Pros and Cons of Being an Empath
Our bodies are electric. The brain and heart put out especially strong electromagnetic fields.
Empaths are very sensitive to these frequencies and readily pick up the thoughts and emotions of others. For some, this extends to other living things and even places and inanimate objects. (3, 4)
Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which two or more senses are activated in response to a stimulus-such as tasting words or hearing color. Some empaths experience “mirror-touch synesthesia”, in which they feel, see, touch, taste, hear, or smell what others do. (5)
Empaths sense strong emotions and feel pain in others by virtue of very keen cognitive abilities and a different neural construct and process than non-empaths. (6)
Common traits of an empath include:
- highly sensitive
- absorb others’ emotions
- highly intuitive
- needs time alone
- overwhelmed in intimate relationships
- close connection to Nature
- highly-tuned senses
- open-hearted, often giving until it hurts.
Watch the video below for how to identify a highly-sensitive person or empath.
Empaths are highly sensitive people who can read and absorb other people’s emotions, thoughts, and energies. You can see how being an empath can be emotionally and physically draining.
Empaths often find themselves suffering from various mental, emotional, and physical distresses as the result of receiving so much sensory stimuli from multiple sources. Among those frequently experienced:
- anxiety, panic attacks
- chronic fatigue
- binging (food, drugs/alcohol, sex, television)
- insomnia or disrupted sleep
- body aches
- digestive issues
- weight gain or loss
- adrenal fatigue.
The most serious of these (and the root cause of some of the other symptoms listed) is adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys secrete cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and other hormones as a response to stress, among other things.
While some stress is necessary to function and survive, chronic stress that empaths sometimes experience can cause an over-production of cortisol. These stress hormones begin a chain reaction of hormone production in the thyroid, pancreas, and sexual organs, thereby affecting neurotransmitters.
Frequent stress can push the body’s ability to manage the continual hormonal onslaught. If left unaddressed, adrenal fatigue can progress to adrenal insufficiency, in which the body doesn’t produce enough hormones to maintain balance.
Some members of the Western medical community deny that adrenal fatigue is a true medical diagnosis.
Anyone who experiences it will argue otherwise. Regardless of what label you may use to identify the condition, adrenal fatigue manifests in discrete symptoms, including all of those mentioned above specific to empaths, plus:
- low blood pressure
- loss of appetite
- muscle weakness
- brain fog
- low libido
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- hyperpigmentation of the skin. (7)
Judith Orloff, MD is a Board-certified psychiatrist at the University of California at Los Angeles, best-selling author, and frequent contributor to Psychology Today. Here’s what she had to say about the Western medical community’s conventional wisdom regarding adrenal fatigue:
“…[there exists a] very real situation of empathic illnesses where empaths literally take on the stress and symptoms of others. Unfortunately, conventional medicine doesn’t have a context with which to understand this and many empaths are left in the lurch or misdiagnosed. Because empaths can be emotional sponges and take on the literal symptoms of others, it adds to their stress levels and leaves them more vulnerable to adrenal fatigue.” (8)
Watch the video below by Eric Berg, DC for more information about adrenal fatigue and common indicators of adrenal dysfunction. You can also take this simple eye reaction test at home to see if your adrenal glands are over-taxed .