Do you easily absorb others’ emotions and pain? Or maybe you possess a strong gut reaction that provides insight into the thoughts and feelings of others. If you nodded yes to both, you might be an empath. But what does being an empath mean? And if you are prone to others’ pain, how can you protect your energy as an empath? Here, we answer all of your questions, break down the signs, and, of course, how to ensure your cup is full before giving to others.
What Is An Empath?
According to Dr. Judith Orloff, who wrote The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, empaths are emotional sponges who absorb everything around them, both positive and negative. However, while they feel deeply, this gift makes them vulnerable to burnout and overstimulation because they lack the basic filters most use to protect themselves. And interestingly, there are also different types of empaths that all share this unique ability;
- Emotional empaths absorb the emotions of others, whether positive or negative
- Physical empaths can intuitively detect the physical symptoms of others and can even feel them within their own bodies
- Intuitive empaths are perceptive to the thoughts, feelings, and world around them, including plants and animals
15 Signs You’re An Empath
Besides the first sign of having a great deal of empathy, there are a number of other signs that pinpoint to being an empath;
- Feels the emotions of others as their own
- A strong gut reaction or intuition
- Sensitivity to stimuli and vulnerability to overstimulation
- Struggles to set boundaries due to felt-sense to help others
- Overwhelmed by crowds
- Acute sensitivity, even as a child
- Feels most comfortable within nature
- Avoids conflict and confrontation
- Often feels odd or like you can’t fit in
- Easily feels anxious and drained after absorbing other’s energy
- Has unique perspectives of seeing the world
- Needs considerable time to recharge and recollect
- Tends to isolate as a way to heal from the overwhelm
- People feel inclined to tell you their problems
- Experiences compassion fatigue and burnout from absorbing others’ emotions
How to Protect Your Energy As An Empath
1. Investigate your emotions
As an empath, you naturally draw and absorb the emotions of others. For example, if someone loses a loved one, you will, of course, sense their grief, but you will also feel their pain and loss within you. To combat this overwhelm and protect yourself, look within to determine what emotions you’re sensing and who they belong to. For instance, if you feel anger, ask yourself, “Whose emotions are within me?” If they’re not yours, take a moment to send that person compassion and mindfully breathe or move your body to release them. If the emotion is yours, ask yourself, “What is this emotion trying to teach me, and what does it need?”
2. Emotionally decompress with breaks
Empaths are extremely sensitive to the world around them. Crowded places, social gatherings, and even loud noises or fragrant smells can be alarming to their acute sensitivity. So, to protect yourself against overstimulation, tune in and take frequent breaks throughout your day. For example, put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest, close your eyes, breathe, and repeat, “I am safe, and I release all negative energy and allow positive loving energy to protect me“. You can also meditate, go for walks, rub lavender oil on your wrists for a stress release, follow tips to reduce stress naturally or give yourself a EMDR butterfly hug for self-compassion.
3. Practice setting boundaries
Empaths LOVE helping others and often at the expense of their own needs and desires. But boundaries and learning to say no will protect you. For example, if someone is becoming reliant on your advice and kindness and it’s too much for you, politely tell them “No”. It’s a complete sentence, and you don’t need to follow up with an explanation. Or if you go to a party, leave when you’re ready, not when your friends want you to leave. You’re not superhuman, and your energy isn’t limitless. It’s important to prioritize your needs too, and boundaries are here to help you.
4. Connect with nature often
While nature offers a respite for anyone, the natural world, void of sound and light pollution, is an empath’s best friend. Indeed even if you only have the time to sit under a tree, water your plants, or go for a walk, nature will calm your soul, protect your energy from overstimulation, and help you unwind. It also offers a chance to mindfully connect without any distraction and allows you to connect to YOU.
5. Shield with visualization
Visualization is one of the best and easiest ways to protect your energy as an empath. For example, if you’re at work talking with a colleague who fills you with toxic energy, take a few deep breaths and visualize a shield of white light pouring from the top of your head and covering you from head to toe. Imagine its warm embrace shielding you from anything that doesn’t serve your best interest or you can practice calming visualization techniques for anxiety too. The beauty of visualization is that it allows you to block what you don’t want while still allowing positive and loving emotions to enter.
6. Create a mindful morning routine
Before you go out into the world filled with an abundance of energy and emotions, create a mindful morning routine to protect yourself. For example, start by telling yourself, “Today is going to be a wonderful day”, then make your bed, meditate for 20 minutes (however much time you have), mindfully stretch, and journal. Even if you don’t currently have a routine, start small and dedicate at least 20 minutes to mindfully safeguarding your energy and starting your day with self-love and compassion.
7. Energy healing treatments
Try to receive weekly energy healing treatments to help you balance your emotional energy, clear your chakras, and move your qi. Some popular spiritual go-to’s are reiki, acupuncture, qi gong, and emotional freedom technique tapping. While each method helps everyone stimulate their healing and release stuck energy, it’s a perfect self-care ritual for any empath struggling to manage the feelings of others.
8. Adopt a pet
You might be surprised by this tip. But hear us out. Empaths who are drained easily can find unconditional love, solace, and comfort connecting to a pet. Especially after a tiring day absorbing the emotions of others, empaths can replenish their emotional reserves by cuddling with their animal companions. But before you adopt a pet from a shelter, please ensure you have the dedication and responsibility to make a lifelong commitment. Your pet will become a part of your family and deserves your lifelong love.
Remember, being an empath is a powerful gift. You have special abilities that allow you to experience the world uniquely and beautifully. But your needs and emotions are just as important. And learning how to protect your energy as an empath will go a long way in allowing you to keep giving your love to everyone around you while also loving yourself.
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