As an empath (someone who can pick up on the emotions of another), I can relate to so many people of all ages experiencing anxiety on a daily basis. I am no stranger to this phenomenon. My first panic attack was at the age of 9 and I’ll never forget how terrible it felt.
With a lot of experience of my own dealing with anxiety as well as assisting my clients cope with theirs, I have determined that a great deal of empaths are susceptible to anxiety attacks not just because of their own intense emotions but because they pick up on the emotions of others (often without realizing it).
Below I’ve listed three tips to help empaths who suffer from anxiety attacks (or other disturbing emotions)
1. Release Attachment
Unfortunately, most empaths have not been trained to use their gift of empathy properly, so when they walk into a room of high emotional intensity (i.e. a funeral home, a concert, or a home that has a lot of conflict) they begin to “pick up” on the emotions of those around them. Almost like a TV antenna tuning into different channels, empaths will unknowingly pick up strong signals that are being emitted by those around them.
This can be extremely confusing for someone who is “tuning in” to an emotion of “panic” accidentally. They may begin to feel all the symptoms of a panic attack (rapid pulse, hyperventilating, etc.) but cannot pinpoint exactly why they are feeling fearful.
The next time this happens to you pause for a moment and mentally ask yourself:
“Am I the source of this panic? Or is it someone else?”
“Is there anything that could be causing this feeling of panic within me? (For example, something someone has done or said, an uncomfortable situation, or a painful memory emerging.)
If you have found no reason for your panic and believe that it may be coming from a source other than yourself, do a quick visualization:
Imagine a cord between you and a big coloured balloon. This balloon is the emotion that you’re experiencing. Sever the cord and watch as the balloon floats away. Take a deep breath and check in with yourself. If the emotion belongs to someone else, this brief visualization will help to release it from you.
2. Allow the Emotion to Be — Don’t Fight it
When we don’t realize that an emotion is not ours, but comes from the surrounding environment, we will often take responsibility for it. We assume that we have created the emotion of panic or anxiety, so we “own” it.
When you “own” an emotion that isn’t yours you have two choices:
The first option is to fight the feeling and try your best to push it away so that it doesn’t ruin your experience. If you find yourself having an anxiety attack at a birthday party, you may try to supress the emotion by ignoring it or become upset that you’re experiencing the emotion in the first place.
This only creates more resistance. It makes it a lot more difficult for you to let go of the emotion when you’re fighting it.
The second option is to give in to the emotion. This is actually better than fighting the feeling that you’re experiencing. When you allow yourself to feel whatever emotion is overcoming you, you have a chance at letting it go and moving forward.
The next time you find yourself taking responsibility for an emotion you’ve picked up in your environment try this:
Take a few deep breaths.
On every exhalation, imagine yourself blowing the emotion you’re feeling (anxiety, panic, etc.) into a balloon.
Take as many breaths as you need to.
Imagine this balloon getting larger and larger.
When you’ve successfully released the emotion, the balloon will stop growing.
At that point, tie up the end of the balloon and watch it float up and away into the sky. Watch as it disappears.
At that point, mentally check in with yourself and see if the emotion has subsided. Repeat this exercise as necessary.
3. Release the Need to “Fix” Others
This is HUGE for empaths. When we have the belief that we are here to “fix” the problems of others, we create major problems for ourselves. This issue is so common, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
So many times, I’ve seen my clients come into their appointments needing to energetically “offload” all of the negativity and drama that they’ve absorbed from others.
When you feel the need to “fix” someone, you become a sponge and will unconsciously seek to take their negativity from them and put it on your shoulders. Because you cannot ever take away someone’s pain (it’s their responsibility to let it go), you will only end up sharing it with them. You will lower your own vibration to match them and will likely leave their presence feeling exhausted, in a low mood, and “heavy.”
If you find yourself in the presence of someone who has a lot of negativity in their life, imagine an orb of pink light around yourself. Then imagine wrapping them in their own cocoon of pink light. Remember that your only job is to love them and help them if they ask for it.
It is never your job to take on anyone else’s pain. Loving them is the most that you can do for anyone. Allow them to live out the consequences of their actions and if they genuinely need help, they will seek it out.
I hope these solutions for coping with your gift of empathy have helped you. If you have any other tips that you’d like to share, post them in the comments below.
by Danielle Fagan.