Do people say you’re sometimes too intense? Do you feel emotionally exhausted when you’re at a party or in a crowd? Is it easy to hurt your feelings, and when someone you know feels hurt, do you feel it with them?
If the answer is yes, then you’re probably an empath. Empathy is feeling other people’s feelings as if they’re your own. That means you can really help people because you understand them, but it also means relationships and even public places can be pretty overwhelming. And if you’re an empath, you probably experience your own feelings very intensely, because you’re more intensely alive than ordinary people.
Dr. Judith Orloff, psychiatrist, professor and specialist in holistic healing, calls empaths “highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world class nurturers.”
Who wouldn’t want to be that helpful and healing? Well, if you’re emotionally sensitive, you know that there’s another side of empathy. Empaths can be vulnerable to an overdose of negative emotions. Needy, greedy people tend to “attach” to them. Some empaths even react to catastrophic events, world tragedies, feeling the shock of others’ pain even though they might be miles away.
Olga Klimecki, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany and the lead author of a study in Cerebral Cortex, notes: “When we share the suffering of others too much, our negative emotions increase. It carries the danger of an emotional burnout.” She advocates compassion training for prevention, healing and coping with empathy. Read more in Adam Hoffman’s Huffington Post interview.
Orloff describes a host of other problems as well. Her sensitive clients compensate unconsciously by binge eating, drug use and sexual excess. Some even experience physical pain, chronic fatigue, emotional isolation and agoraphobia (fear of public places and crowds). The bottom line: if you’re an empath, for the sake of your health, you need to find support to master sensitivity’s challenges.
Over time, empaths can build healthy practices to support a joyful, healthy life. Sensitive people especially benefit from coaching, compassion training, meditation, holistic counseling, nutritional therapy, and even such simple grounding practices as regular exercise and gardening. Life balance and self-awareness are foundations for empaths.
There are also ways of getting immediate physical support. The BioElectric Shield is one holistic product that offers daily relief from negative energy. Doctors and holistic healers, two of the most empathic professions, report benefits in their professional and personal lives.
The key is finding self-protection that prevents exhaustion and illness. The world needs empathic connections. Sensitive people have to find a balance between giving and receiving, holding and releasing, connection and separateness. Self-care is the first step towards mastery, so empaths can share their vital, nurturing gifts.
About Carol Burbank. PhD
In my many lives as a professor in MBA, Leadership and Cultural Studies graduate and undergraduate programs, journalist, interdisciplinary scholar, foundation researcher, writer-and-editor-for-hire, and healer/consultant/coach, I've traveled through lots of rules, regulations and costume changes! Enough to let me know that reality often comes down to riding change instead of letting it ride you. I'm happy to be a guest blogger for the BioShield, and always looking for holistic, smart blogs who want holistic, smart content to inform, entertain and attract new clients. Check out my personal blog on leadership, Lead Me On http://leadershipspirit.wordpress.com/, or my collaborative blog on writing, the Women's Pages http://womenspages.wordpress.com, to read more of my work! And remember, be informed, make your best choice, and trust your instincts! You have a deep wisdom that will lead you with clarity and abundance, if you only listen.
The Shield and “the Gap” - How the Shield can help you stop old energy habits.
Here’s something I’ve learned over the years – the Shield does a lot, but it cannot stop you from certain almost automatic behaviors. Many of us are sensitive enough to sense when people are in pain. At times, we reach out energetically to help them, often taking in their pain, emotional trauma etc.
Wearing the Shield had improved my life tremendously giving me resilience and strength and shielding out a lot of the stuff. But I would still energetically envelope some of the people who were in distress, energetically trying to help.
I must say I was resistant at first, feeling those emotional connections was like breathing to me and I was afraid to cut myself off. Terrified really.
The Shield cannot keep you from doing that. I learned this when going to trade-shows back in the 90’s, talking to hundreds of people and would come home exhausted. Our consultant chastised me and helped me understand what was happening. She also helped me understand that I wasn't actually helping anyone, their "stuff" is there's to figure out and deal with, my taking it on wasn't actually helping them in any way and it was keeping me from being as effective in the world.
What if there is a way to experience a “gap” or pause before we launch into an automatic behavior? After a while I realized that when I was wearing my Shield, there was there was a Pause between the impulse to reach out and “take in” someone else’s energy and pain and the actual action. In meditation circles, this is known as the Gap, the silent space between thoughts. Our energy consultant explained to us that the Shield calms and balances our energy to the point where we can become much more conscious of this Gap. It’s easy to facilitate by simply taking a breath.
When I realized I could pause, I began paying attention and pulling back my energy. Instead of taking in their pain, I simply listened and gave them a sympathetic ear, or a hug. The difference in my energy level and ability to not take all that in was amazing. I do still find at times with people I’m really close to that I can still get sucked in. Although the awareness that it’s happened makes it a fairly quick thing in most cases to release that. There are techniques that you can learn that will give you speedy relief.
If you are quite empathic to other’s energies and moods, there are some other helpful resources that I recommend. Dr. Michael Smith, Empath Connection has a Toolkit that I've been told is quite helpful from a number of customers who are using it. Dr. Smith also wears and sells the Shield.
Also the books by Rose Rosetree are invaluable in helping to understand. In reading her book “Empowered by Empathy” experiences that had always puzzled me, suddenly became clear.
If you’re feeling like the Shield isn’t giving you the protection you need, spend a little time thinking about when and where you get most overwhelmed and see if there’s a connection or a pattern like the one I saw for myself. Take a breath, feel the Gap, and decide how you wish to handle the situation.
Part of the problem with being sensitive to energy (also called an empathy or HSP) is that we are the healers, the mystics, the seers; but in our culture no one, for the most part, has taught us how to work with our energy, how to protect ourselves and what’s healthy for ourselves.
The Shield Does work, but like I said many of us instinctively in many ways manage to overcome it’s protective field by energetically pulling in disharmonious energies in an attempt to heal them. Using a few tools to help you pay attention to energy along with the Shield can make an even more profound change in your life than either tool alone.