The Empath and Stress: Could a Simple Life be The Solution?

20 May 2019 | by Gina Lucia

It was an abnormal Saturday night. Sitting in front of the TV, singing along to catchy Europop with 7 million UK viewers, we watched the ‘Superbowl of Europe’ – Eurovision.

After the 26 acts had performed and the votes had been tallied, it was down to scoring and there were two faces on the screen waiting to hear who had won Eurovision 2019. The Netherlands, or Sweden.

On repeat was the phrase ‘Sweden needs 253 votes to win’, it was, quite frankly, the longest wait I have ever experienced to reveal a winner. The two contestants were in obvious emotional pain as they were forced to wait a full minute before finding out that Sweden not only didn’t win but only received 93 points.

I can only describe this akin to emotional torture. Something that is perfectly summarised in the face of John Lundvik (Sweden’s singer), as he hears the result. This put him not second, but 6th.

While this result may seem entertaining or funny to some, I couldn’t bear to watch. This unnecessary style of putting entertainment over the mental wellbeing of their participants was incredibly hard to sit through. So much so that over three days later, I was still thinking and talking about it.

the empath and stress

What’s an empath?

Put simply, an empath is a person who experiences a great deal of empathy. Often taking on the emotional pain of others at their own expense.

Case in point, above.

At the same time, empaths feel deeply, they experience the world with keen sensitivity and often ‘see’ things others may overlook.

I want to be clear. We live in a world which looks down on sensitivity, sees it as a weakness. It’s not, but that’s an article for another day.

empath simple life

Cultivating an empath’s simple life

I gave the example above because this emotional stressor was unexpected and came out of the blue. What started as a fun and uplifting night, turned into a complete downer which stuck with me for days.

Sensory overload is a daily problem for many empaths, without a filter in which to shield us, we feel everything, good and bad, that comes our way. This means loud noises are louder, crowds are busier, arguments are painful and a friend’s pain becomes your own.

If this sounds like you, then you have an opportunity to fine-tune your life to create a calmer, positive space for your mind.

I couldn’t control the Eurovision announcement, but I can control the choices I make in life. So instead of telling you ways in which you could create a simpler life. I’m going to share with you how I’ve done it.

Reduce the ‘stuff’

I used to own a lot of ‘stuff’. Extra bookcases with books I would never read. Bedding for the extra bed we never had. Junk drawers full of who knows what and boxes filled with ‘memories’, fancy dress and just in case sleeping bags.

Although all of these things were neatly tucked away inside cupboards, their presence was a weight I didn’t know I was carrying. By removing the unnecessary from my life and only keeping the items that I valued, my space felt lighter, and so did I.

Tap into the senses

Empaths have keen senses. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of this, I make sure I’m working with it. I light candles to help me feel calm. I open curtains and paint walls white to get as much light as possible. I pick music tailored to what I’m doing and always have it on.

Curating the space around you, even if it’s just adding a plant to your work desk, opening a window, or making a cup of fresh coffee, can completely change the experience of everyday life.

Take it slow

We live in a fast world. More growth, more money, a bigger house, fancy things. There’s an art to taking it slow and being more intentional with our time, especially if the previous list overwhelms you at all.

By enjoying the process of building a business, rather than rushing to the end goal, I’m embracing slow growth. And instead of working that hustle life, I’m using my earned spare time to cultivate a garden slowly. I appreciate it, the life it brings to my space and enjoy it’s growth as I grow.

Focus on what matters

As an empath, it’s incredibly hard to avoid the empathy you feel for others. Nor should you, it’s what makes you, you.

But if you’re spending your time with people who drain that energy and don’t give anything back, then you may need to reconsider where you’re spending your time.

As an introvert and an empath, the friends I make are few but incredibly important. However, I’ve had ‘friends’ who either absorbed my empathy in return for nothing or chipped away at it until the stress became too much.

Don’t let these types of toxic relationships rule you, work to move past them, and then spend your time on the relationships that help you thrive.

Featured image by Elliot Banks 

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Are you an empath? Would you add anything to this article? Leave us a comment below and let us know what helps you thrive in daily life.

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