Have you ever been told you’re too emotional or sensitive? Do you often feel profoundly in tune with the feelings of those around you? Would you consider yourself a sensitive person?
If so, you may be an empathetic person.
Empaths are individuals with a sharp ability to sense the feelings and thoughts of the people around them.
Psychologists describe them as people with a lot of empathy towards others but who may find it challenging to set boundaries.
If you’re wondering whether you’re empathetic, you’re in luck.
In this article, I’ll discuss eight surprising traits of highly empathetic people. I’ll also share tips on how to overcome the overwhelming feelings that empathetic people typically experience.
Let’s get started.
1) They have good intuition
Empathetic people possess a keen intuition, which is why they can sense things and emotions long before anyone notices them. They’re one of the first to realize when something’s a bit off.
They experience the world intuitively and can easily detect their gut feelings about other people or situations.
This “superpower” enables empaths to steer clear of toxic and manipulative people. They know right away if someone is worth their time and energy.
2) They absorb other people’s emotions
Empaths are deeply in tune with other people’s moods. They are good at reading the room, so to speak.
They naturally absorb other people’s feelings, sometimes to an extreme. Exposure to negative emotions like anger or anxiety can affect them to the point that they get burned out and depressed.
This is why they sometimes have difficulty being in intimate relationships. They tend to absorb their partner’s energy, and when not given enough alone time, they can feel overloaded and anxious.
On the other hand, peaceful and loving relationships with adequate room to recharge help them thrive and live to their fullest potential.
3) They are highly sensitive to sensory stimuli
Empaths aren’t just affected by emotions; sensory stimuli like sounds and sights can also overwhelm them.
That’s why they get overwhelmed in crowded places like parties or train stations—the noise and the hustle and bustle can do a number on their nerves.
They also don’t do well in spaces filled with clutter. Empathetic people do periodic clutter-clearing to keep their homes clean and organized.
4) They need alone time and love spending time in nature
Nature has been proven to reduce stress and boost psychological well-being for practically everyone. This is especially true for highly empathetic people.
The constant push and pull of other people’s emotions on an empath can leave them drained and exhausted.
Thus, they take comfort in natural environments that give them a space to rest and let go of overwhelming sensations and emotions.
The mountains, the ocean, or even a simple garden can do wonders in healing and restoring an empath’s sense of balance.
5) They have a hard time not caring
Highly empathetic people don’t just sympathize with other people. They are big-hearted people who actually feel what other people are feeling.
So, it affects them deeply when they see someone suffering. They are naturally inclined to ease someone’s distress and can feel profound disappointment when they can’t do so.
In fact, this deep sense of caring for others can even outweigh their self-care and make them forget to set boundaries for themselves.
As psychiatrist Dr. Judith Orloff states, empaths need to break the rescuer pattern and understand that they don’t have to feel responsible for other people’s problems.
6) They don’t like conflict
As mentioned earlier, highly empathetic people absorb other people’s energies. Thus, it comes as no surprise that they dislike conflict.
Because they are highly, even acutely, sensitive, it doesn’t take a lot to hurt their feelings.
Arguments also cause them distress not just because they absorb the tension and anger but also because they can feel frustrated at not being able to resolve the conflict quickly.
7) They are effective listeners and communicators
If you feel lonely and need someone to listen to you, an empath would be the right person to turn to.
They are known for being superb listeners, and they have a natural ability to make you feel understood.
They engage in conversations with full attention and genuine compassion, which is why they can draw out the most profound thoughts and feelings from the people they talk to.
8) They inspire trust in other people easily
Empaths draw people to them like a magnet, even strangers. People tend to trust empaths instinctively and feel relaxed and comfortable in their presence.
As an empath myself, this is one of the things I like most about it.
I can’t count the number of encounters I’ve had with strangers striking up a casual conversation with me that led to a genuine, heart-to-heart talk.
I love being able to connect easily with other people and providing some measure of comfort, no matter how little.
How to practice self-care for empaths
Empathy is a precious gift, but sometimes it can feel like a burden.
If you’re an empath, the first step to protect yourself from toxic emotions and sensory overload is to set clear and healthy boundaries.
You should know how to preserve your energies and emotional reserves.
Here are some other ways to decompress and manage overstimulation:
- Consider getting a pet to keep you calm when you feel overwhelmed.
- Seek the help of a therapist if you need assistance with boundary setting and self-care.
- Take regular short breaks to meditate, walk, or engage in relaxing activities.
- Use positive affirmations daily to boost your self-esteem and counter negative energy.
- Practice self-awareness exercises to quickly recognize the signs of sensory overload.
- Limit physical contact and always express the degree of contact you’re comfortable with.
- Spend time away from technology and online media.
Highly empathetic people possess the ability to comfort others. However, they need to remember that their needs are just as important as everyone else’s.
With the right strategies, an empath can protect their sensitive nature and stay calm and centered amidst the chaos around them.