Do you always feel badly when you are around a group of people? Do you seem to have physical symptoms that you didn’t think are yours? Do you have problems with depression, or mood swings? Then you could be empathic.
I know; that doesn’t really help you just now, to know you could be empathic. Especially if you aren’t aware of what that is. But hopefully I can spread of little bit of information your way, along with several steps to use to ease the situation, and have a better handle on things.
First of all, let’s try to understand what being empathic is. Being empathic means the ability to feel other people’s emotions as your own: you literally feel what other people are feeling. You may be aware of it, but usually people don’t know that they have this ability
and subsequently feel like the misery is all their own!
Elise LeBeau, who is an empath and professional coach, says, “I can sense the emotions of everyone around me, even my next door neighbors. It comes to me like a scrambled radio station where I get bits and pieces from all those people.” LeBeau has even classified different levels or types of
empaths this way:
- Non Empaths have completely shut down their Empath skills and use other cues to get emotional information (such as verbal and non-verbal indicators). Over time, they completely lose their Empath abilities.
- Impaired Empaths might have some basic filters but can easily get overwhelmed, especially in a crowded venue or during emotional turmoil. They tend to experience emotional distress (i.e. feeling the weight of the world) and physical symptoms (i.e. exhaustion, headaches, depression).
- Functional Empaths are able to control the flow of information so that it is comfortable and under their control
- Trained (or Professional) Empaths are able to interpret complex emotional information accurately and use it for specific purposes (such as healing work).
You may find yourself in one of these categories. But never fear. There are ways to address the situation after you finally recognize what
is going on. The following is adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s new book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011)
“When empaths absorb the impact of stressful emotions, it can trigger panic attacks, depression, food, sex and drug binges, and a plethora of physical symptoms that defy traditional medical diagnosis from fatigue to agorophobia. Since I’m an empath, I want to help all my empath-patients cultivate this capacity and be comfortable with it.
“Empathy doesn’t have to make you feel too much all the time. Now that I can center myself and refrain from shouldering civilization’s discontents, empathy continues to make me freer, igniting my compassion, vitality, and sense of the miraculous.”
Here are a few practices to keep yourself centered and in control:
- Gift yourself with quiet time to emotionally relax. Take regular calming mini-breaks throughout the day. Breathe in fresh air. Stretch. Feel yourself in your own body.
- Use mini-meditations. Meditate for a few minutes. It keeps your energy centered and grounded so others’ emotions don’t get caught in your energy field.
- Define and honor your empathic needs.Safeguard your sensitivities. Here’s how.
- Learn to say “no.” You don’t have to explain why.
- Socialize inshort spurts. Find quiet spaces to retire to if need be.
- Stay on the outskirts of large crowds or groups of people. Know when to take a restroom break to breathe and relax.
- Make your home a safe, sacred space.
Do your own research. Look up websites dealing with empathy; find an author who you resonate with and follow their books and tapes. Don’t try to gather too much information. It can lead to confusion about the topic. Go with what feels good to you, that good feeling will never steer you wrong.
Blessings to you on your path! ~Melissa