top of page

Are You Highly Sensitive or an Empath?

This article is based on our podcast episode, Being an Empowered Empath Series, Episode #1. Listen to the full episode here.

In modern times, more people are identifying as sensitive or empathic. In spiritual circles, you might hear people refer to themselves as intuitive or psychic. When you hear someone describe themselves using these terms, do you ask yourself, “How do I know if I'm one? What's the difference?” Many of us don't realize that sensitivity, empathy, intuition, and psychic abilities are part of the same spectrum (see picture below). They are all connected, and the root ability is the same: being sensitive to energy.

What is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

In psychology, a highly sensitive person is hyper aware of what's going on within their environment. This could be noise, smell, taste, or even proximity to others. An HSP feels very impacted by the world around them because they're sensitive to the information they are receiving. Unlike others, it isn't easy to ignore the stimuli around them because they pick up energy at a higher level. This might cause an HSP to have a lot of emotions and feelings because they are more attuned to their internal environment as well.

If you're an HSP, this could mean in a crowd of people you start feeling overwhelmed or uneasy. You might feel panicked or flighty, or even feel an uncomfortable pressure in your stomach or chest. Some HSPs are sensitive to sound and hear high tones or, in general, everything sounds as though the volume is turned up. If you're an HSP, you might have trouble sleeping unless it's very quiet, or even need a sound machine at a low volume to help your nervous system relax.