Protect Your Energy! A Guide to Being an Empath
Posted on December 03 2018
Empath... a word that has been buzzing around the health and wellness community a lot lately. But what does it actually mean? To understand what it means to be an empath, one must first understand the definition of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand another person's thoughts, emotions, and feelings from their point of view, rather than from your own. In other words, to have empathy means you have the ability (or lets be real, superpower!) to place yourself in another person’s shoes.
For most who possess extreme empathy and consider themselves to be empaths, it can be a blessing and a curse. You have the ability to be so in tune with other people’s emotions yet you may also carry the weight of them, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Sometimes boundaries are difficult to set and lines become blurred when an empath begins to question whether their feelings are their own or someone else's.
So how does one deal?! Where is the balance between being an empath with healthy boundaries versus being an empath who takes on wayyyy too much (we have all been there!)? The answer, I believe, is rooted in self care, establishing healthy boundaries and cultivating self love. Here are some tips to embracing your Empath superpowers in a healthy way….
Solo time. We all need time alone, whether that be through meditation or simply spending an hour away from others energy. During alone time, we can decompress and release any stagnant energy or emotions that may not be our own. Sometimes it helps to breathe deeply, imagine white light surrounding yourself and ask to release all emotions and tension from your body that do not belong to you.
Know that you cannot solve everyone’s problems. It is great to be there for others and lend a listening ear, but at a certain point it can become unhealthy. Yes, you want to help, but it’s important to realize that others can only truly help themselves. They have to put in the work, you cannot do the heavy lifting for them.
Exercise. Tony Robbins once said, “Emotion is created by motion. In other words, emotions are linked to movement in our bodies.” Yes movement can actually get some of those emotions flowing out of you! Feeling drained? Go for a walk, stretch, do yoga, or any other form of exercise. After 10-20 minutes of light exercise, you will begin to feel a major shift in your mood.
Set time limits. If a loved one has been coming to you with the same problem time and time again, it is perfectly fine to let them know that you care for them, but you are not available to help them with the same issue repeatedly. Mirroring is a perfect way to do this. It is important to stop feeling responsible for solving the problem that they are not able, or ready, to solve for themselves.
Setting boundaries. It is beautiful to want to help others, but at some point you have to know when to walk away from toxic conversations and emotional dumping. When you feel yourself hitting your limit (usually through agitation, feeling overwhelmed or tightness in your body), find a way to take a step back from the situation and realign with your peaceful center. Deep breathing also helps with this.
Nature. Nature is one of the best ways to ground and clear! Strolling through the park, watching a beautiful sunset, feeling the sand beneath your feet at the beach, and mindful walking are all beautiful ways to drastically shift your mood and energy.
Protect your energy at all costs! If a person, place, or any thing makes you feel drained, do not engage with it. Most “things” will either drain or uplift you and it is important to know the difference between the two. Do you feel light, happy, excited and/or energetic when you are engaging with someone or something? Keep with it! Do you feel exhausted, frustrated, agitated and drained? That’s your cue to stay away!
The basics (self care). Sleep, eating healthy, staying hydrated, even good hygiene... all help to build self worth, which make it easier to identify energy vampires and when to say no to them.
Self compassion. The saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, aka take care of yourself first, is applicable here. Make sure that the compassion you are giving to others is first given to yourself!! It is easy to get caught up in trying to help to the point that you lose your own voice. It is important to remember to treat yourself just as well as you are treating the ones around you.
Awareness. Realize that this “superpower” that you possess is truly a gift, even if it can often feel otherwise. With real empathy comes true understanding and the ability to help others (as long as it is not at the expense of yourself!).
Support. Recognize that it is ok to ask others for help. It doesn’t always have to be you who is doing the fixing. Make sure to create a network of uplifting individuals who make you feel supported.