Am I an empath?
Do you ever feel other people’s emotions? Learn the science of being an empath, and ways to manage your special gift.
In today’s Braincare Clubhouse session, we explored this extreme form of empathy and the coping mechanisms you need to control it. Joining us in the room were:
David Sauvage: American activist, performance artist, filmmaker, and empath.
What is an empath?
An empath is someone who feels the emotions of others. It's a superpower that can be overwhelming, so you need to learn to control it.
Science for the naysayers
In psychology, the term co-regulation is defined as "warm and responsive interactions that provide the support children need to understand and express their feelings". What I do is the same thing- I help people regulate their emotions by being present with them.
In science, the phenomenon of mirror-touch synesthesia is the ability to feel the physical sensations that someone else is experiencing. For example, if someone scrapes their knee, you’d be able to feel it as well.
You need to learn to master your empathic gifts by setting boundaries in order to preserve your own energy field.
Quick methods for energy release
Sometimes shaking your body, taking deep breaths, and being conscious that you're absorbing other people's feelings is enough to let them go.
Being an empath in public spaces
This kind of energy tends to be the easiest to release because you're not emotionally invested or attached to the people you're absorbing energy from.
Put your feet on the ground and imagine all of the absorbed energy flowing down your body, chest, hips, thighs, calves, and out through your feet and into the earth.
You can also pull up clean energy from within the earth and spread that through you.
How to unhook energy in public
Imagine a dome, egg, or field around you that protects you by deflecting incoming energy.
Focus on the energy center below your belly button. We all have an energy center there. If you allow that energy to spread through your body and out through your hands and feet, you’ll feel your own energy more than the energy of the people around you.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is to leave the situation or atmosphere you’re in.
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Empathy in corporations
The effort to try and demonstrate the value of empathy is futile. Instead of trying to convince people why it matters, explain how it works. People seem to understand listening more than they do empathy. Empathy can be an intimidating word, so replace it with listening as every company understands this skill.
For corporate training on teaching people to listen, I ask these questions:
How do we understand what a person is saying?
How can we understand what they're feeling?
How can we read their body language and listen to their tone of voice?
What does it mean to truly listen?
Communication in relationships
It is very common for empaths to block stuff out by shutting down and going numb. Instead of trying to show your partner that you're an empath, demonstrate your empathy by articulating what you feel your partner is feeling.
Saying something as simple as “I sense you’re feeling angry about XYZ” will relax your partner and make them feel seen.
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How do I protect myself from negative emotions in the office?
You need a break. Take some time away from the people around you by taking a walk in nature.
Taking time for yourself will let negative energy wash through you and let your nervous system reset.
How do I make space for myself?
You do not need to empathize, care, and be compassionate with everyone. That is not your job on this earth. Your job is to take care of yourself. If you do that first, you will find that you naturally have more compassion, empathy, and care.
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