Someone with the psychic ability of empathy, also known as being an empath, feels the emotions and physical pains of others as intensely or more than his or her own. This barrage of sensations can over-stimulate the empath and even manifest as anxiety or erratic behavior.
What Does It Feel Like?
An empath is so sensitive to the energies surrounding her, especially the energies of other people, that she can fall victim to tremendous stress and inner conflict. It can feel like an electrical current or simply a nervousness that suddenly overpowers her followed by a flood of emotions. Feelings of sadness or melancholy may come out of nowhere and consume her. This becomes very confusing since the empath may not fully understand what is happening to her and try to own those feelings by attempting to understand why she's feeling such odd and unfounded emotions.
The empath may not be able to differentiate the feelings and emotions of others from his own, especially initially. It isn't surprising that the majority of empaths at one time or another become highly depressed or anxious. In addition to negative emotions, an empath can also pick up on a person's positive ones. However, this up and down effect creates an emotional roller coaster ride for the inexperienced and untrained empath.
How Empaths Receive Information
No one really knows the true mechanisms of empathic abilities. Many theories have been created as a means of explanation. Not all empaths have just this one ability, and some can garner information from multiple psychic abilities that work in unison as one mega psychic ability. For example, the empath may unknowingly use psychometry to receive information simply by touching a person or object. The empathic ability then processes this information into feelings. Going beyond these two psychic abilities, the person may also have other strong psychic abilities that assist in the processing of the information she is receiving.
Until the empath stops to examine his individual processes to determine if he's operating on strictly empathic abilities or a team of abilities, it's difficult for him to find ways of controlling the information he receives. It requires time and patience to test himself on each possible ability, but once a baseline is established, it's easier to see how each psychic ability is connected and how all of them interact and function.
Can Anyone Be an Empath?
Like other psychic abilities, no one is certain how or why these abilities exist, how they work, or why one person might have them while another doesn't. Some people believe it's a genetic transference since psychic abilities seem to run in families.
Mark Thurston, PhD, uses Edgar Cayce readings to explore how psychic abilities develop. Cayce's readings suggested that psi abilities are the result of soul development through various incarnations and physical attunement.
Another theory proposes that many psychic abilities are mysteriously connected to individuals who've had a Near Death Experience (NDE). In these cases, it's believed that a person who has returned from such an experience has opened some kind of door or connection between the physical and spirit worlds. This connection then somehow imbues the person with psychic abilities.
Coping With Empathic Abilities
The inexperienced empath is usually overwhelmed by the sudden flood of information she receives, especially when these experiences happen to her as a child. The feelings and even physical sensations an empath picks up from another person can be stronger than her own. This makes it very difficult to distinguish which emotions are hers and which ones belong to someone else.
A child doesn't have the coping mechanisms of an adult. This psychic ability can make the child high-strung and overly-emotional. If she doesn't have someone in her life who understands what is happening, she can be misunderstood. Sometimes, the child can be misdiagnosed as having various emotional or mental disorders. Children can become trapped in this framework early on and remain defined by an illness or disorder their entire adult lives.
Many empaths find a physical solution to the flood of emotions and other sensations by living in sparsely populated areas to have a facsimile of a "normal" life. A rural lifestyle doesn't mean the empath becomes immune to the emotions and energies of others, but she certainly is able to cope better than she might in a metropolitan environment.
It's highly helpful for an empath to have a confidant she can confide in and never worry about being judged. Unfortunately, anyone with psychic abilities typically feels isolated and even ostracized for being different. Those feelings are often compounded by the many feelings she experiences from other people, and they can become debilitating.
Techniques to Control Reactions
There are several proven techniques that can help empaths minimize and even shut down their empathic abilities. The problem with shutting down is that the empath often becomes irritable and nervous since empathy is a normal function for her.
Meditation is one of the most effective and common techniques used to assist in controlling and understanding empathic and other psychic abilities. There are several online resources that offer assistance such as:
- Mystic Familiar, an international online community, offers psychic development classes for empaths.
- The well-known authority on mind and body healing, Deepak Chopra, M.D. along with David Simon, M.D. operates the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and offers various programs online as well as various workshops throughout America.
- Free Meditations offers a plethora of free meditations and mantras.
A Simple Technique
One simple technique for controlling empathic abilities is visualization.
- Close your eyes and visualize two volume switches in your mind's eye. Label one switch "me" and one switch "everyone else."
- Turn your volume switch all the way up. Turn the volume switch for everyone else all the way down.
- Reset this as often as you need. In the beginning, this may be several times a day, but as you progress the switches will stay in position for longer periods. Do this when you are about to go into situations with crowds (such as going into the city, going shopping, etc.), or if you feel overwhelmed by emotions you suspect are not your own.
Living as an Empath
The empath must learn how to minimize the personal reaction to information being received. This comes with a lot of practice and eventually, she will be able to distinguish which emotions are hers and which ones belong to someone else.