In our last blog post, we asked what the consequences were for someone who has too much empathy?
Here’s a quick recap of some of the serious health risks:
- Mental Health Problems
- Depression and Anxiety
- Physical Complications
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Addiction in various forms such as food or alcohol, gambling or other types of compulsive and potentially self-damaging habits
Dr. Sack suggests the following if you feel you’re too empathetic for your own good.
1.Set Personal Boundaries
If you find you have a problem saying no and give other people’s needs more priority than your own, you may find it helpful to set limits on how you spend time with or interact with others.
Of course, this may seem difficult especially if you’re used to saying yes and love that happy face people give you when you’ve surrendered to their request. However, you can set boundaries and still empathize with someone else. You’ll find it actually feels empowering.
If it feels hard for you or you feel it necessary to explain why you need to set boundaries, simply say no, and try to be honest about your feelings with the person, and when problems arise, recognize and confront them.
2. Identify the Bad Relationships and the Good Relationships, Then Consciously Choose to Nurture the Healthy Relationships.
If you think about it, you know people in your life that constantly drain your energy. On the other hand, there are people in your life that make you feel good. If you made a mental list of your good relationships and toxic relationships, you’ll be able to identify which relationships to nurture.
Begin to take steps now to limit your mental, emotional, and actual time with those people who make you feel bad or consistently disregard your boundaries. Take the time to enrich and grow your valuable friendships and relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Some of us will not feel good about choosing to spend less time with those who make us feel bad. The truth is that even though you can feel for the person, you cannot change their actions or way of thinking. Only their own free will can do that. Do you have the right or ability to change their own free will? Probably not.
But that is also the right, and reality, that you must use for your own boundary setting. You may love this person but you’re not obligated to spend time with anyone who makes you feel bad.
3. Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga
Dr. Sack suggests mindfulness and self-awareness meditation techniques to manage emotions in those afflicted with too much empathy.
We will discuss a few useful meditation techniques in another blog post, so stay tuned…
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