Being an empath is a good quality to have because it helps you connect on a deeper level with those around you. You can easily identify what others are feeling and take it on as your own. The issue arises when you pick up negative feelings and make them your own, such as feelings of anxiety. Thus, if this is something that you are experiencing, there are several methods that you can use to separate yourself from the negative emotions of those around you.
7 ways to stop internalising people’s problems:
- Be aware of the feeling
When you start feeling an emotion while being with someone, identify whether the feeling belongs to you or them. Do this by giving a name to it and seeing if you have a reason to feel that way. For example, if you start feeling sad – but you had a great day, then is the feeling yours?
- Maintain clear boundaries
Having strong boundaries is essential to stop internalising other people’s problems. Certain people might become drained if they use you as their person to vent. Be comfortable saying ‘no’ when someone asks you to meet and you’re not up for it. By doing this, you can limit your experience with people who tend to drain your energy.
- Ground yourself
Once you become aware that the emotion isn’t yours, use the five senses to ground yourself. Point out something with each of the five senses to put you back into the present. As well as this, taking deep breaths, holding them in for 5 seconds and slowly releasing them will also help to ground you. The more you can stay in the present, the less likely you will internalise other people’s problems.
- Become self-aware
Be comfortable with spending time with your own emotions and identifying what triggers positive or negative emotions in you. By being able to do this, you will be able to easily pick up which emotions don’t belong to you, and which do.
- Let go of the emotion
If you do end up absorbing someone else’s emotion, once you become aware of it, make sure to release it. Picture the emotion as a colour and breathe it out.
Make time to take care of yourself by either going for a walk or else taking a warm bath. It might even help to journal your emotions and experiences.
- Trust the process
It will take time to start identifying which emotion belongs to you and which doesn’t. Make sure to be patient and trust the process that it takes.
Being in touch with others is a gift which will help you in life, but you need to also make sure to protect yourself by not internalising everyone’s feelings. This would then become too overwhelming for you. Try the above ideas to help you stop absorbing all the negative energy around you.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Mandy Brincat is a Gestalt psychotherapist who enjoys working therapeutically with adults on various issues, such as general mental health and wellbeing. She also has experience working with children with anxiety and day to day stressful problems, and on relational issues with couples.
- Brady, K. (n.d.). Being An Empath: 7 Ways To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Emotions. Keir Brady CounselingServices. https://keirbradycounseling.com/empath-and-absorbing-other-peoples-emotions/
- Lebow, H. I. (2021, August 23). Are You Absorbing Other People’s Energies? This May Be Why. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/blog/stop-absorbing-other-peoples-emotions#how-to-stop-absorbing-energy
- Mbanza, A. (n.d.). Setting Emotional Boundaries: Stop Taking on Other People’s Feelings. Tiny Buddha. https://tinybuddha.com/blog/setting-emotional-boundaries-stop-taking-on-other-peoples-feelings/