What It Means To Be An Empath and 4 Ways To Cope

to be an empath

Apart from the above, here are a number of questions Dr. Judith Orloff, the author behind “The Empath’s Survival Guide”, says you could ask yourself if you think you could be an empath :

  • Have people called me “highly sensitive” in the past?
  • If a friend is overwhelmed, do I start feeling it too?
  • Do I often feel like my feelings are not respected?
  • Do I easily get stimulated by noise, smells or too much talk?
  • Would I rather take my car to places so that I can leave whenever I want?
  • Am I fearful that intimate relationships will drown me with their intensity?
  • Do I eat more as a way of coping with stress?

How Can You Take Care As An Empath? 

By this time, it must be amply clear to you, that being an empath can be taxing. The impact it comes with is real and can contribute to stress, tiredness, and in some cases, even depression.

So, whether you’re an empath or know a loved one who may be, self-care is an important investment. While self-care in itself is a really broad category of actions, for empaths, it may mean a set of to-dos that can allay the overwhelm and consequent helplessness.

Here’s a list that could be helpful for you or someone you know:

1. Be mindful.

As a result of the frequent tapping into energies and consequently, the overwhelm, empaths have a tendency to be swept by all that is unfolding around them.

This can be disorienting and distressing, and so as an antidote, a mindfulness practice could be really helpful. It’s not so much about meditating every single day without fail, as it is about pausing to tune in and reflect.

This dedicated “processing” time can actually help you sift through what is yours to own and what is not. 

Read How To Deal With Overwhelm As An Empath

2. Set authentic boundaries.

The biggest defining characteristic of an empath is empathy, which means boundaries can often become a problem. If as an empath you feel you can’t say no or feel you must extend your listening side to whoever comes along, it might be time to change that.

Mindfulness again is a great technique here, so that you can list out what is not working in your relationships and interactions with people currently. Accordingly, you can renegotiate your terms and conditions in the way you communicate and hold space. 

3. Empathise with yourself.

In other words, consider self-compassion more seriously than you ever have. It is to remember that as an empath, you often absorb more than you can handle.

This can leave you feeling drained and uncaring about your own feelings. The point here is to turn the tables and take time to understand what it is that you need, what you truly feel, and what you would rather convey.

Your sensitive nature can also make you one of those people who come down too hard on themselves for anything they consider “bad” or “wrong”. No, saying your truth isn’t wrong. Feeling your feelings isn’t wrong. And most importantly, saying no isn’t wrong. 

4. Take breaks from people and activity.

If you’re an empath, it is important for you to understand that your nervous system does not operate the way it does in others.

You are highly sensitive and that makes you overstimulated in even common situations. Whereas other people can thrive in the never-ending company and incessant activity, you need to give yourself frequent breaks.

We’re not necessarily talking bubble baths or nature walks here, but downtime that allows you to breathe and stay in touch with your physical body. It could even be a replenishing nap. Do what serves you and recuperates you before you get back into the world. 

Read 15 Ways To Stay Grounded And Protected As An Empath

To sum it all up, let’s just say, an empath once, an empath forever. Though it is not necessary that you undertake this journey in self-defeating ways. There are simple methods right under your fingertips to help you navigate.

And not to forget, it is special to be who you are, because if you can deal more effectively with the overwhelm, life’s actually richer and more nuanced for someone like you. 

What it Really Means to be an Empath
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What It Means To Be An Empath and 4 Ways To Cope
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Sunanda Pati

Sunanda Pati is a certified expressive arts therapist and facilitator and a freelance creative writer. Having developed an early interest in psychology and later various forms of bodywork, she has actively worked in knowing her own inner world and processing various traumas. She believes every person is blessed with an endless reserve of inspiration, courage, and wisdom. Sunanda lives, writes, practices, and facilitates in Bangalore, India. More of her writings can be found at Gaia Comes to the City. She also runs an expressive arts initiative of the same name (Gaia Comes to the City), which can be found on Facebook.View Author posts