Do you feel other people's...
...Fear - Worry - Regret - Shame
Anxiety - Sadness - Jealousy - Resentment...
...as if they're your own?
Have you been called...
Do you unfailingly weep at heart-charged events -- not just weddings and funerals, but animal-rescue commercials or the singing of the National Anthem? (Me too.)
Does a full shopping mall or stadium, or any large crowd make you nervous, overwhelmed or worn out? Hey! Me too!
Do long, loud conversations make you want to hole up in a dim, cork-lined room with a quiet pile of magazines? ME TOO!!!
You and I are empaths. Yes, the word used to connote a supernatural intuition (like the freaky ESP of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Deanna Troi), but it also refers to us non-freaky people
who deeply feel the emotions of others, and take them on as their own.
Admittedly, it's fine and good (even thrilling) to "feel along" when those around us are succeeding, happy, enthused and satisfied. But how do we protect ourselves from drowning in other peoples' sorrows and stress? How do we turn down the sensitivity of our emotional antennae?
I've been struggling with this lately, working with and around the general public in the showroom of my husband's retail store. As customers wait for tint or stripes or a new radio to be installed in their car, they also worry out loud over bills, debate politics (-_-), grouse about the weather, snipe at their children and spouses.
If I don't watch myself, the sum of all that negative noise amounts to a throbbing empathy hangover.
Where's the emotional aspirin? Here are some of the tricks/strategies that are working for me. I hope you'll give them a try, and let me know what works for you.
Mind the Meds - Caffeine, alcohol and over-the-counter drugs can be agitating. If you can't skip them altogether, try a half-dose.
Go Solo - I know it's difficult to say no to others, but try saying YES to yourself every once in while, and take time alone with a book, a journal or a quiet pet. If you can do this out in nature, all the better.
Really, Take a Media Break - Just turn it all off for awhile, especially acrimonious social media (who hasn't unfollowed a "friend" in the last few months?), and sad or violent books and movies. This strategy totally works for me.
Just One Spot - Visual chaos is another kind of noise. Choose a peaceful place in your house to keep neat and uncluttered, and go there when you need to restore yourself. Ahhhh.
I would love to hear any other ideas you have for taking care of our sensitive selves. Write them in the comments section of my coaching
or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll share them in a future newsletter. Thanks!