Dr. Judith Orloff
The Empath’s Survival Guide – Life Strategies for Sensitive People
by Nina from MindGourmet
Seemingly Too Thinly Skinned
Have you been called overly sensitive or told you need to get a thicker skin? Do you experience yourself differently depending on who your conversation partner is? Do you quickly become overwhelmed by other people’s emotions? Can you instantly feel when what others say is not in alignment with the energy they radiate? Do you feel easily overwhelmed by too much sensory input? Do you tend to lose your sense of self while interacting with others? If you just said, “Yes, that’s me,” you might be an empath!
Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist specializing in helping empaths like herself, says: “Though there is a spectrum of sensitivity that exists in human beings, empaths are emotional sponges who absorb both the stress and joy of the world. We feel everything, often to an extreme, and have little guard up between others and ourselves. As a result, we are often overwhelmed by excessive stimulation and are prone to exhaustion and sensory overload.” In her book, The Empath’s Survival Guide, Dr. Orloff shares how to become a balanced, empowered, and happy empath. Which includes learning “ways how to avoid taking on the energy, symptoms, and stress of others.”
Empaths Feel Things First, Then Think
“As an empath … we actually sense other people’s emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our bodies, without the usual filters that most people have. We can experience other people’s sorrow and also their joy. We are supersensitive to their tone of voice and body movements. We can hear what they don’t say in words but communicate nonverbally and through silence. Empaths feel things first, then think, which is the opposite of how most people function in our overintellectualized society,” says Dr. Orloff.
The Empath’s Advantages and Challenges
According to The Empath’s Survival Guide, empaths are “intuitive, feeling the flow of energy in the world, reading people, and experiencing the richness of being so open to life and nature.”
“We empaths have many marvelous traits,” Dr. Orloff continues. “We have huge hearts and the instinct to help others in need or who are less fortunate. We’re dreamers and idealists. We’re also passionate, deep, creative, in touch with our emotions, compassionate, and can see the big picture.”
Being an empath comes with some challenges. These are: Becoming overstimulated, absorbing the stress and negativity of others, feeling things intensely, experiencing emotional and social hangovers, feeling isolated and lonely, experiencing emotional burnout, coping with increased sensitivity to light, smell, taste, touch, temperature, and sound, and difficulty with expressing needs in intimate relationships.
Empaths are “wonderful, sensitive people with a gift, but all of us need tools to cope,” says Dr. Orloff.
Thriving as an Empath And How to Deal with Sensory Overload
In The Empath’s Survival Guide, Dr. Orloff explains how empaths can deal with sensory overload and how to take charge of your sensitivities instead of feeling overwhelmed.
Here are a few factors that, for the empath, can cause feeling the feeling of overload:
“Fatigue, illness, rushing, traffic, crowds, loud environments, toxic people, low blood sugar, arguing, overwork, chemical sensitivities, too much socializing and feeling trapped in overstimulating situations such as parties and cruises.”
These things help to reduce sensory overload:
Slowing down and unplugging from all stimulation, stillness, recalibration through sleep or meditation, solitude, walks in nature, immersing yourself in water, earthing, and shielding.
Tools to Support Empaths
In The Empath Survival Guide, you will find many tools, exercises, affirmations, and helpful viewpoints to support you in your empath nature. They are easy to understand and practical to implement into your daily life. These are a few examples: “Grounding and Earthing Visualization,” “Return to Sender Mantra”, “The Three-Minute Heart Meditation,” “Meditation for Loving Your Empath Body,” and “Cord-Cutting Visualization.”