While being an empath is an incredible gift, it can take a toll on your mind and body. It brings you closer to the people you love, but it can also cause you to put yourself last. Empaths become overwhelmed by other people’s feelings and can develop issues.
When empaths become overwhelmed by other people’s feelings, it can cause chronic stress and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). Understanding why this happens can help with staying in control of emotions and not feeling them so heavily.
Empaths often experience sensitivity and are labeled as too emotional. They often feel drained after spending time with people because they take on the other person’s emotions, too. Empathetic people absorb the energy of others, offering to heal while taking on the pain themselves.
While it’s a blessing that deeply empathetic people have compassion for others, it can take a toll. All negative energies and emotions stand in the way of their overall well-being. It drains the mind and body, leading to issues like Adrenal Fatigue.
What is an Empath?
True empaths take on the emotional and physical experiences of others. They are highly-sensitive individuals with a keen awareness of how other people feel and what they’re thinking. Because of this, they tend to be introverted and need space and time alone to recharge.
They typically feel anxious in crowds, and studies indicate a link between social anxiety and highly empathetic people. They are sensitive to certain noises and multiple conversations and sounds. It becomes overwhelming, and they prefer to be in a quieter location.
According to Dr. Judith Orloff, in her book The Empath’s Survival Guide, you’re an empath if you exhibit three or more signs. These signs include:
- Being labeled as too emotional or sensitive
- Feeling your friend’s happiness, sadness, and other emotions
- Getting your feelings hurt easily
- Feeling drained after being in a crowd
- Needing time alone to recharge
- Getting frazzled by noise, overwhelming smells, or excessive chatter
- Preferring to take your car places so you can leave whenever you want to
- Overeating as a coping mechanism
- Being afraid of being overtaken by intimate relationships
Using these signs to identify if you’re an empath will help you take control of your emotions. You’ll know what you’re dealing with so you aren’t overwhelmed by everyone else’s feelings. When you understand it, you can take care of your well-being and use empathy for the greater good.
Benefits of Being an Empath
While being a highly empathetic person has its drawbacks, it also has benefits. These benefits include that they are:
- Great listeners
- Consistently show up during times of need
- Highly intuitive
- Emotionally intelligent
- Able to recognize when someone tells the truth
What Makes Being a Highly Sensitive Person Hard
While the benefits of being a highly empathetic person are great, they result in drawbacks. Feeling what their friends and loved ones are going through causes overwhelming emotions, increasing the risk of Adrenal Fatigue.
One of the issues is that empaths have trouble telling other people no. They don’t set or enforce boundaries and take on too much. Over time, their extra stress and emotions can cause issues such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.
Being highly empathetic causes sensory overload because the person takes in so much at once. When there are many sights or sounds, they can quickly become agitated. Sensory overload can lead to the following symptoms:
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Unhealthy binging
- Insomnia or unhealthy sleep patterns
- Body aches and pains
- Digestive problems
- Weight changes
- Adrenal fatigue
What is Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome includes many symptoms resulting from long-term stress. It can occur from emotional, mental, or physical stress and affects certain people more than others. Single parents and people who work long shifts often suffer from it, although anyone with an overloaded schedule can fall victim.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include the same signs of being an empath. The symptoms include:
- Struggling to fall asleep
- Waking up frequently
- Overdependence on caffeine
- Salt and sugar cravings
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Low blood pressure
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle weakness
- Brain fog
It can be hard to pinpoint AFS because its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. However, if you have these signs and symptoms, it might help learn more about Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Once you know why empaths struggle with it more than others, you can find ways to remedy the situation.
Why Empaths Have a Higher Risk of Adrenal Fatigue
It’s easy to see why people become fatigued after a long day of strenuous activity. However, empaths feel drained after a long day of emotionally taxing activity. When they socialize or take in too much stimulation, they become exhausted.
They Take on More Than They Can Handle
Many people don’t realize how hard it is to deal with mental and emotional exhaustion. Though highly sensitive people experience it regularly, it can be debilitating. When they take on the emotions of others, they increase their stress until they can’t handle it anymore.
It Creates a Hormonal Imbalance
An empath’s body reacts to the emotions that they take on, creating a hormonal imbalance. Their body will release more cortisol, resulting in the symptoms of AFS. It can lead to severe energy crashes, leaving them unable to care for themselves or their problems.
An increase in cortisol triggers hormone production in other areas of the body, too. These areas include the thyroid, pancreas, and sexual organs.
The overproduction also stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain and leads to the inability to manage the overload. After a while, it leads to adrenal insufficiency, where the body stops producing enough hormones, creating even more problems such as fatigue.
They Feel Responsible for Others
Empaths often feel responsible for the well-being of everyone in their life. They focus their energy on their loved ones to ensure everyone is cared for and happy. After a while, it runs them down until they experience fatigue.
They Have Trouble Sleeping
Highly empathetic people also have a hard time sleeping because their mind races. They require time to process emotions before going to bed, and it can be hard to relax until they have that time. However, if they regularly overload their schedule, they won’t get the time they need to recover.
As they lay in bed at night, the overload comes rushing to their mind, demanding attention right then. It not only makes it hard to fall asleep, but it also reduces sleep quality.
How to Relieve Adrenal Fatigue
If you think you’re dealing with adrenal fatigue, there are many ways to deal with it. You can alleviate the symptoms associated with being highly empathetic, too. These ideas will also prevent adrenal fatigue from setting in if it hasn’t yet.
Establish a Self-Care Routine
Implementing a self-care routine ensures that you take care of yourself. Leave time to experience your feelings and take steps to protect yourself from burnout. Take care of your physical needs first, and then make time to do something you enjoy.
Meditation is a great way to cope with excess stress. Leave time in each day to process your emotions and release some of what you’ve taken on. If you find time for meditation each day, it’ll be easier to alleviate the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Set and Enforce Clear Boundaries
Empaths have trouble setting boundaries, but it’s an important way to alleviate symptoms. Learn to say no when you’re overloaded or don’t want to do something.
You don’t have to do things you don’t want to, and the people in your life should respect that. If you notice some people don’t respect your boundaries, it’s clear that they cause you harm. Listen to your body and what you feel comfortable with, and never be afraid to say no.
You can use this technique when you encounter a stressful situation and can’t get away. It protects and supports you as you work your way through an uncomfortable situation.
Get Plenty of Sleep Each Night
When you get plenty of rest, you’ll easily handle stress. Set a sleep schedule, including a relaxing routine, and stick to it every night. You’ll sleep better and feel restored each day.
Limit Your Time with Toxic People
If you absorb the energy and feelings of others, you’ll want to be careful about who you spend your time with. When you recognize that you always feel bad after spending time with a specific person, limit your time with them. It’ll ease the symptoms of adrenal fatigue and allow you to feel better.
Final Thoughts on Psychiatrist Explains Why Empaths Have a Higher Risk of Adrenal Fatigue
While being a highly empathetic is a blessing, it comes with immense challenges. When you realize why it’s so exhausting, you’ll be able to alleviate the symptoms by making a few lifestyle changes. It can benefit your life if you know how to manage it appropriately.
Empaths must find ways to cope with overstimulation and absorb the feelings of others. When they find healthy ways to cope, they can use their empathic nature to their advantage.