Empaths have a natural ability to sense not only their own but also the emotions of others. This innate skill can be observed in babies. This ability usually subsides in childhood as we learn to focus more on verbal cues than emotional ones.
But for some people, the flow of emotional information just keeps coming. This can lead to powerful internal conflicts as they pick up incoherent verbal and emotional messages from people (such as when someone lies or suppresses anger). It can also quickly become overwhelming in social settings where the sheer quantity of emotional information can be too much to handle.
Emotional Intelligence is defined as “the ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups” (Salovey and Mayer, 1990). Developing your Emotional Intelligence means that you have tools and processes to manage this emotional data.
Are you an Empath?
- Do you feel anxious or nervous in a crowd (4+ people)?
- Does your mood vary seemingly at random (getting angry or sad for no apparent reason)
- Do you feel a change in your physical energy level when you’re in a crowd (tired, wired)
- Do you have a hard time falling asleep before midnight or do you procrastinate going to bed?
- Do you have physical symptoms that related to hearing (ringing, popping, itching in the ear)?
- Do you feel emotionally uncomfortable when someone touches or is close to you?
Disclaimer: This checklist is not a diagnostic nor treatment tool. Some of the characteristics of Empaths can be diagnosed as ADD, agoraphobia or clinical depression. Contact your health care professional if you have any questions, need diagnostic or treatment for a mental health issue.
Fortunately, there are more and more online resources available for Empaths. Unfortunately, most of these resources suggest a process that is likely to make things worst for you! Any kind of “protective mental shield” is based on the assumption that emotional information is threatening. If you go down that path, you will have to “defend” yourself for the rest of your life. How exhausting does that sound?
My work is result-based: if it works, keep doing it! As an Empath, these are the 3 tools I find most effective to manage the flow of emotional information I receive constantly. Try them out and see for yourself which one works best for you.
- Being Transparent:
When we feel threatened by our surroundings, we become physically tense and our our energy field (the magnetic field that wraps around our body) becomes dense and constricted.
When you notice this tension, imagine that your energy field is expanding, like a gas. The particles are getting more and more spaced out, making your energy field thinner and much bigger. As your energy field becomes looser, emotions go right through you, like a rock falling through water. Instead of being caught in your dense energy field, the emotions of others will simply flow through you.
- Adjust the Volume:
Sometimes the noise from other people’s emotions gets so loud that we can’t hear ourselves think! We get confused, hesitant, frustrated. Close your eyes and imagine two volume dials in front of you that go from 0 to 10. One says “Me” and the other says “Everything else”. Turn the “Me” dial to 10, and the “Everything else” dial to 0. Instantly, your mind will respond to this request and the chatter will calm down.
- Progressive Affirmations:
Progressive affirmations can help you build up to where you want to be. Keep in mind that affirmations must ALWAYS feel good in order to be effective. So start at the “easiest” affirmation and say it for a few days. When you feel ready, move on to the next level for a few days until you can say the “top” affirmation while feeling good.
- “I am willing to master my Empath abilities”
- “I am ready to master my Empath abilities”
- “I am choosing to master my Empath abilities”
Keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Try doing it in your head before you throw yourself in a tough situation (such as the mall or a party).
Once you are comfortably managing your Empath skills, you are ready to move on and develop your Emotional Intelligence by productively using emotional data in your daily life.