5 Steps to Protecting Your Psychic Energy: For Empaths

Have you ever found yourself feeling angry when someone enters the room?

Does your mood change based on who's around you and the vibes they put out?

You might be an empath - someone with deep, raw, intense intuition, who can feel other people's energy. You know instinctively when someone is ecstatic or miserable - but the downside is that you can internalise these feelings.

Whether in a work environment, romantic relationship or with family, emotions can become explosive. And quite often, especially if you're an empath, you tend to absorb the feelings of those around you. Here are five things you can do to protect your psychic energy.

1. Understand that your own feelings are valid.

You're going to get angry. Upset. Jealous. Anxious. Sad. These are all natural human emotions. We're used to trying to repress these feelings because people around us suggest they're not valid. 'There's no reason to be upset' and 'don't cry' are messages we've been receiving since childhood - whether from our parents, siblings or teachers.

Whatever you resist, persists.

-Carl Jung

Especially as an empath, you tend to feel intensely.

The more you try to ignore your anger or sadness, the stronger it will get. This may seem counterintuitive, but giving yourself the space to feel, no matter how outrageous or irrational you've been led to believe your feeling is, can help.

Allow the feeling to reside in you. Breathe it in. Exhale. Say to yourself, 'I'm feeling ______ and that's okay.' Respect the feeling and give it a little space to live. Quite often, you'll find that respecting your feelings will dissolve these negative emotions and put your mind and body at peace.

2. Know your triggers.

Were you bullied as a child? Did your parents leave you alone, or were they overly strict? Were you pressured to perform at school or to go to dance lessons? Whatever your experience, you have triggers - associations you learned through past experience that cause intense negative emotions.

Maybe you become enraged when someone ignores you. Perhaps you panic or freeze when people get too close to you. Empaths will be especially prone to internalising these early experiences, so it's important to process them safely.

Shadow work is a brilliant way to expose these triggers (a good therapist can help you with this). Once you become aware of your triggers, you can stop them having so much control over your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Next time you experience an intense negative emotion, try to stop and be aware of what triggered you. You can then choose to avoid these triggers, or better yet - observe and explore them and their power over you.

3. It's not about you, it's about them.

We all look at life through a different lens. Each of our lenses are painted by our circumstance, past experiences, traumas and biological standpoints. The same way you have triggers, others do too. They may look at something seemingly benign to you and get angry, or panic. When someone reacts to you in a way that's unexpected, remember that the way they treat you is not about you. It's about them. It's what we call in the therapy world 'their stuff' and it's most likely borne from their past trauma.

But just like yours, their feelings, too, are valid.

Each of us needs the space to manage our internal worlds in the way we know best. When you tell someone else how to deal with their anger, jealousy or sadness, you undermine their autonomy and their own ability to manage their emotions. Give them the space they need and accept their feeling - even if it's directed at you.

This doesn't mean you need to accept blame for something you didn't do. A sign of emotional maturity is being able to recognise and accept other people's emotions without investing in them - or even understanding them.

4. Radical Compassion.

This is your superpower.

Terence said 'I am human, and let nothing human be alien to me.'

When we become aware that it's not our stuff, it's their stuff, we experience a shift from egocentrism to compassion. It's this key component of being able to shift our perspectives, reframe our viewpoint and see the world as someone else sees it, that raises our vibration. Understand that if you were that person, you would have the same experience, the same feelings, the same reactions.

When you approach every situation from a place of love, you release yourself and others from judgment, guilt, regret, shame, blame, and anxiety; because you understand that you deserve compassion just as much as those around you.

5. Self-care.

You know this. But you probably don't follow it enough. There's so much importance placed on hard work, performance, meeting others' expectations, being there for people and exponential productivity that many of us feel like we need to be busy every minute of every day. And if we're not, we become consumed with guilt. This is where you balance out strategy #4, and protect and reserve your energy. As much as you may empathise with others, remember that you're not their emotional sponge or punching bag.

Self-care looks different for everybody. It might entail going for nature walks, having a long bath, drawing boundaries with your loved ones, reading or watching a movie. It's as important as your busywork, if not more. You can't run on empty, and self-care is your fuel. Be kind to yourself and to others.

"Oh, I have a knack for intuiting things. That's all."

- Jean Grey, X-Men