10 Traits Of An Empath: How To Know If You're A "True Empath"

10 Traits Of An Empath: How To Know If You’re A “True Empath”

Are you considered a highly sensitive person? Do you find that you intuitively know what other people are feeling and thinking? If so, these are traits of an “empath” – but it doesn’t reveal for sure if you’re what psychologists call a “true empath.” 

Below are 10 specific traits – shared in greater detail – that will help you to know with more certainty that you indeed are an empath.


You don’t have to have all 10 out of 10 of these to be a true empath – but the more traits you have, the more likely you are one.

The Good News:

Being an empath can be a very beautiful way to live a life – because you’re fully present and deeply connected to others.

The Challenging News:

Being an empath can also be an emotionally stressful journey – because of your high levels of sensitivity.

Because I recognize that being an empath has its particular challenges, I’ve also included some tools below to help you to better harness your high levels of sensitivity.

The 10 Main Traits of an Empath

1. Empaths Have High Levels of Intuition And Quickly Know What Others Feel and Think

Empaths are compassionate listeners – and easily pick up on people’s thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it feels like “clairvoyance” because empaths can quickly get a “gut instinct” about someone.

For this reason, many empaths are often highly drawn to learn more about spirituality, metaphysics, religion and/or the paranormal – in a desire to better understand how and why they feel the energies of others so deeply. 

2. Empaths Have A Strong Ability to Feel Other’s Pain, Stresses, Symptoms, Illnesses

When empaths are around someone who is angry, tired, depressed (etc) they can easily pick up these negatives feelings and absorb them into their own bodies – mirroring these negative emotions as if they are their own.

As a result, many empaths can feel the burden of other people’s dark emotions and feel drained and exhausted after an encounter with someone who is dealing with a challenging time.

On the flip side, when empaths are around someone who is happy, loving, peaceful etc, they will similarly take on these positive energies and feel energized, delighted and inspired.

3. Empaths Can Feel Overwhelmed and Drained in Highly Close Relationships

A lot of closeness, intimacy and exchange of shared emotions can feel very exhausting to an empath.

They might feel as if they are losing their identity – as if their “sense of self” is being absorbed into the other person and the relationship.

For this reason, empaths need to be sure to give themselves the right balance of closeness and alone time.

Unfortunately empaths are often sought out by narcissists, codependants, and the highly talkative – who crave constant attention and support.

Empaths should do their best to put up strong boundaries with these people – and avoid romantic entanglings with them.

Here’s are helpful tools to put up better boundaries with emotional vampires.

4. Empaths Have Intense Feelings for Wanting To Help and Nurture People

Empaths are often very loving people who are intuitively drawn to wanting to help release people’s suffering.

For example, if they see a homeless or injured person they will be eager to help.  

Many empaths also choose professions which help people – because they’re so naturally wired to want to relieve other people’s pain.

For example, they often go on to become nurses, doctors, veterinarians, social workers, massage therapists, etc… because they feel an emotional tug to help others. 

Reminder: Empaths who get involved in a healing profession should be extremely sure to create healthy boundaries so they don’t feel overwhelmed by the energy of others. 

5. Empaths Are Often Told they are “Too Sensitive”

10 Traits Of An Empath: How To Know If You're A True "Empath"
Empaths can often get their feelings hurt easily – and are thereby often told they are too sensitive.

In fact, empaths will frequently find themselves being told that they should not allow the things that are said to them or done to them to affect them so deeply.

Plus because empaths  easily take on the heartbreak of others – they might cry at a sad story when it is shared with them – which others might perceive as “too sensitive.”

6. Empaths Are Sensitive to Emotional and Violent Scenes In Movies

Empaths often have a challenging time watching movies or videos which are highly emotional and/or violent because they feel the scenes on the screen so fully in their own minds and bodies.

7. Empaths Are Overwhelmed By Parties, Crowds, Public Transportation, Hospitals, Group Therapy, Funerals, etc

Empaths are often overwhelmed in crowds of all kinds: subways, malls, conventions, parades, train stations, etc.

For this reason they often prefer to travel by car instead of public transportation and meet with people one-on-one or in limited groups.

They are also sensitive to too much noise and places with highly strong smells.

Plus empaths have a challenging time in settings which are particularly filled with people in pain: hospitals, funerals, group therapy, etc.

8. Empaths Are More Likely To Suffer From Moodiness

how to know if you're a true empath
It makes sense that empaths might experience some moodiness.  After all, they are often experiencing extreme highs and lows of emotions – because they take on other people’s emotions so easily and feel things so deeply.

This constant absorption of emotionality can be taxing on their psyche.

Plus, empaths often wind up wanting to help others so much – they can forget to caretake themselves.

9. Empaths Are More Likely To Suffer From Nausea and Illness

Many studies report how interconnected our minds and stomachs are. So much so, some studies even call “the gut” a “second brain.”

For this reason, after an empath absorbs the sadness, or fears or anxieties of other people, they often find themselves feeling nauseous, exhausted or ill. 

10. Empaths Are More Likely To Take On Addictive Behaviors

Empaths feel things highly deeply – and so it makes sense that they might want to find a way to escape from the “emotional bombardment” they feel on a daily basis.

For this reason, many empaths will take on an addiction (aka: alcohol, or drugs, or binge eating, or shopping, or gambling, or sex addiction, etc…) in the hopes that their addiction will numb them and distract them from the overwhelm of their emotions.

How Empaths Can Protect Themselves From Overwhelm

1. Empaths need to enjoy enough quiet time and alone time.

Empaths often find themselves feeling emotional overload, so it’s important they give themselves lots of quiet time and alone time.

This can include: journaling, or taking a walk, or doing some yoga stretches,  or doing some cycling, or enjoying a relaxing shower,  or spending time in nature, or spending time with animals, or practicing meditation, and/or simply closing one’s eyes and breathing deeply for a few minutes.

2. Empaths Need To Speak up About Boundaries

If you’re an empath and you feel like someone is draining you, it’s essential you speak up and clearly define your boundaries.

Here are helpful tools to create stronger boundaries with difficult people.

Plus,  if you know in advance that parties or events can be overwhelming, be sure to let your host know that you will attend – but only for a limited amount of time.

3. Empaths Need to Face up to Addictions and Moodiness with Meditation and Positive Hobbies

10 Traits Of An Empath: How To Know If You're A "True Empath"
If you’re an empath and have an addiction or a mood disorder – it’s essential you get help. 

If your problem is at an advanced level, be sure to see a professional who can give you the tools you need. 

With that said, if your addiction and/or moodiness is not at an extreme level, then you can try to let go of your emotional challenges by creating a regular meditation practice.

Meditation is a wonderful way for an empath to master their thoughts and emotions more effectively.

Plus you can also try to swap out your negative addictions for highly “positive addictions” – like a new passion or hobby. For example: knitting, pottery, painting, beading, hula hooping, writing, yoga, tennis, martial arts, etc…

If you’re committed to making inner peace your super power, check out The Anxiety Cure – my bestselling video course. The Anxiety Cure shares a combo of tools from 3 important areas: (1) Modern Psychology (2) Cutting Edge Biological Research (3) Eastern Philosophies – like meditation.  Learn more here!

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Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.

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