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    Posted on Dec 7, 2015

    This Is What It's Like To Be An Empath

    Imagine being forced to feel what everyone around you is feeling just by looking at them.

    1. Empaths are people who are able to feel the emotions of those around them.

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    2. In some cases, empaths can also feel the physical pain of others just by looking at or being near them.

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    3. In many cases, this is due to abnormal operation of mirror neurons, which are what give us empathy.

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    4. In some empaths, these mirror neurons act differently and cause mirror-touch synesthesia, which causes a person to feel almost everything other people feel.

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    5. For example, some synesthetes have trouble eating around others, since they can feel the sensation of other people's chewing when they don't have food in their own mouths.

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    6. Not all empaths are synesthetes, but many synesthetes are empaths.

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    7. Being an empath can be confusing or overwhelming, as it can be difficult to differentiate between one's own emotions and the emotions of others.

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    8. While being able to truly identify with others can be a gift, it can be hard to deal with the negativity and sadness of others.

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    9. The heavy influx of emotions can lead to mental health issues like anxiety.

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    10. Or a loss of identity.

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    11. Or physical issues like exhaustion or pain.

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    12. Because of the risks, some empaths avoid close relationships.

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    13. Or large crowds.

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    14. Since empaths and mirror-touch synesthesia are fairly new definitions, many people don't know or understand what it all means.

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    15. So some empaths feel unable to properly describe their situation to others.

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    16. Some doctors recommend that empaths use visualization and meditation exercises to help cope.

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    17. But despite the downsides, being an empath can be a gift in helping others realize how they really feel.

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    For more confessions, head over to Whisper.

    All this week we're talking about mental health. If you liked this story, you might also like reading these:

    * 15 Easy Things To Do To Help When You Feel Like Shit

    * Here Are 31 Clever Tips To Make Life Feel A Little Easier

    * 11 Things People With Anxiety Want You To Know

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