Jenna Dewan Calls Herself an 'Empath' But What Does That Mean?

"I am very sensitive."
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Actress Jenna Dewan is as famous for her dance moves and her amazing abs as she is for her various film and TV roles. But something that most fans might not know about her is her spiritual "hippie" side. 

"I've always been a little hippie, spiritual," she recently told Cosmo. "I am very sensitive—what you would call an empath. I know what it feels like to overextend and to over give in life. I give out so much energy constantly."

Can you relate? If you feel like you're consistently absorbing other people's energies and giving constantly than you're receiving, you might also be an empath. 

To clarify what exactly an empath is, Organic Authority reached out to Jona Genova, energy healer and meditation teacher. 

"All healthy humans are empathic. It's a part of being human; the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of another = empathy," Genova says. "Empathy is a beautiful thing which at its best equips us to take skillful, caring, action."

Like most things in this world, each of us sits somewhere on a spectrum of feeling into others as well as the accuracy with which we do so, says Genova. Which is why sometimes people confuse "projecting" their feelings onto someone else with sensing into what the other is experiencing. 

For example, if a certain situation causes you fear and anxiety, you might feel that someone else in a similar situation is feeling the same when, really, it's you who is projecting that fear and anxiety. 

For others, says Genova, "The feelings of the other (or others) are so easily, accurately and powerfully felt that they actually experience the feeling as their own, these folks are sometimes called 'empaths'."

She continues, "Both of these situations call for awareness and caution because they can result in empathic distress and actual physical damage to our own bodies by taking in toxic energy or packing in and not processing too many feelings. This is where energy management is so helpful."

Energy management, explains Genova, is learning to work with how open you are to energies around you.

"Think of your body as a huge membrane with pores, just like the pores on your face. Imagine closing up all of the pores in your membrane," she says. "This momentarily separates you from the energies around you."

Genova recommends to practice working with this "porosity" so you'll learn how to open when it's safe and appropriate and know how to close when it's not. 

"Another huge and necessary learning for natural empaths to work with this gift in healthy ways is, when feeling something, to ask yourself, "who does this belong to?"

Giving yourself or receiving Reiki, which is what Dewan does herself, is another technique to help ground your empath tendencies. 

Meditation, making time for downtime, and prioritizing how you spend your energy are also helpful tips for an empath. 

Above everything, remember your empathy is a gift; which is why it's so important to protect and cherish it. 

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