Years ago I read a book titled “Are you Really Too Sensitive” by Marcy Calhoun. That was the beginning of my understanding through someone else’s words, what an empath is, why I felt that way I did, and how to take better care of myself. The dictionary describes empath as “a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.” I will add “whose world is bombarded with feelings and thoughts, oversaturated with internal and external data, that which then, becomes understatedly overwhelming.” Am I speaking your language?
Having heightened senses and feeling thoughts and emotions around us can be confusing and draining. Empath’s can be viewed and labeled as over sensitive, reactionary, delusional, depressed, neurotic, paranoid, crazy, you get the point – and those labels become part of the arduous demands we face. Bottom line – there is nothing wrong with you. You have a gift to share with the world.
Highly sensitive people and empath’s are acutely aware of their surroundings, having the ability to notice slight changes in energy fields. HSP’s and Empath’s can quickly appreciate people’s situations and emotions making them good listeners, great sounding boards and trusted confidents. The difference between Highly Sensitive People and empath’s is that the empath absorbs emotion as their own. I remember sitting in my therapist’s office one day, expressing what I felt and she said “You know Richard; you can’t really feel other people’s feelings”. Note to reader, look for a new therapist.
How Does The Empath Recharge?
By making choices. Our personal choices are imperative to our well-being and thrival. The key is to embrace your gift of sensitivity and train the mind. Own the word “sensitive”; let it become your field of expertise and honor what you feel. In a culture that offers many ways to cope, hope and dope with our worldly problems, we can easily fall prey to drugs or alcohol, food, sex and even excessive pampering and shopping. Yes, an isolated get-a-way to St. Lucia’s The Body Holiday is nice and may be just what the doctor ordered but, my point here is not to numb yourself.
For most people, present company included, nature is the supreme quick fix, the ultimate ER, 5-star rehab for healing and rejuvenation. Never underestimate the power of the mind in nature. The benefits of self-care in a natural setting are quick and effective. If you can get to the ocean or the mountains, that’s great, but honestly, the local park does wonders. Creativity is also a great way to channel energy through and out of you. So pick up a paintbrush – or favorite form of expression – and get that energy flowing. Mindful eating, an exercise regime, and some form of meditation are also all essential in your recharge toolkit. Below are three ways I practice self-care daily.
Set The Tone
Frazzle and overwhelm can creep up on us quickly, like an afternoon tropical thunderstorm. That is why it is important to start each day with an intention or tone for the day. Initiate an early morning routine to keep you grounded and your energy stable. On a typical day I will practice yoga, meditation, and journal which help me maintain a present awareness of healthy body and strong mind.
Touch is critical. We know that babies require touch to survive and the same is true for adults. We need a certain amount of physical contact to keep our emotional and nervous systems operating properly. Surround yourself with people who life you up, support your goals and dreams, and hold you lovingly.
When you need to rest, rest! It doesn’t mean you are a non-productive, slacking, lacking individual, it means you know that self-care is a healthy choice for your personal well-being. Make time to create a peaceful ritual in the evening to wind down before going to sleep. I enjoy a cup of chamomile tea while playing some ambient music, like shamanic radio on Pandora, and light my Shoyeido brand Japanese incense. Cultivate your peace.
In closing, is what I believe may be our biggest lesson here. It is not our job to convince! You can’t convince anyone of anything. Nada. You can only lead by example. People that gravitate toward you in a kind, non threatening way, are the ones who need and appreciate the information you share and will typically ask for it. If you feel or sense attack, demands, or negativity, then that is a clear sign to protect your energy and walk away. Namaste.