How To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Negative Emotions

In my new book Emotional Freedom, I emphasize the importance of learning how to stay centered in a stressful, highly emotionally charged world. Since emotions such as fear, anger, and frustration are energies, you can potentially “catch” them from people without realizing it. If you tend to be an emotional sponge, it’s vital to know how to avoid taking on an individual’s negative emotions or the free-floating kind in crowds. Another twist is that chronic anxiety, depression, or stress can turn you into an emotional sponge by wearing down your defenses. Suddenly, you become hyper-attuned to others, especially those with similar pain. That’s how empathy works; we zero in on hot-button issues that are unresolved in ourselves. From an energetic standpoint, negative emotions can originate from several sources. What you’re feeling may be your own; it may be someone else’s; or it may be a combination. I’ll explain how to tell the difference and strategically bolster positive emotions so you don’t shoulder negativity that doesn’t belong to you.

This wasn’t something I always knew how to do. Growing up, my girlfriends couldn't wait to hit the shopping malls and go to parties, the bigger the better--but I didn't share their excitement. I always felt overwhelmed, exhausted around large groups of people, though I was clueless why. "What's the matter with you?" friends would say, shooting me the weirdest looks. All I knew was that crowded places and I just didn't mix. I'd go there feeling just fine but leave nervous, depressed, or with some horrible new ache or pain. Unsuspectingly, I was a gigantic sponge, absorbing the emotions of people around me.

With my patients, I’ve also seen how absorbing other people’s emotions can trigger panic attacks, depression, food, sex and drug binges, and a plethora of physical symptoms that defy traditional medical diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than two million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue. It’s likely that many of them are emotional sponges.

Here are some strategies from Emotional Freedom to practice. They will help you to stop absorbing other people’s emotions.

Emotional Action Step: How To Stay Centered In A Stressful World

To detach from other people’s negative emotions:
 First, ask yourself: Is the feeling mine or someone else’s? It could be both. If the emotion such as fear or anger is yours, gently confront what’s causing it on your own or with professional help. If not, try to pinpoint the obvious generator. For instance, if you’ve just watched a comedy, yet you came home from the movie theater feeling blue, you may have incorporated the depression of the people sitting beside you; in close proximity, energy fields overlap. The same is true with going to a mall or packed concert.

 When possible, distance yourself from the suspected source. Move at least twenty feet away; see if you feel relief. Don’t err on the side of not wanting to offend strangers. In a public place, don’t hesitate to change seats if you feel a sense of depression imposing on you.

 For a few minutes, center yourself by concentrating on your breath: This connects you to your essence. Keep exhaling negativity, inhaling calm. This helps to ground yourself and purify fear or other difficult emotions Visualize negativity as gray fog lifting from your body, and hope as golden light entering. This can yield quick results.

 Negative emotions such as fear frequently lodge in your emotional center at the solar plexus. Place your palm there as you keep sending loving-kindness to that area to flush stress out. For longstanding depression or anxiety, use this method daily to strengthen this center. It’s comforting and builds a sense of safety and optimism.

 Shield yourself. A handy form of protection many people use, including healers with trying patients, involves visualizing an envelope of white light (or any color you feel imparts power) around your entire body. Think of it as a shield that blocks out negativity or physical discomfort but allows what's positive to filter in.

 Look for positive people and situations. Call a friend who sees the good in others. Spend time with a colleague who affirms the bright side of things. Listen to hopeful people. Hear the faith they have in themselves and others. Also relish hopeful words, songs, and art forms. Hope is contagious and it will lift your mood.

Keep practicing these strategies. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you’re on emotional overload. With strategies to cope, you can have quicker retorts to stressful situations, feel safer, and your sensitivities can blossom.

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Comment by Ricardo Torres on August 5, 2009 at 4:57pm
Wonderful tips to keep that neg. energy out. Thank you!
Comment by Healing Hands on June 30, 2009 at 5:44pm
Thank you so much that is what i needed for a long time! about a week ago I found that how to examine my emotions and I getting realizing most of the time those negativity are not mine, sometimes from my children , and other time from right next door because they are fighting. This is really wonderful blog post. Thank you so much.
Love and peace
Comment by Donna on June 29, 2009 at 1:18pm
Thanks for the clear light upon a murky subject. As a person devoted to healing, I have gone many rounds with sorting out what is mine and what is not!

Blessings!
Comment by Tantra Bensko on June 16, 2009 at 5:29pm
Thank you for sharing this. One thing that happens is that other people's auric gunk can stick to ours. So that causes the effects you mention, and it can be seen by aura viewers. Watching the auras, we can see that scrubbing with salt and water, or wafting a smudge stick over the area, not necessarily lit, can help a lot. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to get rid of those auric gunky spots from others. That's why I made the DVD set Interdynamics of the Aura, because it can tricky. One thing that makes a big difference is if we are having our own auras drained by someone. That creates a vacuum, and that allows other people's emotional gunk to stick to us. It does indeed cause the symptoms of CFS as you mentioned. For example, the muscle spasms can be seen to be very obviously coming from someone else's gunk. This is very important for healers to know, especially, as it can not only be emotions, but physical illness that can transfer. It may not cause the same illness, but a stagnation of the aura, leading to weakness, unexplained crying, etc. Thank you again, very insightful.

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