If you find yourself easily impacted by the emotions of others, there is a good chance you are an empath. Below, we will explore what it means to be an empath and offer tips to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the emotions you feel, yours and others. Empathy can be a wonderful trait because it allows us to understand and share in the feelings of others. This allows us to appreciate what others are going through and offer support. However, for some people, the level of empathy experienced is intense. These individuals are called empaths and they can feel affected deeply by the emotions of others. It can seem as if an empath takes on the feelings of others. While empaths are often deeply caring and can form intense connections, there are challenges that must be overcome in order to be empathic and still function normally.
For an empath, simply walking into a crowded room can be overwhelming, as can talking to someone who is angry or stressed out. Empaths can be overstimulated by bright lights, loud noises, and even strong scents. Even movies and programs that are harrowing can send an empath into emotional overload. If you find yourself extremely sensitive to the emotions of others and have felt the challenges shared above, then you are likely an empath. To help navigate these challenges, a few techniques and tools are shared below. These will help protect your energy levels so empathic feelings are not constantly overwhelming.
The best tool an empath can use is to set and maintain healthy boundaries. While boundaries are important to everyone, for an empath it is extremely useful. Empaths can often feel the emotions of others so intensely that they lose track of their own needs and feelings. Lessen this by learning to say “no” more often and knowing when it is necessary to step away from a situation. Empaths must learn to prioritize self-care. This may include setting boundaries with those in your life that are particularly draining. This allows you to determine how much energy will be spent on that person. This may mean pointing them to other forms of support or spending time apart as necessary.
When emotions become overwhelming, it can be helpful to get that emotion out. While there are many options for this, journaling is an easy, straightforward way to do so. Write whatever is on your mind to release it and reconnect with your own emotions. This can help you stay focused on what feelings are yours. To establish the habit, write a few lines each morning or evening to help process the day and deal with lingering emotions.
Recognizing your own feelings and getting to know what you need is very important. Practicing mindfulness can help with this. Whether you practice mindfulness with meditation or some relaxing activity like knitting, walking, or even coloring, set time aside to be present and quiet. This helps replenish energy levels which makes you more resilient and able to handle the emotions of others.
If you are headed into a situation that you know will be draining, like a party or concert, try out visualization techniques. Imagine a glass wall between yourself and the person you are speaking to so that while you converse you are protected from their emotions. You can also picture yourself in a protective bubble or see the emotions of others as water that simply flows over you.
Nature is grounding and helps you clear your mind as you are closer to the earth. Try to be outdoors often, especially in green areas. Take the time to really look at the leaves or clouds to be anchored in the moment and feel connected to yourself and only your emotions.
Being prepared can help you avoid emotional overload. Take note of your triggers toward empathic tendencies and create a plan for each.
Some of the tips will require boundary work, others a recovery plan. Having a plan can save both time and energy when a situation arises. The more prepared you happen to be, the more your empathic side can be embraced. Learn to see the positives with the challenges. Empath is a gift and it is time to master this gift.