8 Ways to Turn Your Empathy into A Super Power

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Dodging Energy Vampires Relationships

Empaths are highly advanced souls being incarnated on earth in increasing numbers to shed light into the darkness during this time of transformation. There are more empaths on earth right now than ever before.  In fact, medical intuitive, Caroline Myss, refers to empaths as “the new normal.”

All empaths are highly sensitive people, but not all empaths are alike.  For example, an emotional empath feels the emotional state of others. For this type of empath just going to the mall on a busy Saturday could be exhausting. A physical empath is able to pick up on the physical ailments of others, often getting headaches or feeling nauseated when someone around them has these symptoms. A friend of mine used to experience joint and muscle pain and fatigue when she was around her mother who has arthritis, and chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia. A cognitive empath thinks about what others are feeling and why. 

While most empaths are thought to be emotional or physical empaths, there are also empaths who feel the emotions of animals. These people often can’t go near a zoo. Global empaths pick up on the emotions of humans across the planet and may have a hard time watching the news.  Other empaths can feel the earth’s energy and may even be able to predict earthquakes and other catastrophes.

If you are an empath you may have traits of one or several different empath types.  And, no matter what type of empath you are, you may frequently feel exhausted or debilitated due to taking on the pain of others.

Super Traits and the Empath

There are many degrees of empathy.  And as an empath, it’s likely that you reach different degrees of empathy during different times of your life. That said, most empaths exhibit super traits. These include agreeableness, feeling optimistic about human nature, a willingness to compromise, and concern for social harmony. 

In addition, most empaths are very trusting, and we feel strongly invested in our relationships. We are natural helpers and fixers, and that’s what makes us prey to energy vampires. It’s no wonder that many empaths feel they need to hide their true nature. 

This desire to hide, not rock the boat, or just blend in and be helpful is the empath’s form of self-protection. For example, you may choose not to go to parties, malls, concerts or crowded, loud venues frequently because they make you feel anxious, overwhelmed or drained.  You may also avoid other places where you are more apt to feel negative or low energy, such as battlefields. Yet, for many empaths, no matter how hard you try to take care of yourself, you still end up sick, exhausted and with a slew of health issues you can’t understand. 

The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice your well-being if you are an empath. There are ways you can take advantage of your innate strengths and goodness. And, you don’t have to do anything extraordinary.  As an empath, everything you do to heal yourself actually helps to heal the planet. Your mere presence on this planet is what creates the highest level of transformation for humankind.

9 Super Traits of Empaths

  1. Highly sensitive. Sounds, smells, and low energy can overwhelm you.
  2. Spiritually open. Feel connected to a higher source.
  3. Attuned to other people’s moods. Absorb other people’s emotions,
  4. Introverted.  Prefer 1:1 contact or small groups. If extroverted, may limit time spent in a crowd or party
  5. Intuitive.  Can sense when something is off.
  6. Easily overwhelmed in intimate relationships. Too much togetherness is difficult.
  7. Targets for energy vampires. Prey for narcissists, drama queens, chronic talkers.
  8. Nourished by natural world. Seek refuge in nature.
  9. Huge hearts. Often give too much, good listeners. Relieve the pain of others by taking it on, then feel drained.

8 Ways to Turn Your Super Traits into Super Powers

If you are an empath you may feel that you are cursed in some way.  The truth is empathy is a gift, and you have the power within you to turn your empathy into a power like no other.

Here are some ways you can activate the empathic power within you:

  1. Acknowledge that you are an empath. If you are an empath, compassion is your calling. You were hard-wired since birth to anchor the light on the planet. Acknowledging that you came here to do this is the first step toward letting your inner light shine. Learn more about your empathic nature in my book, Dodging Energy Vampires:An Empath’s Guide to Evading Relationships That Drain You and Recovering Your Health and Power.
  2. Trust your intuition. As an empath, you are highly sensitive. Whether you can read people’s minds, receive psychic images, pick up on smells, or sense a feeling in your gut, learning to trust yourself and the messages you receive will help you avoid energy vampires and find positive, healthy relationships.
  3. Don’t play the victim. Empaths often lack self-worth.  After a while, your need to be loved can turn into a victim mentality.  This is commonly seen in spiritual relationships where the guru ends up with all of the resources and the devotees are drained of self-esteem, money and more.
  4. Set boundaries. Once you are able to recognize the energy vampires who drain you, set limits on the amount of time you spend with them.  Notice how you feel when you are with them and how you feel afterward.  Soon, you will be able to walk away for good and recover your precious energy.  You will also have a lot more time on your hands to do something you love.
  5. Meditate. Empaths need time to recharge. Meditation is a great tool for empaths and it takes only a few minutes. For example, Judith Orloff, M.D.’s 3 Minute Heart Meditation can help you feel centered in your heart energy. This is great for taking back your power when you start to feel sensory overload. But, you don’t have to sit to meditate. Spend time in nature or try visualizing yourself in a protective bubble where dark energy cannot reach you, but light can filter through. Do this several times per day.
  6. Breathe. Develop a breath practice where you simply sit and consciously breathe. As you breathe in, think about clarity and power. As you exhale, think about breathing out negative energy. You can even say “I am breathing in power. I am breathing out stress and negativity.” Do this several times per day to clear any built-up stress in your body. 
  7. Transmute negative energy. As empaths we take on a lot of negative energy everywhere we go. Employ ways that you can transmute negative energy in real time.  For example, bring plants into your workspace to help absorb any negative energy.  You can also try crystals which are natural energy modulators.   Surround yourself with beauty.  Try to speak positively in a difficult situation. Finding the humor in a situation when possible can also transmute negative energy. Another thing you can do is start each day with a gratitude affirmation to increase positive energy.
  8. Love yourself. As an empath, your life’s purpose is to take care of yourself.  It’s all you are asked to do!  Listening to your own thoughts and emotions is self-empathy. Take some time every day to honor your feelings and embrace your sensitivities. Recognize that you can be vulnerable and strong at the same time. Celebrate every time you listen to your intuition or do something that helps you become happier, stronger and healthier. Remember, when you live up to your full potential, you actually transform the lives of others.

Once you fully embrace your empathic nature, you will be able to experience great joy.  You will see the big picture on a deeper level – one that is full of beauty. And, you will be able to refill your own energetic cup by aligning directly with Source.

How has your life improved since embracing your empathic nature? Be sure to leave me your comments.

Additional Resources from Dr. Northrup

Are You Guilty of Overgiving?

The Effects of Stress

How To Change Your Habits For Good

Last Updated: March 20, 2018

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. Jay
    11 months ago

    Need Help. I believe I have empathic powers and my feelings are overwhelming and I do not know how to react to this. I first experienced my power when I was young and my grandma was sick in the hospital, I had the worst headache I have ever had. After school when I found out she passed my headache was gone. Ever since I feel like I been picking up emotions and I can not tell what are mines anymore please help.

  2. Andy Espinoza
    11 months ago

    i am just learning of my empathic ability when another emapth i came across told me of such. i always new i was meant for something but i hid that because f the pain i endured in my heart. im slowly training to regain the love i always had and coud use more support if its possible. your page is amazing to read.

  3. Olivia
    1 year ago

    I am so glad my acupuncturist told me about this & sent me to your site!
    She mentioned a quiz I could take but can’t seem to find it?
    Where exactly is that located?

  4. Cathy Bonniwell
    1 year ago

    I am so grateful that my girlfriend shared the Empath test with me. I am an old soul Empath
    I finally see myself for who God made me to be. I am so thankful for you and all you’ve done to help us find our true self, and be able to finally embrace who God made us to be.
    I understand now what my true job is, and I will enjoy myself fully now. Finally I am free to take care of myself first and not feel guilty about it. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  5. Deona
    2 years ago

    Thank you for the article Dr Northrup, that was spot-on for me!

    How can I change my thinking to be more empowering in dealing with an energy vampire I can not walk away from (at the moment), being my employer? Quitting is not an option right now, but the constant nit-picking and having to deal with her unresolved emotional issues through her aggression, is using up every resource I have.

  6. Julie
    2 years ago

    Beautifully written. I could relate to your comment about wanting to “hide your true nature.” I’ve often felt that way but I e never had the courage to put it into words. Thank you, Dr Northrup.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I generally have to live something for a decade or so before articulating it. This stuff takes time!

  7. Shaniqua
    2 years ago

    Ugh. Can’t wait for your book. I have been highly sensitive since birth but am just now at 57 yo learning how to take care of myself and distancing myself from vampires. So sad, they can be so close to you. But, the big question is…WHY did we come now?

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      We came to stand as the LIGHT. We are at the turning if the ages.. It’s exciting!

  8. Donna
    2 years ago

    Oh Dr Northrop, this is the most accurate article I’ve read about me. Yes, I totally agree. Thank you!!

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      So glad
      To hear it!

  9. Shelly Fuhr
    2 years ago

    It’s liberating to read this blog and feel incredibly validated!!
    I check off every point on the list.
    I didn’t consuder that empathy could be broken down… I hit all 3 for physical, emotional, and can feel the emotions of some pets especially my current dog. All in all I’m way more agreeable as I age to trust and listen when I feel!
    Thank you for your mentorship. ❤️

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Love it! It is our time. At last.

  10. Christine
    2 years ago

    Reading this came at the perfect time in my life.
    I have always admired you and read your book Womans body, Womans wisdom many years ago and you made me feel proud to be a woman.
    I found Tosha Silver’s book and it reconnected me back to you.
    Thank you for being so beautiful in your words and passion for women.

  11. Daniel
    2 years ago

    Would love to discus dancing Tango as an empathic milonguero. Thank you for this article. I am strengthened and encouraged.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Oh what a fantastic discussion idea! You must be an incredible dance partner…

  12. Susan
    2 years ago

    I’m 66 and your voice in “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” was the first voice I ever heard that felt like a kindred spirit. So many wondeful, meaningful voices are chiming in more and more, since you opened the door for me. I listen to you and I’m grateful for your voice! Thank you!

  13. Betsie Saltzberg
    2 years ago

    I especially liked your “9 Super Traits of Empaths.” I possess every one of them & feel especially distressed with my sensitivity to loud noises, bright lights, heavy fragrances and folks who talk a lot! These traits greatly impact my desire & ability to spend time with other people. I don’t even enjoy eating out and this past Monday morning my house was being cleaned so I was forced to go to a local restaurant for breakfast. It was bustling & while no one would have known, I was suffering greatly inside. The noise was unbearable, I found the food to be mediocre, at best & I felt no joy or peace. This is going to sound terrible, but all I could do was count the number of people at each table, then calculate how many were overweight- the number was about 70%. Golly gosh, it’s a problem!

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Okay.. NOW.. your mission is to use that sensitivity to communicate with the Earth, the ocean, flowers, bees, rocks. Begin to see yourself as a magnet for beauty and healing.. imagine your energy field as an orb of golden protection., You can do this!

  14. Bev
    2 years ago

    Thanks for that. I am so glad that my energy-draining ex-partner moved out. I feel much more positive now.

  15. jc
    2 years ago

    I notice I tend to avoid pressure and therefore the decisions I make may not be in my best interest when my motivation is avoidance. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway is helpful at the right times, but I have to be in touch with myself to know when the right times are. Owning responsibility for my emotions is essential for making better choices and I find that in order to use empathy as a gift, I have to accept that everything I feel is mine : )

  16. Tanna
    2 years ago

    Wow Dr. Northrup – I have been loving this information and had a huge Aha moment from this blog…I’ve been my mother’s full-time caregiver for eight years and she is on a slow decline, close to making her transition now. Although she sleeps most of the time and I don’t have as much to do during the day for her care, I have been incredibly tired recently. I rationalized that I should have more energy to do more now because I have more time, but you helped me understand that I am likely feeling this way because of her condition, so that must explain the constant fatigue.
    By the way, my toxic sister is a total energy vampire and has been an abusive drain on me and my mom my entire life (she’s 15 years older than I am) so you have validated our decision to step away from her eight years ago.
    This has given me so much clarity and understanding – thank you!

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I am so glad this has helped!

  17. Nicu
    2 years ago

    Thank you for these helpful tips!
    I’m a balanced empath! Just wanted to let you know! 🙂
    Love & Joy!

  18. Marj
    2 years ago

    I love having a label for my gift . . . a cognitive empath. Never totally understood why I knew what people were thinking or feeling. Others occasionally laughed, as though I might be making up these ideas. But it is real!
    This article also explains why certain people drain me and I try to avoid them. Thank you; I feel less guilty. And it’s good to know that my sense of being re-charged when I’m out in nature is quite valid, even critical. Much appreciated article.

  19. Kathleen
    2 years ago

    Thanks for putting the words to what I already knew in my heart.

  20. Patricia Nield
    2 years ago

    I am still quite confused about Vampires identification as opposed to just thoughtless, self centred people who I thought were friends for the occasional contact when they wanted a listening ear, something done for them, yet are notiicebly absent on the rare occasion I need help.
    I also do wonder if I am the one who is asking too much but you echoed my thoughts over the past couple of years about always seem to be the one who keeps contact going. As a woman on her own after 1 marriage and 2 long term abusive relationships, I’m now ‘seen as the ‘needy one” by people who are3 blessed with ‘happy families and or partners” but I see through theri facade and say nothing. From my perspective I just want a friend/s who is/arer interested in my life on a reasonable regular basis and as reliable as I am. I refuse to get embittered by my experience and take responsibility for my part in any relationship and have learned to be brutally honest sometime but these day with more tact which is why I yee haa’d at your piece about expressing anger. Im surrounded by so man God controlled people who think I am ‘a sad and angry woman” I should be an athiest but Im not I just wont get into religion I had that growing up with nuns.
    being a little older than you but in great health and still looking pretty good I can’t help but feel there is also the jealousy syndrome of owmen by women which may need to be addressed at some stage but a writer I am not, so maybe another top[ic for a book from you. many thaks for this online course it’s becoming a bit obsessive because of the primary validation it has given me to date.

    Bless you dear lady

  21. Bee
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much. Your wisdom means so much to me and can’t wait to read your book! X

    1. Christiane Northrup
      2 years ago

      Thank you so much for this!

  22. Rona Ross
    2 years ago

    I’ve recently learned to say No with humility and want to continue

  23. Peggy
    2 years ago

    One thing I learned about myself was giving myself permission to bow out gracefully and even without explanation. Funnerals and gtherings with those in mourning are so draining, dibilating and negative effects seem to last longer when I have attended. I have always hated funerals, no one likes them but some people find comfort in supporting one another, I have never felt comforted. I prefer showing my last respects one on one or I find ways to honor those that have passed personally. Sometimes I let those mourning know I mean no disrespect by not attending funnerls or memorials and I just send condolences from a distance. Respect, condolences does not require personal appearances. I hope this is helpful to someone else.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I like the way you are honoring yourself.. as someone who lost a sister years ago and my father 9 months later, I can attest to how healing it is to have people
      Reach put with letters or calls long after the funeral.

  24. Margot
    2 years ago

    Thank you for naming that when we take care of ourselves we are adding to the food of all. Perfect timing! I’ve known i’m An empath for years. Much of what you’ve said here names what I knew in my bones but seeing it brought such Ah ha’s! Thank you! I feel a real shift after reading this! ❤️

  25. Valerie
    2 years ago

    Your information is going to help a lot of people.
    It’s taken me years to figure out why I am the way I am. And hearing others tell me to suck it up or just get over it.
    I have finally come to understand and appreciate who I am.
    Now to work on the vampires. I’ve had many.

  26. Rachel
    2 years ago

    I recognized my empathy years ago when my angels came into my life . I even wrote a book about how to protect your energy for sensitives!! Ironic!
    However I did not really realize until now the level of energy I give away and how I have been putting myself last all this time. I am a healer and therapist and author of two books and lately just feeling fricken exhausted. The last boyfriend was a grade A psychic vampire, thankfully I noticed in 2 months and ended it, 11 months later he is still harrassing me. I have asked myself often how can I stop this and why am I feeling so awful and why do i feel so drained doing the work I love and helping others. Well your articles and video just answered those missing links for me.
    It is time for me. I am not a victim but I have to stop behaving like I matter the least. I got in the habit of covering up my feelings all the time to look after others.
    I hve a feeling things are going to change for me !
    Thank you from my heart.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      How thrilling!! So many people are right at this place of waking up too.. We’re all in this together.

  27. Judith
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for your writing & blog post. I have been an empath my whole life & I am often overwhelmed by daily tasks. Disasters in the world pull me down & I am concerned about the health of the planet.

  28. Tere
    2 years ago

    After your interviewing Dr Judith Orloff, a new world opened up for me. I was an empath and my “symptoms” were a gift. What a change in mindset. Now you dive deeper and I am over the moon you are taking us by the hand to meet our true souls and feel empowered. The love And gratitude I feel for you are limitless. Thank you

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      This just touches my heart. Thank you!

  29. Gwen
    2 years ago

    All my life since I was a child I have had “this knowing” about people and events. Over the last 20+ yrs I have been made aware of “tools” I can use to open up this knowing…..such as…
    Acupuncture, Reiki, The sway test of asking my subconscious for answers, Tapping and more recently The Emotion Code. It is a humbling and amazing journey each day.
    Thank you Christiane Northrup for giving me even more information and joy about this “knowing” which I have come to realize is about being an Cognitive Empath.
    I continue on my “ crusade” of telling each woman I meet about Self-Care and Self Love.
    I know that this journey is taking me to a place where I will be able to express this knowledge to others in a more global way……
    I am grateful for each day of exploration!!

  30. Michelle Reese
    2 years ago

    I am an empath and a highly sensitive. Since coming out of the fog a few years ago through my work with Heather Dane and Jean Haner and the Hay House community (I discovered Louise Hay in the ’80s), the biggest gift I have received is knowing that I am okay. And not only okay, but I have spent my life learning how to stay physically and emotionally balanced. I can walk through the world knowing what’s mine and what belongs to others. I no longer take on the symptoms of others. On days when I ‘m tired or don’t have my program in place as firmly, the energy will seep in, and I know what to do to re-balance. So I’d say the biggest gift is feeling good about my empathy and sensitivity and no longer feeling that something is wrong with me. And it took me until my ’50’s to embrace it. Thank you for this post.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Beautifully stated. Thank you!

  31. Karen
    2 years ago

    Thank you for this, it explains so much in my life that I have felt but you have put it into words

  32. Lidia Muntean
    2 years ago

    Thank you for share this information. Now I understand better my life, my past. Thank you!

  33. Shan
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for helping empaths! We need this information, and need to be reminded of how to better take care of ourselves! I greatly appreciate you putting this subject out there. It is extremely helpful. I resonate deeply with your message.

  34. Claire
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for this article! It came at a perfect time. I didn’t know that there are different types of empaths until I read it. I am a cognitive empath and I a happy to say that I have been pruning my life for quite a while of the negative energy/drainers I was associating with. The article helped me validate who I am and why making those choices was right for me (not everyone understands my choices but that’s ok!) I love hearing that my life’s purpose is taking care of myself, because I’ve gotten really good at that, too, but it can feel a bit “selfish” which can bring guilt. I will keep on this path of self-care honoring my feelings and sensitivities to become happier, healthier and stronger so that I can be of service to others. It’s comforting to know that I am on the right path! Actually, I kind of “knew” it!!

  35. Dawn Paiva
    2 years ago

    Thank you, Dr. Northrup, for enlightening and validating, I am a true empath, and didn’t understand it until I was well in my adulthood. As you say, I always thought it a curse to be so “emotional”. I used to wonder what my purpose was, what my gift was….. one day I realized my deep empathy WAS my gift, but I didn’t understand HOW this could be. How could something so painful and draining for me be a GIFT?? You are helping me understand and navigate this. Your wisdom and compassion for women everywhere is a gift to me! God Bless.


  36. Jeanne Chabot
    2 years ago

    Greetings! I am so glad you mentioned empaths who can’t go near zoos .. or feel Heart- hurt when I see a hurt Animal and go crazy when I hear of an Animal going extinct. It’s hard to be sane on this planet .. but I’m here so I’ll do my best and trust there’s a plan . Thank you for acknowledging us and helping with deep insight and great ideas .oh and I’m like you about the Inquisition.. can’t bare to read about it . Yuck!

  37. Kathy
    2 years ago

    I greatly appreciate your sharing of these insights. It is helpful and quite timely, as much of what you’ve mentioned resonates with what I’ve been experiencing and am struggling with at present.
    With gratitude, Kathy

  38. Donna Bruni Cox
    2 years ago

    Deep gratitude for your vision, light, beauty. Have been on this journey too, from Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom to today, and celebrate the gifts you share.

  39. Sheri
    2 years ago

    I have recently come to realize that I am an empath. It is something that has been with me my whole life, but, not until recently I accepted and embraced it. I am reconnecting with my true nature and would like to communicate with other empaths. Are there groups that you are aware of, that meet or correspond with one another? I appreciate your time and expertise in these areas and enjoy reading your posts. Thank you.


    1. Christiane Northrup
      2 years ago

      HI Sheri– Yes– Dr. Judith Orloff has a facebook group for empaths which is highly regarded. And also an e-letter. Go to http://www.drjudithorloff.com

    2. Fran
      2 years ago

      Dr. Judith Orloff has a Facebook group for Empaths. She mentioned it when she was on Dr. Northrup’s Hay House Radio show awhile ago.

  40. A simple thank you.

  41. Lee Waltz
    2 years ago

    The guru ends up with all the resources and the devotees are drained of self esteem, money and more….

  42. Michele
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for this post. This is exactly what I needed to read and it validates and explains so much about what I am experiencing right now in my life.
    You are a beacon of light in this world and I appreciate your wisdom and compassion so very much.
    Thanks again,

    1. Christiane Northrup
      2 years ago

      thank you for letting me know. It means the world to me.

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