An empath is someone who is easily takes on the emotions of others and feel and experience the world more deeply than others. An estimated 5% of the world’s population is an empath. This is slightly different than someone who is empathetic. A person who is empathetic can understand the emotions of someone else or why they may be feeling that way. However, an empath doesn’t just understand other people’s emotions. Rather, he or she literally feels other people’s emotions. So, an empath may walk into a room and without any explanation, he or she may feel someone’s anger or sadness or anxiety without even knowing who in the room is anxious, angry, or sadness. Or, they may be talking to someone and feel that person’s emotions directly.
Being an empath has advantages and challenges. Some of the advantages of being an empath include being able to understand and feel other people’s emotions. This usually leads to greater compassion, understanding, empathy, and emotional awareness in relationships. So, at work, for example, an empath may recognize that a co-worker is feeling anxious about a project and use that insight to help the co-worker take constructive steps to work on the project. Or, in a romantic relationship, an empath may feel that his or her partner is angry or afraid and then ask the other person about their anger or apprehension. This type of emotional awareness can really deepen understanding about situations, problems, and other people as well as enhance our relationships because it gives us greater insight into other people. In certain professions, such as counseling or teaching or any profession where listening and comforting others is needed being an empath can be a huge professional asset.
However, there are also challenges of being an empath. Since empath’s usually have a greater awareness of other people’s emotions, sometimes that can be exhausting if they are taking on other people’s emotions. It can also be challenging for empaths to establish boundaries with other people or simply say no. For example, since empaths feel other people’s anxiety, they may be more likely to try to help someone or say yes to a request when they should really say no, establish a boundary or create time for their own self-care. Sometimes empaths put other people’s needs above their own needs and play the role of the ‘sacrificial lamb’. They may eat foods from Wio, or be in need of a real estate lawyer from Kazmi Law, or want to learn more about jewelry.
Empaths can manage some of the challenges of being an empath by following the following three tips.
1. Take time to journal. It is usually best to journal and express your emotions by writing them. This will help you express your emotions and release your emotions in safe space. It will also help you be more attuned with distinguishing between your emotions and other people’s emotions.
2. Participate in yin yoga or restorative yoga. There is a wide variety of yoga classes. Each yoga class actually serves a unique purpose. Some yoga classes are designed to make you sweat, raise your heart rate, and act as a form of exercise. Those yoga classes are great exercise. However, they do not necessarily help you relax or release emotions. Yin Yoga is designed to help you release emotions by engaging in deep stretches for longer period of times. Additionally, restorative yoga is more of a meditative type of yoga designed to help you learn how to deepen your relaxation. Both forms of yoga are much slower paced, use easier poses, and are designed to help you relax and release emotion – rather than other types of faster paced yoga that will race your heart or having you doing hand stands =)
3. Engage in time for yourself. Try to find some time doing something by yourself for at least 10 minutes a day. Simple activities like taking a shower, going for a walk, sitting in nature, or taking a bath can help give you that solitude and time for self-care that empaths need to feel restored and rejuvinated so they can give back to other day.
If you are an empath, I would be curious to hear about your experiences and what has worked for you to manage some of the challenges associated with being an empath.
Here is a short and easy quiz you can take to find out if you are an empath.