This post is dedicated to all of the empaths, healers, light holders, and people who are trying to understand who they are and where they want to go.
I recognized the need to do another post on Empaths and Mental Health a long time ago, but I never got around to it … until now.
There are two different books that I highly recommend, both of which are excellent resources for empaths and new energy workers. The first is a wonderful book called “The Empowered Empath” by Judy Dyer. The second is “Energy Strands: The Ultimate Guide to Clearing the Cords that Are Constricting Your Life” by Denise Lynn.
One of the topics that has come up more frequently in my therapy sessions is how to protect one’s energy and stay grounded or centered. Living as an empath can be a challenge. Sometimes it is like being on an emotional rollercoaster, while other times it feels so satisfying and comforting to be emotionally and energetically attuned to ourselves and our loved ones.
Empaths are sensitive and vulnerable to negative energy – especially that of other people. We tend to avoid conflict or confrontation with others because it drains us mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and energetically.
The good news is that empaths can choose who and what influences our energy.
In the book “Energy Strands”, the author discusses 3 tenets that apply to energy:
1) You are composed of endlessly transforming energy fields
2) You are not separate from the world around you, and
3) The world around you (and within you) is alive and has consciousness.
Knowing this is key, because the way you understand and relate to yourself, and others comes down to the exchange of energy.
When we become upset with someone, we (knowingly or unknowingly) direct our energy toward that individual. The energy projects outward like a strand, connecting both people. Likewise, when we direct our positive and loving energy toward someone, we are connected by an energy strand.
As we walk around during the day, coming in to contact with a number of different people, each of whom are having their own experiences, and may be projecting their energy and emotions on to others. And, whether we know it or not, we do the same thing! (Which is another good reason to choose your friends wisely!)
Understanding energy and how we are interrelated to others (and the Universe) is an important concept because it truly affects all of us.
How can we manage our own energy in a world full of other people who could be misdirecting, projecting, or bringing their baggage along for our emotional rollercoaster ride?
The answer is simple, but not easy. There are many ways to ground yourself and re-examine our patterns. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Connect to the earth. Research has shown that the earth’s electrical field facilitates the functioning of the human body. It helps regulate our circadian rhythm and sleep patterns, reduce inflammation, and strengthen our immune system. Dig into the soil with your hands and toes. Let the sunlight hit your body. Allow the breeze to gently move your hair. If you cannot get outside to do this, you can also purchase a grounding mat to use indoors.
2. Take an inventory of who is connected to you (or, who you are connected to). Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate if someone is bringing you down or lifting you up. It doesn’t have to be a black-and-white decision; however, if you feel like someone is not helping you grow as a person, it may be time to cut that tie. It's important to note that cutting an energy strand does not necessarily mean you need to cut that person out of your life. It just means that you need to protect your energy by not allowing others to be energy vampires or by not being the vessel that holds others' energy.
3. Re-evaluate your patterns, habits, or obsessions. What do you focus your energy on? Do you tend to ruminate on the past, or engage in destructive worry about things that haven’t happened yet? Is there a food that isn’t good for you, but you continue to eat it anyways? Have you found that it’s hard to disconnect from social media or unplug from your phone at the end of the day? Or maybe there are some unhealthy behaviors related to avoidance, substance use, or co-dependence with someone else.
4. Be mindful of the present. My favorite grounding tool is using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. It is simple and effective mindfulness tool. You can do this in any way you want. It does not have to be structured in this exact way (remember, when we are stressed, we cannot always readily recall new skills we learned. This is why practice makes perfect).
Notice FIVE (5) things you can see in your surrounding area. What objects do you notice in your surroundings? It could be a plant, a person, or anything near you. If you want to make it more interesting, see if you can notice more specific things (i.e., notice 5 objects in your area that are blue).
Notice FOUR (4) things you can touch near you. Which objects can you touch? Your hair, your face, your clothes, the floor, or the wall? For added awareness, run your hands under cold water or put an ice pack on the back of your neck.
Notice THREE (3) sounds you can hear. This could be a fan, dogs barking, birds chirping in the background, construction, a car driving nearby, or music far away. If you want to shift your mood, play some of your favorite music. Dance and sing, or simply be present and listen to the melody and lyrics.
Notice TWO (2) scents you can smell. This could include the smell of flowers nearby, your tea, fresh-cut grass, your clothes, or simply the smell of the space you are in. Can’t find anything to smell? Consider taking a short walk outside to smell nature, to the kitchen for food smells, or to the bathroom for soap. I also encourage people to diffuse essential oils in their room.
Notice ONE (1) flavor you can taste. This can be a tough one – but it can be as simple as the taste of your tongue! Can you taste the coffee from the morning, your lunch, or a mint that you had? If you can't taste anything, take a minute to ask yourself what taste or flavor would be most calming or grounding.
Creating awareness is the first step. So, if you are reading this and it resonates with you, it's a good indicator that you may be on your own journey as well.
Lean into the vulnerability. It is OK to feel the emotions. We need to feel them to heal and move on. But just remember to ask yourself if the emotions you are experiencing are truly yours, or if you are absorbing (or are on the receiving end) of someone's else's energy strand.