If you are empathic, you probably easily identify with the feelings of others. You might also absorb the emotions and moods of those around you. Being in a crowd could leave you feeling exhausted and emotionally drained. It is probably difficult to watch violent movies, or even the news. If you absorb the energy around you and feel what others are feeling, then you might be an empath. While there is nothing wrong with being an empath, it can take a toll on your emotional well-being. If being an empath is negatively impacting your mental health, there are some things you can try that might help.
Being An Empath
If you are an empath, you can easily identify with and experience another’s feelings. Empathy can be a very good quality as it can help you connect with others through a deep level of understanding. You probably have good intuition, are a natural nurturer, and exude a healing energy. Being around joyful, excited people energizes you and makes you feel good. The difficult part of being empathic is that you also pick up on the negative energy and feelings of sadness and despair. This can lead to problems with anxiety and depression when it is hard to separate yourself from the unpleasant emotions of others. If you are sensitive to other people’s feelings and emotions, there are things you can do to keep yourself from absorbing all of the negative energy around you.
1. Name The Feeling
When you are sensitive to other people’s energy, it is difficult to know if what you are feeling belongs to you, or someone else. Naming the feeling you are experiencing can help with this. If you were having a great day and when someone joined you anger came up, this feeling might not belong to you. Being able to differentiate and name your feelings, can help you realize what feelings belong to you and which ones might belong to someone else.
2. Ground Yourself
If you notice yourself absorbing the energy of those around you, ground yourself back in the present moment. Focus on a specific object nearby. Name the things that are around you. Touch something with a unique texture. Take some deep, cleansing belly breaths. When your focus is on the experience rather than the feeling, it is easier to keep the energy around you separate from you. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can be helpful as well. The more you are able to be fully present in the moment, the less likely you are to take on the negative emotions of others.
3. Be Self-Aware
Self-awareness is important when you are sensitive to other people’s feelings. Acknowledge your need for alone time. Spend time with your own emotions. Allow your feelings to be without judgment. Learn what triggers you in a negative way. Also, become aware of what brings you feelings of joy. When you are more aware of your own feelings, moods, and triggers, it is easier to tell when you are picking up on someone else’s energy. Being more self-aware will enable you to cultivate different ways to acknowledge emotions that do not belong to you without absorbing them.
4. Visualize A Glass Wall
There are a number of techniques that you can use to keep other people’s energy separate. One technique includes visualizing a glass wall between yourself and the other person. The glass wall allows you to see the other person’s emotions. However, the emotions are not able to penetrate the wall. When they hit the wall, they bounce back to the other person, not to you. You can see and acknowledge the feelings, but you do not absorb them. This technique can work in large crowds as well. You can picture yourself surrounded by a glass wall as you move through the crowd. Although you may notice their energy, you do not have to take it on as it cannot get through the wall.
5. Be Curious
When it is easier to pick up on the feelings of someone else, you might also believe that you understand how this impacts them. Even if your assumptions are correct, sometimes people just want to be heard. Being curious about the other person and what they are feeling and how it is affecting them can help you separate what they are feeling from what you are feeling. Instead of taking on someone else’s bad mood, you can ask them questions about what they are going through. Gaining a deeper understanding of what the other person is experiencing and why can keep your own feelings separate, no matter how empathic you might be. Showing curiosity about what someone is going through enables them to begin to process their experience through sharing, which can help you both feel closer.
6. Have Strong Boundaries
If you are empathetic, it is very important to have strong boundaries. Since it is natural for you to understand and empathize with others, you might easily become a dumping ground for their negative emotions. It is essential that you know yourself and what you are and are not able to handle. You might need more alone time than others to feel energized. Certain people and situations might be particularly draining for you and you may have to limit your exposure to them. Effective boundaries help you set limits based on your own needs, feelings, and energy levels. This way you can limit your exposure to those people that consistently drain your energy.
7. Release The Emotion
Even if you incorporate all of the above, if you are naturally sensitive to the emotions of others, there will be times when you will absorb them. When this happens, you can use another visualization technique to keep from becoming overwhelmed. To do this, you can picture leaves floating down a stream. Picture yourself writing down the feeling you have absorbed onto a leaf. As the leaf flows down the stream and out of sight, the feeling goes with it and you are left with the calmness of the flowing water. Try this the next time you pick up on someone else’s emotions and see if it is helpful.
Empathy is a gift that helps you connect with others. The key to being empathetic without the negative side effects is to maintain a strong sense of self. If you are an empath, and find yourself absorbing the negative energy around you, try some of the ideas above to see if they are helpful. That way, your compassion, deep level of understanding, and healing energy will shine through.