It was nine years ago that someone told me I was an empath. I had no idea what the word meant and had to go look it up in the dictionary. It defined me perfectly “someone who feels the thoughts, energies and emotions of others and the world around them”. What a moment of revelation, I had been like this my entire life. I grew up thinking that everyone was like me, but they weren’t. I was an emotional sponge walking the world. I had been building walls and acquired fat around my body for protection from the outside world. I would coddle people because I could feel their pain and suffering or I would retreat behind a face of indifference hoping that I would not get sucked into the energetic vortex of negativity. Either way I would consistently find myself inundated and exhausted.
Studies conclude that 20% of the population are defined as empaths. That means there are 1.4 billion gifted souls here that have come to lift the energy level of our planet yet many are falling into the trappings of denser energies as they try to cope. Being an empath meant that I was suffering from adrenal fatigue, excessive fear, phobias from being out in the world, depression, chronic fatigue, social anxiety and panic attacks, all because I feel too much. Medications were just a band-aid that covered up the underlying issue of being sensitive and depleted. Pain medications just inhibited my true being. There is a stereotype that empaths are introverts but studies show that 30% are extraverts. Another interesting perspective is that animals suffer too from the same characteristics as humans.
From the moment empaths are in the womb, they sense everything and notice everything with infinite details. Their depth of processing things is profound. Some of the places that would play havoc with my sensitivities were funerals, hospitals, concerts, Las Vegas, New York, airplanes, television (especially violence) and the poor treatment of animals. The energetic overload would take me days to detox. A noisy and overstimulated environment where you are aware of everything can be exhausting. I made it worse by trying to please everyone to avoid being scolded or yelled at. Anyone who raised their voice with me would throw me into a sea of sorrow and anxiety, sometimes for months.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said “our innate capacity for empathy is the source of the most precious of all human qualities” .
To cope, empaths look for ways to ease heightened levels of sensitivity through addictions to drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex and gambling. This is a tragedy as our society and our medical community are ignoring the special needs of this segment of the population. The end result is usually drugging them to ease their sensitivities which ends up cutting off their remarkable gifts to humanity. With proper treatment and care they make amazing leaders, musicians and artists a they are bursting creativity and ideas.
So what to do if you think you are part of the 2o% of highly sensitive people or HSP’s as they are called?
Here are some of my strategies:
1.) Diet: I try to eat a whole food diet and avoid addictive foods with gluten, sugar and white flour that simply put me on a roller coaster of emotions.
2.) Exercise: I exercise six days a week, walking my dog in nature. This helps to build up my stamina and release energy back into the field.
3.) Meditation: I meditate every day even if it is only fifteen minutes, this gets my mind aligned and grounded into reality so that I am not attached to anything.
4.) Energy Clearing: I will often do a small clearing before sitting down to work to be sure that nothing is attached to me and that any lingering energies have dissipated. I have a stick of palo santo always in a dish right next to my computer.
5.) Manage cortisol: I watch my cortisol levels and take natural herbs to settle my adrenals down when they are tapped out.
6.) Big boundaries: Empaths require strong boundaries and limitations. It is important to master one word, NO. If energies are over the top, it is a sign that you need a NO. It doesn’t matter the reaction of the other person, it is irrelevant how they see their level of communication with you, as an empath sees everything at a heightened level. Empaths will often hear “you are overreacting” “it is not that big of a deal”, all signs that you are on a different emotional frequency. Eventually that person will learn where you begin and end and you will avoid dripping in excess stimulation that can knock you out. I keep strict boundaries around me, people, places and things are monitored for their effect and if anything is not in alignment it is not in my life – out it goes. Although this may be difficult at first (because often we are addicted to dysfunctional relationships), after the adjustment is made we can feel the difference immediately when they have left our energy field.
7.) Self preservation: Whatever is coming at you and making you uncomfortable STOP. Do not go forward without dealing with it. Sit and take a deep breath and then visualize sending it all back to where it came from. I will also call in the energies of Mother Earth and ask her to pull it into the ground and “mulch it”. Do not be afraid to get up, go outside or remove yourself from a situation that is becoming overwhelming and take a break. It is important to realize that being an empath means you have special needs and you need to begin to better manage your place in the world.
8.) Water, Water Water: This is my empath detox solution. By jumping in a shower or soaking in a tub you can withdraw from the world for awhile and water is an energy cleansing tonic. Add some salt and sandalwood to the water and you have the anti-overwhelm solution. I will often put the same oils on the nape of my neck and at the base of my spine, areas notorious for the entering of negative energies.
9.) Nature: Another tonic for empathy is nature. Everything in nature is dedicated to balance. All the plants, minerals, trees and energies are in a constant force of maintaining balance. Tapping into this energy can pull you into a natural flow and remove toxic issues and energies that have found a home in your tissues. Placing an intention to send back everything that does not belong to you and return to the natural flow can make a huge difference.
10.) Natural EMF protectors: I have had a lot of luck with using copper rods to dowse for concentrations of energy into my home. Here is more information about that. A nice selection of copper that can be used to ground the EMF energy before it gets into your house can be found at Healing Crystals. Watch my video to learn more about empaths and how to ground energy around your house.
Lastly, the most important thing is awareness of how you walk in the world. My greatest revelation was accepting I was the 20% and realizing it was okay to be the empath. The bottom line is that it requires emotional management so that you can live a life that is full and safe. Designing a safe zone insures that you have all the tools you need to stay grounded and protected so that your special light continues to shine brightly in the world.
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