Are These Energy Vampires Messing With You?

 

Have you felt your energy go down when someone enters the room?

Are there certain people that you avoid – perhaps even family members – because you feel bad when you are around them?

Meet The Energy Vampires!

When we think of vampires, Halloween often comes to mind. However, these vampires never go off duty, never take a vacation or a holiday. And you need to watch out for them.

  1. The Complainers.  The energy draining feeling from complainers can sneak up on you. It is easy to be taken in by them.  Sometimes they will complain about something that you dislike as much as they do so you won’t realize that you are being drained.  Life for a complainer is one long pity party. Being supportive of an individual going through a hard time is an act of friendship. Unfortunately with the complainer the hard times never stop. After a while you may wonder if some of their hard times are self-created. One way to know if you are dealing with an energy vampire rather than a person having a bad day is to suggest solutions. Complaining vampires don’t want their problems solved. If they were they would no longer have such an easy way to be the center of attention.
  2. The Non-Stop Talker. Non-stop talkers have a desperate quality to them. They often seem afraid of what would happen if they stopped talking or let someone else have the floor. The non-stop talker probably had to resort to extreme measures to get attention when he or she was a child – or may have been the designated family entertainer. Unfortunately. a winning childhood strategy is often a poor choice for adults, and can end up feeling used and depleted listening to a non-stop talker who has no interest in you.
  3. The Basket Case. The basket cases are the people who have one endless problem after another – unable to solve any of their own problems. Perhaps they were spoiled as children or perhaps they were made to feel so incompetent that they became helpless as adults. Whatever the reason, they want you to spend your time solving their problems which they don’t think are really theirs to solve. The basket case is a bottomless pit that take all of your time and eventually your whole life with their endless problems, if you let them.
  4. The Blamer.  Blamers can never do any wrong.  They tend to see all responsibility residing in others.  In other words, it is the job of the rest of the world to please them. They are an angrier version of the complainer. They feel entitled to have their expectations met and attack and blame others until their wishes are granted. Blamers are often perfectionists. It helps them maintain their entitlement and also look like a good person at the same time. Who cannot like such high standards!  The problem with blamers is that they always look like the hero either through high standards which sound good or by blaming the failure – you – who could not make it happen. Stay away from them.
  5. The Drama Queen. The drama queen acts like they are about to die at any moment – 24 hours a day.  It probably starts the moment they wake up. All of life is an emergency and they are constantly getting the short end. it is best to avoid them. If you must engage you might recommend some reading on time management but do not take on their issues. A drama queen will probably not stop the drama unless something happens to make them want to change.
  6. The Ruthless Competitor. This person is always looking for a way to one-up you, to look better than you or put you down. Life is a battle with them and they are always at war. You will not win with them so it is best to stay away. The ruthless competitor does not value friendship. This person is interested in keeping score, winning a battle, and destroying adversaries, which is probably what you are in their eyes. It is better to let them have their prize, whatever it is, and walk away.
  7. The Psychopath. The psychopath is a taker, but they need to hide the fact. Psychopaths wear the mask that they think you want to see in order to win your heart and loyalty so they can get what they want from you. Once they have they move on to another person with a different need and put on a different mask for that person. It can be hard to create consensus around the real nature of a psychopath because they present a different face to different people. They are actors and very bad friends.
  8. The Ideologues. Most people have some sort of worldview that informs their lives but ideology is only a part of life. With ideologues, you may think you are have a relationship with a like-minded individual however with them their real relationship is with their ideology not with you. It is an empty relationship. As long as you understand that they do not really have a personal relationship to offer you you can take care of yourself with an ideologue.

How To Take Care Of Yourself With Energy Vampires

There are several ways to take care of yourself with energy vampires:

  • take good care of your health. You are always more vulnerable when you are tired and feeling poorly.
  • operate from a spirit of good will and expect the same. Notice when your feelings of goodwill go away. That is your cue to disconnect from the vampire.
  • consider the white light technique. Create a visualization of a white light surrounding your body, protecting you from the negative energy of other people. If you do this consistently, you will find yourself feeling increasingly protected.
  • have a list of requirements for people in your life: give and take, mutual respect etc. Notice when another person is not meeting minimum requirements for a healthy relationship and consider the actions you need to take.
  • get help if necessary with people who are seriously damaging to you.
  • leave when an individual is too toxic to live or work with.

Making The Best Of It With Energy Vampires

Many energy vampires are ordinary people like you and me who happened to have learned poor relationships habits. Sometimes they are not even aware of it. You can encourage the best in people but you cannot take on their problems.

Your life deserves protecting as much as anyone else’s. Keeping energy vampires at bay is one way to take good care of yourself. The damage they do can be significant  and should not be taken lightly.

What My Yoga Therapist Taught Me About My Food Cravings

Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel helpless and hopeless about something in your life?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “Yes” you have. If you are an HSP reading this you most likely have felt this way in your at some point. Life can feel a little jumpy and bumpy from where we stand, right?

Yoga And The Burden Of Chronic Pain

For myself, my hopeless feeling stemmed from living with chronic pain from an old back injury. I can keep the pain at bay, for the most part, through yoga and exercise. But as an HSP, I am also very sensitive to pain and I know that I feel things very intensely.

Even though I’ve lived with pain for years, the pain seems to shift and change. It’s as if I’m chasing it. Being the overachiever that I am, I wanted to stay ahead of the pain. I wanted to know how to “tackle” it when it got bad.

I decided to seek help from a yoga therapist. I am a yoga teacher myself and appreciate all the practice has done for my body and mind. But I was still feeling defeated, like I needed a new perspective outside of myself.

Yoga, Food Cravings And Routine

My new yoga therapist gave me exercises to do at home. Having a plan in place felt good to me. Natural. As an HSP, I thrive off of routine and love to know what to expect. However, living this way is also what kept me in a rut for so long, stuck in unnecessary pain because I was nervous to change up my routine.

Doing that meant that I wasn’t truly listening to my body and what it was craving. I kept trying to get better by doing the same old same old. I wanted relief but was afraid to change in order to get there.

While I loved routine, I also had to be flexible enough to branch out and try something new in order to really honor the needs of my body.
What I hadn’t connected up until this point was that just as I loved and did so well with a plan of sorts in place for my yoga practice, I also did my best with a plan in place for my food cravings.

A plan that wasn’t too rigid. A plan that was centered around what my body truly craved.

The thing is, I steered clear of this for a long time after being too rigid with food. If I didn’t have complete control over every part of my eating, I felt overwhelmed. This unhealthy relationship with food is something I’ve worked hard to change—into something kinder, softer, more flexible.

So while lying in my very gentle side twist one night (feels amazing on my lower back), I realized something. I put two and two together, finally. The way I practice yoga is the way I eat.

I had been tackling my yoga practice like I was tackling my food cravings, and doing this wasn’t serving me or my body.

Lovingly listening to my body during yoga began to serve as a beautiful example of how I can also listen to my body’s food cravings. I could prepare my meals ahead of time—with care and attention—all with the intention of giving my body what it craves.

I began to ask myself questions like, “How do I want to feel after eating food?” and “Can I slow down, chew, and be more present during this meal?” and “Will this food hurt my belly me or make me feel nourished?”

And perhaps most importantly… “What food is my body actually craving?”

Learning From Food Cravings

I have a sensitive digestion and know that if I eat X (potentially harmful trigger food) I will most likely feel X (tired, bloated, cranky, etc).

I tend to breeze through eating, even through food choices themselves, without really pausing to get present and real what my body is actually calling for.

My adventures in yoga therapy taught me to feel what my body most wanted in the present moment. My body wants to feel free and at ease. It wants to feel peaceful. It doesn’t want to feel weighed down with pain and discomfort and tension.

My body wants to be listened to. Deeply. On my yoga mat and in my kitchen.

So I did that.

I started to turn off the TV when I was eating so that I could feel when I was full. I put my fork down once in a while during meals to help me pause and inhale oxygen, a crucial component to any dish. I relaxed into the act of eating. I chose foods that I knew would make me feel relaxed and free and ready for whatever is next, instead of sluggish and irritated.

I didn’t need to “tackle” anything—with the pain that sent me off to a yoga therapist in the first place or with my relationship with food. When I created a space for something new, I was amazed at what was possible for me. When I got quiet enough to listen to my body and what it was truly craving—that’s when I discovered what real freedom felt like.

I didn’t have much to do after that. Having a plan in place to rehab my body or eat healthy meals that my body wants are both important. But what allows for that plan to be there is my willingness to listen, love, and support myself.

HSPs And Self-Care: Putting Yourself First Is Not Selfish

Highly Sensitive Persons– as a group– tend to be very giving individuals, often putting the needs of others ahead of their own.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a giving nature, but the issue many HSPs end up facing is that they “give and give and give” and end up burning out, at which point there’s nothing left for them to give to the people who are– perhaps– dependent on them.

Is Saying “No” Selfish?

Over the years I’ve met a number of HSPs suffering from such burnout. After a brief conversation, it becomes evident that they may be excellent at caring for everyone else, but they are utterly clueless when it comes to taking care of themselves. In fact they would rather just ignore their own needs altogether.

The conversation might continue for a bit, and we discuss how they have to “take care of Bob’s dogs while he’s away,” and are “doing Susan’s overtime at work while she’s recovering from surgery,” and “helping the neighborhood association with their fundraiser,” and then there’s “this and that family event” involving some family members it turns out this particular HSP doesn’t even like.  It quickly becomes quite evident that they are overloaded, overstimulated and frustrated by the sheer load they are carrying, as a result of caring for the rest of the world.

Have you ever considered simply saying no to some of these people?” I will ask.

Oh, no, no… I couldn’t do that!” comes the reply, “they are depending on me. They need me. Besides, that would be very selfish of me!

Respecting Limits Is Not Selfish

HSPs often struggle with poor or “soft” personal boundaries. They especially struggle with taking on too many things in service of being helpful, and fear using the word “no,” even when it is perfectly appropriate to do so.

One of the most pervasive issues we face as HSPs is how to manage overstimulation; how to deal with a life that simply has “too much stuff” in it. There’s lots of advice out there– seminars, workshops, and guidebooks on how to better manage time, and how to “have it all” through any number of time management systems. For an HSP, however, the problem with all these systems is that their focus is on how to juggle “too many balls,” rather than on how to avoid overextending yourself, in the first place– i.e. how to not pick up too many balls to juggle. This is problematic because a central part of healthy self-care for HSPs is about keeping our load down to a manageable size.

When I mention “taking care of yourself” to an overburdened  HSP, the response I often get is that I am asking them to be “selfish.” And that saying no to someone who’s asking for help just can’t– and shouldn’t– be done. Regardless of whether such a response is the result of a helping and idealistic nature or questionable self-esteem, fact remains that we need to take care of ourselves!

Bottom line: What good are you to ANYone, if you’re too exhausted to keep your promises?

It’s Not Selfish To Be At Your Best For Others

Putting yourself first– when it comes to staying balanced and healthy– is not selfish. This may sound painfully obvious, but when I make that observation I am often facing an assortment of protests. So, when I do point out to someone that they must focus on themselves— and objections arise– I like to distinguish between the words “selfish” (as in, someone who is self-absorbed and self-involved) and “self-ish” (meaning someone who takes healthy care of themselves). I also like to use another metaphor, for illustration purposes. Most of us have been on an airplane. Before the flight starts the flight attendants will go through their “safety on board” demonstration. This includes how to use the oxygen masks, in case of a high altitude decompression. The key element to remember, which they always say: “If you are traveling with a child or someone else who needs your help, please put on your OWN mask before helping the other person.

It’s an important reminder that we HSPs must take care of ourselves before we get too busy taking care of others. And if staying healthy requires it, we must be willing to say “no” to the next person or project clamoring for our attention, if that’s what’s required of us!

7 Steps To Access Intuitive Feelings For Balanced Living

There were nine of us sitting in a circle on the floor of the bookstore that day as I began my intuition workshop. Whenever I teach people about intuitive feelings, our journey together always begins the same question:

“Tell me something”, I asked them, “how many of you feel your too sensitive and that this sensitivity hinders your life?”. Every hand in the room raised up, a few more tentatively than others.  I could see flashes of emotion cross their faces as the internal struggle between what our society defines as weakness and what their hearts were telling them began; it was that age old struggle between the head and the heart, one that highly sensitive people know all too well.

“So what you are telling me, is that my dog’s ability to hear sounds at a great distance or smell something I’m cooking in the kitchen while they are outside of the house is a weakness? “

Intuitive Feelings And Spirituality

Pushing further, I posed another question; “How many of you feel a strong urge to work with the spiritual aspects of your life, perhaps through a desire to help others but aren’t quite sure how to accomplish this in a way which is personally meaningful? Remember, that on some level we seek guidance through our spirituality; what happens if we can’t manifest that spiritual guidance with our daily actions? In other words, does your life reflect the core beliefs of your spirituality?”

I wasn’t referencing religion here; instead, y goal was to increase awareness of their spiritual values because our deepest values always originate from the heart. A trait I notice in highly sensitive people is a deep connection with their spirituality; a connection with the divine which speaks to the heart rather than the mind.

With a one last question, I pushed my point deeper; “Is your heart telling you of an imbalance between the aspects of your daily life and spiritual life? Not necessarily in words, but in a gut feeling, perhaps one felt in a dream or in moments of quiet? Maybe, you are here, sitting in this workshop, because it is time to blur the boundary between the two.” The room had gotten very quiet as my questions were contemplated. People’s moods have a tendency drop a bit whenever I ask these questions during a workshop. There’s a certain sadness felt when an imbalance between the head and the heart is illuminated.

Giving them a few minutes to be alone with their thoughts, I thought back to a time some years ago when I met a dear friend for coffee. I had spent the entire conversation lamenting the conflict between my head and my heart. My heart was calling me to work with people while my head was asking me what qualifications I had to do so. Being that I had no college degree or any sort of formal training, I could not see myself in any kind of position to teach.

Intuitive Feelings And Knowledge

Returning to the present, I continued on; “Remember that sensitivity I asked you about a few minutes ago? What if I told you sensitivity was a gift that could be used to achieve balance in your life? If you think about it, from a young age we are always taught to look to people more knowledgeable than ourselves for answers. In doing so, we stop listening to the intuitive feelings of our heart. Seeking knowledge from others who are farther down the path of life isn’t necessarily a mistake, however for highly sensitive people the mistake is made in only seeking knowledge through that path.

What your heart has been trying to tell you all these years is that there is another path; one that is internal and one that is aligned with your sensitivity. What you may consider a weakness is actually your greatest strength because sensitivity will lead you to intuitive feelings.  And intuition, will lead you to balance.”

For highly sensitive people, sensitivity is often felt through emotion which can distract us if we get wrapped up in it. Intuitive feelings on the other hand, are much more subtle. Briefly felt in the gut, speaking in a quiet voice, it defines what is meaningful in our lives; a way of knowing without knowing how we know. That day in the coffee shop, my friend  who also was a highly sensitive person, challenged my viewpoint regarding my lack of formal education by pointing out sensitivity was something which could not be taught and was key to working with people. Without it she said, we were simply going through the motions.

In learning to listen to, and work with your intuition, you need to view everything in your life as energy. Highly sensitive people already have a natural gift for feeling the energy of the environment and emotions of the people around them. By taking it one step further and using your intuition to gauge how this energy is affects you, allows you to make better decisions in the areas of mind, body and spirit. The easiest way to access intuition is by “checking in” and seeing what your gut is telling you. Concentrate on the area just behind your belly button for any physical reactions which may be followed by a quick non-judgmental thought or image in your mind.

Exercises For Accessing Intuition

As the workshop continued I outlined an easy way to work with our intuition on a daily basis by outlining what I call the “Seven Steps to Intuition” which allows us to use intuition on a daily basis, one for each day:

  • Monday – Making decisions; check in each time you are faced with a decision. In which direction are your gut feelings steering you?
  • Tuesday – Relationships; check in and see how your body is reacting to the energy of the people around you. Do they energize or drain you?
  • Wednesday- Health and Well Being; check in and see how your body is reacting to the choices you have made for optimal health.
  • Thursday – Diet; wait half an hour after you eat and then check in. How is your body and mind reacting to the foods you ate? Food has the potential to affect us as strongly as the medicines we take.
  • Friday – Quieting the Voice of Opinion; sit quietly for 5 minutes and observe your thoughts. Are they constantly passing judgment on the world around you? That judgment is the voice of ego or the strict parent in our lives. Check in and ask your intuition if these judgments are necessary in your life.
  • Saturday – The Art of Listening; as you converse with someone, check in and see what your intuition is telling you. Is the person being truthful or trying to manipulate you? This can be a very effective tool during business meetings with new clients or vendors.
  • Sunday – Listening to the Voice of Your Dreams; as you wake up in the morning, check in and see what your emotions are telling you. Often in our dreams, feelings from our subconscious come to light. While you may not remember a dream from the previous night, the feelings you wake up with are good indicator of what your subconscious was chewing on while you slept.

As you repeat the process throughout the week, you will find listening to your intuitive feelings becomes second nature. Over time, you will start “checking in” with your environment on a regular basis without having to consciously think about it. Remember that working with intuitive feelings is a process backwards from traditional learning; you don’t need to read the book first.

It’s been many years since that workshop at the bookstore. But in moments of quiet, I often think back to that conversation in the coffee shop. My friend had been right; it wasn’t a framed diploma or workshop certificate hanging on the wall which qualified me to teach people. Instead, it was the gift of my sensitivity guided by the quiet voice of intuition. These days, I teach through shared experience and in looking back, I realize nothing has really changed; I’m still as sensitive as I ever was. Instead, it is simply a matter of perception which creates the balance of my journey.

Unfreeze Those Feelings!

To a child all feelings may seem huge, since they feel so small – and are.

Children are very natural about their feelings. They experience them and let them go.

Unfortunately, it does not take long before we learn that our feelings are unwanted and inconvenient.

Then we start to reject them and hold them in with all the negative effects that brings.

What Happens To Our Feelings?

Our feelings become objectified. We learn to treat them like objects at a store, some unwanted and others preferred as demonstrated to us by our families and educators.

And so the stress starts. According to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga in a June, 2010 article in Natural AwakeningsHealing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist,  

“It is important to recognize that most people don’t know the difference between tension and stress…

He observes that stressors—thoughts and reactions to our lifestyle, relationships, work environment and family life—are introduced through the ego mind. Emotionally charged thoughts and feelings of blame, shame or guilt then get metabolized into our biological body system. Stored in the form of toxins and neuro-glandular imbalances, these feelings create energy blocks that prevent the free flow of energy, or prana, the body’s self-healing wisdom.

Energy blocks may take the form of muscular tensions and weakness in liver, kidney and digestive functions. Gradual decline results in a progressive deterioration of biological processes and consequently can manifest in external symptoms of fatigue, fear, anxiety and insecurity.”

Essentially we are socialized to have certain emotions and reject others and our unwanted emotions then get stuck in our bodies and gradually make us sick.

Why Rejecting Feelings Is A Mistake

When we reject our feelings, we cannot own them and process them.

When we are processing our feelings, we take them in, accept them feel them and listen to them. It is called metabolism.

Metabolism comes from the greek word ” metabole” for change or transformation. At any given time as we interact with our world we are in the process of metabolism – of perceptions, thought, feelings, emotions as well as material substances such as food and water.  All forms of life engage in metabolism, from plants to humans.

When we are unable to metabolize a food it will clog our bodies. When we are unable to metabolize or process emotions, they will clog our system as well. Ideally we process all food and experiences each day so that we are in a state of flowing with life. If only it were that simple!

It is often not  possible to process all information and feelings when they occur. Some feelings can be part of a larger process.  The grieving process is a good example of that.  However, the most difficult situations are those where an acceptable arrangement is not possible – situations that are abusive, demeaning, and dehumanizing –  because the pain of these situations often does long term damage to the energy of the body, and takes a long time to heal.

Learning To Accept And Release Feelings

It can be useful to think of feelings as information.  When the feelings are the result of a past experience transferred onto the present, it is a sign that there is unfinished business in the past that must be dealt with. Another way of looking at it is that energy has become blocked in the body, it has not been metabolized. Under these circumstances it is our job to accept the feelings so that they can be released.

There are releasing practices available including meditation,and the energy healing practices of eft (emotional freedom technique) and reiki that help with processing emotions. Writing in a journaling has been widely used and can be effective.  Therapy groups have been helpful to many.  The more severe the experiences causing blocked energy the greater the need for therapeutic solutions.  The body has its wisdom and in some severely abusive situations it will “store” emotions to be processed at a later date if that is what is needed to survive.

Highly sensitive people and severely abused people need to be aware that they can accept and take charge of their healing process by finding therapeutic practices and groups that will let them forgive and let go of the past. Engaging in such practices helps minimize the potential for long term destructive addiction and therefore is valuable for all people.

4 Ways To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Energies

Learning to stop absorbing other people’s energies could be the biggest challenge facing highly sensitive people and empaths. We easily feel what other people feel, whether it is a family member, the grocery store clerk, a co-worker, or a stranger. Going through our day to day life requires a certain awareness in order to distinguish between our feelings and others. This ability to recognize what we are taking on allows us to make a conscious choice about what to do next. Though we gain a lot from this unique ability, we often pay a hefty price for it. We can feel controlled by this trait and allow it to influence where we go and who we see. But there is another way to live. We can learn to thrive in the world with this special gift, we just need the right tools.

Tools To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Energies

  1. Get Grounded – this is the most important thing we can do in the morning, or anytime.  It’s no secret highly sensitive people have trouble staying grounded because we feel everything so intensely and live in our heads. But grounding ourselves is the first step to take if we don’t want to carry around other’s emotions and energies as if they were our own. In 5 minutes or less, you can do the following;
    • Visualize roots growing out of the bottom of the feet, reaching deep into the ground. Picture this until the feet feel weighed down.
    • Run cool water on the wrists, or bring the wrists together, one on top of the other, with the hands going in opposite directions. Hold for 5 minutes. Take    a shower or bath. 
    • Spend 5 minutes meditating, focusing on deep inhalations and exhalations.
    • Say the word OM, drawing out the word slowly and repeat it for 5 minutes. Feel the vibration of the word in the body.
    • Sit on or touch the earth/ground. Walk on the ground in bare feet. Hug a tree.
  2. Visualize – visualization is very effective for keeping other people’s energy separate from our own. To do this we can visualize ourselves in a personal box. This box has four walls surrounding us, with a lid on top of our head. This box is designed for positive energies to enter, but repels energies we don’t want. People can’t tell we put it there. We still sense what others are feeling and thinking, however, once we have recognized their energies it stays with them. The energy does not become entangled in ours and it does not stay in our box.
  3. Clear – this is highly useful after we have absorbed unwanted energy. While alone and in a quiet place, we start to swipe away the energy surrounding the body. We cup the hands and start above our head. Using both hands, we cut through the energy in a quick, swiping action, pushing it away. Our hands are clearing our head area, then move down to the neck, chest, abdomen and so on. Continue all the way down to the feet. When we are done, we picture ourselves in a white bubble. We have effectively cleared stored energy from other people out of our personal area.
  4. Do The Work – this step is more complex than the others but cannot be ignored. We take on other people’s emotions, thoughts, and sensations easily but have we ever stopped and questioned why? There is a tendency for us to be unconsciously attracted to helping and healing others. One way we do this is by adsorbing other people’s toxic energy and letting them feed off of our higher vibrations. Whether we are aware or not, we are getting something out of this transaction. This is where we need to do some inner work. We must examine our core beliefs and honestly question ourselves about what the pay off is. Who would we be without this trait? What could we do with our lives? How do we feel when we help to heal others? How do we help heal ourselves? How do we feel about boundaries? Does worthiness play a role? These are all questions we can explore while doing our inner work. When we uncover outdated hidden beliefs, we can let them go and replace them with new ones. How about this one;

“I am worthy of a happy life, filled with thoughts, emotions, and sensations that I choose.”

By using these four powerful techniques to stop absorbing unwanted energy, we are free to focus on other things. We can use our new found energy to accomplish the dreams and goals we set out for ourselves. We are free to move through the world in a new, empowering way. A way that allows us to use this unique gift to our benefit, and to the benefit of the world.

Emotional Healing And The Body

Highly sensitive people come into the world very attuned to the sensory world.

We perceive so much from inside ourselves and from observing and sensing others.

When we encounter intense pain or even trauma, that same gift of sensing can overwhelm us with too much sensation and information.

Our system can shut down to protect us from this “too muchness”.

Counter intuitively, returning to sensing in our bodies can also be the path back to wholeness and health.

The Necessity Of Pain Processing

“Most importantly, I learned that as much as I wanted to, I can’t simply “turn off” the hurt, and move on to the next chapter without fully processing and experiencing the associated pain. Truly feeling my emotions and acknowledging physical responses to stress and pain has been hugely beneficial to me.”- L. H. on healing from a painful divorce.

Working with the body can help facilitate emotional healing. Trauma and pain are stored in the body – we remove our conscious awareness from certain parts of our body in order to stop feeling the pain or trauma. Often we first experienced this pain or trauma when alone. It overwhelmed our singular energy system and so we shut it off. Healing can come when we put our conscious awareness back into that part of our body where it was shut down. Then we can allow the process to unfold at a pace that we can manage (and not be overwhelmed) until a natural resolve is reached and we authentically move on.

How Being Highly Sensitive Helps Healing

Being highly sensitive can assist with this process as returning to simple body sensations is the most effective way to re-open the shut off area. Going directly into emotion can quickly return the original overwhelm, whereas re-entering through awareness of body sensations can return awareness step by step and begin to open the shut off area without overwhelm.

Careful attention to the unfolding sensations will bring vital energy back into the area, and movement and growth will resume in the most microscopic, manageable way. Underlying physiological processes that were cut short can resume and be allowed to resolve.

The Importance Of A Healing Partner

Having another person involved helps as then there are two energy systems to contain the energy. Then it is not as overwhelming. The other person can also monitor the unfolding process and stop it or slow it down when it becomes too intense and we risk re-traumatizing ourselves. Re-traumatization occurs when the energy opened up is more than we can stay present for. Therefore their system closes down once again with a sense of helplessness and overwhelm.

When consciousness returns to the blocked off area, the helping person watches for signs of “too much” – for example, heart rate elevation, rapid breathing, eyes not able to focus – and stops or slows down the process when these signs emerge. Slowing down the process can be achieved by returning to purely physical sensations, letting go of the emotional reactions to those sensations and allowing more distance and open space around the sensations.

The task when the process is stopped is to comfort the pain and distress that has arisen and return the person to a grounded, balanced place in the present moment. In working to heal trauma, sometimes safe places are established as body memories during one of the early sessions. Then they are returned to when the pain and distress has arisen, as a place of comfort and restoration.

Healing Helps You Regain Your Power

The overall task of healing is to be present to small, manageable size pieces of the pain or trauma, in a number of sessions over time, until there is a natural resolution. It is also important to allow the body to cycle through and complete any physiological processes that were begun, so that physiological balance is restored and the body moves on naturally.

Doing this work uses the natural gifts of your sensitivity. The work may be natural as you already are tuned in to sensations. Emotional healing through the body can be very rewarding as you restore your own presence, awareness and vitality in your body. New energy and awareness can help you to truly come into your own power.

How Reiki Helps Depression

Can depression be treated?

Can depression sufferers find relief without medication?

Understanding Depression

I think depression is very misunderstood. So often it is treated as a defect or a personality problem.

Studies have shown that long term depression comes from the way our brains develop in childhood. The implication is that adverse childhood conditions of abuse or serious neglect, living with problems that we cannot control and cannot solve create changes in how our brains function and  can cause depression.

Covering Up Depression Doesn’t Work

So often we think that when we are not feeling well, that the solution is a trip to the doctor or emergency room. We naturally seek a way to get rid of the pain. Sometimes we medicate ourselves with food, drink, entertainment and other diversions. It doesn’t work.

The distractions don’t last for long and then the problem returns and we end up feeling even worse; however they have the negative effect of causing us to feel like failures because we do not seem to be able to control our lives and ourselves.

Different Types Of Depression

The vicious cycle occurs because we often do not understand the problem we are trying to solve. Depression can come from a number of sources and we need to educate ourselves before we can create the changes we need.

There are different kinds of depressions but they generally fall into two categories:

  • situational depressions like job loss or losing a friend that are temporary although painful
  • chronic forms of depression which is caused by life conditions.

Chronic depression arises when we have unresolved negative feelings, often as a result of our childhoods, that make us feel sad, bad and hopeless. Unfortunately, chronic depression can change the way our brain works and make it more difficult for us to get well.

Chronic depression can feel like an attack on our life force by making us feel that life is not worth living. So what can reiki do about all this?

How Reiki Helps Depression Symptoms

Reiki is a hands on healing technique that transmits universal energy from the reiki practitioner to the individual receiving the treatment. The practitioner applies hand positions on the body which passes the energy to the reiki client. The energy enters the body and goes to wherever it is needed.

This infusion of energy results in changes to the energy body of the person receiving the treatment. All illnesses including depression show up in the energy body. They show up as blocks to the natural flow of energy. Blocks to our energy can come from repressed feelings as well as poor food, water, sleep habits, and other lifestyle problems.

They can also come from stress as well as unprocessed grief and sadness. Think about how you feel under stress. You tighten up on the inside and the flow of energy in the body becomes constricted. That constriction impairs your functioning. Multiply that one stress incident by all the stress in your life, and you have seriously blocked energy that can create illness, including mental illnesses and depression.

Reiki Helps You Find Your Joy

Reiki puts us back in touch with our healthy flowing energy. When we experience it, it reminds us of who we are and how we can be healthy and joyful. Reiki energy enables a new healing energy to clear out blockages. When the constriction starts to clear, we feel lighter, more relaxed and more loving toward ourselves and others.

The history of reiki is full of stories about the healing of all sorts of conditions. Some heal very quickly. Others make take multiple sessions for the new energy to take hold and clear out blockages. One of reiki’s advantages it that it can be learned and then performed on the self. Many reiki masters perform daily self reiki to heal their blockages.

Receiving a reiki treatment can be a wonderful experience, putting you in touch with a happy part of yourself that you may not be aware of if you are depressed. Just finding and learning about your inner healer is a good way to get on the road out of depression.

Image Credit: Bellasante Spa, Boston, MA

How To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Energy

 

HSPs frequently ask me how to protect themselves from other people’s energy.  I always tell them that there is no quick and easy answer.

People are frequently looking for a shield or want to learn how to create an energy bubble.  The truth is, if you know your own issues, then other people’s issues can’t stay attached to you, or not for long.  You need to do your personal work.

For me, that personal work involved many years of therapy.  I loved this process because as an HSP I enjoy looking inside and sorting out what I find.  I had been depressed for most of my life until I took the time to go through this deep inner process that helped to clarify and reframe my issues and experiences.  Out of that inner work I developed a deep capacity to protect myself through being centered in myself and therefore naturally knowing (or being able to sort out) what belongs to me and what belongs to someone else.  I also grew to love myself and my sensitivity, as well as trust in my own heart to guide me.

Inner Work Will Help You To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Energy

Recently I saw an exceptional video by Ralph Smart on how to stop absorbing other people’s energy. Have a look!

He gave the best answer to “How to stop absorbing other people’s energy” that I have ever heard.  I like his video because he doesn’t try to oversimplify the process, and yet gets right to the heart of the core issues involved, including loving yourself.   And here is a summary of what Ralph has to say:

  1. Remember you can’t please everyone.  Accept that not everyone is going to like you.  Once you get past that, then you can stop absorbing other people’s energy.  It’s ok to be nice, but it’s more important to be yourself.  Because you are loving and accepting yourself, you no longer need to constantly be looking for love and acceptance from others.

  2. Invitation – Chose whether or not you want to be invited to where this person is going to take you.  Nobody can enter your inner kingdom without an invitation.  We attract every single person, consciously or unconsciously.  We have the power to choose.

  3. Do not pay attention to sources that drain your energy.  “ Energy vampires”, people who act as a parasite and use your energy to survive, do not deserve your attention.  When you pay attention, you are in essence giving someone your energy.  Whatever you focus on grows.  Are you focusing on what you want or on what you fear?  Do not allow “emotional drive-by’s”– where people dump their energy on you and then go away feeling lighter, while you are left feeling heavy.  Do not become a trash can for someone else.  Love yourself and know your value.  Give only when the exchange is good for all involved.

  4. Breathe.  This simple action can change everything and is so powerful.  Go into nature – purify your senses.  Feel alive, feel free.  Meditate, dance, sing – purify the water within yourself.  Speed your vibration.  When your energy level becomes  low or even stagnant, you are more likely to absorb other people’s energy.

  5. Take responsibility for your inner condition.  Take 100% responsibility – it’s not the other person’s problem.  It is for you to take care of how you feel at any moment of the day.

These guidelines provided by Ralph are useful reminders for me each day as I go about life as a sensitive person.  I use these five skills and continually sharpen my capacity to remain free from unwanted energetic influences.  They are part of the basic skills needed to be an empowered HSP and to be at your best.

 

Protect Your Life Force: Awareness For HSPs

Our life force is our energy.

As a highly sensitive person, I am very energy sensitive as I am sure you are. Being energy sensitive means noticing the claims and demands on our energy from others. Protecting our life force and being good stewards of our life gift is our job. However being an HSP makes this a particularly challenging job. There are many ways to deal with interpersonal claims for our time and energy. One way is to be aware of ways in which someone can try to lay claim to our life force.

Ways Of Laying Claim To The Life Force Of Another

There are many ways to lay claim to the energies of another person. Some you will have experienced and others you may use yourself.

This list is not exhaustive but it will help you notice when it is happening:

  1. expectations. This is one we all do at some point or another, perhaps even all the time. We form expectations and they then run our relationships.
  2. fear. One of the easiest ways to lay claim to another’s life force is by creating fear, or putting your fear on them.
  3. guilt. One of the big energy thieves of modern life, with guilt we put the burden of our life on someone else.
  4. promises. When we make promises and do not keep them, we are stealing someone else’s life force, by pretending a level of relationship that we are not willing to maintain.
  5. demands. When we make demands, we are being entitled to the time, energy and labor of another.
  6. values. Values are a very useful tool in managing our lives and commitments. However, when we impose our values on others we are demanding that they live on our terms. Even if we have great values, it is important to honor the dignity of another person.
  7. emergencies and dramas. We have all met drama queens and know how time consuming and draining they can be. They demand that they be put ahead of others and attended to because of their emergencies. If the dramas and emergencies are ongoing, they can serious drain others of time, energy and resources.
  8. mindsets. A mindset may be a handy way of making life decisions, however, when used in relationships, they deny the individuals the ability to be in the moment and relate on the basis of what is. Mindsets can be a preconceived way of relating that stifles others and therefore drains them when they were expecting a more dynamic interpersonal arrangement. Mindsets include ideologies of all kinds and the demand for conformity.
  9. identity. Identity can serve many purposes. It can be constructed in order to promote special claims. One example from the United States’ identity: we created the concept of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny to support an expansionist agenda.
  10. victim role. The victim is an identity that deserves its own special category. We all experience being a victim. It is only problematic when it becomes our identity. When it becomes our way of playing weak and using other people to do our work for us.
  11. generalizations. Generalizations can be dangerous. When we generalize about people we create discrimination which is systematized energy theft of other people.
  12. all forms of physical, emotional, sexual and verbal abuse are a demand that someone be who we want them to be and serve our interests.
  13. projection. One of the most hurtful things we can do is to project ourselves onto others and not allow them their reality and perceptions.
  14. copping out. When we cop out, we put our work on someone else.
  15. emotional dumping. Although we all have bad days and need someone to listen to us, expecting someone else to take care of our feelings all of the time is unfair and a way to take their life force.

I am sure you can think of other ways that people lay claim to the energies and life force of another person.

How To Protect Yourself From People Who Want Your Life Force

Self protection for highly sensitive people is a big subject.

Although there are many things we can do to help ourselves including healthy living practices, meditation, and energy healing, we will need to address the energy draining experiences from other people.

In order to protect ourselves there are a number of strategies that are helpful:

  • see if you can make a list of difficult people situations for yourself and cut out as many as possible. One of the greatest and most damaging myths is that strong people “take” abuse and that it is OK with them.
  • if you want to learn to handle an interpersonal situations better, take one at a time and work on it. Experiment to find an outcome that works for you.
  • notice when others define you to you, themselves and others. Reframing our identity to ourselves and publicly to others can help. “No. I am not a wimp.”” I refuse to waste my time on needless fights that waste everyone’s time and energy.”
  • since we are sensitive, aggressive people will try to provoke us. Decide that you will ignore them. Most people cannot ignore aggression but it is a useful skill to learn not to react.
  • although this may not be a very HSP tactic, it can be helpful to make someone look foolish by not going along with their negativity. Say you are at work, and there is someone who is bugging you in some way. You can ignore their negativity, and find something positive to say (“Nice tie you are wearing…) and let go off the situation. You will be perceived as someone who tried to cheer someone else up. It is a good strategy for handling public baiting.
  • let your HSPness work for you. HSPs are interesting. Use it to help others and develop a reputation as an interesting and valuable person. As you do, it will be harder for energy stealers to take advantage since they will not find the social support for doing so.
  • be willing to say no to requests and expectations of those who are hostile to you, whether at work or elsewhere.

These are just a few strategies.

Some people who drain your energy will respond to changes you make in what you do including requests for space and considerations. Other will not.

You do not have to take care of relationships and situations that are harmful to you.

No matter what others are doing, you can honor yourself.