My empath abilities:
-I'm very perceptive and sensitive to other people's emotions, thoughts, intentions, dreams, their "inner worlds" basically
-I'm really sensitive to colors, and very perceptive of how they effect human emotion
-My nervous system is highly sensitive, so you could say I'm a "highly sensitive person" and I am sensitive to others' energies, so I need a certain amount of time alone every day
-I have trouble making eye contact with people because I feel like I'm staring into someone's soul when I look them in the eyes
-It's easy for me to make connections with people, because I feel like I know them, even before I've met them or talked to them much
I control my abilities by making sure I have enough time alone to "recharge," by getting enough sleep every night, by eating well (my abilities are much more intense when I'm not healthy... when I'm doing good physically my nervous system is much more able to process all the info. that floods in every day), and lots of other things..
I also try to keep myself away from people with "toxic" energy (people like narcissists..etc.). What I'm working on right now is setting boundaries for my family members, so that they know more about what I need. Most of my life I've pushed my own needs aside, but recently I've found out that doing that has only added to pent up emotions inside of me. I've also been asking others what they want/need, thus taking the pressure off myself to "read their minds." 'Cause that's what I try to do all the time! I'm fairly good at it, but it can be stressful.
I also have a lot of different things that I do to control the "side effects" that I experience (like depression and anxiety). But in general, this article,Thriving as an Empathhas helped me a lot.
Hope this helps!