Can Empathy Actually Make Your Autoimmune Worse?

Absorbing the stress and emotional pain of others is what we empaths do. Some even feel the pain and sickness of others for a short time. Other times you may experience bouts of anxiety and psychological distress for no apparent reason, to find out later that someone close to you is going through some life event causing those same emotions.

As an empath, you are closely connected to those around you, especially those with whom you have strong emotional bonds and can often feel their emotions even when they aren’t around. It’s no wonder that many empaths are also autoimmune.
It’s true!

Do you know what happens when you become stressed? Your body behaves as it would if a bear were chasing you—initiating the body’s “fight or flight response.”

What is Fight or Flight?

The fight or flight response is a physiological reply to something that is mentally or physically threatening. This response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away. It’s important to understand that your cognitive abilities become temporarily impaired, which can feel out of control for an empath!

How Does This Play into Autoimmunity?

An acute (short-term) stress response isn’t bad, but becoming stressed repeatedly (chronic stress) can be. Being chronically stressed can suppress immunity by increasing immunosuppressive regulatory T cells. Chronic stress also subdues immune function by stimulating the proinflammatory responses associated with autoimmunity. Empaths are prime candidates for acquiring an autoimmune condition because they take on the stress of others.

This is why it’s crucial for empaths the take some time for self-care.

Tips for Better Balance

Spend time alone
Take time to recharge when overly stressed.

Get lots of sleep
Lack of sleep impairs immunity and hormone function.

Decompress Daily
Center your mind and body. Try meditation or Yoga.

Take care of your body
Get plenty of good nutrition and exercise.

Get plenty of sunlight
Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of autoimmune disorders. Spend some time outdoors.

Now that you’re aware that you’re not actually crazy and your autoimmune may be related to your empathetic abilities, it may be the right time to reassess your day-to-day interactions with others. It might be interesting to see if you can create change simply by being more aware of what’s happening inside and out.

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