Being An Empath: The Benefits

Being An Empath: The Benefits

Being an empath can be challenging at times. Your high sensitivity can feel more like a burden, than an asset. However, being an empath is not necessarily a negative thing. There are many positives to being an empath as well. Below are 10 benefits of being an empath.

Empaths

Empaths readily notice and tune into the emotions of others. You see the pain and suffering of everyone around you. It is probably easy for you to absorb the feelings of others as well. You are highly attuned to your surroundings and everyone in it. Empaths are very aware of subtle changes and can easily become overstimulated by sounds, smells, noises, and crowds. While having so much empathy can be difficult at times, there are also a number of benefits associated with being an empath.

1. Good Intuition

As an empath, you are very intuitive. When you absorb the emotions of others, you rely on your own gut feelings and intuition to make sense of everything. This enables you to notice subtle changes in body language, facial expression, and tone. You easily pick up on discrepancies in what is being communicated. Because of this, you will be able to tell when others are being dishonest. It won’t be easy for anyone to lie to you. If someone tells you nothing is wrong, it will be easy for you to tell if this is accurate or not.

2. Creative

Empaths are very creative. Since you pick up so much from your environment, a creative outlet provides a way to express it. You put a lot of emotion and energy into everything you create. Your creative efforts often move others because of this. Therefore, you can be quite successful in any field that requires creativity. This includes working as a writer, artist, dancer, actor, or chef among others. If you don’t work in a creative field, you will benefit from a hobby where you can use your creativity.

3. Helpful

It is natural for empaths to want to help others. This is not limited to friends and family. You may also go out of your way to help a stranger. Because you are so good at understanding what others are experiencing, you often know what type of help will be most effective.  Your trusting nature and kindness draw others to you, especially those in need. People turn to you for your sound advice and excellent listening skills. Helping others helps you feel good, as you are flooded with positive emotions that reinforce your helpfulness.

4. Compassionate

Empaths are very compassionate and understanding. It is easy for you to show kindness to others and to champion the underdog. You truly love being in nature, young children, and animals. They are naturally drawn to you as well. Seeing others in distress causes a great deal of discomfort. Your compassion knows no bounds. You feel a strong desire to comfort anyone that is suffering, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.

5. Awareness

Because you are so attuned to your environment as an empath, you are very aware of any changes that occur. This can help you avoid uncomfortable, or even dangerous situations. The energy of a place is noticed immediately and deeply felt. When the vibe in the room is positive, it enlivens your mood and makes you feel great. Likewise, you also notice when something is off with someone you are close to. Because you are so aware, you can provide others with a safe space to share, and you usually know just what they need as well.

6. Healing Energy

Empaths have a very healing energy. Others are often soothed simply by being in your presence. Feeling someone else’s pain gives you a stronger insight into what they need most. When you understand another’s pain, you can also understand what might help them. The ability that empaths have to really hear and understand someone can be quite healing on its own.

7. Feel Others Emotions

As an empath, you not only notice the emotions of other people, but you are actually able to feel them. This enables you to understand others on a deeper level. If you are with someone who is excited, you can experience the excitement as well. When you are with someone who is positive and joyful, you can experience these wonderful feelings as strongly as if they were your own. This can cause you to feel amazing.

8. Experience Feelings Deeply

Along with experiencing other people’s feelings strongly as an empath, your own emotions are deeply felt as well. If you are feeling some harder emotions such as sadness, or fear, you are able to process them quicker because you allow yourself to feel them so deeply. When you are feeling more positive emotions, you are able to fully feel them as well. This allows you to relive the enjoyable experience that created the wonderful feelings, so you feel the feelings all over again.

9. Meaningful Relationships

Empaths do not enjoy superficial relationships. Therefore, an empath usually has very deep and meaningful relationships. This is true of friendships as well as romantic relationships. Since an empath is naturally understanding and compassionate, you find it easier to forgive others. This can help improve the quality and duration of your relationships. You are always there with support when anyone close to you is suffering. 

10. Enjoy Alone Time

Alone time is very important to empaths. You need alone time to process your feelings and to differentiate your emotions from the emotions of others. Alone time gives you a chance to decompress and daydream. Since you rely so much on your intuition, and you possess a strong imagination, alone time helps you strengthen both. When you engage in time alone, you are able to recharge your batteries so you are not as overwhelmed by overstimulation.

While being an empath can have it’s challenges, there are also many benefits. If you are struggling with some of the challenges of being an empath, individual counseling can help. By focusing on the benefits of being an empath, you can enhance your overall emotional well-being.

ADHD In ADULTS

ADHD In ADULTS

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often thought to primarily affect children. However, adults can also have ADHD. Adults with ADHD may have different symptoms than what is commonly seen in children. This can make it hard for adults with ADHD to receive a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If left untreated, ADHD can have a negative impact on an your ability to function effectively. This article considers some symptoms of ADHD commonly seen in adults.

What Is ADHD

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder commonly diagnosed in children. Children with ADHD have trouble with impulse control, organization, and focus. While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, there appears to be a hereditary component. ADHD is thought to impair the executive functions of the brain. The three types of ADHD include, hyperactive-impulsive type, inattentive type (formerly known as ADD), and combined type. In the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD, there is little impulse control and there is a lot of fidgeting, talking, interrupting, and impatience. The inattentive type is characterized by forgetfulness, lack of follow through, and being easily distracted. Those who have the combined type of ADHD experience a combination of symptoms related to both the hyperactive-impulsive type and the inattentive type. ADHD impacts around 11% of children and 5% of adults. Although ADHD is primarily diagnosed in childhood, adults that never received a diagnosis can also be impacted.

ADHD In Adults

ADHD childhood symptoms can continue into adulthood and can have a negative impact on your ability to function effectively. It is also possible for adults to receive an initial ADHD diagnosis after the age of 18. Those who experience the inattentive type of ADHD might not have received a diagnosis in childhood, as their symptoms were not as disruptive to others. ADHD in adults can cause problems in your work life, relationships, and health. Adults with ADHD are more likely to experience other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, or depression. In fact, about half of all adults with ADHD also experience an anxiety disorder. If you have ADHD as an adult, your symptoms might present differently than they do in children. Recognizing the symptoms of ADHD in adults can help you get proper treatment so the symptoms don’t have a negative impact on your functioning.

Impulsiveness

Impulsivity can be an issue for adults with ADHD. You may have trouble waiting in line, waiting your turn to speak, or even driving safely. Mood swings can be common and it can be difficult to control emotional outbursts. Spending money on a whim, engaging in risky behavior, and impatience can cause problems in your relationships. Impulsivity can include coming up with unusual ideas, needing to talk out loud, and saying whatever comes to mind whether or not it is appropriate.

Time Management Issues

Adults with ADHD struggle to manage their time effectively. This can cause issues with others if you are constantly late, or forgetful. It may be difficult for you to organize your schedule. You may be forgetful and have trouble remembering things that you need to do when you really don’t want to do them. You might misplace important items, such as your car keys or phone, which can cause you to be late to meetings. Time management issues can have a negative impact on your work life and your relationships.

Trouble Focusing

A lack of focus can be a problem for adults with ADHD. Tasks that are boring, or no longer interesting can be very hard to complete. There may be a number of projects around the house, or even at work that are only partially completed. It may be hard to listen to others in conversations and pay attention to details. Trouble focusing in adults with ADHD includes difficulty sustaining attention and being easily distracted. This can lead to problems on the job and with the important people in your life.

Hyperfocusing

Along with a lack of focus, hyperfocusing can also be a symptom of adult ADHD. Hyperfocus, or intensely concentrating on something so deeply that you ignore or fail to notice anything else, is also related to ADHD. When you hyperfocus, it is easy to lose track of time and others around you. This may be helpful in certain work environments. However, it is often problematic in relationships as those close to you might feel like they are not a priority in your life.

Restlessness

Restlessness can be a symptom of ADHD in adults. Like children, some adults with ADHD can have trouble being still. You may feel constantly keyed up and always want to be moving. This can lead to a lot of frustrations when you work a desk job. Fidgeting, getting up frequently, and engaging in some form of physical activity can help with restlessness. If your thoughts are also restless, you may experience anxiety as well.

Work Issues

ADHD can have a negative impact on your job. It could be hard for you to complete certain tasks. You may have difficulty remembering to attend meetings, or be on time to work events. It could be difficult to sustain interest in the job you are doing and you might impulsively quit. Some of the symptoms of ADHD can make your work life very stressful. It is not uncommon for adults with untreated ADHD to have trouble keeping a job.

Health Problems

Adults with ADHD can suffer from health problems. Mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression are common in adults with ADHD. Forgetting to take prescribed medication, neglecting to schedule doctor’s visits, and ignoring minor health issues can occur with ADHD. Sleep disturbances and poor eating and exercise habits can also be seen in adults with ADHD.

Relationship Issues

Relationship struggles can also occur in adults with ADHD. Problems can be noticed in friendships, work relationships, romantic relationships, and with family members. Due to the symptoms of ADHD, you might be seen as insensitive, irresponsible, or uncaring. Others may view you as unreliable and inconsistent, which can take a toll on your relationships. It can sometimes be difficult to engage in and maintain close relationships because of your ADHD symptoms.

If you experience several of these symptoms and it is impacting your ability to function effectively, help is available. After receiving a diagnosis, a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you successfully manage symptoms of ADHD. This can improve your health, work, relationships, and overall emotional well-being.

5 Ways To Stop Catastrophizing

5 Ways To Stop Catastrophizing

Everyone gets caught up in worst-case scenario thinking, or catastrophizing at times. However, when you catastrophize, you reinforce the negative and this can become your normal way of thinking about the future. This can lead to anxiety and depression as you become caught up in a negative thought spiral always asssuming the worst. In order to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety and start feeling better, you need to stop catastrophizing. Below are 5 ways you can stop catastrophizing so you can start feeling better about the future.

What Is Catastrophizing 

Catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion, an unrealistic, unconscious way of thinking that reinforces the negative. It is when you imagine the worst-case scenario is the most likely outcome of a situation. One way of doing this is by taking a current situation that didn’t go the way you planned and believing that it will end in disaster. For instance, your work presentation didn’t go well so you imagine getting fired and ending up homeless. Even though this is a very unlikely scenario, your imagination takes over and you begin to believe this will happen. Catastrophizing also occurs when you think about your future and imagine all the ways things can go wrong. This creates a pessimistic outlook and possibly even a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure and a future of doom and gloom.

Why You Catastrophize

As a thinking being, you are able to remember past events and imagine future possibilities. This can be a good thing as it enables you to utilize your past to help you achieve your goals and plan for the future. However, this can also be problematic as it can lead to catastrophizing. You may believe that thinking about the worst-case scenario helps you prepare for it. Catastrophizing can even be a learned behavior as you witnessed your parents doing this and adopted it for yourself. It is related to anxiety disorders and even posttraumatic stress disorder. When you catastrophize, your brain releases cortisol and your amygdala (fight, flight, or freeze response) reacts to the danger that you are creating. While you may catastrophize initially to try and make yourself feel better, it actually causes you to feel worse. You reinforce the fear and helplessness you feel related to negative thoughts and end up feeling hopeless. If you notice yourself catastrophizing, there are things you can do to help.

1. Feel Your Feelings

Catastrophizing keeps the focus on the future instead of the present. This stops you from feeling your current emotions. Instead of working through your feelings, catastrophizing lets you avoid them. Although this may seem helpful at first, avoiding your emotions intensifies them and can lead to feeling additional negative emotions. In order to lessen the emotional impact of difficult feelings, you need to feel them so you can process them. Spend some time everyday identifying and feeling your feelings. When you are able to process your feelings, catastrophizing can significantly decrease.

2. Write It Down

If you keep ruminating on the worst-case outcome, writing it down can help. Writing down what you are catastrophizing can stop you from constantly thinking about it. Putting it down on paper engages the left hemisphere of your brain which can help you view the situation more logically. As you reread what you wrote, you can look at it more objectively. Doing this enables you to alter it so that it becomes more realistic. Instead of accepting your catastrophizing as the absolute truth, you can begin to notice the flaws in your thought process.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness can stop you from focusing on the imagined problematic outcome. When you are being mindful, you are fully present in the here and now without judging it. Catastrophizing is future oriented. It requires you to focus on an imagined future. In order to stay in the present moment, you can engage all of your senses and ground yourself in the present moment. You can look around you and name 5 things you see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Noticing your breath, breathing from your diaphragm, or meditating are other ways you can practice mindfulness. As you become more mindful, catastrophizing will decrease.

4. Follow It Through

Sometimes, following a catastrophic thought all the way through can be helpful. By following it all the way through, you can end up going beyond the feared outcome to ways that you can cope with it. Doing this can help calm your anxiety. This enables you to notice some of the things that are within your control. If you follow it through, you may also begin to notice the flaws in assuming the worst. Then you can begin to look at the situation more realistically.

5. Reframe

Reframing your negative thoughts can help you stop catastrophizing. In order to reframe your thoughts, you have to pay attention to your negative thinking patterns. When you catch yourself catastrophizing, challenge these thoughts. Come up with at least three other ways of thinking about the situation. Doing this causes your brain to start considering other possibilities that aren’t as negative. Then you can replace the worst-case outcome with something more positive. Reframing your thoughts also changes the feelings associated with your thoughts. This can help you feel more optimistic and hopeful about your future.

If you notice yourself catastrophizing, you can try the above tips. As you start taking control of your thoughts, feelings of anxiety and hopelessness can improve. However, if catastrophizing is having a negative impact on your emotional well-being and functioning, therapy can help. With practice, you can learn how to stop catastrophizing so you can have more hope for the future.

How To Stop A Negative Thought Loop

How To Stop A Negative Thought Loop

Being stuck in a negative thought loop can take a toll on your mental health. It can cause you to lose sleep and may increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. Sometimes, the more you try to will yourself to stop thinking, the stronger the negative thoughts become. Stopping the negative thought loop may not be easy, but it can be done.

What Is A Negative Thought Loop

A negative thought loop occurs when you think about something troubling or distressing over and over again and you can’t let it go. It could be something you said or did that you deeply regret, or something that was said or done to you, or something future or past oriented. As you ruminate on what occurred, you feel the feelings related to it. This can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression when you can’t let go of the thoughts. Although some self-introspection is quite helpful and healthy, negative thought loops are not. This is because your brain can’t easily distinguish between what is actually happening and what you are telling it is happening. When you focus on repetitive negative thoughts, you begin to judge yourself negatively as well.

Why Try To Stop It

Since you are a thinking being, negative thoughts will occur. However, when you get stuck in a thought loop that you can’t get out of, distressing feelings can increase and your mental health can suffer. You can have trouble sleeping and become easily agitated. It can even begin to change your world view and sense of safety. When you are stuck in a negative thought loop, it can impact your sense of self. Instead of your thoughts being about what happened, it can turn into being about what is inherently wrong with you. How you are not good enough and what a horrible person you are. When this happens, the negative thought loop reinforces the negative self-beliefs which can lead to unwanted behaviors. However, there are some things you can try to stop the negative thought loop.

Write It Down

Write the thought loop down on paper. The act of forming letters engages the logical side of your brain. This helps get you out of the imaginative side of your brain where you can catastrophize a situation and make it much worse than the reality. Sometimes just writing it down is enough to stop the thought loop. If not, you can read over what you wrote and check it for accuracy. If it is not accurate, or if you can think of other ways to look at it, write those down as well. Writing down your negative thought loop can help you look at it more objectively.

Feel Your Feelings

In order to stop a negative thought loop, you will need to feel the feelings associated with the thought. While it is normal to want to avoid uncomfortable feelings, you can’t fully process them until you feel them. When you ignore the feelings that come up related to the thought loop, the thought loop can actually become stronger. There is nothing wrong with your feelings and you can feel anything you need to feel. You can set aside a set amount of time everyday where you spend 10 or 15 minutes feeling your feelings. This way you allow your feelings to be experienced so they can be processed. Once you process your feelings, your thought loop might stop.

Practice Thought Stopping Techniques

As you develop the habit of feeling the feelings related to your negative thought loop, you will want to practice thought stopping techniques if the thought loop continues, or comes up during other times of the day. This can be done in several different ways. You can engage in an activity that helps distract you from your thoughts. This can include exercising, reading a book, or doing crafts. You could repeat a mantra over and over again to help drown out your thoughts. A visualization technique such as picturing a stop sign and reminding yourself that you have to think of this tomorrow can also stop the negative thought loop. When you have a set time everyday to feel your feelings and focus on your thoughts, it can make it easier to use thought stopping techniques at other times.

Self-Soothe

Accept your thoughts for what they are. A thought is just a thought and you can have a thought without attaching to it or making it bigger than it needs to be. Allow your thoughts to be and practice self-soothing. Focus on your breathing while you let your thoughts come and go without judgment. Go for a walk, talk to a friend, take a bath, or find something you can do that helps distract you from your thoughts. Be gentle and kind with yourself and with your thoughts. Use the emotional freedom technique (EFT) to help you calm down and accept yourself, no matter what your thoughts are.

Reframe

Reframe your thoughts to help you get out of the negative thought loop. To reframe your thoughts, check them for accuracy and consider other ways to think about it. If they are not very accurate and you are instead catastrophizing, change them to something more accurate. If they seem true, come up with another way to say it that is still accurate, but also kind. For example, instead of saying I made a mistake becuase I’m stupid, change it. Instead you could say something like I made a mistake because I overlooked something and I can look at things more carefully going forward. You can also observe your thoughts as if you are a third party and they are not about you and think of what you would say to this other person. Reframing your thoughts can help you accept the situation so you can let the thoughts go.

Practice Gratitude

When you practice gratitude you look for the good and the way things went well, instead of focusing on the negative. The more you practice this the easier it becomes for your brain to search for the good. Thinking about what you are grateful for can help you feel better about things. Keep a gratitude journal and notice all of the things you are thankful for. If you get stuck in a negative thought loop, your thoughts will more naturally shift to the good things when you make gratitude a daily practice. 

When you find yourself stuck in a negative thought loop, you can try the above tips. If you continue to struggle with negative thought loops that are impacting your emotional well-being, therapy can help. With practice, you can learn to stop your negative thought loops so they do not take over your life.

Emotional Freedom Technique

Emotional Freedom Technique

With everything going on in the world today, many people are struggling with anxiety. Some of the coping skills used successfully in the past to help you calm down can be more challenging these days. Because of this, you may need to find other tools you can use to help you relax. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an easy to learn skill that you can use to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Read on to learn more about EFT.

What Is EFT

EFT, also known as tapping or psychological acupressure, is a technique used to help calm the central nervous system and release uncomfortable emotions. EFT relies on Eastern Medicine and the use of acupressure points commonly used in acupuncture. By using your fingertips to tap on these acupressure points, also known as meridian points, symptoms of anxiety and feelings of panic can significantly decrease. According to the developer of EFT, Gary Craig, using affirmations while tapping on meridian points can help you release distressing or unwanted feelings. 

How Does EFT Work

EFT is based on the brain body connection and the energy system related to the meridian points used in acupuncture. Although it is not known exactly how it works, EFT is thought to balance and restore the energy system and release negative emotions that become stuck and block the flow of energy. Once the blockage is released, through tapping on the meridian points, energy can flow freely again. EFT helps calm down the overactive central nervous system by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system which enables you to rest and relax. The affirmations used in EFT accepts your current uncomfortable feeling while allowing you to move towards a more comfortable emotional state.

What Does EFT Help

EFT has been widely studied and found to be beneficial in reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress. There is some evidence suggesting EFT can be used to decrease symptoms of PTSD as well. EFT may also be effective in reducing pain and helping those struggling with addiction. It can be used to help decrease symptoms of depression and insomnia. It can also be used to help improve athletic performance. While it is not known exactly how EFT works, its efficacy is well documented.

The EFT Procedure

The EFT procedure is very easy to learn and practice as a form of self-help. It is especially effective in working with feelings of anxiety. To practice EFT on your own, you will want to use a statement that acknowledges what the issue is along with acceptance and how else you could feel. You will then need to identify the meridian points that you will use your fingers to tap on. After tapping, you can assess your level of distress to see if it has decreased. Repeat the procedure as needed.

The Statement

Notice what is going on for you and what you would like to address or alter. Form a statement that acknowledges the issue and then state how you could feel with acceptance. For instance, you can say something like, even though I am anxious, I know I can be calm, or Even though I experience anxiety, I accept myself completely. You say your statement out loud as you begin tapping.

Tapping

Next, use your index and middle fingers to tap on your meridian points 5 to 7 times on each point. The first meridian point is located on the start of your eyebrow above your nose. The next point is on the outer side of the eye below the eyebrows. Under the eyes is the next point. Then under the nose. This is followed by the one on the space between your lower lip and chin. The next point is 2 inches down from your collarbone and is often tender when you get the right spot. You will find the next point under your arm about 4 inches down. The top of your head in the middle is the next spot. Tap lightly on these points and say your statement out loud. Complete this sequence a few times, or until you notice a decrease in your level of distress.

EFT is an effective tool to use to help decrease symptoms of anxiety. If you continue to struggle with symptoms of anxiety that is having a negative impact on your emotional well-being, therapy can help. The next time you are feeling anxious, give EFT a try.

COVID-19 Update

In response to the current coronavirus threat, online/virtual appointments are now available.