Empathy and the Nervous System

“…the ability to feel or sense and read other’s emotions and to experience them is one way that the brain can cope and make the world a more predictable place. If I’m in an uncertain standing with a social circle and then I’m able to actually feel what they’re feeling; then I can manipulate my own behavior, or help regulate them, to make the situation safer for myself or even for everybody involved. So empathy itself is definitely a prosurvival type of behavior.”

-Matt Bush, Co-Lead Educator of Neuro Somatic Intelligence Certification and Founder of Next Level Neuro


Do you proudly identify as an Empath? Feel connected to the cosmos? Depend on others to regulate your emotions?

In this episode, we explore Empathy from a Neuro Somatic Intelligence perspective. Brace yourself; it might challenge your Empath identity.

Matt Bush joins us to discuss the evolutionary origins of empathy, its brain development, and how it impacts relationships. Discover what it truly means to be an Empath and how to enhance self-regulation, process emotions, and maintain the beautiful aspects of being an Empath.

Empathy is all about making social situations safer. Unfortunately, it can also lead to boundary issues, codependent relationships, and an overwhelming need to regulate other people’s emotions. This chronic stress takes a huge toll on the nervous system that can lead to exhaustion and dysregulation.

Matt gives an easy to understand neuroscience explanation of how Empathy and Narcissism are created in the anterior insular cortex of the brain and how it stems from early childhood trauma.

We, also, take a dive deep into the interesting connection between sensory integration and Empathy. Matt talks about how sensory integration happens in the brain. Then he explains how challenges with sensory integration can lead people to seek external emotional cues which fuels Empathy.

Elisabeth shares a personal reflection on body dysmorphia and how she sought external validation by comparing herself to others. She emphasizes how important creating a safe and regulated nervous system was for her healing and to expand the capacity to feel, process and fully express her emotions.

Jennifer reflects on her journey from times of empathic overload to having well-defined boundaries. She shares how healing her interoceptive deficits and regulating her nervous system allows her to connect and communicate across different realms while maintaining a strong sense of self.

Episode Highlights:

  • Compassion fatigue that Empathetic coaches, therapists and healers experience
  • How interoceptive challenges can lead to the coping mechanism of Empathy
  • Surprising link between body dysmorphia, empathy, and external validation
  • How sensory mismatch goes beyond emotional empathy into the physical realm
  • How to retrain your nervous system while maintaining your empathetic superpowers and strong sense of Self
  • Reflexive boundaries
  • Link between self-abandonment and Empathy
  • Discover why tackling sensory integration challenges with NSI tools is the key to emotional regulation and healthy boundaries.

If you recognize yourself in this conversation and you want to start working with your nervous system to create more capacity and to move out of some of those negative Empathic outputs, then join us at rewiretrial.com. You’ll get two free weeks of nervous system training with us live on the site. We can’t wait to see you there!

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Listen to more episodes of Trauma Rewired HERE

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