Taking on other people’s emotions could be the biggest challenge highly sensitive people face. We can absorb emotions from almost anyone at any time: a family member we live with, the grocery store clerk, a co-worker, or a even stranger.
We gain a lot from this unique ability—like being able to empathize with others—but we also pay a hefty price for it. Absorbing other people’s emotions can make it hard to tell which feelings are truly ours. We might even feel controlled by this trait. It can influence everything from what kind of environments we hang out in, to who we let into our lives, to what kind of job we do. For example, if someone is always in a bad mood, we’ll avoid that person because their negative feelings brings us down. Likewise, if we get bad vibes from a place, we won’t go there anymore.
But there is another way to live. We can learn to thrive in the world with our special gift, if we just have the right tools. So here are four ways to help you stop absorbing other people’s energy:
1. Get grounded
This is the most important thing we can do in the morning—or anytime. It’s no secret highly sensitive people have trouble staying grounded because we feel everything so intensely and live in our heads. But grounding ourselves is the first step to take if we don’t want to carry around other people’s emotions and energy as if they were our own. Grounding helps us tune into our bodies and the present moment and focus less on the inner dialogue running through our heads. It takes only five minutes to do one of these things:
- Visualize roots growing out of the bottom of your feet. The roots reach deep into the ground. Picture this until your feet feel weighted down.
- Run cool water on your wrists. Or bring the wrists together, one on top of the other, with the hands going in opposite directions. Hold for five minutes.
- Spend five minutes meditating, focusing on deep inhalations and exhalations.
- Say the word OM, drawing out the word slowly and repeating it for five minutes. Feel the vibration of the word in the body.
- Sit on or touch the earth/ground. Walk on the ground in bare feet. Hug a tree. Nature can have a powerful cleansing effect because it helps us focus on a world outside ourselves.
Visualization is very effective for keeping other people’s energy separate from our own. To do this we can visualize ourselves in a box. This box has four walls surrounding us, with a lid on top of our head. This box allows positive energy to enter, but it repels energy we don’t want. People can’t tell we put it there. We still sense what others are feeling and thinking, however, once we have recognized their energy, it stays with them. The energy does not become entangled with ours.
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This is highly useful after we have absorbed unwanted energy. While alone and in a quiet place, start to swipe away the energy surrounding your body. Cup your hands and start above your head. Using both hands, cut through the energy in a quick, swiping action, pushing it away. Imaging your hands clearing your head area, then moving down to your neck, chest, abdomen, and so on. Continue all the way down to the feet. When you’re done, picture yourself in a white bubble—other people’s energy can’t enter this protected space.
4. Do the work
This step is more complex than the others but cannot be ignored. We take on other people’s emotions, thoughts, and sensations easily but have we ever stopped and asked ourselves why we do this? There may be a tendency for us to be unconsciously attracted to helping and healing others. One way we do this is by absorbing other people’s toxic (or negative) energy. When we absorb this energy, they walk away from the interaction feeling better, while we walk away feeling worse. However, whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re still getting something out of this transaction.
This is when we need to do some inner work. We must examine our core beliefs and honestly ask ourselves what the pay off is. Who would we be without this trait? What could we do with our lives? How do we feel when we help heal others? How do we help heal ourselves? How do we feel about boundaries? Does worthiness play a role? These are all questions we can explore while doing our inner work. When we uncover unhelpful hidden beliefs, we can let them go and replace them with new ones.
Try starting with this thought:
“I am worthy of a happy life, filled with thoughts, emotions, and sensations that I choose.”
When we stop absorbing unwanted emotions, we are free to focus on other things. We can use our new- found energy to accomplish the dreams and goals we set out for ourselves. We are free to move through the world in a new, empowering way. A way that allows us to use this unique gift to our benefit—which ultimately will benefit the world.
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