The world can be a chaotic place!
For highly sensitive people, things are even more intense. Sounds are louder, scents are stronger, and lights are brighter. Empaths experience this same heightened sensitivity to the five senses. But they can also feel other people’s emotions and energy.
All that extra information you’re taking in can be a lot sometimes. And if you don’t develop healthy strategies, big empathy can become a limitation, instead of the empowering gift it truly is.
You can learn how to tell the difference between your own feelings, and those of the people around you. Then you're able to respond with serenity and clarity, instead of feeling overwhelmed.
Here are 3 Essential Practices to Stop Empathic Emotional Overload:
One - Start Paying Attention!
The first step is to stop and pay attention to how you're feeling. When you experience a troubling or overwhelming emotion or “vibe,” take a moment to quiet your mind.
Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Check in with yourself emotionally and physically. How do you feel? How does your body feel?
Now, just observe that troubling emotion without getting caught up in it. Imagine you can remove it and place it a couple feet in front of you, looking at it objectively--like an interesting little hologram. Try not to get hooked into judgement or drama, good or bad. Just observe. And remember to keep breathing...
Can you identify the emotion? Does this feeling even belong to you?
Two - Trust it!
If the feeling is yours, you can check in with your own motivations and triggers before you react. And be honest with yourself here. That's not always easy!
If the feeling isn’t yours, you’re picking up on someone else’s emotion or vibe, empathically. This is normal for Empaths. Just understanding the difference will reduce your overwhelm and confusion.
Trust the information you're receiving from your big empathy. It's not your imagination. You're likely taking it for granted because you're used to it, but it's valuable. Most people don't have access to these insights.
Three - Follow up!
If the feeling is yours, now that you've got some clarity, you can proceed with calm accountability and emotional intelligence.
If you're picking up on someone else's feelings, you can decide whether to respond or let it go.
For example, you might be feeling the sadness of a friend who's afraid to ask for help. Once you know the sadness isn't yours, you can be there for them, without feeling overwhelmed.
Or it might be a family member who's being rude and difficult. It's easy to absorb their negativity and get angry--or worry that you've done something wrong. Once you slow down and pay attention, you realize it's not about you at all. They're feeling grumpy and defensive about something else and taking it out on you. Because you're got this clarity, you understand that there’s no need for you to take it personally and get pulled into their drama.
Your empathic sensitivity has given you information that other people aren’t even aware of!
The more you observe and work with this empathic information, the more clarity you'll develop. This will help minimize your feelings of overwhelm.
In addition to checking in with yourself when you're feeling overloaded, try starting a meditation practice. Even just a few minutes a day of deep breathing and stillness can make a big difference!
When you're not feeling confused and exhausted by empathic overload, you can express your caring and sensitive nature in ways that are healthy for you and make the world a better place. This is important because the world needs more empathy and sensitivity right now!
Emotions are running high and out of control. In this time of polarization and uncertainty, a lot of people are reacting with selfishness and defensiveness.
We need highly empathic and caring people to trust in themselves and show us the way.
Pay attention to your feelings.
Trust and follow up on what you're sensing.
Show the world the power of your big empathy and sensitivity!
Are You an Empath? Take the quiz now to find out!
I'd love to hear your questions, comments, and ideas for further posts.
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