Empathy is a trait that not everyone has. Having empathy means understanding the feelings of others and being able to share their feelings. Empaths are often highly sensitive people. They feel many things, and they feel them deeply. Highly sensitive people, according to Lauren Steward, says that many empaths are introverts. Stewart, a therapist who practices with highly sensitive people, tells Planet Mindful that empaths tend to get overwhelmed easily, but they are also very sensitive to others’ feelings and are very caring. Being sensitive isn’t a bad thing. It’s a big part of who you are and it’s what makes you, you. Learn more about highly sensitive people below.
Elaine Aron manufactured the term “highly sensitive person” in 1991. Throughout her research, she and her colleagues found that the brains of highly sensitive people are different than those who are not. The activation in the brain regions that control awareness, action planning, and empathy light up on brain scans and the brain’s mirror neurons are also increased. This empaths care for and relate to those who are struggling. More specifically, the amygdala, the brain’s fight or flight response, is highly activated.
Is being highly sensitive good or bad?
Being a highly sensitive person isn’t good or bad — it’s just who you are. In some cultures, being sensitive is seen as a sign of weakness. Some people are shamed or shunned for being highly sensitive, leading to depression and anxiety in some people. Those people who are highly sensitive often spend lots of time reflecting on negative events that have happened to them, as well as conversations and situations that have happened with other people. Being overly critical of ourselves can lead to anxiety and depression. You may want to think about the positive side of your sensitive nature.
How to cope
If you are highly sensitive and you struggle with depression or anxiety, there are ways to cope. Highly sensitive people need to take time out for themselves. You cannot be focused on other people all of the time. Show the compassion you show others to yourself. You can also practice mindfulness to give yourself the space for peace. Treat yourself with care. You deserve that.
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