Do you often find yourself caught up in the pain and suffering of others? It's not just that you recognize another person's feelings – you feel them!
To a certain extent, this level of empathy has made you a better person. For example, when you listen to a loved one talk about their problems, you share in their distress, enabling you to offer genuine support. Likewise, when you read about the death of a hometown hero, it moves you to want to reach out to their family, do something for your community, or be a constant, compassionate presence in an otherwise chaotic world.
Yet, in a world where every day seems to bring new disasters, war, heartbreaks, and difficulties, there comes a time when you start to feel the opposite. It's not that you've stopped caring, but you've lost the energy to keep caring so much.
Empathy extends beyond cultivating perspective and compassion for sensitive beings like you. Instead, your empathy leaves you feeling burned out and withdrawn, wondering how you've gone from big-hearted to cold-hearted - feeling even more confused because you know this isn't who you are.
It's important to understand that while empathy - the ability to share feelings of another - is a beautiful quality, it can also be emotionally draining if you don't know how to share and process your feelings.
Here are a few expert tips from our therapists at Pacific Mind Health that will allow you to remain compassionate and supportive to others without reaching the point of emotional exhaustion:
Improve Your Emotional Regulation Skills
As a sensitive person or empath, you need strong emotional regulation skills. This means being able to effectively manage and process your emotions so that you don't get overwhelmed by the emotions of others. There are many ways to improve emotional regulation skills, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and therapy.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Empathy is a beautiful quality, but everyone has their limits. When you care so deeply about others that it threatens your well-being, it can make you feel inauthentic, isolated, and emotionally exhausted.
Setting and maintaining emotional boundaries will help you control the extent of the emotions you take on. This doesn't mean that you become cold or callous. Instead, it could mean knowing when to take a break from engaging in specific conversations or watching the news.
Emotional acceptance means accepting your feelings, even the difficult ones. When you accept your feelings, you're less likely to judge yourself or try to push them away. This can be a complicated practice, but it can help you manage empathy fatigue.
Focus On Self-Care
If you're constantly putting yourself in other people's shoes and not giving yourself time to recover, you'll quickly become overwhelmed. So, when you're feeling drained or notice yourself getting agitated, it's a sign that you need to take some time for yourself. To minimize the impact of emotional vulnerability and fatigue, ensure you get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and spend time doing things you enjoy.
Talk To Someone Who Understands
Therapy is a powerful tool! Simply talking about your experiences and feelings with a professional can help lighten the load. If you ever feel emotionally overwhelmed, know that it's okay to take a step back. You don't have to detach from who you are to separate from what drains you.
Let’s Sort Through Your Emotions In Therapy
The average person has over 6,000 thoughts per day - that's a lot to process! But, you shouldn't have to sort through your feelings alone. Our therapists will blend various therapeutic approaches to create a multi-faceted approach that suits your needs. Therapy can help you learn how to process your emotions without experiencing emotional fatigue, anxiety, or general overwhelm.
If you or someone you love is looking for therapy in Long Beach, CA, our compassionate team is here to help! We offer a variety of therapeutic approaches, and we’ll put together a customized care plan based on your history, challenges, and goals. Reach out for support today!