Every Empath experiences it at some point and it is one of the most challenging aspects of being Sensitive. The overwhelm endured, from taking on too much emotional energy, can at times be unbearable.
Empath overwhelm is often caused by being “peopled”. But being around crowded places or overly negative people is not the only way an Empath becomes overwhelmed.
When someone has caused hurt, by their words or actions, or if the Empath has had negative thoughts directed towards them it often throws them completely off-balance, sending them nose-diving into overload. And that is not to mention what they suffer from being in the firing line of another’s low-mood.
The more out of alignment the Empath (feeling run down, emotionally low, having unbalanced chakras and hormones, etc.) the worst they will be affected by overwhelm and the longer it will last.
Empath overwhelm affects everyone differently, some much worse than others, at different stages of life. It causes lethargy, apathy and mood swings, and can trigger thoughts that keep you awake at night and dark emotions that reduce your verve for life.
The best way to combat the impact of overwhelm is to ‘nip it in the bud’ as soon as you become aware of it. The following techniques work quickly to stop Empath overwhelm in its tracks:
1. Eat a small amount of chocolate:
I say small amount because large amounts have the opposite effect (I discovered this the delicious way, by devouring too much).
Chocolate can transform and uplift oyur mood in an instant. Containing compounds which promote happiness, chocolate is the go-to food when you have been emotionally or energetically triggered.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, produced by eating chocolate, known as the happy hormone. This hormone not only activates your bliss centers but it also helps refrain you from dipping into dark thoughts.
In my opinion, milk chocolate tends to work better than dark (as dark chocolate has a higher amount of caffeine). But the type you choose is something you can experiment with yourself. Most chocolate contains refined sugar which is a big cause of depression, and inflammation, not just in Empaths but all humans. So keep chocolate just for the times when you’ve been hit by emotional overload.
Eat between 2 to 4 small squares of chocolate, washed down with a pint of cool water. The water speeds up the healing and re-balancing process.
2. Temple hold:
Place two to three fingers on either side of the temples (between the eyebrows and hairline) and hold for as long as needed.
This simple technique helps break the repetitive thoughts that are triggered from emotional pain and overwhelm. It also works to block the dense feelings they cause.
I’m not sure why this method works but it does. (I suspect it is because it activates acupressure points and soothes the parts of the brain responsible for emotions.) It makes one feel safe and helps contain any excess ‘head energy’.
Great to do at bedtime, when emotional overwhelm turns into rampant thoughts that keep you awake. Taking some calming, conscious breaths at the same time further helps.
3. Short burst of high intensity exercise:
A mini power-walk or run, dynamic yoga moves, dance routines or skipping, etc. helps burn off raging or uncomfortable emotions. I’m talking very doable bursts of exercise that last between 1 to 5 minutes.
Performing short bursts of high intensity exercise releases endorphins into the body which block the pain transmission signals and produce euphoric feelings that calm the entire system.
A great exercise I use, when I have been emotionally fired-up, is the plank. Most will have heard of the plank; it is a challenging yoga move that activates all the muscles in the body. Maintaining it for just 30 seconds is often all it takes to blast out any negative energy.
There is a variation of the plank to do whatever your fitness level, from beginners and beyond. You will find plenty of excellent instructional videos on YouTube to get you started.
Whatever exercise you choose, as your mini blast, make sure to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable and your muscles burn. (The saying ‘fight fire with fire’ springs to mind here).
This may not be something you want to do when feeling low, but it is excellent for lifting the moods. Sound affects you on many levels and singing raises your vibration and can stop emotional overwhelm in its tracks.
Anyone can sing, hum or chant, even whistling works. Just make sure the song you chose is uplifting and not one that stokes up painful emotional memories. Try it and see.
5. Avoid caffeine:
Being a stimulant, caffeine will heighten any emotional overwhelm you are experiencing. You don’t always realize how caffeine worsens your emotions because the effects kick in 30 to 40 minutes after consumption. It can make you anxious and jittery and anything you feel negatively inside is amplified. Not having caffeine will not always prevent emotional overload but it significantly reduces the symptoms and the way it affects you.