Can you easily read the emotional energy of people and places, and often experience extreme swings in moods related to the shifting of what those around you are feeling? If so, you may be considered an empath. Empaths are highly sensitive individuals, who have a keen ability to sense what people around them are thinking and feeling. Psychologists may use the term empath to describe a person that experiences a great deal of empathy, often to the point of taking on the emotions of others at their own expense.
According to research findings, empaths likely have hyper-responsive mirror neurons- the group of brain cells responsible for triggering feelings like compassion. This makes it possible for someone to feel especially sensitive to electromagnetic fields generated by a person’s brain and heart, sensing the emotions felt by those around them.
Empaths are extremely sensitive to the atmosphere of their surroundings as well. When surrounded by happiness, peace and calm, they flourish, because they take on those qualities internally themselves. For the same reason, chaotic or depressing environments can pull energy out of them. When someone is sick or injured, an empath might even feel their ailment as if it’s their own. As a result, they are natural caregivers and are drawn to professions such as nurse, doctor, or healer. It is difficult to feel someone's pain and not attempt to assist in some manner.
Empathic ability is often considered a spiritual gift, but until fully actualized can feel like a curse to those who struggle with maintaining their energetic boundaries.
The actualized empath actively uses tools and skills to maintain healthy boundaries and protect their personal energy field so they are not drained, exhausted, and overwhelmed by other people and stressful environments.
With this freedom, they are able to use their gifts to guide their life experiences and even facilitate healing in others.
As a highly intuitive empath, it took several years for me to identify my nature and many more to become fully aware and empowered. I am learning better ways to discern my energy from others and how to protect it. Even now, I still have moments of feeling drained after extended heavy interactions, and consistent energetic maintenance is a must. Here are some of my tried and true tips for moving from affected to actualized as an empath:
1. Set healthy limits and boundaries, and get comfortable with saying NO. Limit your time with people, places, or situations that have proven to be stressful.
2. Wear or carry a dark crystal to create a protective shield around your aura that reflects or transmutes negative energy. Black Tourmaline, Labradorite and Smoky Quartz are some of my favorites.
3. Ground yourself outside in nature often to feel secure and safe in your body. Connect to the neutralizing Earth with a walk, run, hike or yoga flow.
4. Practice radical self care including smudging and spiritual baths to cleanse yourself of negative energy often. Sage, sea salt and essential oils work wonders to assist in deep clearing.
5. Visualize a reflective shield or a bubble around your personal energy field that remains with you throughout the day. Refocus your attention to the shield when sensitivities flare up.
6. Retreat and recharge with plenty of sleep and moments of quiet time alone. Never guilt yourself for walking away for a minute to read, journal or meditate when feeling overwhelmed.
If you too are an empath, create space to tune into your own self, and utilize the techniques that help you connect with your inner knowing. This will carve a path for self empowerment, fueling your commitment to thrive. May you be inspired to honor your gifts by taking excellent care of yourself!