Why Empaths & HSPs Process The Insurrection At The U.S. Capitol Differently

Photo: Alex Gakos/Shuttershock
U.S. Capitol building

During the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, a group of insurgents forcefully entered the Capitol building while Congress was in session to ratify the 2020 election.

The individuals had weapons and were aggressive. Five individuals died and many were injured.

To most individuals, the attempted coup felt disheartening, traumatic, and threatening to our country's sense of safety.

For highly sensitive people (HSPs) and empaths, the weight of this event feels heavier — they experience the attack a bit differently from the rest of the population.

RELATED: You Have These 30 Traits, Consider Yourself An Empath

HSPs and empaths feel the effects of chaotic, stressful current events more intensely. 

HSPs and empaths tend to react more intensely to the stress and chaos seen in current events, and the attempted coup and attack on the U.S. Capitol are no different. 

Empaths and highly sensitive people are proven to be "wired differently." Specifically, their nervous systems tend to be heightened.

"D.O.E.S." traits of HSPs and empaths.

As Dr. Elaine Aron shares in her blog, the acronym "D.O.E.S." is a summary of HSP and empath traits.

D is for "depth of process"
O is "overstimulation"
E is for "emotional reactivity" or "empathy"
S is for "sensing subtleties"

Empaths are all HSPs, but not all HSP’s are empaths.

According to Dr. Judith Orloff, empaths not only feel other's emotions and physical pain, they're also intuitive, need alone time, feel recharged by nature, attract energy vampires, and have highly tuned senses.

Empaths may feel unsafe and threatened by the Capitol riots.

If you're an empath, the attack on the U.S. Capitol can make you feel like your sense of safety is being threatened.

You feel unsafe, fear takes over your body, and you want to hide.

Fear manifests physically and psychologically in empaths and HSPs.

This fear can show up as nightmares, a racing heart, fatigue, or even a feeling of numbness. You may feel a sense of restlessness or depression unrelated to changes in your life.

Either way, your sense of belonging and safety in the world is shaken.

Empaths, HSPs, and the chakra system. 

If you're familiar with the concept of chakras, then you know that the first chakra — your root chakra — at the base of your spine, is related to the energy of belonging, safety, and home.

Because the first chakra is associated with your personal grounding in the world, it's often referred to as the "foundation chakra." And when any foundation is threatened or destabilized, it makes the rest of the system unsteady.

In other words, if your sense of safety is threatened, you can feel off balance.

How empaths and HSPs react to chaos and fear brought on by the insurrection.

Most individuals — highly sensitive or not — felt the impact of the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol.

As an empath, you may not understand how people can behave so violently and feel like you don’t fit into the world, even more so than before.

Your initial reaction might be to isolate and stay home. You may feel like you never leave the house again, because you feel unafe going anywhere — even if you don’t live near the Capitol.

When a sensitive soul’s safety is being threatened, they often shut down. This can be exacerbated if they are surrounded by people that don’t understand why they're so upset.

You might feel numb. If numbness takes over, stay with the emotion and gently give yourself some time until you naturally move to the next emotion. 

The next emotions you feel may be anger, sadness, depression, or heightened anxiety.

Physical and emotional overstimulation is common with empaths and HSPs.

Overstimulation can be physical or emotional.

Physical overstimulation occurs when our senses are overrun. Think of attending a loud concert or party.

On the other hand, emotional overstimulation occurs when there's a lot happening to process emotionally, like in coping with isolation from the lockdowns.

When you feel when you're overstimulated, you may feel irritable, fatigued, anxious, or angry. Know that these emotions are natural.

Looking at the attack on the Capital attack, HSPs and empaths are likely experiencing a mix of emotional and physical overstimulation.

If you watched the news or read social media, the images and sounds from the attack, along with the palatable despair will tax your nervous system.

Add feeling personally unsafe and threatened — while absorbing the pain and fear those trapped in the Capitol building felt — and you're left carrying a heavy burden as an empath or highly sensitive person.

Here are 7 ways empaths and HSPs can cope with fallout from the insurrection at the Capitol. 

1. Give yourself time.

Because empaths and HSPs feel things deeply, it takes them longer to process painful events. So, while others may be mobilized, motivated, and angry, those who are sensitive may still be processing the events.

As an HSP or empath, you first need time to process what you're feeling. Give yourself that grace.

But time in itself is not enough — you must consciously process what has happened.

2. Spend time alone.

The sensitive soul is most likely feeling overwhelmed, may need to spend more time alone, irritable, foggy-brained, or numb.

If this is the case, give yourself space and time to process what has happened, understand that your sense of safety is being threatened and that you have felt these events at a deep level.

RELATED: 10 Unusual Empath Traits That Make You Unique

3. Talk about your feelings.

You can discuss your feelings with a therapist or coach. Seeing a professional trained in therapy and coping mecchanisms for empaths and HSPs is immensely helpful, especially in times of stress.

4. Journal it out.

You can also journal about the situation and how it made you feel.

Spend some time writing down all that you are feeling. Get out all your angry thoughts — allow yourself to let it all out. Then, burn the paper (safely) or throw it in saltwater to release the thoughts and feelings. Surrender to the Divine.

5. Move your body.

You can intentionally use movement to process all that is occurring.

Go for a walk. But before you go, set the intention that you want to move the energy in your body from these events. Walk without any music or distractions to allow the emotions and energy to flow through you.

6. Release your anger.

Express your anger by throwing soft objects and yelling out your feelings.

Go outside or in a big room in your house. Grab a few stuffed animals and throw each one against a wall, saying all the things that make you angry about what happened.

Release it all! You may have to use more than one strategy or repeat them to get the maximum result. Use your intuition to decide.

7. Do something constructive, if possible.

After you've processed your feelings, think about if there is anything you can do to improve the situation at hand. 

How can you contribute in your own way? Your way doesn’t have the be the way that is socially acceptable.

Maybe you want to pray and ask for support from the Divine. Or perhaps you should contact your representatives, volunteer to support others in some way, or write to inspire.

Use your unique perspective in a way to support the world.

Understand that there is nothing wrong with you.

If you are an HSP or empath, know that there's nothing wrong with you if you're processing the insurrection differently.

You're wired differently, so you will react differently. It will take you longer to process everything that's happening, and you feel things at a deeper level.

Give yourself grace and allow yourself to feel your feelings, even if you are feeling numb right now.

You're OK and were designed this way on purpose — your perspective on all that is happening is much needed in the world.

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

Kavita Melwani is a certified empowerment coach, hypnotherapist, past life regressionist, certified money marketing and soul coach, and a Reiki master. To schedule a clarity session, visit her website.