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Coping strategies for Empaths, HSPs, and Social Anxiety

Posted Dec 24 2009 9:23am

Excerpted from post Empaths: Hypersensitivity, Anxiety, & Coping.

From the blog Empathic Perspectives: Where the Empathic Mind Expands.


Have you ever walked into a room full of people, and found yourself feeling as though you are suffocating?

How about feeling overwhelmed when there is an emotional current running through a crowd you are among, like intense anger, immense sadness, or even joyous elation?

HSPs and crowds

As Empaths and Highly Sensitive People (HSP), we tend to be hypersensitive to the emotions and emotional states of others. And when you compound this with a crowd of people, the feelings can become so intense that they can induce moments of high stress and anxiety within an Empath and/or HSP.

Comparing sensitivity and empathy

When viewing these two lists of traits [16 Common Empath Traits, and Traits Of A Highly Sensitive Person], there are some very obvious commonalities associated with high sensitivity and anxiety.

Blocking emotions, avoidance of disharmony caused by emotionally turbulent situations, can be moody or have large mood swings due to overwhelming thoughts, feelings and emotion, tend to be slower at recovering from intense stimuli…..and so on. The list is filled with traits that are anxiety related due to the overwhelming nature of hypersensitive people (Empaths, HSPs).

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder, or SAD [see list: Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder] …is an anxiety disorder that can occur, even within an Empath, when they begin to feel the weight of the world closing in on them, particularly during social functions. Because, you see, being an Empath/HSP does not mean you are above or beyond such things. And because of the hypersensitivity, it can be hard to recognize in yourself.

But beyond that, anyone with a hypersensitive personality is prone to anxiety, whether they have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (defined as: a blanket term covering several different forms of abnormal and pathological fear and anxiety) or not.

7 coping strategies

1. Recognize your emotional limits.

2. Learn relaxation methods

3. Never feel ashamed to spend time alone

4. Spending time with animals or a walk in nature

5. If there are certain personality types that overwhelm you…try to spend as little time with this person as you can.

6. Don’t be afraid to consult a therapist,

7. If you feel yourself completely pulling away from others…take small steps to reintegrate yourself. Online resources are available to help support you and help you begin to cope with what is happening


Highly Sensitive
Anxiety Relief Solutions
Article: Highly Sensitive People – Traits and Characteristics
Podcast transcript: Transforming Strong Negative Emotions with Judith Orloff

high sensitivity personality, empath, social anxiety disorder, healing anxiety

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