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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 1
28 / A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 1
Have you ever been labeled
as overly sensitive? Do you ab-
sorb the emotions of others?
There is a good chance you're
an emotional empath. Empaths
are highly-sensitive, finely-tuned
instruments when it comes to
emotions. They feel everything,
sometimes to an extreme, and
are less apt to intellectualize
feelings. Intuition is the filter
through which they experience
the world. Empaths are naturally
giving, spiritually attuned, and
good listeners. If you want heart,
empaths have got it. Through
thick and thin, they're there for
you, world-class nurturers.
In Emotional Freedom I em-
phasize that the trademark of
empaths is they know where
you're coming from. Some can
do this without taking on peo-
ple's feelings. However, for bet-
ter or worse, others, like myself
and many of my patients, can
become angst-sucking sponges.
This often overrides the sub-
lime capacity to absorb positive
emotions and all that is beauti-
ful. If empaths are around peace
and love, their bodies assimilate
these and flourish.
Negativity often feels assault-
ive, exhausting. Thus, they are
particularly easy marks for emo-
tional vampires, whose fear or
rage can ravage empaths. As
a subconscious defense, they
may gain weight as a buffer.
When thin, they are more vul-
nerable to negativity, a missing
cause of overeating explored in
my book Positive Energy. Plus,
an empath's sensitivity can be
overwhelming in romantic rela-
tionships; many stay single since
they haven't learned to negotiate
their special cohabitation needs
with a partner.
When empaths absorb the im-
pact of stressful emotions, it can
trigger panic attacks,
depression, food, sex
and drug binges, and
a plethora of physical
symptoms that defy
traditional medical
diagnosis -- from fa-
tigue to agorophobia.
Since I'm an empath,
I want to help all my
empath-patients cul-
tivate this capacity
and be comfortable
with it.
Empathy doesn't
have to make you feel too much
all the time. Now that I can
center myself and refrain from
shouldering civilization's dis-
contents, empathy continues to
make me freer, igniting my com-
passion, vitality, and sense of the
To determine whether you're
an empath, take this quiz.
Ask yourself:
Have I been labeled as "too
emotional" or overly sensitive?
If a friend is distraught, do I
start feeling it too?
Are my feelings easily hurt?
Am I emotionally drained by
crowds, requiring time alone to
Do my nerves get frayed by
noise, smells, or excessive talk?
Do I prefer taking my own car
places so that I can leave when
I please?
Do I overeat to
cope with emotional
Am I afraid of be-
coming engulfed by
intimate relation-
If you can answer
"yes" to 1-3 of these
questions, you're at
least part empath.
Responding "yes" to
more than 3 indicates
you have found your
emotional type.
Recognizing that you're an
empath is the first step in taking
charge of your emotions instead
of constantly drowning in them.
Staying on top of empathy will
improve your self-care and re-
Emotional Action step.
how To Find balance
Practice these strategies from
"Emotional Freedom" to center
Allow quiet time to emotion-
ally decompress. Get in the habit
of taking calming mini-breaks
throughout the day. Breathe in
some fresh air. Stretch. Take a
short walk around the office.
These interludes will reduce the
excessive stimulation of going
Practice guerilla meditation.
Are You An Intuitive Empath?
How To Stop Being An Emotional Sponge
by Judith Orloff, M.D.
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