Friday, 1 January 2016

Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Strategies for Empaths


      Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had an amazing 2015. I definitely had many bumps in the road but 2015 overall was a fantastic year for me. The best part was easily graduating high school, being able to work at a Workers Comp Clinic in LA and having the opportunity to perform at four different fundraisers and two Christmas tree lightings with the group I won a scholarship for during my Senior year. 
      I know 2016 is going to be a brilliant year. There are so many events I’ll be doing that I am thrilled for such as going to visit my sister Jaimi during Spring Break as well as having the Phantom Of The Opera National tour come to my home town. I also get to apply to colleges this fall to transfer to for the Spring 2017 term or the Fall 2017 term. 

      Today’s post is about a slightly serious topic. It’s not how I wanted to start the new year with but I feel like this post will help a lot of people. It’s about being a Empath and how to deal with it.
It’s both a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply. I can feel the emotional atmosphere around me and it can be quite hard and confusing sometimes. I am always stressed out even if my personal life is going well. This is because, I am spiritually connected to some people. I can feel it when someone is pretending to care about me or if someone is irritated at me. We don’t even need to talk for me to know. As an empath I truly feel what people are around me are feeling. If someone is constantly negative, bitter or upset all time, I end up feeling negative, bitter and upset all the time. Or if someone is happy and cheerful all the time, I feel happy and cheerful too. I absorb the emotions and stresses of those I interact with. It can be wonderful but it can also be very exhausting and incredibly confusing to determine which feelings are my own and which ones are from someone else. 
      As you can see, being an Empath is not easy. It is very difficult and confusing but there are ways to protect yourself from undue pain and stress. It is my New Years Resolution this year to learn how to properly protect myself; so I am going to explain to you some strategies that will help making being an Empath eaiser. 

      The first step is to find out if you are an Empath and what type you are. For the sake of my knowledge this quiz is to see if you’re a physical Empath or an emotional one.

01. Have I been labeled as overly sensitive or a hypochondriac?
02. Have I ever sat next to someone who seemed nice but suddenly my eyelids got heavy   and I felt like taking a nap?
03. Do I feel uneasy, tired, or sick in crowds and avoid them?
04. Do I feel someone else’s anxiety or physical pain in my body?
05. Do I feel exhausted by angry or hostile people?
06. Do I run from doctor to doctor for medical tests, but I’m told “You’re fine.”
07. Am I chronically tired or have many unexplained symptoms.
08. Do I frequently feel overwhelmed by the world and want to stay home?
09. Do I find myself crying at every horrible current event headline I see?
10. Do I relate to a fictional character on such a deep level that I start to become obsessed/fall in love with them?
      If you answered “yes” to 1 - 3 questions you are at least part Empath. Responding yes to 4 -  5 questions indicates you have moderate degree of empathy. 6 - 7 “yeses” indicate you have a high degree of empathy. Eight yeses indicate you are a full blown Empath. 

      I am both a psysical and emotional  Empath. I have been told countless times to toughen up and to not be overly sensitive. I am also connected to many fictional characters (Amelia Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy, Elphaba from Wicked, and the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera just to name a few). I’m not “obsessed” with any of them, I just connect with them on a deep level because I completely understand what they’ve gone through in their own stories. I’ve lost someone who meant a lot to me, similar to how Amelia looses someone in the end of Private Practice season 5. I’ve felt like an outcast because I grew up with a different religion than all my friends, similar to how Elphaba was outcasted for her skin color and I often feel alone and invisible like the Phantom. 
      Due to all the struggles I’ve dealt with this past year about being an Empath and not knowing how to protect myself without completely blocking everyone out, I have decided to make it my top resolution this year to not let other people’s stresses and pain bring me down enough to make me sick. This will also help me live my life to the fullest. So now please read on to find some strategies to thrive as an Empath.

1. Evaluate
      First off, you need to find out the source of this symptom or emotion. Is it mine or someone else’s? It could be both, like being at work and your co-worker starts panicking about something that could happen which makes you panic as well (been there!). If the emotion is yours, find out what’s causing it by thinking about what you’ve done today and who you’ve interacted with that may have set off this feeling. If it’s not yours try to pinpoint the generator. Did you have a friend complain to you about something wrong in her life, or did you re-watch another depressing episode of Grey’s Anatomy, knowing that it would set something off in you (been there!). 

2. Move away
      If the source is a person, try to distance yourself at least twenty feet away from them if possible. See if you feel relief. Don’t err on the side of not wanting to offend them. In a public place, don’t dictate to change seats if you feel a sense of “dis-ease” imposing on you. One thing I’ve done many times is if a friend of mine constantly texting me bitter, negative things, I’ll put their message on “do not disturb” mode. I’ll still get their message but I won’t get any notifications about it. I also will reply with short answers like “oh” or “ok” when said person keeps complaining about the same thing all the time. 

3. Know your vulnerable points
      Each of us has a body part that is more susceptible to absorbing stress. Mine is my gut and my shoulders. The more stressed out I get the tighter my shoulders get and the more foods upset my stomach that normally don’t upset it when I’m not stressed. During senior year, my right shoulder got so tight and swollen that I had to get a few painful massages for it to relax. It was terrible. At the onset of symptoms in these areas, place your palm there and keep sending loving-kindness to that area to soothe discomfort. For longstanding depression or pain, use this method daily to strengthen yourself. It’s comforting and builds a sense of safety and optimism.

4. Surrender to your breath
      If you suspect you are picking up someone else’s symptoms, concentrate on your breath for a few minutes. This is centering and connects you to your inner power. If this doesn’t help, turn to music with natural sounds. I use the Simply Being app for this, I just turn the voice audio off and just focus on the natural sounds it comes with.

5. Practice Gurilla Meditation
      To counter emotional or physical distress, act fast and meditate for a few minutes. Do this at home, at work, at parties, or conferences. Or, take refuge in the bathroom. If it’s public, close the stall. Meditate there. Calm yourself. Focus on positivity and love.

6. Set healthy limits and boundaries
      Control how much time you spend listening to stressful people, and learn to say “no.” Remember, “no” is a complete sentence. This also goes along the lines of telling those really negative people to stop complaining so much and to start being grateful for what they have in their life. 

7. Visualize protection around you
      Visualize an envelope of white light around your entire body. Or with extremely toxic people, visualize a fierce black jaguar patrolling and protecting your energy field against intruders. This has helped me a lot during stressful times. If you are religious imagining God holding on you as protection can really work wonders.

8. Develop X-ray vision
      The spaces between the vertebrae in your lower back (lumbar spine) are conducive to eliminating pain from the body. It’s helpful to learn to mindfully direct pain out of these spaces by visualizing it leaving your body. When you exhale, imagine that your breath is black and all that negative energy is leaving you and that you are inhaling white positive light. Say goodbye to pain as it blends with the giant energy matrix of life!

9. Take a bath or shower
      A quick way to dissolve stress is to immerse yourself in water. My bath is my sanctuary after a busy day. It washes away everything from bus exhaust to long hours of air travel to pesky symptoms I have taken on from others. Soaking in natural mineral springs divinely purifies all that ails. I have these color therapy bath salts that are supposed to do different things for you. I use the yellow one a lot because yellow is supposed to clear your mind and bring a feeling of serene positivity to you. 
      Also if you’re a female, using a stress relieving face mask can work wonders. I love Origins Stress-relieving face mask which you can find here. It’s a mix of Lavender and Camomile which calms you down but it also relaxes stressed skin and provides moisture to your skin.
      For quick relief when you are on-the-go I love the Origins On-The-Spot relief It’s has a lovely peppermint scent that isn’t overpowering at all so if you’re wearing perfume it won’t mix badly with it. I have it in a sample size tube and I take it with me wherever I go. 

10. Avoid your emotional triggers
      While musicals like Wicked and Phantom of the Opera aren’t full blown triggers for me, I have to avoid the TV show Private Practice like the plague. As much as I love that show, it was watching an episode in the latter half of season 5 that started my depression. So now, whenever things come up in relation to that episode I do my best to remove myself from that situation. I’ve removed all the songs that make me thing about it from my iTunes library and I try to only focus on happier things. I still love musicals, so I am constantly listening to them, I just skip over the sadder songs. So far the new season Grey’s Anatomy hasn’t dealt with anything that would trigger my depression again, but I know that if it does, I’ll just skip over that episode(s). 

      If you continuously practice these strategies, you will create a magical safe bubble around you that nurtures you while simultaneously driving negative things aways. If you occasionally pick up someone else’s pain or other nasty symptom, don’t panic. It’s natural. With these strategies you can have quicker responses to stressful situations. You’ll start to feel safer, more secure and happy.

So that is it for this post. I hope you all enjoyed it. If you did please do not forget to give this a +1 on Google+, share with all the lovely people in your life and leave me a comment saying what kind of empath you are and what you think of the new layout. I love you all! 

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  1. I think I have a moderate degree of empathy, and I didn't even think mu about it till now! This is such a deep topic, and it really opened my eyes to a new topic!
    Thank you for this post, and thankt for all of the support you give me,
    Chloe ♡

    1. Of course. I'm so glad it helped you! I have many more empath related posts planned.