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Protecting Our Highly Sensitive Selves

Simple Practices for Energy Protection and Inner Calm

by Helene Verdile

Being an empath or a highly sensitive individual is a bit like having an extremely high antenna which is tuned into everything. It can be overwhelming to live like an emotional sponge to everyone and everything that surrounds us, although it is a gift. The upside is that empaths are loving, gifted in helping others, intuitive, in touch with their own bodies and emotions, and spiritual.

The downside is that empaths are emotional sponges absorbing negative energy around them, sensitive to emotions (like a wire without insulation), may feel claustrophobic around too many others, may suffer from chronic or debilitating physical symptoms, have difficulty setting boundaries with draining people and often get bowled over in relationships. Judith Orloff, Ph.D., writes extensively about empathy and all its positive and negative aspects.

Becoming mindful of positive and negative qualities of empathy supports a vibrant life. The empath can continue to be emotionally charitable, intuitive and sensitive to other’s needs, the true gifts of any empath, while protecting their own emotional stability. Often the empath gets into a pattern of defense that can lead to emotional deterioration. To create long-lasting emotional stability, empaths must choose to protect themselves daily, using a careful mixture of intellect, emotion and intuition, and practicality.

To protect our highly sensitive self, it is important to evaluate what drains and recharges our energy.

Evaluate. Ask “Is this emotion mine or someone else’s?” It could be both. Zero in on the source of negative emotions. Affirm: “I can handle___ (name the situation as it currently is affecting you).”

Move away. When it is necessary and possible, create distance from the suspected source and see if it results in relief. Don’t worry about offending strangers. Affirm: “It is not my job to take on the emotions of others. I can be loving without doing so.”

Surrender to your breath. When feeling someone else’s energy, concentrate on the breath for a few minutes. Our own breath is healing and centering and connects us to inner guidance. By contrast, holding breath keeps negativity lodged in your body. Inhale calm and peace and exhale any stress.

Know our physically vulnerable points. Do we hold these emotions in our neck; do we get sore throats or headaches? When noticing discomfort and distress in these areas, be mindful of the situation. Our bodies are often the first line of defense before our brain knows what is happening. Soothe the offended areas. Use this self-comfort method daily to strengthen and build a sense of sanctuary within.

Practice meditation daily. This creates an inner relationship with our breath that can be used anywhere. When at a loss of peace, simply breathe and recite, “Peace begins with me,” over and over until inner calm returns.

Take a bath or shower. A quick way to dissolve stress is to immerse in water. Add aromas, salts, oils, candles, books or whatever restores an inner calm.

Set healthy limits and boundaries that reflect our needs. Decide how much time to spend listening to stressful people and learn to say “No.”

Visualize protection. Visualization is a healing and powerful tactic in protecting our energy. Visualizing a blanket of white light around our entire bodies providing gently protection is effective.

When the empath becomes responsible for their own energy and how they process others’ energy, they can move from merely coping with the intensity of being an empath to conquering the intensity, so that empathy becomes the true gift it was meant to be.

Helene Verdile is a success, life transition and spiritual coach and co-founder of the Center for Clarity, Compassion & Contentment ~ A Wellness Center, in Burnt Hills. She offers a Calling All Empaths: Protecting Your Highly Sensitive Self class online and in person at the center. The next class starts Apr. 15, 2019, for four Mon. from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Verdile is the author of the Inspired Life Journal, available at Center4C.com. For more information, call 518-470-0048 or visit Center4C.com.