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Empaths and Self-Awareness: Learn How to Manage Your Emotions

As an empath, it’s vital that you learn how to hold space for your emotions, even the most painful ones. By anchoring yourself in your breath, you can learn how to witness the emotional energy of others within you--without attaching yourself to these sensations.

Are you an empath who feels overwhelmed by emotions that don’t belong to you? It’s difficult to understand and manage the barrage of feelings that come with being an empath. Self-awareness is a key to learning how to keep your emotions in check and make sure your own feelings don’t get lost in the mix. Let’s explore how self-awareness can help empaths stay grounded and keep their emotions in balance.

Being an empath isn’t easy – it can be exhausting to constantly absorb other people’s energy and emotions while trying to maintain a sense of balance in your own life. But if you’re aware of your own emotional state and the way it affects those around you, it can help you navigate these challenging waters. Self-awareness allows you to know what situations, people, and places bring up strong emotions in you. Once you learn your triggers, you can better manage your reactions.

Empaths need to take care of themselves – both physically and emotionally – if they want to stay balanced and healthy. Self-awareness helps you understand your feelings and reactions making it possible to have more control over your emotions and your energy. Read on for more information about finding harmony within yourself—even when faced with overwhelming external stimulation from others.

Why Self-Awareness is Extra Important for Empaths

Empaths often find it difficult to distinguish their own feelings from those of others. This can lead to confusion, stress, exhaustion and difficulty in managing their emotions effectively. Developing self-awareness also helps you distinguish between what feelings are your own and what feelings belong to others.

Awareness is half the battle when it comes to managing your emotional responses. When you have the ability to step back and witness the emotions stirring in you, instead of simply reacting to stimulus, you gain the ability to let emotions flow right through you. The empath that learns to witness their feelings–instead of absorbing the feelings and reacting from your scared inner child–is the healthy empath.

The Two Roles of Self-Awareness

First, an empath needs to become aware of what emotions they are feeling in the present moment. Culturally, we don’t value emotions, we value rationality. This has resulted in an entire society who are not aware of their feelings because they were taught to ignore their bodies and stifle their emotional reactions. 

So step one is “what am I feeling now?” The only way to know the answer is to ask consistently and wait for the body or your intuition to answer. This process takes time and commitment, but is well worth it.

Emotions such as fear and anger can quickly become overwhelming if not managed properly. By being mindful of the emotions you are feeling, empaths can practice calming techniques to help rein in those feelings before they get out of control.

Second, you will learn to identify the cause(s) of your more challenging emotions. First the what, then the why. The cause of your emotions helps in two specific ways. You can learn to avoid certain people or situations that consistently upset or trigger you. Knowing the cause also helps you to heal. With the help of a counselor or healer, you can integrate your traumatic experiences so they will no longer cause big, challenging emotions. 

By becoming better informed about their emotions through self-awareness, empaths will process events more effectively and come up with solutions that are best suited for their unique needs and feelings. Learning how to do this will not only benefit empaths in managing their own emotions, but also the emotions of others around them.

Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

Self-awareness allows you to understand your own feelings and reactions by recognizing the patterns in your behavior. This knowledge can help you notice triggers and RESPOND to situations instead of REACTING to them. Understanding what you’re feeling helps you take action to manage your emotions before they spiral out of control.

Emotional intelligence is closely linked with self-awareness. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as those of others. It’s an important skill for empaths to develop because it helps them better regulate their own emotions while also being mindful of other people’s feelings and reactions. Emotional intelligence includes being able to express emotions in a healthy way and communicate effectively with others about your emotions.

Emotional intelligence lets empaths notice the emotions in themselves while also observing the emotions in others. Instead of getting overwhelmed by what’s going on inside or outside themselves and shutting down, they can address the way the discussion or situation is affecting them. EI allows empaths to stay in the observer role and, therefore, grounded and focused on the present moment.

The more self-aware an empath becomes, the easier it is to avoid taking on the emotional states of the people. Self-awareness provides another layer of a person’s energetic boundary. When you know yourself, you also know what isn’t you as well.

Strategies To Increase Self-Awareness

Awareness can be invaluable for empaths, who often struggle with managing their own emotions while attempting to understand the emotions of those around them. To enhance self-awareness, there are several strategies that you can use.

  1. Journaling – recording a daily summary of your emotions and their causes helps you see the patterns and can be quite healing even without actual therapy. Writing down one’s thoughts and feelings allows individuals to gain insight into themselves and explore potential causes behind their reactions and behavior patterns more deeply than they would otherwise be able to do just through observation alone. Through regular practice over time, journaling can help people become more aware of their inner world and better understand their own emotional needs so that they may begin taking steps towards addressing them.



  2. Mindful meditation – spending 10 – 30 minutes a day in quiet reflection. You will learn to focus on a moment, a thought, an emotion without judging or reacting to it. You sit in your feelings without trying to alter them–no fixing, no looking away, just breathe until your mind naturally shifts to the next thought/feeling. This type of meditation has been shown to have numerous benefits for mental health, including improved empathy and emotional regulation skills which can lead to better relationships with others and improved overall wellbeing. You can also try body scan meditation like Mind Body Attunement using the 5 Portals



  3. The art of the pause – applying what you learned in meditation to the moment. When you notice yourself getting upset or overwhelmed, you pause and breathe. Slow, steady breaths bring you back to your body and calm your nervous system. Now you can respond to the situation with access to your full mind, not just your emotions. A quick note on spiritual bypassing: the point is to learn to notice the emotion and let it flow through you. It isn’t about bypassing the emotion altogether. Notice it, breathe through it, and then address the person or situation that brought it up as it is appropriate for your own wellbeing.

Combining Self-Awareness with Self-Care

Empaths are particularly prone to manifest physical ailments such as fatigue, headaches, stomachaches and other forms of discomfort because of their heightened sensitivity. This means self-awareness alone is insufficient in helping to manage emotions. Empaths also need to develop strategies for managing stress before it becomes unmanageable. These strategies are known collectively as self-care.

Self-care refers to the intentional actions and practices that individuals undertake to promote their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It involves taking responsibility for one’s own health and happiness through various activities, such as exercise, healthy eating, adequate sleep, mindfulness techniques, and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment. Effective self-care requires self-awareness, as not all people need the same things to be healthy.

There is a lot of talk about self-care in the last decade because our culture doesn’t honor our bodies and their needs. Our culture values money and productivity. Self-care can be uncomfortable to maintain for this reason. People who aren’t sensitive can get away with pushing themselves for much longer before they burn out than empaths. Your heightened sensitivity requires more attention to your care.

An empath who is rested, nourished, aware of their emotions, and prepared with mindfulness strategies for calming themselves down can thrive even in the most challenging of circumstances.

By developing greater awareness of your own needs and using helpful coping strategies, you can gain better control over your emotions while maintaining your overall health and wellness.

Empaths and Self-Awareness - Putting It All Together

Self-awareness can help us identify and understand the feelings we experience, as well as recognize when our emotions are getting the best of us. This knowledge can enable us to take action and make decisions that are beneficial rather than detrimental.

Having strategies in place to increase self-awareness and manage our emotions during challenging situations can be helpful in regulating our responses. Practices such as mindfulness meditation, journaling, and talking with a trusted friend or therapist can all be beneficial in building self-awareness and managing our emotional states, especially knowing what emotions are yours and which ones belong to someone else.

Ultimately, it’s up to each of us to take responsibility for our own emotional wellness. Becoming more mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can lead to greater understanding and clarity about ourselves, improving our ability to handle strong emotions with grace and compassion.

About the Author

Laura Rowe is an Intuitive Strategist & Spiritual Seeker at The Vital Spirit. Living in Portland, Oregon, Laura founded The Vital Spirit in 2013. She has a background in business operations, a master’s degree in organizational management, and she has spent the last 35 years studying spiritual traditions and practices, and the last 12 years training in intuitive energy healing modalities.

Laura helps empaths and sensitives who have struggled their whole life with belonging. Her approach this work through a social justice lens, seeking to help empaths explore their own power while considering the power dynamics of our White Supremacist, Patriarchal, Fourth Stage Capitalist society. Our culture views sensitivity as a weakness and my work focuses on helping empaths heal the wounds left by this world; reframing their sensitivity and focusing on their innate power. 

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