Are You An Empath? - Part I
The ‘Energy Sponge’ Signs (& The Good Stuff)
When you’re an empath, absorbing or being affected by other people’s good emotions can be incredible. You can experience a huge amount of the good feelings - especially towards and from those you care about. Yet being an empath around people with negative or "heavy" energy can often lead you to feel drained, overwhelmed and even feeling down on yourself. I call it the 'energy sponge' effect and it's also been referred to as feeling like an "emotional sponge."
If you're an empath, be it at work, home or in a social setting, strong emotions you feel of others around you will not only attach to your energy field, but they can also affect you emotionally, mentally or physically. And when you’re experiencing negative energy someone else carries, it can be very easy to make the assumption that it’s your own. I mean, why would you think it wasn't yours, right?
Consider that our energy and emotions vibrate at certain frequencies. Positive emotions such as love, happiness and peace operate at a high frequency, whilst anger, guilt and fear operate at a low frequency. if you feel affected by others’ emotions (in the past and the present day), your own energy and frequency will absolutely be affected by them. Those strong emotions (often called “e-motions” or “energy in motion”) of others can disperse, yet sometimes they will stick around - hanging out with you, so to speak.
Signs You’re An Empath Experiencing Emotional Reactions
You may feel some or all of these:
- You feel overwhelmingly drawn to help people and be kind. This can be a lovely thing on the one hand, but on the other, can sometimes mean you are giving too much of your own high vibration ‘fuel’ or energy away.
- You sometimes shut yourself off or close up, or feel like you want to remove yourself from being around particular people or social situations.
- You feel overcome with sadness by someone who seems lonely or sad (this can even be someone you don’t know, such as a stranger in the street).
- You can easily cry at TV commercials, social media posts or soap operas (hangovers and PMT not included!)
- You like your own time and often feel comfortable being with just you.
- Your body can feel drained by, or have physical reactions (such as itchiness or hot and cold sweats) to particular people around you, Particularly those displaying emotions such as anger, obsessive behaviour or extreme anxiety, for example.
- Being around funny or very positive people brings out extremely positive feelings in you. Laughter, happiness and generally good feelings can sometimes turn your day around.
- Relationships of all varieties can feel incredibly wonderful (you get that overcome-with-love feeling) or they can feel overwhelming in the opposite direction!
- You feel incredibly hurt, angry or upset by someone you know, whereby your flight, fight or freeze response feels like it’s in overdrive.
- You sense something is upsetting someone emotionally (your 6th sense kicks in).
Signs You Are An Empath Who Experiences Physical Reactions
You may feel some or all of these:
- Your body physically mirrors someone else’s physical pain or mental blockage: for example, if they have pain in their throat, or are not communicating what they really want to say, your throat aches or gets a swollen sensation.
- Your body physically mirrors someone else’s emotions: if they are sad, angry or scared, you may feel it as a ball of energy or pressure in a part of your body.
- It feels like one or more of your 5 senses is in overdrive, perhaps to the point where it is uncomfortable or hurts.
- Particular types of music can aggravate your body or being to the point whee it feels like you can't stand to hear it. Equally other types of music feel incredibly healing, sort of like a medicine.
- You have mild to heavy synesthesia (where one of your senses stimulates another one or more of your senses).
- You may see colours around people or on parts of their body.
Empathetic or An Empath?
It’s also important to note that there is a difference between being an empathetic person and an empath. And that not all empaths are empathetic! A physical empath for example, will likely take on emotions of others as physical sensations or aches, but in some cases, may not be affected emotionally at all. And vice versa for emotional empaths.
TRY OUT THIS SCENARIO: Imagine a situation like this: someone you know has just told you some terrible news, they are crying and are telling you what’s happened.
EMPATHETIC: If you are an empathetic person, you will likely feel sad for that person, particularly if they are close to you, and even more so if you can relate to the position they are in. Empathy is a lovely trait to have and to hone, however it will not affect your body physically and emotionally.
EMPATH: If you are an empath, you can easily and often without knowing it. soak up the emotions (like a sponge) of this person in to your energy field and in to your body. This happens because you are actually emotionally and/or physically feeling and experiencing their emotions. As mentioned above, empaths can often feel like the emotion they are experiencing is their own. This is because you are not aware that somebody else’s energy and emotions are affecting you. (ref 1 below).
Your reaction may be to want to help that person, or alternatively want to get out of the situation pretty sharpish! And no judgement if you do the latter - I believe that most empaths will likely do both, depending on who it is they are interacting with, and the energetic reaction they experience.
Ref 1. “Being an empath and being empathetic are two different things. Being empathetic is when your heart goes out to someone else; being an empath means you can actually feel another person’s happiness or sadness in your own body,” (Judith Orloff, MD, psychiatrist and author)
Ref 2: Scientific Effects On, and Explanations of Empathy and Empaths (Deepak Chopra)
THE EMPATH CLEANSE & RECHARGE
Empaths, if they train their awareness and manage their energy - their interactions with people as well as their own reactions and emotions - can be incredibly intuitive and happy people. It’s not all doom and gloom! Being an empath can also be a huge advantage when it comes to intuitively understanding people in your life - from partners and children to friends and work colleagues. The empath’s ability to feel so much, means the good interactions can feel iincredibly wonderful.
Here are some things that can help cleanse, reset and recharge an empath:
- ‘Me Time’ - Craft out some daily ‘me time’ in to your diary, such as a walk, reading a book, playing an instrument, meditating or a solo yoga session. If you have kids, one of these can be done after bed time - even 10 minutes every day can make a huge difference.
- Nature - nature is incredibly good for empaths for a reset. If you can’t get to a beach to walk on - or a forest to walk in - find a park to peruse instead, or get your hands in the soli for some gardening.
- Water time - I call baths and showers my water time. The benefits of being in water are incredibly good for all humans, and empaths will find it particularly good for an energy cleanse and reset.
- Laughter - A laughter fix, whether it be watching your favourite comedian on YouTube or finding a comedy on Netflix is a very good way to chill out. Laughter really can be the best medicine, as they say.
- Movement - Whether it’s exercise or dancing around the kitchen (singing optional), get some movement in to your body. This can even shift your own accumulated 'stress' energy that you've acquired over the course of a day.
For more about the science of our energy and how it affects us, please check out the science of our energy on the Muscle Testing page and the Heal page.
Part II of Being An Empath will explain more about the advantages of being an empath, how our bodies store more emotions than the non-empath, what this looks like visually and how to remove them.
I also offer a free 20 minute online appointment for anyone wanting to know more about their own empath reactions and triggers. If you unsure if you are an empath or not, please get in touch. Part II coming soon!
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