Now the world is full of fear, uncertainty, hatred, rage, grief and agony. I feel traumatized, but my thoughts are not on my personal traumas. The overwhelming pain that I feel seems to be the pain of the entire world. Many times I feel like I need to scream with all my might until my voice is gone and my body collapses, unable to move. I don’t know what to do with this pain. I know there are many empaths who feel this almost unbearable pain. I have learned how to take care of myself in my normal daily life. But what is happening in the world is way beyond normal. I need practical steps to take when I am overwhelmed. I need to know that I am not alone. I need to know how to make a difference in the chaos. Can you offer any guidance?
You are right. Empaths all over the world are feeling the deep anguish of social injustice and racism. “Black Lives Matter.” Some privileged white people advocate for the evolution of consciousness and some protect their positions of power. Masses of people grieve for those affected by the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.
I feel your pain and the world’s pain. You are not alone.
I remember the first time that I felt such extreme anguish for world pain. I had a dream that the United States was going to declare war, which was very disturbing to me. I was not politically aware at the time. I didn’t watch or listen to the news much. My boyfriend devoured the news every day, and he made fun of me. With a lilting voice he taunted me, “Oh, Chicken Little, the sky isn’t falling!”
Within a week, the US declared the Gulf War that lasted from August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991. As I watched the news reports on television, tears uncontrollably streamed down my face. I felt so bad for those people. There was nothing I could do. Absolutely nothing. I felt so helpless.
Such is the challenge of an empath. We feel things deeply in our own body and in our emotions … emotions that belong to us … and emotions that don’t belong to us … and emotions that belong to all of us.
We didn’t ask to be so sensitive. We didn’t ask to be so compassionate. We didn’t ask to feel things deeply. We just do.
I struggled for years trying to figure out how to cope with being an empath. I don’t know what’s right for you, but this is what I’ve decided I need to do to take care of myself.
First of all, I restrict the intake of bad news. Watching news reports is often overstimulating so I don’t do that. I can often listen to the news and not be overwhelmed, but sometimes that doesn’t work either. So, I go on a news hiatus or just read highlights of world affairs. Sometimes I don’t pay attention to the news for a week at a time. I know that someone will tell me about the latest outbreak if I need to know it.
Second, I take extra good care of myself during volatile times, even if other people
don’t see the need to do the same self-care things that I do. I stop comparing myself to others.
I do my best to get eight hours of sleep, eat healthy food and walk 150 minutes or more a week. I drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. I mix standing and sitting during the day, and I meditate for 30-60 minutes each day. I love soaking in the tub before I go to sleep.
Third, I examine my thoughts and beliefs. I assess if there’s anything that I can do to make the situation better. I ask God to reveal any action for me to take. I listen every single day.
If God doesn’t tell me to take any action, I turn my attention to living the best life possible. I believe that is part of raising consciousness on the planet. Radiate love. Radiate peace no matter what is going on around you.
Fourth, many times there isn’t anything I can do other than pray, and pray I do. I believe prayer is a powerful agent. I pray for peace. I pray for justice. I pray for the rise of consciousness. I pray for safety. I pray for wisdom for those in positions of authority.
I repeat the following meditation over and over again for 15 minutes. I give my anxiety and anguish to the Holy Spirit, and I receive inner peace in return.
Most of the time I hear that I am loved. I’m told to take good care of myself and to cultivate calm. That may seem selfish, but it’s not. If we all focused on cultivating inner peace, our world would be in a much different state. Coming from a place of peace, we would be able to make wiser decisions.
You may have heard about the meditation experiment performed by the transcendental meditation people in June and July 1993.
Over two months, 800 to 4,000 meditators gathered in Washington DC. They recorded the crime rates before and after the meditation experience.
The crime rates reduced by 23.3%. The difference could not be accounted for in any other way.
Also, as predicted by the researchers, there were other improvements during the study period.
• Emergency psychiatric calls decreased (p =.009).
• Hospital trauma cases decreased (p =.02).
• Complaints against the police decreased (p =.01).
• Accidental deaths decreased (p =.05).
• Quality of life index improved (p =3.22 x 10-5).
Although it may seem that you are helpless to make a difference, that is not true. Every time you return yourself to peace, you uplift the field of consciousness around you.
1. Do everything you know to do to take good care of yourself. You are worth it.
2. Ask yourself, “What is the highest expression of love in each situation?”.
3. Meditate and re-center yourself at least two times a day for 20-30 minutes or more.
4. Pray as a way of life. Continually ask, “Holy Spirit help me. Help us. What would you have me do now … today?”
5. Take action on what you are guided to do and be.
Remember the Serenity Prayer
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can, and
The wisdom to know the difference.
There are many other tools that I offer to help people regulate intense emotions.
Author: Benita A. Esposito, MA, “Chief Trail Guide,” for Highly Sensitive Introverts on the Hero’s Journey to the Authentic Self.
Bestselling author of The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self – available on Amazon.
Life Coach and Spiritual Counselor
Contact Benita if you would like to learn to meditate and to regulate your emotions so you can return to peace over and over again. Click here to complete the contact page for a complimentary 10-minute get-acquainted session.
“Your Authentic Life. Anything Else is a Compromise.”