What is an empath? The term empath comes from empathy. What is empathy? According to Wikipedia, empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional states. Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional (or affective) empathy, and somatic empathy.
What is an empath?
Empaths have the ability to relate to other’s feelings and experiences. They are also capable of feeling and experiencing exactly what another is feeling and experiencing. Empaths can connect to other beings on a deep level beyond logic and words and fully see and feel others past and present. Empathy is a state of being or an emotion that allows one to connect cognitively with another person. Another way of looking at this is a person who can put themselves into another person’s shoes and better understand their experiences and feelings.
Indications that a person may be an empath
There are many indications of one being an empath. There has been some scientific research explaining these traits.
- Mirroring another’s movements unconsciously – According to research, MRI scans show a neural relay mechanism in the brain that allows empaths to mimic mannerisms such as facial expressions and postures of others.
Intriguingly enough, this mimicry also applies to small movements. For example, If an empath sees a needle poking someone’s foot, the empath’s brain could react as if it were their foot. Triggering the same sensory and motor areas.
- Quick and accurate response time in recognizing other people’s emotions – Someone who is an empath has a quick response time to another’s emotions, such as anger. They can assess facial expressions quickly and accurately. This being happy or sad or angry or frustrated. It is not linked to just one type of emotion.
- Some research showed that highly empathetic people could feel an electric shock that was given to someone else.
The researchers gave the electric shock to 16 people hooked up to a brain imaging machine that showed the brain areas that were activated when in pain. The researchers told the 16 people that their spouses also received the electric shock while in another room. All 16 people’s brains used similar areas as when the researchers shocked them, causing them pain.
This study suggests that empaths or highly empathetic people can physically feel someone else’s pain at some level. More research is being conducted on this.
- Takes on another’s emotions. This is the ability to feel what someone near you is feeling. No matter if they are trying to hide it or not. Most empaths pick up on the emotions someone is trying to hide. An Empath may actually feel another’s emotions.
- An empath may suddenly experience overwhelming emotions while in public. It is not just in a conversation with another. It can happen any time anywhere others are around. If there are many people around, it can be an overwhelming combination of human emotions the empath may not know how to control with no warning signs. This can be extremely uncomfortable, even distressing for the empath.
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