A+ A A-

The New Science of Empathy and Empaths

empaths

As a psychiatrist and an empath, I am fascinated by how the phenomenon of empathy works. I feel passionately that empathy is the medicine the world needs right now. 

Empathy is when we reach our hearts out to others and put ourselves in their shoes. However, being an empath goes even farther. Like many of my patients and myself, empaths are people who’re high on the empathic spectrum and actually feel what is happening in others in their own bodies. As a result, empaths can have incredible compassion for people--but they often get exhausted from feeling “too much” unless they develop strategies to safeguard their sensitivities and develop healthy boundaries. 

In my book, "“The Empath’s Survival Guide” I discuss the following intriguing scientific explanations of empathy and empaths. These will help us more deeply understand the power of empathy so we can utilize and honor it in our lives. 

1. The Mirror Neuron System 
Researchers have discovered a specialized group of brain cells that are responsible for compassion. These cells enable everyone to mirror emotions, to share another person’s pain, fear, or joy. Because empaths are thought to have hyper-responsive mirror neurons, we deeply resonate with other people’s feelings. How does this occur? Mirror neurons are triggered by outside events. For example, our spouse gets hurt, we feel hurt too. Our child is crying; we feel sad too. Our friend is happy; we feel happy too. In contrast, psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists are thought to have what science calls “empathy deficient disorders.” This means they lack the ability to feel empathy like other people do, which may be caused by an under-active mirror neuron system. We must beware of these people because they are incapable of unconditional love.

2. Electromagnetic Fields 
The second finding is based on the fact that both the brain and the heart generate electromagnetic fields. According to the HeartMath Institute, these fields transmit information about people’s thoughts and emotions. Empaths may be particularly sensitive to this input and tend to become overwhelmed by it. Similarly, we often have stronger physical and emotional responses to changes in the electromagnetic fields of the earth and sun. Empaths know well that what happens to the earth and sun affects our state of mind and energy. Similarly, we often have stronger physical and emotional responses to changes in the electromagnetic fields of the earth and sun. Empaths know well that what happens to the earth and sun affects our state of mind and energy.

3. Emotional Contagion 
The third finding which enhances our understanding of empaths is the phenomena of emotional contagion. Research has shown that many people pick up the emotions of those around them. For instance, one crying infant will set off a wave of crying in a hospital ward. Or one person loudly expressing anxiety in the workplace can spread it to other workers. People commonly catch other people’s feelings in groups. A recent New York Times article stated that this ability to synchronize moods with others is crucial for good relationships. What is the lesson for empaths? To choose positive people in our lives so we’re not brought down by negativity. Or, if, say a friend is going through a hard time, take special precautions to ground and center yourself. These are important strategies you’ll learn in this book.

4. Increased Dopamine Sensitivity 
The fourth finding involves dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases the activity of neurons and is associated with the pleasure response. Research has shown that introverted empaths tend to have a higher sensitivity to dopamine than extroverts. Basically, they need less dopamine to feel happy. That could explain why they are more content with alone time, reading, and meditation and need less external stimulation from parties and other large social gatherings. In contrast, extroverts crave the dopamine rush from lively events. In fact, they can’t get enough of it.

5. Synesthesia 
The fifth finding, which I find particularly compelling, is the extraordinary state called “mirror-touch synesthesia.” Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which two different senses are paired in the brain. For instance, you see colors when you hear a piece of music or you taste words. Famous synesthetics include Isaac Newton, Billy Joel, and violinist Itzhak Perlman. However, with mirror-touch synesthesia, people can actually feel the emotions and sensations of others in their own bodies as if these were their own. This is a wonderful neurological explanation of an empath’s experience.

The Dali Lama says, “Empathy is the most precious human quality.” During these stressful times, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Even so, empathy is the quality that will get us through. It will enable us to respect one another, even if we disagree. Empathy doesn’t make you a sentimental softy without discernment. It allows you to keep your heart open to foster tolerance and understanding. It might not always be effective in getting through to people and creating peace but I think it’s the best chance we have.

empaths survival guide

(Adapted from "The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Judith Orloff, MD, which is a guidebook for empaths and all caring people who want to keep their hearts open in an often-insensitive world.)

Judith Orloff MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. 

Source Here

© 2017 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.

CrystalWind.ca is free to access and use.
"Please consider a small gift of $11.11 or $22.22 or $33.33
$44.44 or $55.55 or $77.77 or $88.88 or $111.11." 
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
"Life is an echo, what you send out comes back."

© 2008-2020 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.

  Please buy us a coffee!
Pin It

Featured This Month

Page:

4 Lucky Stones For St. Patrick’s Day

4 Lucky Stones For St. Patrick’s Day

I always wake up on St. Patrick’s Day with a big, mischievous smile on my fa... Read more

History of St. Patrick

History of St. Patrick

Saint Patrick, The Apostle of Ireland, was born at what is now Kilpatrick, n... Read more

Pisces Mythology

Pisces Mythology

The Mythology of Pisces By most accounts, the mythology of Pisces follows a... Read more

Beltane

Beltane

Beltane Ritual Celebrated May 1st Beltane is also known as May Day, Walpurg... Read more

Beltane Celtic Style

Beltane Celtic Style

Simple ways to celebrate the feast-days of the Celtic Year. The Return of... Read more

St Patrick - Ireland's Patron Saint

St Patrick - Ireland's Patron Saint

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most wide... Read more

The Ash Tree - February 18 - March 17

The Ash Tree - February 18 - March 17

Celtic Symbol : The Trident Or Sea - Horse Zodiac Degrees : 28º00` Aquarius... Read more

Plantain

Plantain

Plantain Helps you feel grounded Gender: Feminine Planet: Venus Element: Ea... Read more

Wolf Medicine

Wolf Medicine

Wolf is the pathfinder, the forerunner of new ideas who returns to the clan ... Read more

Pisces

Pisces

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 Spirit: Search for security Ego: Unrealistic, com... Read more

Big Winds Moon

Big Winds Moon

Cougar -  Turquoise -  Plantain -  Blue and Green February ... Read more

Aquamarine

Aquamarine

The Stone of Truth Aquamarine can provide a significant boost to the immune... Read more

Do you see 11:11?

Do you see 11:11?

11:11 Do you see it? For many years the numbers 11:11 have been mysteriousl... Read more

St. Patrick

St. Patrick

True history and legend are intertwined when it comes to St. Patrick. It is ... Read more

Birth Totem - Wolf

Birth Totem - Wolf

Birth Totem Wolf Birth dates: February 19 - March 20 Birth Totem: Wolf Cl... Read more

Bright Beltane Blessings!

Bright Beltane Blessings!

The wheel turns to Beltane, also known as Mayday, marking the beginning of S... Read more

Sun in Pisces

Sun in Pisces

Sun in Pisces February 22 through March 20 An Overview of Sun Sign Characte... Read more

Fluorite

Fluorite

The Focus And Study Stone Fluorite helps to assimilate ideas and informatio... Read more

Spirit of Cougar

Spirit of Cougar

Spirit of Cougar Role: Leader Lesson: Proper Use of Power Element: Earth ... Read more

March 15 - The Ides of March - Should You Be…

March 15 - The Ides of March - Should You Beware?

Had it not been for events in ancient Rome, March 15th would be just another... Read more

© 2008-2020 CrystalWind.ca. Site Creation by CreativeInceptions.com.
X

Right Click

No right click