I have always felt emotions strongly. I can't watch certain movies, because the emotions they evoke will stick with me long after the movie is over, and many times I simply get overwhelmed. If I choose to watch a scary movie I have to watch a funny one right after simply to get my emotions back under control. So I'm very careful about what emotions I allow into my "space." I work a full time job while I get my coaching business under way, and for a long time I had my own office. This was perfect, because I was able to have my own space where I could go to be alone when things started to overwhelm.
When I got my officemate, I knew things would be difficult at first, because I wouldn't be dealing with just my own emotions, but his as well. So on the first day we were in the office I explained to him why I had to keep things calm in the office, and asked him to please respect that, because if my emotions start to overload, it's really difficult to come back from that.
Because of my tendency toward emotional overload, I was especially grateful when God brought Paul into my life. He is so calm that when I'm around him, he calms and grounds me as well, which allows me to keep the overload at bay. This is especially true when we are around a bunch of people, because he is able to make me laugh, which makes it easier to be around people that may not be as happy. I am so thankful for this particular trait in him.
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
Most people are understanding of what I have started to call "emotional sensitivity," but others don't really get what this means and this makes it hard to explain. When I get overwhelmed, all I want to do is get away from people. This is hard when I'm at pool league or the mall. I HATE THE MALL. It is my definition of hell. It not only overwhelms me emotionally, but causes social anxiety that makes me want to run for the hills.
Since I have discovered this particular trait in myself, I have been looking into different self-care plans and ways of dealing with the every day issues of being empathic. If you, too, are an empath, maybe these will help you as well.
1. Take good care of your gut. No, this doesn't just mean keep your stomach flat. It means eat in such a way that the good bacteria in your intestines can flourish and help your body retain the nutrients it needs. This is especially important because when your hormones go out of whack, it's harder to maintain emotional stability.
2. Make sure you have someone to talk to. When things get overwhelming, I go to either Paul or my best friend. Both are very calm people, and are able to help me find my balance again. If you are empathic as well, it's important to have at least one person in your life you can tell anything to, and who understands you enough to help you through these instabilities. They will happen, so find someone you can depend on.
3. Exercise regularly. This is a hard one for me, but definitely important. The chemicals released during exercise are especially helpful in helping balance out emotions. They create a "happy" feeling that can last for hours, so they help when you have to go somewhere that can have lasting negative effects.
It's good to always do some sort of exercise.
4. Meditate. I prefer mindfulness meditation, because it involves keeping oneself in the present. As empaths, we can find ourselves living in either the past or the future. Worrying about the person whose emotions we felt yesterday, and wondering if he or she is ok, or thinking about the future. This actually takes way too much energy, so bringing yourself back to the present allows your body to relax and get back to the middle.
Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your
spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve
from an empty vessel.
I hope these tips help you. I have to admit I haven't incorporated all of these into my daily life, but I do think all four things would be helpful. If you are too busy to incorporate all 4 into your life every day, pick one and start for a week. I can almost guarantee that just adding one of these things into your daily life could help you immensely. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for additional tips on living a healthy empathic life!
None of these statements are meant to replace a doctor's advice or treat or diagnose disease. If you have physical ailments, please speak to your doctor or health practitioner.