As an empath and highly sensitive person (HSP), mom of a highly sensitive son, and psychologist who specializes in working with women empaths/HSPs, I know how hard it can be to live in a world that isn’t designed for us. We are expected to adapt to situations and expectations where our sensitivity is seen as a problem, a mystery, or a reason to feel ashamed. At times, we put this pressure on ourselves and end up feeling almost desperate to fit into how the mainstream things we “should” feel, act, and relate to other people.

I’m here to tell you that the world needs more empath mamas and highly sensitive people! You don’t need to act as if you’re not an empath or highly sensitive. In fact, you cannot change your trait of sensory processing sensitivity (SPS, the trait that researchers have found sets HSP/empaths apart from the other 70-80% of people). But you can learn to thrive by using all the gifts that your SPS gives you.

There are three main tasks/themes that I encourage people to work with to make it easier to thrive. I’ve road-tested them myself, so I can attest to how rewarding the approach can be when we stick with it.

The tasks are:

  1. Notice what it means to be an empath/HSP. Determine what strengths and challenges it creates in your life.
  2. Begin to try out changes in how you live. Pay attention to what goes well and what needs to be further adjusted. Also, pay attention to how energy-consuming a change is and try to make it easier to accomplish. If something is too difficult, we’re unlikely to stick with it over the long term.
  3. Begin to incorporate what you’re noticing about yourself and what you’re learning from experimenting with change into a new sense of what it means to be an empath/HSP. No two people do it the same way, and that’s wonderful. Figure out your way of moving through the world. I call this your Singularly Sensitive way of living.

We don’t move through these tasks in a linear way, where once we check them off, they stay checked off. We will repeat this process as new situations arise (for instance, when our child enters a new developmental phase, we take on a new set of responsibilities, or something external impacts us, like the pandemic). It’s normal and expected that we’ll need to keep refining what it means to live as an Empath Mama, so be patient and understanding with yourself.

Learning to thrive as an Empath Mama is a life-long process. With effort, such as by getting social support through groups like Empath Mama, using my Singularly Sensitive approach or other self-help approaches, and taking advantage of psychotherapy and complimentary health treatments, you can improve your life and learn to thrive in your own special way. I’m excited to be part of this journey with you.

About the Author:

Lori L. Cangilla, Ph.D is a licensed psychologist, coach, and self-help author who specializes in helping highly sensitive/empath moms find creative, holistic, mindful ways to juggle work, family, and having a meaningful personal life.

The women I work with are most often:

• Going through major life transitions like motherhood, education/career, relationships changes, adjusting to different phases of life, and living in the pandemic

• Coping with fertility issues, pregnancy loss, or traumatic birth stories

• Suffering after loss and learning how to grieve

• Wrestling with anxiety, worry, and fears; and/or

• Trying to feel content, find their purpose, and discover meaning in life.

Being highly sensitive is a central part of how we move through these challenges. As women understand how sensitivity impacts all aspects of their lives, they are empowered to create a unique way of living as a highly sensitive woman.

My Singularly Sensitive approach helps women find ways to take a balanced look at how being an HSP/empath has benefits and challenges. We grow by learning to view ourselves, others, and the world in new ways. To support that process, I incorporate journaling, creative writing, and mindful photography into my work with highly sensitive moms.

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