8 Signs Of An Empath + How To Use Your Empathic Abilities As 'Superpowers'

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What Is An Empath? 8 Signs + How To Use Empathic Abilities
Self

You've probably heard or seen someone refer to themselves as empath, whether they were speaking with you about how deeply they feel everything going on in the world right now or posting a quote on social media about the weighty power of their deep emotions.

You may even have had someone tell you that you must be an empath when you were saying or posting something similar about yourself.

What is an empath?

An empath is a person who feels the mental states and emotions of others deeply. In a way, they are like sponges soaking up the emotional energy of those around them. For example, empaths are typically able to tell when someone near them is feeling upset or angry without that person ever directly saying so.

While this is an impressive ability some consider spiritual (or even psychic), being an empath does come with its drawbacks.

Much like a sponge doesn't get to choose what it soaks up, an empath is constantly vulnerable to absorbing any negative emotional energy that surrounds them. What started as an easy-going day can quickly turn into one filled with intense anxiety should an empath happen upon someone experiencing a heavy mood.

RELATED: The Circle You're Drawn To Reveals Your Strongest Gift As An Empath

Back on the positive side of things, if all of this sounds familiar, there are ways you can use these empathic abilities to your advantage in order to improve your daily life.

Here are 8 traits that are signs of you may be an empath, plus how to use each of these empathic abilities as your own personal "superpowers."

1. High sensitivity to any negative energy or "bad vibes."

How to use this empathic ability as your superpower: Turn bad vibes into good strategy by thinking of the vibes and emotions you pick up on as information. The more information you have at your disposal, the better equipped you'll be to make wise decisions.

All of our lives are governed by various types of relationships. Knowing how to navigate the people you come into contact with is a huge part of being successful. Rub the wrong person the wrong way and you might just suffer a serious setback.

Incorporate your emotional intelligence into your overall life strategy and watch yourself — and your spirits — rise.

2. Anxiety about problems that have yet to materialize.

How to use this empathic ability as your superpower: As an empath, you are able to pick up on potential problems before they reach their peak, which potentially means you can quash them before they get as bad as they might have otherwise.

Maybe you've started to notice that there is an unusual amount of tension between two of your friends, for example. Use your empathic abilities to diffuse the situation before it becomes a nightmare, or by preparing yourself for the eventual fallout should your efforts at peacemaking not succeed.

3. Awareness of what others are feeling without them having to tell you.

How to use this empathic ability as your superpower: If your best friend, significant other, or family member has been radiating aggressive or sad vibes lately, take that as a cue to step in and have a heart-to-heart.

Maybe you unintentionally upset them and instead of confronting you about it, they are harboring negative feelings toward you. It is always to everyone's advantage to air out grievances and keep an honest line of communication open. Your empathic abilities can improve your personal relationships if you figure out how to interpret other people's feelings and act on them accordingly.

RELATED: There's Two Types Of Empaths In The World — Which One Are You?

4. Awareness of tensions between others, even when you aren't part of the issue.

How to use this empathic ability as your superpower: Your empathic nature can improve your work relationships just as it can your personal relationships. Work environments can be tumultuous and stressful. Getting dozens of people to work together smoothly and operate on the same page can be difficult. That is why it is always best that you know what is going on around you and how to interact with your coworkers and bosses.

An empath will pick up on any anxiety in the office, which can often negatively impact their own emotions, and potentially even hinder their work performance. However, if you look at it from a stragic point of view, knowing the state of your work environment can help you get through the day unscathed and relate better to your fellow workers.

5. Foresight into things that are about to go wrong.

How to use this empathic ability as your superpower: An empath will be able to tell when things at work or in their personal relationships are not going well. If you start to feel a sense of dread or foreboding, you can begin preparing yourself for bad news before it arrives.

If you sense that your work environment has gotten more hostile lately, or that your partner has been uncharacteristically distant, it may be time to formulate a game plan to change things for the better. Plus if life takes a turn for the worse, you'll be ready to take challenges head on.

6. Strong intuition.

How to use this empathic ability as your superpower: This is another positive you can see as a gift that allows you to better prepare yourself for potential bad news, enabling you to move on more quickly and easily.

Losing a job or relationship will always hurt, but if you have the ability to see it coming before it happens, you can accelerate your recovery timeline. The sooner you recognize a proverbial runaway train is headed your way, the sooner you can get out of the way and tend to your wounds.

It's not just how you handle a setback that is important, but how you can move on and learn from it.

RELATED: What Is Intuition? How Being Intuitive Can Help You Connect To Your Spiritual Side

7. A knack for problem-solving.

How to use this empathic ability as your superpower: One of the most fulfilling feelings comes with knowing you have helped someone. Since empaths have the ability to read other people's emotions, they also have the ability to help people deal with those emotions.

Someone near you might be feeling depressed, but no one else has picked up on it or has bothered to talk to them about it. If you can sense what someone else is going through, you can be the person who comes to their aid.

Improving someone else's life, or even just someone else's day, is extremely rewarding, especially for an empath.

8. A deeply caring nature.

How to use this empathic ability as your superpower: There is a difference between being aware of something you care about deeply and being able to understand it and do something that makes a positive impact.

An empath may feel other people's emotions, but that won't do anyone much good if they can't understand where those feelings are coming from. Learning how to turn your observations into knowledge and your knowledge into action is what it's all about.

If you have any or all of the empathic abilities listed above, use them for the good!

Being an empath doesn't have to be some passive skill or a burden. Harnessing your natural abilities can make you a better, happier person overall.

RELATED: If You Have These 16 'Odd' Quirks, You Might Be An Empath

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Taylor Markarian is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about about music, lifestyle, culture, the arts, entertainment, and literature. You can find her on LinkedIn or by visiting her website.