, stomach issues, headaches, as well as over or under eating are HUGE warning signs. Don’t ignore these. These are signs of imbalance.
- Feeling spaced out, confused and disconnected (sometimes for extended periods, days or weeks).
- Being around toxic people and taking on their energy, causing wild mood swings.
- Feeling like you’re swirling around and around with nowhere to call home (ungrounded). The mind can go to very dark places if allowed.
- Preferring solitude (this can become extreme, wanting to always be alone, and avoid places and people). Downtime and rejuvenation are necessary and healthy for an Empath, but going into complete “avoidance” mode is not.
- Feeling alone when you are in a crowded place, or feeling invisible to others.
- Empath Sickness | Rob’s Magick Blog
Empath sickness is probably the most common problem found among naturally gifted psychics.
You can cope!
Things to read
- How to create a spa quality detox bath at home
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- Body detoxing, symptoms, withdrawal and problems fro…
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Solutions and coping skills for living with Empathic abilities
To avoid falling prey to mental over-load, drug addiction, depression, and a sense of disconnect, follow these simple suggestions for coping with being an Empath.
- Stay creative, whatever that means for you. Sing, dance, draw, etc…
- Learn to guard your OWN energy, this is VERY important. How can you do this? Breathe, and when you do focus on your breath, reminding yourself of what is yours, and what is not. Make a point to meditate on a regular basis, even if you can only commit to a few times a week. The key is staying consistent.
- Use your voice (many Empaths lose track of who they are because of emotions they absorb). It’s very easy for an Empath to become sick, and disconnected from the self, (reducing their ability to speak for themselves and maintain their sense of individuality and health).
- Get outside! Go for walks, take hikes, admire and involve yourself with nature, lay in the sun, put your bare feet on the ground.
- Use water! If possible get near an ocean ASAP! Water is a huge emotional cleanser and energy remover for an Empath, drink plenty of water. When you feel you are covered in emotional slime, take a shower, or do a detox bath. I’ve included my personal recipe to the right of this column. Use it often! You can also add 1-2 cups of sea salt to a bath and soak for 40 minutes, that will bring great relief.
- Keep your Chakras open. Again this means speaking up for yourself, taking time for solitude, stay balanced with yoga, prayer and meditation. Give your worries and overwhelm to God.
- Use stones and crystals. Smokey quartz is highly protective and grounding, as well as Labarodite, and Black Tourmaline (these are my personal favorites as my grounding has not been mastered). Although any object you determine is a talisman for you (the point is to change that tape in your head that begins to overwhelm, objects can help change attention), can be used. These can be found locally at Apothecary shops or online.
- Avoid negativity and stress when possible, especially from people!!!
- Limit time with TV’s, news, electronics, and places that drain your energy. This also goes for people, some also referred to as “emotional vampires”, keep them away.
- When anxious, close your eyes, envision your Chakras and remind yourself of what is yours and what is not. This helps stay grounded. Use Chakra healingtechniques.
- Learn grounding, centering, and shielding.
- Pray. Prayer is extremely healing, uplifting, and motivating. Pray often to Spirit/God. Pray with grace and gratitude.
- Seek outside help from an energy practitioner or spiritual healer.
- Find support groups, therapy, Churches (or whatever form of spiritual practice that works for you) as well as consider group fitness classes.
- Try to look for at least one positive thing, EVERYDAY! Need ideas? Read this:emotional energy.
Embrace your ability
Above all, embrace your ability.
People of all walks of life and animals and children are attracted to the warmth and genuine compassion of Empaths.
Regardless of whether others are aware of one being empathic or not, people are drawn to them as a metal object is to a magnet!
After 35 years on this planet, I’ve finally started coming into my own with my Empathy and hypersensitivity and recently felt compelled to write this because of how unbearable things had become.
For so long, I thought I was a sick co-dependent, which I am not. T
he journey has been long, confusing, and tedious, sometimes even sick and heart wrenching, but I wouldn’t change myself for a second.
And sometimes it is still very daunting to deal with. We are all unique souls on individual paths with individual lessons and purposes.
I hope this article helps others who may or may not be aware of their ability. I hope the information will offer comfort and support and resources on how to deal with being highly sensitive.
For so long, I thought of this as a curse, but am finally starting to look upon it as a blessing, and look forward to the path ahead.