We live in a world with high levels of sensory input – loud movies, bright lights, crowds of people, the 24-hour news cycle, social media and technology that constantly interrupt and demand our attention. If you’re a highly sensitive or empathic person, this can be overwhelming and overstimulating, and leave you exhausted and lonely. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, “…empaths are emotional sponges who absorb both the stress and joy of the world. We feel everything, often to an extreme, and have little guard up between others and ourselves” (The Empath’s Survival Guide, p. 1).
But high sensitivity is a gift that includes high levels of compassion, creativity, spirituality, and intuition; it allows you to feel things deeply, care about and connect with others, and appreciate nature. And with the right strategies, you can protect your energy, health, and maximize the benefits of being an empath or highly sensitive person.
The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True, 2018) by Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist and empath herself, draws on Western medicine, energy medicine, and intuition to provide holistic solutions that can help you learn how to navigate the challenges of being an empath. I appreciate that Orloff doesn’t pathologize high sensitivity or treat it as a disorder that needs to be fixed. Instead, she breaks down the stigma of being “too” sensitive and highlights the ways high sensitivity can improve your life and the lives of others.