being an empath

Listen: Being an empath is going to kill you unless you wake up to certain things. Being an empath is exhausting, it causes chronic fatigue syndrome, it makes you tired all the time, and there are health problems of being an empath too. 

Trust me. I’ve been an empath my entire life, ever since I was a little kid. You know what it’s like:

  • Soaking up other people’s emotions.
  • Feeling other people’s pain. 
  • Suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Feeling constantly tired and exhausted 
  • Having health problems because you’re tired all the time.
  • … For more just take a look at this list of traits empathetic people share.

Yes, there are both pros and cons of being an empath, but it’s always a hard life. 

As empaths, we have the psychic ability to feel other people’s emotions. 

We are the most caring, most loving people around. And we deserve happiness and success. But instead, we feel tired all the time, suffer from chronic fatigue, and get various health problems precisely because we feel so much emotion from other people.

It is time we change this. It’s time we made the most of our empathy. And I am going to show you how.  Below I will share my best tips for empaths. 

But first, listen. A lot of people have asked me how to stop being an empath. Don’t. Never ask how to stop being an empath. Your heightened empathy is a gift. You just need to learn to control it. You need to learn to deal with both the pros and cons of being an empath.  

What is an empath (and the difference between highly sensitive people and empaths)

Being an empath means you are able to experience other people’s emotions like they were your own. It is similar to compassion [READ: Importance of Compassion in Life]

“Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain,” says Dr Judith Orloff, author of The Empaths Survival Guide.

“But, it goes much further “We actually feel other people’s emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defences that most people have.”

It’s not just other people, though. There are different types of empaths:

We can be empaths to:

  • Plants
  • Weather (this is me)
  • Animals (also me)
  • Physical empath
  • Geomatic (these guys feel the earth… crazy right?)
  • Intuitive (also me)
  • Emotional (definitely me)

 empath quote (2)

Signs of a highly sensitive empath. How many do you have? 

  1. You sense other people’s feelings.
  2. You have insight into what’s going on in the inner world of people
  3. You often feel isolated because you exist on an emotional plain most people never reach.
  4.  You share the pain of others. 
  5. You feel tired and emotionally drained when you’re around emotional people
  6. Overall, it is as though you can psychically feel what other people are feeling.

How many of those do you experience? If it’s a lot, you are probably a highly sensitive empath. If it’s not so many, but you do have heightened emotions, you might be a highly sensitive person (HSP) instead. 

There are differences between highly sensitive people and empaths. Let’s take a look, so you know which you are.  

Difference between highly sensitive people and empaths 

There are differences between highly sensitive people and empaths. Highly sensitive people are simpy emotionally reactive. Highly sensitive empaths, however, literally feel other people’s emotions.   

The critical difference is that HSPs (highly sensitive people) are sensitive to things pertaining to themselves.

Highly sensitive people:

  • take jokes personally.
  • are easily offended
  • feel mostly for themselves.

In contrast to a highly sensitive person, a highly sensitive empath feels other people’s emotions.  This can cause problems such as being tired and getting ill when you’re around emotional people.  

There are pros and cons of being an empath

Yes, there are both pros and cons of being an empath. A lot of people think being an empath is exhausting and disadvantageous. And that can be true. Yes, there are disadvantages. 

Early in life, being an empath was killing me because people were attacking me with gaslighting tactics. I found it exhausting and emotionally draining, and my health suffered as a consequence. 

I used to wonder why I’m so sensitive. Why I am a highly empathetic person. I used to wonder why I’m cursed with high levels of empathy. And I used to see my heightened empathy as a problem.

But let me repeat it, there are pros and cons of being an empath.  You just have to know how to make the most of it.


Newsflash: Your heightened empathy and sensitivity is the result of superior intellect.

Because of your heightened feelings, you’re going to end up soaring high, going from one success to another, if you manage to control it. If you manage to avoid the chronic fatigue syndrome and other health problems of being an empath. 

Once we learn how to cope with the cons of being an empath, we can start to use it to our advantage

Disagree? Consider this:

The importance and value of empathy were scientifically proven in a study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership [1]. The study investigated 6,731 leaders from 38 countries and concluded that empathy is positively related to job performance. This is especially true for managers. Managers with heightened levels of empathy are viewed as better performers in their job by their bosses. That’s just one of the advantages of being an empath. There are many more, as I’ll share in a moment.

Judith Orlaff, M.D  says:

“We empaths have many marvelous traits. We have huge hearts and the instinct to help others in need or who are less fortunate. We’re dreamers and idealists. We’re passionate, deep, and creative, in touch with our emotions, compassionate, and can see the big picture.”  

So how do we cope with the cons of being an empath?

Below are ten ways how to cope with being an empath. They’ll help you make the most of the benefits of being an empath, and reduce the impact of the cons of being an empath.

empath quote (1)

Cons of being an empath

Highly Sensitive / Empathetic people are precious individuals, but they are prone to issues.

“When empathy goes into overdrive, people put themselves at risk for mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and physical complications such as heart disease and high blood pressure,” says David Sack M.D.

Many people (especially clairsentient, sensitive, intuitive and lightworker types) can suffer from problems of overly active empathy.

If you’re one of them, you may have noticed that you do everything to make sure other people are happy, and it’s rarely requited.

You care more than other people.

Then you wonder why other people don’t care as much as you do.

This sense of caring-for people but not having people care about you can lead to a sense of isolation. It can also be very tiring and can cause empaths chronic fatigue syndrome because you’re tired continuously of soaking up other people’s emotions while struggling to deal with your own. 

Why being an empath is killing you

Aristotle said: “To perceive is to suffer.”

When you’re a highly sensitive empath, you are more conscious of other people’s emotions, and this can lead to suffering.

Taking up other people’s emotions leads to chronic fatigue and emotional burnout.

This is why you may sometimes struggle in social situations.

“There is physical evidence within the brain that proves that highly sensitive individuals respond especially strongly to social situations that trigger emotions,” says Dr Aron, a Research Professor in Psychology at Stony Brook University.

The main con of being an empath is that you soak up other people’s emotions. That’s a lot of emotion to run through one person. No wonder being an empath causes chronic fatigue syndrome as well as anxiety and depression! 

Your perceptions give you strength. But they also cause you suffering.

For many, the emotional strain can cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronic Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

When I said being an empath kills you, I wasn’t joking. It quite literally can kill you because of chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s possibly the biggest con of being an empath.

Studies show that there is a link between levels of empathy and chronic fatigue syndrome. If you have ever experienced a sudden and unexpected crash in energy levels, it might have been the result of heightened levels of fatigue, according to the latest research.

When we are in contact with emotional individuals, and particularly individuals with lots of negative energy, it can sap away at the empath’s mind, leading to a severe draining of energy.

When we spend too much time around other people, they can experience emotional exhaustion, which could cause mental health problems like anxiety and depression.

Negative emotions and painful thoughts can cause a weakening of the immune system leading to devastating consequences.

The Mayoclinic defines adrenal fatigue syndrome as “a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems.”

The adrenal glands are responsible for creating hormones that are essential to our health. Insufficient production of these hormones occurs in Addison’s disease.

You might have Addisons disease if:

  • You have hair loss
  • You experience aches and pains
  • You have rapidly lost weight
  • You are experiencing loss of body hair
  • You experience high levels of fatigue

The leading cause of chronic fatigue syndrome in empaths is stress caused by excessive emotion.   

When we experience these dips in energy, we must take proactive steps to get our energy back in healthy ways.  Give up on sugar, coffee and smoking.  Use some techniques to stop feeling tired.  Junk food, sugar, and other easy but unhealthy options are not going to help in the long run. Exercise, eat healthy food, practice meditation, and relax.

3 Tips For Empaths For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Here are 3 of the best tips for empaths for chronic fatigue syndrome.

1: Diet

Being an empath means you need energy. Get it from food.

Include all essential vitamins and minerals and make sure to eat at a healthy time and in a healthy way. Eating mindfully is one good way of improving digestive health. 

2: Sleep

Another excellent tip is just to sleep a lot.

Sleep is vital to everything. And it can have a profound impact on your adrenal glands. Getting to bed early, getting a good night’s sleep, and waking up with a positive attitude will all have a positive impact on your adrenal glands.

3: Get away from negative people 

Probably the best tip for empaths is to get away from negative people.

One of the primary causes of stress is negative and overly emotional people. They sap our energy away and leave us emotionally and physically exhausted. We naturally want to help other people, but we need to help ourselves too. The key is to seek solitude when we need it.

How to cope with the cons

The biggest con of being an empath is fatigue from other people’s emotions. The best way how to cope with being an empath is to get alone time—tons of it.

Being an empath means we absorb too many emotions. Thoughts and feelings keep us up at night, resulting in sleep deprivation and possibly insomnia. The side effects of insomnia include anxiety, depression, stress, and a weakened immune system.

Not only is it hard to get to sleep at these times, but we are also likely to experience light sleeping. We will wake up often. And when we wake we may be troubled by the emotions of the people we’ve been around.

Restlessness is another con of being an empath. We are hypersensitive to the emotions of others. This can cause information overload, but not in the usual sense. This isn’t information overload from TV or the internet. It’s a spiritual kind of information overload. It’s psychological. It’s being overloaded with too many emotions, thoughts and feelings.

These thoughts and feelings consume the mind. And it isn’t easy to get out of the trap. It’s like a Chinese finger trap. The more you fight, the more stuck you get.

The Cause

You might wonder what causes someone to be an empath.

Upbringing is one of the leading causes,

“Research has demonstrated that exposure to conflict and violence in the home can shape children’s neurobiological, cognitive, and behavioural responses,” says clinical psychologist Rick Nauert.

The environment we’re brought up in changes our neurological pathways and alters both our recognition of and response to the emotions of other people, leading many people to heightened levels of empathy.

When we are born, we have psychological defence mechanisms that prevent us from being too easily influenced by other people’s emotions.

The more emotional pain or abuse we experience as children, the more this defence mechanism breaks down. That’s why people who are born into abusive families often become empaths.

Once this defence mechanism is worn down, we become hypersensitive and hyperaware of other people’s emotions.

This can be a problem.

Most of us, seeing the emotions of others, will try to solve the problems for the other person.

There are a couple of problems with this. Firstly, the reason why some people hate empaths is because we see the emotional vulnerability of others, which makes them feel naked. 

It also makes us a key target for manipulative people. Other people pretend to be upset or hurt because they know that people like you and me will immediately rush to their aid. They use gaslighting techniques to take advantage of us. Why? Because they’re selfish. Why? Because they lack empathy, where we have too much of it.

My personal story:

I have always been a highly sensitive empath because I had, for many many years, lived in a turbulent and explosive environment. There was a lot of arguing in my home when I was younger and a lot of emotion. Because of this, I essentially became conditioned to think that any minor issue would lead to a full-blown argument and a lot of emotional suffering. That mindset made me incredibly sensitive to any negative emotions. I learned to recognise other people’s emotions immediately. It is a self-defence mechanism.

If you too are a highly sensitive empath, then there are a few crucial factors to be aware of.

The truth is that while highly sensitive empaths are vitally important people, we are also prone to some issues.

The key is learning how to make the most of both the pros and cons of being an empath.

10 Ways To Handle The Pros And Cons Of Being An Empath

“Empathy is the most precious human quality”— The Dalai Lama 

Being an empath is a challenge. But like my man Bruce Lee said: “Pray not for an easy life, but for the strength to endure a challenging one.”

Being an empath, you already know what it feels like to have too much emotion. That’s the biggest con of being an empath. You know how difficult it can be to focus on your own needs and not to get overly involved in the emotions and needs of others. You know what it feels like to see a person cry and to feel the pain in them like it were your own.

Many of us struggle.

Statistics from Google show that thousands of people every month search for “Empath survival tips” or “How to cope with being an empath.”



You’ve got to be kidding me.

Remember, there are both pros and cons of being an empath. You need to manage the cons while taking advantage of the pros.   

Here are ten ways to handle both the pros and cons of being an empath. You might also like to read my guide on using meditation to control emotions.

1: Stop drainers  

Let’s deal with one of the biggest cons of being an empath: energy drainers.

Being an empath means you probably want to help everyone, right? The idea of distancing ourselves from negative people (whom I call “drainers”) makes us feel a little bit sick in the gut, doesn’t it? It feels selfish. It feels wrong.

Well, guess what?

Your emotional needs matter every bit as much as everyone else’s!

You value other people’s emotions. You hate it when other people are hurting. But you should hate it even more when you yourself are hurt.

Drainers are the main reason why empaths suffer. They are one of the main reasons for the link between empaths and fatigue! 

We need to change that.

Tell one negative person in your life that you are distancing yourself from them. Do this right now. After all, momma always said to “strike while the iron is hot”. I’m not joking when I tell you to do this right now. Grow a set. Pick up your phone. Message one emotional drainer. Tell them why you are distancing yourself.

2: Get energy!

Both the number one pro and con of being an empath is that you absorb other people’s emotions.

Spend time with negative people, and they will rob you of your energy. Spend time with positive people, and you will absorb their positive energy. Drainers drain you. Energisers energise you. It really is that simple. 

Appreciate all the positive people in your life. Express gratitude for them. Spend more time with them.

When you want to spend time with drainers, find situations in which they give out positive energy. Your drainer will exhibit positive energy in certain ways. Make use of that.

3: Create an energy shield

Your painful past wore down your mind’s defences. Good news: you can build them back up again.

The best way to rebuild your mind is by using your imagination.

One potent technique is to imagine an energy shield that prevents negative energy from entering your mind.

Around negative people? Imagine an energy shield surrounding you, preventing their negative energy from entering your mind.

4: Be mindful of your thoughts

Mindfulness is a beautiful gift for empaths. With the right mindfulness techniques, we can learn to manage both positive and negative energy.

Mindfulness makes you more aware of your thoughts and feelings. And once you are aware you will have control. So practice being mindful.

5: Forgiveness

To cleanse the negative energy that has accumulated in your soul, practise forgiveness.

As empaths, we are more likely to suffer than most people. We experience heightened emotions that cause scars. And scars take time to heal.

The key to healing emotional scars is forgiveness.

Who can you forgive today? What negative energy can you release from your spirit right now?

6: Empaths and adrenal fatigue syndrome

All the pros and cons of being an empath revolve around emotions.

As empaths, we aren’t just more aware of other people’s emotions; we are more aware of our own feelings too. And we sometimes cling to those emotions like corral on a rock.

Emotional baggage causes the empath adrenal fatigue syndrome because all that emotion wears you down. Practising being mindful of your emotions and letting them go.

By being consciously aware of our emotions, and then imagining those emotions flowing out of our souls, we can cleanse our spirits of build-up emotions.

Practice letting go of old emotions. And embrace the new. 

7: Meditation

Inner peace is what most empaths crave. Being an empath means we’ve been through emotional pain. You likely know full well what it is to suffer. And the idea of inner peace seems like a distant dream.

Dreams are possible futures waiting to happen.

We can create inner peace with meditation. There are lots of benefits of meditation for empaths. It allows you to relax and to step away from all those emotions. It restores your energy. And it is also a quiet, peaceful time when you are by yourself and not being emotionally drained by other people.  

8: Face the fear and say “No” anyway

We empaths are the nicest people around (and the most valuable). We live to help other people.

Reality check: we need to know when to say “No”.

As empaths, we know what it’s like to be taken for a ride. I bet someone has taken advantage of your empathy at some point, right? And they probably didn’t even say sorry.

We need to change that.

Make it a habit to say no to unreasonable requests.

9: Bathe your spirit in nature

A truly wonderful way solution for both the pros and cons of being an empath is to spend ti in nature, so you are away from other people are soaking up the positive energy of natural environments.  

As an empath, when you are out in nature, you probably feel a tremendous sense of relief. You feel relaxed and tranquil. You can feel the positive energy flowing from the world into your spirit.

Empaths need to spend more time in nature. It is the best way to release pent-up emotions and to restore positive energy.


10: Change your perspective

Most things in life come down to perspective, including empathy.

Change your perspective on emotion, and you will change your life as an empath.

See the good in pain.

See the many life lessons that people gain through suffering.

Then, you will be less urgent to stop pain when you see it.

Pain is often the pathway to enlightenment. Do not be too sad for people when they are down. It might end up being the most important lesson they ever learn.

Reflect on your life. Is there anywhere you need a change of perspective?

11. Avoid the health pitfalls 

You must learn to avoid all those empath health issues. The biggest issue for empaths is chronic fatigue syndrome, and should be addressed appropriately.  

Being an empath will kill you unless you monitor stress levels and emotional levels and get enough downtown and rest.

We must have a point at which we say “enough”, a point at which we stop what we are doing and prioritise our health. When we start to feel overwhelmed, we must find solitude and unwind.  


Yes, there are lots of pros and cons of being an empath. But you can cope. It doesn’t have to kill you! 

Being an empath is a gift. We feel more than other people feel. Life is about feelings, about emotions, about experiences. We experience more, feel more, and understand more. That’s why, even though life is often a struggle for empaths, it is also a blessing. Yes, it’s hard. But it is also the most profound, most rewarding life. 

Don’t just survive as an empath; thrive!

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16 Responses

  1. I think I’m an empath, and one of the things I struggle with terribly is GUILT. I feel like I am responsible for the feelings of others around me. And if they’re not feeling good, I feel guilty that I can’t change it. It’s crippling me as a person. 🙁

  2. Thanks, for taking the time to articulate some of empath issues and befits! However, what do we do to explane these things to others? How do we survive great emotional turmoil and quite frankly other empaths? Meditation, shields and positive people are great but when that one person enters the room and you get sick what then? Is there a point when we are too empahic? What can we do to stop the cycle when people can over ride our protections? Any help or links to answers would be extremely helpful Thanks for the information!

  3. Because we feel. We also judge harshly. Being grateful for small things provides balance as does nature, and adventure.
    Which needs to be reclaimed from our toxic tech culture.

  4. I am a little confuesed. I know I am an empath as most of the charactaristic of being an empath describe me to a T however I thrive in social settings. I love being around people. I have learned to differentiate between genuine emotion and the ones who play someone by pretending to feel something. I can not seem to be able to do that with significant others. I am constantly drawn to narcissitic people and I don’t realize it till its months in and i am all of a sudden questioning everything. And realizing that I am taking care of them, their needs, their wants, their emotions and I am being taken advantage of. How do I stop this?

    1. Hi Rebecca. I’m having the same problem. And I’m also an extroverted empath. First of all, narcissists are drawn to us, more than the other way around. (We give them everything they want). And when it comes to romantic relationships, we feel our own sexual attraction and theirs. So it’s extremely intense, and also hard to differentiate our own feelings. Right now my plan is to either try to move very slowly with the physical stuff, or keep a shield up/detach from it, even though I’m sensing the strong connection. Just ignore it. At least until I can figure out who this person really is, and if they are going to harm me. Cuz the connection might not be real, just the other person latching on like a parasite. It’s also okay to take a break from dating and work on grounding yourself. Get a support network of family and friends who will help you pick the right guy (or girl) 🙂

  5. My mind is blown, I now understand that I am an empath! I now understand why I don’t usually fit
    in with the masses. I could have saved myself a lot of pain, sleepless nights and physical ailments had I known. Having grown up this way I thought it normal, until I saw a big difference
    in myself and others around me. I feel the pain, sorrow, happiness and emotions of others as though it were happening to me. This has caused a lot of problems in my marriage and with friends and co-workers. Wow oh wow, I am on meds to try and control the pain, anxiety and panic attacks that have resulted from taking on the pain and suffering of the world. Thank you for this article, I now have a name and diagnosis for my deep feelings and hopefully be able to begin healing myself as well as encourage others.

  6. I am an empath that got a good understanding and control early in life. At the age of 20 i experienced a massive head injury spending years in hospital. 20 yrs later I am finally starting to once again regain my control being able to shield my mind and open it up. My best advice is to find something that is a passion a true passion for me and many empathes is a love of animal and or nature. Find others that share that love use it to channel your mind into positive thoughts. By learning to channel the positive you can slow or even halt in situations the onslaught of emotions, both positive and negative. Allowing you to find a balance, balance is the true objective and is essential for an empath. I have to connect with my ability to stay happy and healthy I can not be always alone I need connection. When I was unable to control the emotions it was overwhelming riding other people’s high and especially the lows. Find an outlet for the trapped emotions. Top methods: Meditation, artistic expression (writing, painting etc), therapy. I wish you all luck and success in finding your balance.

  7. For me my biggest struggle as an Empath is Work. I have cut out all of the toxic energy draining friends and family in my life but I can NOT cut out my co-workers and the clients I work with because I have to work for a living. I have been working for 24 years in a variety of jobs but they all have the same problem: emotionally draining people to work with. How do you protect yourself when you have to put up with other’s BS for 40 hours a week just to pay bills, etc? It is far easier to cut out friends and family but impossible to cut out co-workers and clients. I am suffering…even thought about suicide on my way to work the other week because I was in tears/having a panic attack just thinking about having to go back into work again for another shift (oh, and I have changed jobs many times for this very reason and no matter the job, the result is always the same: overwhelming misery.) I am getting help….

  8. Great article, read it a while ago and finally decided to come back and post a comment. It has helped me a lot to understand what happen to my own mental barriers and why it is so important to keep building them back up. Reflecting back on my own upbringing has not been particularly enjoyable but it has helped to be a better parent. I only wish I read this twenty years ago when I was deciding on a career.

  9. This is the best article I’ve read about being an empath. I, unfortunately, had to figure out much of this on my own over the years. I am thrilled to realize there is help out there for the struggling empath. Excellent!

  10. I am afraid I will die because of empathy. I try to help myself but I have to do better. Thank you, it all applied to me except that I never feel used by someone. I pick up too much from them for me to go beyond what I should. As for my pain I feel the pain of others and their thoughts of their pain which feel like I can speak but want to cry/scream.

  11. Thank u this has helped me understand a better way to look my empathy and the good I believe I can do with it.

  12. I was surprised when I read about how you were being attacked by gas lighting techniques. I am too. I noticed this about ten years ago and it’s been extremely annoying ever since. Talking to anyone about this is really risky because you already have people trying to assassinate your character every chance they get. I can tell when someone is trying to “shoot a shot at me” basically saying a comment in a certain way where I know that I am the target. (Gas lighting) Throughout the years it seems people are all too happy to act this way and it makes me sick. I have a difficult time being fake so when I’m dealing with these situations with people I tend to just chalk it up to anxiety. I think people assume that its all about the way you see things but for me just knowing that there is an alterior motive or something other than being genuine behind the things they are saying is enough for me to immediately see them in a negative light. It’s just very tiring to deal with. I just laugh or take it all in but I’m really tired of trying to make excuses for why people are crappy. I’m going to have to make some changes for sure.

  13. Thank you for the last bit about pain and the pathway to enlightenment. I’ve always embrassed being an empath since I was kid but recently( 33 years old) it’s seeming to make me absolutely mental. That paragraph really really put a lot of perspective on the pain I’ve endured that put me in this place in the first place and feeling others emotions. This was a helpful read this afternoon, I hope you realize the impact.

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