Empaths are highly sensitive people who carry an intense ability to predict the thinking and feelings of people around them. As per psychologists, an empath is a person that characterizes an ample amount of empathy, to the extent of taking pains for the sake of others, at his own cost. In this way, empaths take the emotions and energies of others without distinguishing them as good or bad. Empaths possess higher sensitivity towards their surroundings and take a lot of effort and care to feel these things. Remarkable symptoms of empaths are as follows:
- Empaths sense and feel the emotions of others as their own experience. They take the pain and happiness of others as their own.
- Romantic relationships are a challenge for empaths because they avoid close contact. Spending too much time with someone can overwhelm empaths which leads to stress as they fear losing them.
- Empaths have a very strong intuition towards things that feel a bit off to them and they can easily know when something is wrong. They can easily read the thoughts of others.
- Empaths like to spend time in nature as it comforts their overwhelming emotions and feelings. Empaths are greatly attracted to remote and natural areas.
- As empaths absorb the positive and negative energies of people, this sensitivity is magnified when empaths are present in crowded and busy places. Empaths can also pick physical distress from the crowd which makes them physically unwell.
- Empaths just do not feel for someone, they feel with someone. It means when empaths absorb the emotions of others deeply, they want to do something for them. Empaths are always ready to help, but when it is not possible, they become disappointed.
- As empaths are highly sensitive and empathetic people, therefore, they are excellent listeners. In this way, people feel comforted by them and tend to tell them their problems.
- Empaths are not only sensitive to emotions; they are also sensitive to the world around them. Empaths can be affected by strong fragrances and odors. Jarring sounds and certain sounds can also trigger empaths.
- As empaths are highly sensitive to other people’s pains, it can also drain them. As they are exhausted, they need time to recharge themselves.
- As an empath you avoid conflicts, and you get easily hurt by others’ remarks and even slight criticism can cut you more deeply.
- Empaths often find it difficult to relate to others. As you struggle to absorb the feelings of others, it causes distress, and eventually, you try to avoid others and talk less. This leads you to become more private.
- Empaths heal themselves by isolating themselves. It is a way to recover from overwhelming emotions. Prolonged isolation thus can affect your mental health. Empaths meditate outdoors in a quiet park or garden, walking in the rain and long drives to restore themselves.
- Boundaries are very important in relationships and as an empath, you find it hard to set boundaries as it is impossible for you to stop giving in relationships.
- Deeper emotions can increase your connection level with the world and thus find it unique.
- Sometimes it becomes difficult for empaths to overcome emotional overload and it affects your quality of life badly.
Empathy requires significant compassion for people, and they feel what is happening to others in their inner selves. There are certain scientific approaches to better understand the powers of empathy:
- The Mirror Neuron System:
There is a specialized group of brain cells called mirror neurons that mirror the emotions of joy, fear, pain, and sorrow of others. Mirror neurons are responsible for compassion; therefore, empaths carry hyper-sensitive mirror neurons.
- Electromagnetic Fields:
Electromagnetic fields are generated by the brain and heart. According to another finding, electromagnetic fields transmit information about people’s feelings, thoughts, and emotions.
- Emotional Contagion:
The phenomenon of emotional contagion helps us better understand empaths. According to this finding, many people pick up the emotions of others around them and take them as their own and are classified as empaths.
- Increased Dopamine Activity:
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that increases the activity and functioning of neurons associated with feelings of pleasure. Empaths have a higher sensitivity to dopamine than others. They need less dopamine to make themselves happy. These are the reasons that empaths feel contented alone and like to read, meditate, and need less from social gatherings.
As excess of everything is bad for you, in the same way, excessive empathy can bring certain behaviors such as:
- You are at a greater risk for negative experiences.
- People take advantage of you.
- You experience physical burnout.
- You are emotionally exhausted.
- You are at a greater risk of taking on others’ problems.
- You possess a strong urge to help others with your suffering.
- You easily fall prey to people lacking manners and etiquette.
- You are at great risk of entering relationships with narcissists.
When empaths come across stressful emotions, they can experience depression, anxiety, fatigue, and panic attacks accompanied by some physical issues such as headaches and increased heart rate. This is mainly due to their habit of taking the pain and emotions of others as their own.
Empathy is a gift but too much of it creates suffering and can cause a lot of distress and discomfort. There are certain struggles and challenges that empaths go through:
- Empaths are easily influenced by the negative emotions of others. This can make it hard to hold space for others because you are going through the same feelings as they are experiencing.
- You are constantly fighting emotional exhaustion and fatigue.
- Compassion sometimes becomes a burden for empaths, and you are unable to shut off compassion.
- You need a lot of alone time to process your thoughts and emotions and get a break from absorbing others’ emotions.
- You need time to recharge but everyone around you is not able to understand it.
- You need a lot of time to transit from a high stimulus environment to a low stimulus environment and vice versa.
- You struggle a lot with your mental health. Because of higher sensitivity, you feel anxiety and depression.
- You always notice when someone is in need and feeling off, while no one other notices.
- People sometimes take advantage of you due to your sensitive nature.
- Small things in nature and surroundings can deeply upset you.
- Because of your great listening powers, you sometimes forget to leave space for yourself.
- Saying no is hard for you.
- Violence and horror can disturb you.
- When empaths constantly absorb others’ feelings, you sometimes ignore your own emotions.\
There are some self-protection techniques suggested for empaths for their recovery:
- By freeing yourself from the past.
- By overcoming early childhood fears and traumas.
- Retrieve your inner wounded child.
- Release yourself from emotional setbacks.
- By handling feelings of anger, fear, depression, and self-doubt.
- Stick up for yourself.
- Set clear boundaries in relationships.
- Practice saying no.
- Meditation for relaxing your mind, body, and soul.
- By practicing self-compassion
- Breathing exercises to counter negative emotions.
- Move aside from the source disturbing your emotions.
- Identify your own emotions and symptoms, not affected by others.
- Limit physical contact to avoid discomfort while interacting.
- Find alone time to clear and process your thoughts.