12 Signs You're An Emotional Empath (& How You Can Manage This Super Power)

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what is an empath

Does this sound like you?

Do you ever finish a conversation with someone and feel “off?” Or maybe you fixate on what you perceived to be an awkward moment during a date, when in reality, you know it wasn’t that terrible — but you still can’t seem to let it go?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Feeling linger emotions after high-pressure or uncomfortable events is totally normal. In fact, every interaction leaves a lingering emotional response — the good ones, and the not so good ones, too.

RELATED: 16 Things You'll Notice When You're In The Presence Of An Empath

This is a subtle effect of picking up on other people’s emotions. People who are more influenced are called "emotional empaths" or “energetic empaths.” People who are empaths often experience another person’s emotion in their own body, as if were their own.

We are all affected in a variety of ways by the emotions of others — some of us are just more aware of it than others. These lingering emotions are caused by the energetic fields that each and every one of us have around us. They interact with each other, often without our awareness.

On a more scientific level, researchers theorize that we sense the emotions of others through attentive listening, reading body language cues, and perhaps through mirror neurons (which elicit an emotional response in us that “mirrors” what we perceive others to be feeling).

While you may be recognizing the negative effects of your empathetic nature, feeling and detecting the emotions of others are a critical aspect of how we communicate.

Here are 12 signs you’re an emotional empath:

1. People seek you out for advice constantly.

When a friend needs to talk, you are on her speed dial. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are empathic, but I do find that people who have these skills are often sought out for interaction.

People feel like the empathic person “gets” them on a deeper level, and this feels good to them when they’re wanting to feel understood. Emotional empaths often have natural therapist tendencies— and some empaths even follow this career path.

2. People often tell you, “You’re just too sensitive.”

Things may bother an emotional empath more than they bother others, like noises, foods, smells, comments people make, and more.

It can feel like these stimuli are coming from everywhere. Some emotional empaths may even be profiled as hypochondriacs because of their innate sensitivities to a variety of stimuli.

3. Emotional sensations seem to come out of nowhere.

You walk by an outside seating area and all of a sudden you feel “x” (whatever it might be – joy, anger, happiness, sadness, or more). You look around and all you see are people going about their day. You walk away, and the feeling seems to disappear.

People can help you soar, or bring you to a lowly place. It happens all the time for all of us, but for empaths, the dial is turned up much higher — so they attune into others’ emotions more easily, sometimes without even being aware of doing it.

4. Large crowds can feel difficult to navigate.

Do you struggle in a crowd? Empaths often report that the energy of a crowd can feel overwhelming.

To mitigate this, they will use a variety of strategies, such as avoiding crowds altogether or narrowly their focusing their attention to just one nearby person.

5. Interactions linger in your thoughts and feelings, long after they’re over.

The conversation ends, and the other person feels great, but an emotional empath may feel like they took on an emotional load as a result.

After the interaction, the emotions present in the interaction persist and seem to cling on. If you’re an emotional empath, you might have difficultly letting these feelings go and moving on, when others are able to do so with ease.

6. You sometimes feel the need to avoid others.

Emotional empaths will have an interaction with a person and then may tend to avoid that person (or perhaps even people in general) for a while.

Even if it wasn’t intense interaction, you may notice that you just can’t be with them for a while. Sometimes it is not a specific interaction, but there’s “that person” you want to avoid or secretly wish would go away.

7. You might experience physical side-effects of your emotional stress.

After being around intense emotion, they may feel ill. This could result in catching a cold, feeling like you have a mild case of the flu, or simply feeling “off” and unwell.

In contrast, when you have done your own transformation work, you will feel emotionally drained, maybe a little numb but overall, you feel refreshed and clearer. You are “clearing” your own emotional energy and reconfiguring your own energy field.

RELATED: 8 Signs You're DEFINITELY An Empath (And What It Means For You)

8. You absorb the energy of others.

You may be not just sensing the emotions of others — you may be absorbing them. Many of my emotional empath clients use this specific language in sharing their experiences with me.

If it feels chronic, you may actually be “metabolizing" the emotions for others — almost as if you’re digesting their feelings and doing the heavy lifting of processing this emotional energy on their behalf.

9. You feel like you’re constantly riding a roller coaster of emotions.

Empathic interactions may trigger intense emotional responses in you, such as depression, binges, panic attacks, intense fatigue, and more.

The key is to notice these patterns of interactions and your resulting emotions, and compare them to your own “normal” emotional equilibrium. This will help you identify if  you’re engaging in abnormal coping behaviors or dealing with extreme reactions.

10. You have a fear of “losing” yourself in others.

Are there some people that every time you talk to them, it feels like it is always about them?

Sometimes people who are empathic struggle with relationships because they are so in tune with the others’ feelings that they lose their own sense of self and emotions.

11. Certain events trigger an emotional response in you.

Are you the type of person who gets teary after a heartfelt commercial? Or maybe you feel deep sadness when hearing bad news from a friend?

Emotional empaths tend to be super sensitive to breaking news and other types of emotionally-laden events.

12. You often find yourself wanting to “fix” a situation.

It is tough and draining for emotional empaths to keep feeling the emotions of others. Empaths get so uncomfortable with this overload of sensation that they try to “fix” the problems of others, and may even be labeled a rescuer.

An empath simply can’t help themselves — they feel compelled to intervene.

A healthier approach is finding ways to support them versus trying to fix or manipulate the situation to give yourself emotional relief.

If you’re an emotional empath, here are some steps you can take to handle your empathy effectively:

1. Know what is yours.

The number one rule in working with empathy is to first look at what is your emotional experience versus what you are picking up from others.

The difference between an active listener and an empath is that the active listener is imagining what the experience must be like, based upon their own life experiences that may be similar. The empath, on the other hand, feels it along with the other person.

2. Be aware of your energetic exchanges with others.

Barbara Brennan, an author on topics of personal energy, calls this harmonic induction, and for us to effectively communicate, it requires a degree of coherence between our fields for the energy to exchange.

If it doesn’t match, we don’t “get” each other, and we feel like we are talking to a brick wall. For the empath, the opposite is often true — the empath “gets” others, and often. Which leads us to the next suggestion.

3. Learn to hold healthy boundaries.

I often ask clients if they could find a way to let the emotions “hang around” outside of their field, about an arm’s length away. Allowing it to stop here offers the opportunity to get important information without absorbing the full impact of feeling the emotion.

It is a different way of sensing. There are creative ways of putting this advice into action, like visualizing screens or creating a white egg of light around yourself, or seeing another’s emotions as water flowing by.

4. Optimize your own energy field.

There are many ways to build and strengthen your own energetic field to be more flexible and resilient in your interactions.

Daily or frequent meditation practices, especially energy clearing chakra guided meditations can help. Crystal bowl meditations, working with an energy practitioner or taking Epsom salt baths also help to clear your own energy field.

RELATED: There Are 4 Types Of Empaths — Which Kind Are You?

Marijo Puleo Ph.D. is a somatic coach trained in energy field work who helps clients achieve emotional awareness and further their spiritual development so they can live their lives with flow, grace and ease. She is also the host of the wonderfully successful podcast "Mindful Living Spiritual Awakening". You can learn more about Marijo at www.marijopuleo.com.

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