Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s “The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People” (2017 Sounds True)
Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt
to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and
good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world-class nurturers.
trademark of empaths is that they know where you’re coming from. Some can do this without taking on people’s feelings. However, for better or
worse, others, like myself and many of my patients, can become angst-sucking sponges. This often overrides the sublime capacity to absorb positive
emotions and all that is beautiful. If empaths are around peace and love, their bodies assimilate these and flourish. Negativity, though, often feels
assaultive, exhausting. Thus, they’re particularly easy marks for emotional vampires, whose fear or rage can ravage empaths. As a subconscious defense,
they may gain weight as a buffer. When thin, they’re more vulnerable to negativity, a missing cause of overeating explored in my book Positive Energy. Plus, an empath’s sensitivity can be overwhelming in romantic relationships; many stay single since they haven’t learned to negotiate their special
cohabitation needs with a partner.
When empaths absorb the impact of stressful emotions, it can trigger panic attacks, depression, food, sex and drug binges, and a plethora of physical symptoms
that defy traditional medical diagnosis from fatigue to agorophobia. Since I’m an empath, I want to help all my empath-patients cultivate this capacity
and be comfortable with it.
Empathy doesn’t have to make you feel too much all the time. Now that I can center myself and refrain from shouldering civilization’s discontents, empathy
continues to make me freer, igniting my compassion, vitality, and sense of the miraculous. To determine whether you’re an emotional empath, take the
QUIZ: AM I AN EMPATH?
If you answer “yes” to 1-3 of these questions, you’re at least part empath. Responding “yes” to more than 3 indicates that you’ve found your emotional
Recognizing that you’re an empath is the first step in taking charge of your emotions instead of constantly drowning in them. Staying on top of empathy
will improve your self-care and relationships.
Emotional Action Step. How To Find Balance
Practice these strategies to center yourself.
Over time, I suggest adding to this list to keep yourself covered. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you’re on emotional overload. With pragmatic
strategies to cope, empaths can have quicker retorts, feel safer, and their talents can blossom.
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Judith Orloff, MD
author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People
, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff
is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with
cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive
people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is
a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy,
and Guide to Intuitive Healing
Connect with Judith on Facebook
. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter
as well as Dr. Orloff's books and workshop schedule, visit her website.