If you identify as an empath, you probably know that many challenges come from being highly sensitive. Empaths feel everything very deeply, and they have a hard time dealing with the fast-paced world we live in today. They need a lot of time alone to recharge and decompress and can get hurt very easily in relationships. If you consider yourself a highly sensitive person, or empath, then you will relate to the following struggles.

The 5 challenges of an empath:

1. Being overwhelmed in crowded, noisy places

An empath strays away from places that can easily overwhelm their energy stores – they gravitate toward quiet, relaxing environments. However, most places in the world seem hectic and loud most of the time, which poses a problem for empaths. On the one hand, they can enjoy serenity and solitude more than the average person. But the flip side, it can quickly become isolating. Empaths tend to not have very many friends due to their fragile nature and retreat into their shells when the world gets too overstimulating. Nevertheless, empaths make exceptional friends and lovers. However, finding people, they connect with can pose a challenge as they don’t like going to places that most people do.

2. Getting hurt too easily

Empaths wear their hearts on their sleeves, making it easy to get hurt. Their vulnerability makes them a target for those who take advantage of others, so empaths may not have a very good history with relationships. Empaths have beautiful souls, but their emotions run high, which means that the other person might feel as though they have to tiptoe around their feelings. Empaths tend to spend a lot of time in solitude because they feel others just can’t understand them and their needs.

3. Everyone telling you to stop being so sensitive

All of your life, you’ve probably heard people tell you to just grow up already and stop allowing your emotions to control you, right? Empaths get tired of hearing these same old heartless statements all the time, as they don’t agree with them. Some people feel more deeply than others, but usually, only empaths can understand this. Highly sensitive people don’t tell others to stop acting so insensitively, so they get tired of hearing others tell them to get thicker skin.

4. Feeling so emotionally imbalanced most of the time

Empaths have a higher tendency toward anxiety and depression because they live inside their hearts and emotions more than their minds. Their feelings run the show, and they have a hard time controlling their emotions. Especially in big crowds or around people they feel uncomfortable with, empaths can easily become imbalanced and overwhelmed, and can even suffer from panic attacks. They take on the emotions of everyone around them, which means they might feel thousands of different things at once. Highly sensitive people want to connect with others, of course, but doing so requires a great expenditure of energy, and they get drained easily.

One small occurrence can throw their emotions off-kilter, and others may not understand. Friends and family often tell empaths to stop living so much in their heads, but this advice doesn’t mean much to those who naturally feel so much and take on every ounce of pain in the world.

5. Dealing with emotions using unhealthy habits

Empaths live on raw emotion, and sometimes, they feel the only way to deal with them is by engaging in unhealthy practices or habits. Many empaths choose to use food, drugs, alcohol, or even people as a way to suppress their own emotions. Highly sensitive people feel they have no other way to cope with the turbulence that rages on inside them than by relying on outside forces to heal their pain. Even if empaths meditate, eat a fairly healthy diet, and exercise often, they can still succumb to dangerous practices.

As some helpful advice to empaths, remember always to make time for yourself, think before acting impulsively on your emotions, and limit your time in crowded places. All of this will help you remain emotionally healthy and balanced when facing daily challenges.