Have you ever walked into a room and felt your mood change dramatically?
Do you meet someone for the first time and instantly know if you'll be friends?
When you see another person cry, do tears immediately spring from your eyes?
If you feel deeply connected to the world around you, then you might be an empath...
Things to know
- Empaths are extremely sensitive to the moods and emotions around them, which can be insightful as well as draining.
- To cope and recharge, empaths might have to reduce their social calendar and stay at home because the outside world can be so overwhelming.
- Empaths can also be triggered greatly by fake and difficult people, chaotic environments, and when they witness pain and suffering.
The word "empath" might sound like it describes someone who's nice and considerate to others. While that's true, the truth is that being an empath can be an extremely heavy burden.
Luckily, the empath’s survival guide is here to take the weight of the world off your shoulders. Here's what you'll learn:
- What Are Empaths?
- What Are Empaths Sensitive To?
- Empath Superpowers
- The Empath's Burden
- Triggers For Empaths
- Thriving As An Empath
What Are Empaths?
Empaths are individuals with heightened levels of empathy and emotional sensitivity. They can innately sense the mood of a room and intimately experience what other people are feeling.
Intuitive empaths have an exceptional capacity for compassion. They genuinely care about others. Their high emotional intelligence leads them to form deep connections, and they can judge a character from a mile away.
But absorbing all those emotions eventually starts to wear you out. It can be downright exhausting to take on the feelings of others.
If an empath is going to thrive in life, they'll have to learn more about their sensitivities, and how they can cope. Read on to learn some essential empath survival techniques...
What Are Empaths Sensitive To?
Empaths are highly sensitive to emotion. Other people’s feelings often become their own. And it’s not just limited to friends and family. An empathic person can easily pick up on strangers’ moods, too.
The outside world is an emotional minefield for empaths. It’s difficult for them to regulate their own feelings because they are so influenced by other people.
If they encounter positive individuals, their day is a happy one. But it can quickly be turned around by reading about a traumatic event in the news. Empaths are so in tune with other people’s energy that they love deeply and hurt deeply.
The empathic ability is a sort of superpower. Empaths have a sixth sense that can pick up on people’s feelings without them saying a word. There are loads of benefits to operating on such a powerful wavelength:
Empaths are gifted with strong intuition. They have an innate sense of the truth and are often the first to see things no one else can. This helps the empath know who to trust and protects them from being used.
Deep bonds and relationships
Another benefit to being an empath is forming deeper relationships than the average person. Because they feel things so deeply, this sensitive person is highly attuned to their partner’s moods. As a result, they are able to develop intense emotional intimacy in their romantic relationship.
But the empath’s sensitivity doesn’t stop there. They also experience heightened self-awareness thanks to their ability to see how others react to their words. This helps the empathic person conduct themselves well, make more friends, and even perform better at work.
The Empath's Burden
Emotional sensitivity can be an incredible gift. But there are also burdens that an empathic person must shoulder:
Physical manifestations of emotion
A physical empath feels things to their very core. The stress of someone’s emotional pain can result in physical symptoms with no medical cause. This emotional contagion can wreak havoc on an empath if they can’t find ways to balance their emotions.
Mental health issues
It can also cause mental health issues. Empaths can suffer from social anxiety or depression when they get overwhelmed by negative energy. They can even absorb the mental health struggles of friends, especially when the empath tries to act as a counselor.
Carrying everyone’s heavy burdens often leads to emotional exhaustion in an empath. At this stage, they shut down entirely until they can work through all the feelings inside them and recalibrate their own mood.
Triggers For Empaths
Feeling drained by some of these empath struggles? You can recharge by steering clear of the most common emotional triggers:
Knowing other people’s pain
An empath is like an emotional sponge. They genuinely feel what other people are going through, good or bad. If you’re an empath, you are probably drawn to people who are suffering. You want to help them get to the other side of a tough time.
This is an admirable goal. But use caution: other people’s pain is a major trigger for empaths.
The other person will appreciate your support but unintentionally pass their emotional pain onto you. Taking on the hardships of friends and family is a sure way to drain any empath.
Some people are considered physical empaths. This type can feel the energy of a room in their bodies, not just their minds. A common trigger for the physical empath is a chaotic environment. Loud noise, big crowds, and social anxiety can all lead to sensory overload.
This can even manifest in physical symptoms, like a racing heart or stomach ache. Empaths should be mindful about going to parties and perhaps opt for events that will be relaxed and positive if they're feeling sensitive.
Lack of alone time
One of the things empaths need to prioritize is alone time. Every time you step outside as an empath, you’re taking in the energy and emotions of each person you encounter.
Over time, you get filled up with so much emotional data that you hit your limit for any more interactions. Decompressing by yourself gives you the chance to process all those feelings. If you don’t take the time to recharge, you’ll max out your tolerance for socializing.
Avoid burnout by getting enough rest, so you have a full tank the next time you see friends.
Hanging with negative personality types
Empaths are susceptible to emotional contagion. They quickly catch the vibe of other people and have a hard time protecting themselves from negative energy.
Hanging out with pessimistic people is a common trigger for empaths. Set a healthy boundary with complainers to protect your peace.
Another personality type to avoid at all costs is the Energy Vampire. This person takes and takes from the empath without limits. The Energy Vampire will suck you dry and leave you spiraling. Don’t give toxic people too much access to you, or you’ll risk major emotional distress.
Keeping up overloaded schedules
Empaths have a tendency to take on responsibility for a ton of different things. You recognize problems and want to be part of the solution. But joining every cause and club you can get your hands on doesn’t always energize you. In fact, a crazy schedule can actually be an empath trigger.
Empaths don’t do anything halfway. They hold themselves to high standards and fear disappointing people. But when you overbook yourself, you start to face uncomfortable pressure to meet those impossible standards.
Make sure you’re factoring in enough time to fully commit to your obligations. That way, you won’t get triggered by burnout.
The intuitive empath senses things no one else does. They can’t explain it: they just know.
If you’re an empath, chances are you’ve been misunderstood before. Trying to make people understand why you just don’t trust that new coworker can leave you looking mean or judgmental.
The truth is, you’re far from cruel. But when you have a hard time explaining your negative belief about someone, it can make you feel like no one understands you.
Eventually, you know you’ll be proven right. But until then, stick with people who trust your intuition to avoid getting triggered.
Befriending fake people
To an empath, there’s nothing worse than a disingenuous friend. They hold loyalty in the highest esteem and can easily sense insincerity.
That’s why being around fake people is a massive emotional trigger for empaths. They want to protect their friends from backstabbers but can’t always prove how they know someone isn’t all they seem.
The emotional pain of hanging around liars isn’t worth it. Empaths should stick to authentic types whenever possible.
Thriving As An Empath
Empaths are the heartbeat of a community. They make people feel seen and understood and always offer a shoulder to cry on for someone in emotional distress.
But if you’re an empath, people’s pain can deeply affect you. And you want to do more than just survive in this world: you want to thrive.
Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries with people who exude negative energy. It will be tough at first. But it gets easier with practice.
Remember, "no" is a complete sentence. Don’t let an Energy Vampire sap you dry. Focus on positive people who appreciate what a sensitive person you are.
It might feel impossible, but life without emotional exhaustion can exist for an empath. Stay away from these common triggers, and your energy will be refilled in no time.