The trademark of an empath is that you feel and absorb other people’s emotions and/or physical symptoms because of your high sensitivity. You filter the world through your intuition and have a difficult time intellectualizing your feelings.
When overwhelmed with the effects of stressful emotions, highly sensitive individuals can have panic attacks, depression, chronic fatigue, food, sex and drug binges, and many physical symptoms that defy traditional medical diagnosis. But you don’t have to feel too much and be overloaded once you understand your limits.
The following are 10 traits of empaths.
1. Empaths Are Highly Sensitive
Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually open, and good listeners. Through thick and thin, you are there for others as world-class nurturers. But you can easily have your feelings hurt. Empaths are often told that they are “too sensitive” and need to toughen up.
2. Empaths Absorb Other People’s Emotions
Empaths are highly attuned to other people’s moods—good and bad. You feel everything, sometimes to an extreme. You take on negativity, such as anger or anxiety, which is exhausting. If you are around peace and love, your body takes these on and flourishes.
3. Many Empaths Are Introverted
Empaths become overwhelmed in crowds, which can amplify your empathy. You tend to be introverted and prefer one-to-one contact or small groups. Even if you are more extroverted, you prefer limiting how much time you will be in a crowd or at a party.
4. Empaths Are Highly Intuitive
Empaths experience the world through your intuition. It is important for you to develop your intuition and listen to your gut feelings about people. This will help you find positive relationships.
5. Empaths Need Alone Time
As super-responders, being around people can drain you; you periodically need alone time to recharge your batteries. Even a brief escape can prevent emotional overload. You like to take your own car on outings so you can leave when you please.
6. Empaths Can Become Overwhelmed in Intimate Relationships
Too much togetherness can be difficult for an empath so you may avoid intimate relationships. Deep down you are afraid of being engulfed and losing your identity.
7. Empaths Are Targets for Energy Vampires
An empath’s sensitivity makes you a particularly easy mark for energy vampires, whose fear or rage can sap your energy and peace of mind. Vampires do more than drain an empath’s physical energy. The especially dangerous ones, such as narcissists (they lack empathy and are only concerned with themselves,) can make you believe you’re unworthy and unlovable.
8. Empaths Become Replenished in Nature
The busyness of everyday life can be too much for an empath. The natural world nourishes and restores you. It helps you to release your burdens and take refuge in the presence of green wild things, the ocean, or other bodies of water.
9. Empaths Have Highly Tuned Senses
An empath’s nerves can be frayed by noise, smells, or excessive talking.
10. Empaths Have Huge Hearts but Sometimes Give Too Much
Empaths are big-hearted people and try to relieve the pain of others—a homeless person holding a cardboard sign that says "I'm hungry," a hurt child, or a distraught friend. It's natural for you to want to reach out to them and ease their pain. But as an empath, you don't stop there. Instead, you take it on. Suddenly you’re the one feeling drained or upset when you felt fine before.
You can use many strategies to protect your sensitivities such as fierce time management, setting limits and boundaries with draining people, meditation to calm and center yourself, and going out into nature. Being an empath can be a gift in your life, but you have to be sure to take care of yourself. Empaths have special needs. It’s important to honor yours and communicate them to loved ones.
Join some of the greatest female thinkers of our time, including bestselling author of The Empath’s Survival Guide and world-renowned psychiatrist Dr. Judith Orloff, to discover how to navigate the world as your authentic self with ease and grace at our Chopra Center Women’s Retreat. Learn More.