How to Cope With Being an Empath and Navigating an Emotional World
Walking a mile in someone else's shoes isn't just an expression; practicing empathy is one thing, but for empaths, it's a deeply ingrained way of life. Though empathy (the ability to understand a person's feelings) is vital in today's modern, complicated world, many people take this emotion a step further—in fact, it's in their nature to do so.
"It's often said that an empath is not only keenly aware of the emotions [of others] around them, they [also] experience these emotions as if they belonged to them," explains Adolph Brown, a clinical psychologist, speaker and educator. "Empaths are also known to have exceptional abilities to nurture and heal."
As it turns out, the world is packed with empaths. Research suggests that 15 to 20 percent of the population is classified as "highly sensitive," or empaths. Being an empath comes with a lot of positive traits. For one, Brown says, empaths are "highly intuitive and emotionally intelligent," so they can read the room, pick up on other people's energy, and be very aware of their own emotions too. The catch? Taking on everyone's feelings can be a lot. Unfortunately, "[m]any empaths become overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, anger, or resentment," he adds.
Fortunately, being an empath doesn't mean you have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. To help, a few experts share their best coping mechanisms for empaths.