Surviving Christmas: A Guide for Empaths & HSPs

tree_2As you may have already noticed, it is getting ever closer to that dreaded time of year… Christmas!

For some of you, Christmas may be a much enjoyed time that you look forward to. I wish I could make that claim. Unfortunately, for many reasons, the festive season is one my least favourite times of the year.

When I was a younger (child to mid-twenties), I used to love Christmas and everything it stood for. But as the years passed the month of December became harder and harder for me to cope with.

Without fail, every year, at the end of November or beginning of December, I would start to feel low. My energy dropped; I would feel like I was coming down with a bug, I would be tense or harassed and just feel plain awful. On around December 28th I would strangely go back to feeling better.

In my mind I would always find a reason for feeling so bad: being extra busy at work, having an incredibly busy social life, eating unhealthily, drinking too much alcohol, not having enough sunlight, not doing enough exercise etc.… And so, over the years I tried many different approaches to make December more bearable for me: I made changes to my diet, I exercised, stopped going out, stopped drinking, went on a sunshine break, but nothing changed. I came to dislike Christmas so much (for many reasons and not just because I felt bad) that I simply opted out of the whole thing! But still, there was no change in the way I felt. Continue reading

Is This a Cure for Social Anxiety and Introversion?

It has been a while since my last blog post, to say the least. I hadn’t realized just how long, until I glanced at the date of my last post… Eeeek! Time really is whizzing by!

I apologise for the lack of updates. It is not because I have lost interest in my little blog, far from it, I have missed my time away from the keyboard and writing about my passions of self-development for the Empath. The reason I have been away for so long is because my life has seen many changes this past year (all positive), which has meant I have had little time to spend on Just Be. But as I have now found myself with a free period, I wanted to come here and share with you information I recently came across about a condition that could be causing some of you unnecessary social anxiety and excessive introversion.

Like many of you out there, I consider myself to be an introvert and an Empath, with food and environmental sensitivities…which basically means, in this world, it is a constant battle to stay in balance. There are seemingly never ending hurdles to overcome when it comes to my/our wellbeing.

Continue reading

Still the Empath Mind with Ancient Yoga Techniques

I recently watched a television programme where the discussion was about overcoming pre-performance nerves. One of the presenters was talking about how she had learnt to deal with her debilitating stage-fright:  She explained that a wise mentor had given her the advice to change her emotions. He had told her: when she felt fear and nervousness prior to a performance, to focus her mind and change her nervousness into excitement. To her amazement, she found the technique worked and although she still suffered from the jitters before a stage entrance she knew she could turn those emotions into enthusiasm, with the intentional direction of her mind.

The programme got me thinking of how easy (or not) it is to change our emotions from negative to positive and although I understand that we have a choice as to how we interpret our emotions, I really don’t believe it’s that cut and dry. There are so many other factors to consider, none more so than the stimuli that triggered the emotion and our state of mind.

The mind is an incredibly powerful tool. The unfortunate thing is it generally runs rings around most and the majority of us do not know how to control it.

Many illnesses start in the mind in the shape of stress/fear/anger etc. and the mind has the power to heal those ailments, in some cases in, an instant. We’ve seen evidence of this in the placebo effect. For example:  when testing the effectiveness of new pharmaceutical drugs, test subjects are normally divided into two groups. One group will be given the real drug, being tested, and others will be given a fake (placebo). There have been many cases where those given the placebo have healed from their ailments, because their mind believed they were given the drug. There have also been cases where groups of volunteers have been given operations, for things such as knee or hip injuries, some of the subjects were given bona fide operations and some were given dummy ops (where the volunteer was anaesthetised but only an incision was made and nothing more, giving the patient the belief that they had had the procedure). Some of the the volunteers who’d had the dummy op (placebo), healed from their injury, just because they believed they had had the intended medical procedure. The placebo effect is a simple case of just how powerful the mind is, in that it was the mind’s belief that healed the body.

We all know the mind is capable of creating emotional turmoil, especially when the thoughts have gone into overdrive. We can speed up the heart rate just by envisaging a scary scenario or we can make ourselves angry by imagining an injustice against us. The more innovative the mind the more possibilities there are. One can only imagine what damage could be done within the body by those who have creative imaginations. Guess who have amazingly creative imaginations…? Yup, Empaths.

Empaths can sit for hours, happily staring into space with just their thoughts for company and entertainment, and whilst this is a lovely past time when the thoughts are happy and positive, it is not so much when they are dark or brooding. Happy thoughts uplift, inspire, balance and nourish the body and mind. The opposite is true for turbulently-vexed thoughts. They impact the body in the form of painful and angry emotions that burn within one’s solar plexus (mid stomach area) and it becomes a vicious cycle: thoughts feeding emotions and emotions feeding thoughts.

When Empaths feel the emotions of those around them, they can turn into their thoughts without them even realizing it and before they know what’s hit them, the Empath can be caught up in a tornado of torrid, angry thoughts that didn’t stem from their own circumstances.

It has to be noted that when in public, Empaths won’t always know where or from whom the emotions come from, because not everyone shows on the surface what is going on within and not everyone carries pain.

When I was younger and worked as a hairdresser, I spent my days surrounded by people of all ages, and all of whom I worked very closely with. In the time before I knew anything about being an Empath, I could never understand why I felt so uncomfortable around certain people. But what used to baffle me the most was why I felt most uncomfortable around those who came across as being really sweet and lovely. But when I was around those who were first-class grumps or those who may have been direct, rude or obnoxious, I never used to feel very much, well, other than the obvious, surface, negativity. I now know that those sweet and lovely people, who I felt uncomfortable with, were sensitive beings who held a lot of emotional pain within them and this is what I was picking up. Those who were grumpy or obnoxious didn’t hold much pain within them; it was all on the surface level and not hidden away.

The mind has its own way of interpreting energy. Sometimes it will make it into a story and sometimes it will make one feel physically ill or drained. Our programmes will normally determine how we read energy and when I say programmes, I mean our lineage and history. One may be very different from our grandparents, parents and siblings but we are made from the same stuff as them, so there is a strong likelihood that what was carried within them, will be carried within us. We inherit more than just our physical appearance. Our history is made up from the events that happened to us through our lives, good and bad. The factors between our lineage and history can greatly determine how we operate within the world and how our personal programmes come into being. If one finds negative emotions continuously arising in certain situations, it could be time to get re-programmed and this means taking control of the mind and changing the mindset. If this is something you are looking for then my recommendation is in the practice of yoga.

In my quest to quieten the mind and heal my body over the years, I have tried many different things, but the one constant, and something I have always come back to, is yoga and the many branches thereof. It is only now, after years of study and practice, that I have a greater insight into the roots of yoga and an understanding as to why it is and has been such a help to me as a Sensitive.

Sadly, in much of the Western World, the focus of yoga (and in facts most forms of exercise) has had a strong emphasis on the effect it has on the physical appearance, or getting the body into ‘pretzel-shaped’, advanced postures (that most western bodies are not designed for). But yoga goes so much deeper than that.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years and originated in India. For all the many benefits yoga has to offer the body, it was primarily designed to still the mind. It is only when we have a quiet mind that we can truly find peace. The ancient yogis knew that to have a quiet mind you could not have a body in pain so the yoga poses (asana) were designed to strengthen,  heal and soothe the body of ailments and in turn, make it so one could sit comfortably, for hours on end, in deep meditation. The poses were also created as a challenge for the mind, for when the mind is focused on overcoming an obstacle it can not be filled with riotous thoughts.

Within yoga we are also trained to control the breath, either through dynamic yoga (flowing in and out of postures) or through pranayama (regulation of breath though certain techniques and exercises). It is through control of the breath that we control the mind. I have done yoga for nearly 20 years and it is only relatively recently that I have been making a conscious effort to regularly practice the breathing techniques (I used to dip in and out). Not only can the different breathing techniques be energising and uplifting, but they are also calming, relaxing and rejuvenating. Another huge benefit I have found from practising pranyama is that certain techniques can alleviate and even remove negative, incoming emotions from others. It is just a case of finding the correct pranayama technique for the specific problem.

I have written about yoga and the breathing systems before and will, no doubt, again, but in these challenging times we find ourselves in, I see them as an essential part of an Empaths protection.

Below is a list of breathing exercises and links to demonstrations on Youtube. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor when practising, you can sit in a normal chair as long as  your back is straight.

Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing).

This technique quietens the mind and blisses you out. It is great to do before bedtime especially if you’ve got a wired, monkey mind. It also balances the masculine and feminine energies within the body.

Kapalbhati (bellows breath).

 This is an all round brilliant, breathing technique, it also works out and strengthen the core stomach muscles. It is beneficial to do in the morning as it is energising (to be done on an empty stomach), or when one needs a quick energy boost. It is fabulous to do if you are feeling a lot of emotion around the solar plexus area, which it quickly eliminates. After performing this breathing technique, you are left with a quiet, yet energised, mind.

Ujayi (victorious breath) 

 This is commonly used within yogic asana practise to create heat within the body, keep the mind focused and help eliminate toxins. It really helps quieten the mind as it is kept focused on the breath. I have recently found this one great to do when in places such as supermarkets, where there’s lots of people and a rush of emotions swirling round. It helps block out the incoming, keeps you centred and it is doubly effective if you lightly contract the stomach muscles.

Dynamic Asana Practice.

This is yoga asana, but instead of holding poses static for a certain length of time, you move in and out with the breath. Again brilliant for quietening the mind but also great for alleviating tension in the body as well as creating strength and flexibility. (I have not attached a link to this as it’s probably best to first practise under a qualified instructor).

To reap maximum benefits you should try to practise pranayama everyday, if only for 5 minutes. It is best to practice in a quiet, comfortable and warm place. However, the breathing techniques can be taken out with you, Ujayi is best for this. You can do them whilst sitting in a traffic jam, whilst walking in a shopping centre or anywhere else where  and when needed.

All yogic breathing systems should be approached gradually. When first attempted they can make you dizzy or sometimes anxious, with persistence these will pass so don’t be put off.

At A Glance: 30 Traits of an Empath

By Diane Kathrine

1.     Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.

2.     Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums, where there are lots of people around, can fill the Empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.

 3.     Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for Empaths. To some, they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept Empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from a great distance.

 4.     Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an Empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.

 5.     You know when someone is not being honestIf a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many Empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.

 6.     Picking up physical symptoms off another: An Empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches and pains), especially those who they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.

 7.     Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where Empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an Empath, will almost always be ungrounded.

 8.     Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an Empath’s attention and compassion.

 9.     Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An Empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.

 10.    Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME.

 11.    Addictive personalityAlcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions Empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It can be a form of self-protection in order to hide from someone or something (external emotions).

12.    Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many Empaths would love to heal others, they can end up turning away from healing (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to Empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily.

 13.   Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an Empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.

 14.    Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for Empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

 15.    Need for solitude: An Empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.

 16.    Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated: Work, school and home life has to be kept interesting for an Empath or they switch off from it and end up daydreaming or doodling.

 17.   Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an Empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s for this reason many  Empaths get labelled as being lazy.

 18.   Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an Empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.

 19.   Always looking for answers and knowledgeTo have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an Empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.

 20.  Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.

 21.  Abhors clutterIt makes an Empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.

 22.  Loves to daydream: An Empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.

 23.  Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning: Anything that takes away their freedom is debilitating to an Empath even poisoning.

 24.  Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight, especially around the belly area, is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.

 25.  Excellent listener: An Empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.

 26.  Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, Empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider anyone’s feelings or points of view, other than their own.

 27.   The ability to feel the days of the week: An Empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.

 28.   Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-handAnything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An Empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.

 29.   Sense the energy of food: Many Empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.

 30.   Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnectedDepending on how an Empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. An Empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone.


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If you are new to discovering you are an Empath be sure to check out: Grounding Techniques for Empaths and Sensitives and Stop Empath Overwhelm Instantly 

There are many tried and tested techniques on this page that will help you better deal with your gift. Also, check out these 12 quick questions, you may also find the following posts helpful:

Transform Your Life!

Why Empaths Freeze around Inauthentic People

It’s Time to Let go of Toxic People

Supplements to Heal the Empath

An Empath’s Life Guide

This above list has been compiled as a guide to help the unknowing Empath recognize his/her gift.

Empaths may carry many of the same traits but not all of them. One Empath may be able to eat meat whilst another may love being around antiques… we are all different.  Some can override or block certain traits and some traits will come and go over the years (strengthen or weaken) as life circumstances change for the individual.

Hope this helps you on your path.


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©Diane Kathrine at Empaths Empowered

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