How do you constructively deal with intuitive empathy? What practical methods can you employ to avoid becoming overamped or depleted? I'm going to present some strategies I use. Try them. See which appeal. One is not more preferable than another. Most important is if your choice works.
One of the great challenges for empaths and all sensitive people is how to help others without burning out. As a psychiatrist, I’ve observed that my patients get most exhausted when they try too hard to fix or help their spouses, children, or friends.
A big challenge for all sensitive people is how to be compassionate without absorbing the stress of others and the world. We don’t have the same filters as most people. We are emotional sponges who feel everything and instinctively take it in.
Empathic illnesses are those in which you manifest symptoms that are not your own. Many patients have come to me labeled “agoraphobic” with panic disorders, chronic depression, fatigue, pain, or mysterious ailments that respond only partially to medications or psychotherapy.
In my medical practice of over two decades, I specialize in treating highly sensitive people and empaths like myself. We feel everything, often to an extreme, and have little guard up between ourselves and others.
As a psychiatrist I treat many empath-patients who come in exhausted with a syndrome known as adrenal fatigue. This is a collection of symptoms such as exhaustion, body aches, anxiety, trouble thinking clearly, and insomnia. In this condition, the theory is that the adrenal glands can’t keep up with outside stress so the hormones such as cortisol that normally keep you energized begin to get depleted.
What causes overwhelm? In my experience as a psychiatrist, rushing tops the list. Webster’s dictionary defines it as “a violent forward motion; to act with haste...in a short time at a high speed.” Energetically speaking, it’s running on more cylinders than you’ve got.
If you identify as an empath, the secret to nurturing your intuitive connection to all living things, is to develop centering and protection strategies such as meditation, setting clear boundaries, creating adequate alone time to refuel and many other strategies.
Empaths and sensitive people have an open heart. They don’t have the same emotional guard up that many others do. They feel people’s pain–both loved ones and strangers–and instinctively they want to take it away from them.