Many of my clients and friends have asked me the same question, and it has been one that I have also struggled with, “How do I get through life being an empath? How do I stay centered, balanced and not overwhelmed every day?”
This can deeply affect your quality of life – it isn’t a bad thing to be able to empathise and understand where another is coming from, but there are many who can literally feel emotions coming from others and often will take it on themselves.
There are many sides- one who will have little to no empathy, those who are very sensitive and then there are those who live in more of the extremes on either ends of the spectrum.
What is an empath? You may hear this term quite frequently. It means the ability to discern the mental and emotional state of another.
Emotions are just energy in motion. Often we can feel that projected energy from another – hence why some feel very overwhelmed when in crowds or talking with others going through a very stressful time.
There is a way to explain empaths scientifically as well – it isn’t some “new age” spiritual stuff.
We have an area of the brain called the right supramarginal gyrus-this area of the brain helps us with empathy every day. There are many different things that do affect our ability to connect and be empathic. If we need to make quick decisions, that reduces empathy. It can be that there is an over firing of nerves in that area which can make us more sensitive – or not enough, which can lead to apathy.
So, whether you are an empath or apathetic – what can you do to change that?
1) Working through your own emotions. If you suppress them, anyone else who is dealing with their own issues you will feel uncomfortable around. Sometimes, we suppress our emotions but as a way to avoid them we help others to a fault. You need to work through your own emotions in order to stay balanced, at peace, and to be able to have a balanced sense of empathy. When we can connect with our own emotions, we can understand how they can affect another person as well.
How can you work through your emotions? Observe, breathe and journal. Observing means not attaching, noticing where you feel it in the body, noticing your breath, ensuring you continue to deep breathe, and then journaling can be a form of letting go as well.
When we ignore how we feel, our capacity for empathy plummets. Our emotions, dealt with or not, can distort your own assessment of another. For example, if you have had an unpleasant experience the same time someone else had a positive one, you will assess their experience less positively.
2) Visualisation – This has been very helpful for me. Visualise your wei qi and your aura strong. If there are any energy leaks, this will affect the wei qi’s ability to filter and process information effectively, and we will take on every bit of information in our environment, relevant to us or not.
3) Acknowledge any belief systems around responsibility you may have for other’s emotions. If you feel that you are responsible for other people’s reactions, you are taking responsibility for their emotions. This means it is up to you to fix their problems and this is completely unhealthy. You are not responsible for how others react. You are only responsible for yourself and how you treat others in a respectful manner.
4) Acknowledge any event in the past that may be contributing to hyper awareness as a survival tool.
If you were exposed to anger outbursts, violence, manipulation, then we may develop a coping mechanism to keep us safe. Long after we are out of the situation, the coping mechanism may remain. Reassure yourself that you are safe, forgive yourself, forgive everyone involved. Seek additional counseling if needed.
5) Ask yourself – what purpose does taking this all on serve me? The first thing we will want to say is NOTHING! But trust me, there is something there. For me, feeling their emotions was a way to relate. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but my belief system was if I do not take on their emotions, I will not be accepted or able to relate. That is not healthy. Is there a martyr complex you need to address? Write it down and then in a controlled setting, burn it!
6) Similar to working on emotions, ensure you are breathing properly. The breath can have numerous effects, it is not just oxygen supply. The whole body rocks in motion with the breath, allowing the hormones and lymphatic system to release as well as cranial bones. Breathwork is extremely important for our health.
This may seem simple – but it all takes practice. Over time, you can bring balance to your emotions and how you perceive them in your environment. We have energy systems and filters in place to recognize what information is important and it will be relayed to the brain and body.
We may feel responsible for our environment but we are not. When we take on everything outside of us, that is a boundary issue and we are not in our true self or our power. We feel like life happens to us and life does NOT need to be that way. Know you can take charge, your body is yours! Feel empowered rather than drained.
Give it a try and let me know how it works for you after 7 days! ❤