Do you suffer from the Empath blues?
Impaired Empaths have a high risk of experiencing “unexplainable sadness”. Constantly feeling the negative emotions of others can trigger a form of emotional exhaustion where nothing feels good anymore. Here’s how to spot and alleviate “emotional fatigue”.
According to wikipedia, “decisional fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision making”. This concept has been studied extensively in psychology where people who have to make a lot of decisions as part of their daily job, like judges for example, become worn out over time and tend to make poorer choices later in the day. The mind becomes exhausted and has a hard time evaluating trade offs, a critical skill in decision making.
In a similar vein, Empaths can become overly activated by the constant emotional information that they have to process. This is especially true for Impaired Empaths who have a hard time regulating the influx of emotions they pick up from other people. Overtime, their ability to appropriately respond to emotions can become erratic, leaving them feeling powerless and depressed.
Under a spell of the Empath blues, you might start to feel sad without knowing why. You are also more likely to feel depressed later in the day, waking up fine in the morning but experiencing a decline in your positive emotions as the day goes by. The Empath blues is typically temporary but can become chronic if left unattended. Please note that anyone who feels depressed over a long period of time might be suffering from clinical depression and should seek medical help as well as therapeutic counseling.
So what can you do when you find yourself in the throes of the Empath blues?
There is a very common misconception that the remedy for emotional fatigue is to try to get “happier”. Meaning that you should try to think positively, even though you feel utterly crappy. Have you ever been with someone who was trying to cheer you up while you felt sad? Despite their best efforts, you kinda want them to shut up and go away.
This reaction makes perfect sense when you consider that alleviating emotional fatigue requires emotional quiet, which is the absence of strong emotions. Feeling happy is a strong emotion and strong emotions, whether positive or negative, are exactly what caused emotional fatigue in the first place! Since you’re trying to jump from one end of the emotional spectrum (sadness) into the opposite end (happiness) while being exhausted, you’re more likely to fall flat on your face mid jump. In other words, trying to cheer up when you are emotionally exhausted can leave you feeling even more tired, in addition to feeling angry at yourself for not being able to “snap out of it”.
Most Empaths are not familiar with the state of emotional quiet required to address emotional fatigue. They are so used to feel tugged in all kinds of emotional directions that feeling nothing is often equated with feeling dead or empty. They wonder if something’s wrong. And yet, this is no different than sleep for the body! We need down time where we let out body, mind and emotions rest.
Fortunately, Empaths are often very intuitive beings. They feel drawn to what is good for them. That’s why you’ll probably recognize some of your own urges in the 4 most effective ways to relieve emotional fatigue!
Being alone: Empaths need time by themselves where they are less likely to be tuning into the emotions of others around them. It doesn’t mean you’re anti-social or that you don’t like people! It just means you need to refuel before going back out into the world. Make sure you have plenty of alone time during which you’re doing something that is not emotional, such as knitting, gardening, cooking, etc. I like to play video games which requires strategy but has no emotional triggers for me. Be creative!
Being in nature: Many Empaths report feeling most at peace in nature, among trees and in large bodies of water like the ocean or a lake. With good reasons! Trees and water provide a natural “white noise” when it comes to emotional vibration. It’s like wearing a noise canceling headset to drown out the emotions of other people. I walk 5 miles a week in the forest around my house which rejuvenates and energizes me for the day.
Being physically active: Physical activity can provide a great buffer against emotional fatigue by taking your focus away from emotions and into your own physical body. For our purposes, the physical activity needs to be challenging enough that it requires your full attention. Rock climbing and yoga are my favorite activities to get emotionally quiet.
Meditation: Meditation provides a powerful way to guide your focus away from other people. This can be very challenging for Empaths who tend to always want to tune into others. It can feel unnatural or difficult at first. But being able to create a quiet space within, whether by focusing on your breath or by following a guided audio meditation, can give you the space you need to rest both your mind and your sensitive emotional system.
Elise Lebeau, Ph.D.,
Heal. Learn. Grow.