(2-5% of population)
An empath is someone with heightened EMOTIONS.
uncanny ability to identify moods and emotions of other people
extremely sensitive to the tone or mood of a room
experiences mood-swings without being able to identify reasons and triggers to cause the change in mood
Empaths feel their own feelings more intensely than most. Happiness is brighter and fuller, sadness is deeper and darker. As a result, empaths are often diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Many empaths are also sensitive to feel and absorb the feelings and emotions of other people (or places) as well. In rare cases, empaths with highly developed empathic skills are intuitive, clairvoyant, and even psychic.
15 Traits of an Empath
We cry easily, at commercials, at injustices on the news, at someone else's pain.
We feel physically ill when we witness someone in pain.
We can sense the mood of a room even if people are trying to hide it.
We know when someone is pretending (or lying) about how they are or feel.
We attract toxic people, energy vampires, and narcissists because we just want to help.
We are always the first to offer help. This is because we feel the pain inside ourselves, so we want to help to alleviate the pain so we feel better.
We get deeply passionate about social justice issues.
When we are happy, we feel exuberant joy.
We go through bouts of depression in waves that don't seem to be connected to something that happened. We are often depressed about the general state of the world.
We notice micro-expressions in the people around us, and we feel them in our own bodies.
We lose our appetite when we are upset.
We lose our sex drive when we are too disturbed by the state of the world around us, by upsets in relationship, by stress in our own lives.
We are easily inspired and deeply passionate.
We get tired, fatigued, and exhausted easily and don't always understand why, and yet we have difficulty regulating our sleep patterns.
We LOVE BIG!
How Empaths FEEL
I only watched the short version of the George Floyd video once. That was enough. The look in his eye sent a hormone flurry of feels through every part of my being. It was so powerful that just writing this now, I can feel flutters of it in my belly and spine right now. I had empath side effects from that for several weeks after, especially since it kept appearing in feeds, news, and references to it were everywhere.
The night after George Floyd died, I had a nightmare, that recurred for months. In fact, I still have it occasionally. I had a shorter but just as intense version of this nightmare recently, after the first day of opening arguments and witness testimony started in Minneapolis. The very bad dream goes like this.
I'm standing next to the woman who filmed the video. I watch many other bystanders try to intervene, with no results. I decide that no one can change the ultimate outcome for this man, so I decide to do what I can to soften the experience. I lay down on the ground with my face to the pavement in the exact position he is in. I face him and I psychically tell him to look at me. While I say nothing with my voice, I activate the most powerful Reiki, Healing Touch, Shaman Healing energy I know how to manifest and send love to him. I look him in the eyes as he takes his last breaths. After his body goes limp, I watch his aura evaporate into the air, his chakra lights dim until they flicker off. And then, I see little firefly flits of energy spark throughout the intersection, absorbed by almost every person in the vicinity. Then I fall into a pond of water. Sucked under the surface, I panic that I can't breathe. I hold my breath for as long as I can, and then just when I think I can't last a second longer, I remember that I can breathe under water. I take a long slow gulp of water/air through my lung/gills. Then, I wake up.
For at least six weeks after George Floyd died, I had physical reactions to any reference of his death. More than anything, I felt myself suffocated for air. With everyone talking about the corona virus AND Floyd's death, I didn't know if maybe I had the virus or I was feeling sympathy pains. All I knew was that my lungs were tight and my asthma flared all day every day, but moreso when I heard reports on the news or social media.
I also felt phantom unexplainable pains in my neck, shoulders and wrists. For weeks I was fatigued and exhausted, unable to practice yoga except to lay on a bolster and nurse my tender shoulders and avoid the pressure on my wrists from down dog. Hmmm...Floyd was handcuffed (wrists) and kneeled on his neck and shoulders.
At the time of Floyd's death, I was personally very happy. I had just spent a vacation week with my husband's sister and her husband in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. My husband had just acquired a new job which meant working from home and earning more money. My neighbor had just adopted a new beautiful dog who took me on long ambling walks through the neighborhood. The weather was gorgeous, and I spent hours writing in my sun room.
Yet I felt sad. I couldn't identify the sadness. It wasn't depression. It wasn't from anything in my own life. I just felt this heaviness, especially as I watched the riots unfold in neighborhoods near me. Even if I turned off the news and isolated myself with only positive people, I still felt it. It was as if I could smell (and absorb) the changes in pheromones and hormones in all the people in my city.
I haven't slept well since George Floyd died. I keep a log of my sleep patterns, and I noticed a significant drop in my sleep that Memorial Day weekend of 2020. At first I blamed the 'rona, but really, as I think about it now, it started with the riots that tore up my twin cities and all the civil unrest that followed. The more the emotions of my community raged, the more I stayed awake staring at the ceiling at night. One issue just led to another for months. First it was the BLM protests. Then the wildfires. Then the riots in Portland. Then the election. Then the uptick in covid cases in December. Then the attack on the capital. Then. . .
As an empath, whenever I can't identify my symptoms as being directly related to something in my world, I have to look outward. Being an introvert, I don't always like looking into the outside world, but I have to because those things from the outside world that penetrate my inner world boundaries will impact me on so many levels.
Hormones, feels, emotions and moods are invisible, but they bring with them a big energetic punch.
The Hormones of Empaths
Our moods and emotions are governed by our hormones. That's why we call someone "hormonal" when they are having emotional mood swings. When an empath's SUPER POWER of feeling is activated, our hormones are triggered. Below is a list of many basic types of hormones and what they do for the body, and how they are impacted when empath sensitivities are activated by something in our world.
Adrenaline is our freak-out guy, and Cortisol is our get-shit-done guy. When they come to the party, everyone else scurries out of sight like cockroaches when the lights turn on. The challenge we empaths have is that when we so much as smell someone else's adrenaline and cortisol, ours want to be part of the party and we feel STRESS. They make all our other hormones run and hide, so we don't rest, we don't digest, we don't have sex, we don't laugh and smile and party and be happy. We just freak-out and get-shit-done...and that shit usually means looking for what hurts people and make that hurt go away.
Serotonin is our Chill Pill. This is your happiness hormone. It is what you feel when you are safe, comfortable, cozy, and content. It is also the hormone most depleted in times of depression, sadness, and grief. Empaths recognize the value of serotonin When adrenaline kicks in, serotonin smells fear and runs to hide. Dopamine is our Rock Star Juice. This is your motivation drug, and it is very much a drug. It's easy to get addicted to the dopamine highs and want to recreate the dopamine rush that we get when we do certain things. As empaths, we are more sensitive to dopamine. A little reward goes a REALLY long way for us.
When Adrenaline and Cortisol are in charge, your digestive hormones take a back seat and wait. For those of us who are healthy and body/mind aware, that means we lose our appetite when we are stressed. Our tummies won't digest, so we don't feel the urge to eat. If you are a stress-eater, this could lead to being overweight because our digestive hormones are not working, instead, they send food into fat reserves to deal with later, when Adrenaline and Cortisol aren't in command.
When Adrenaline and Cortisol are in charge, your sex hormones (sex drive) crawls back under the covers to take a nap. As a result, especially for empaths and HSPs, when we are dealing with a lot of stress, we may experience a complete lack of sex drive, or even sexual dysfunction. It is not uncommon for empathic males to experience high levels of erectile dysfunction, and empathic females to experience menstruation issues.
Because Adrenaline and Cortisol are so concerned with fighting fights and battling demons, they don't understand the need for rest. They have one setting - ON. Even after the threat is over, the stress is gone, they may take awhile to clean up the mess they created and exit our system. As empaths being barraged with all kinds of energy stress, we often feel over-tired and unable to sleep because our hormones have completely messed up our circadian sleep/wake rhythms.
Are You an Empath who would like to learn simple self-care tools to balance your hormones, have better boundaries, and manage your moods and emotions better? Book a Mentoring Appointment
Learn the single most important skill to managing your empath sensitivity - Focused Breathing