Being an Empath

“Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world-class nurturers. ” ~ Dr. Judith Orloff

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I am an empath. Or have the tendency. I pick up on emotions, mannerisms, truths, lies, illness very quickly and feel them very acutely. Many people call being an empath a slice of science fiction. But if you were one, you would understand better. I never looked at it as something out of science fiction. It’s always just been a part of me. To understand what an empath is, does, feels, is to understand me a little better.

I don’t see it as anything supernatural. I do see it as a blessing and at times a curse. But I believe some people are just born more in tune with certain things. Like when some have perfect pitch, or can see the mathematics behind musical progression. We are all born with “something”, and this is what I was born with.

I found an article the other day that summed it up pretty nicely. Since then, the article is gone so I can’t give credit where credit is due. But I copied it to show to someone. And want to share it here.

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Things You Will Notice When You are in The Presence of an Empath

1. We are accused of being “too sensitive” or “too emotional.”
Empaths are not “too” anything. They feel things deeply- both positive and negative. They are in touch with their emotions, and yours. Though it might be harder for an empath to operate in a world designed for less-sensitive people, being an empath has several positive aspects.

2. We can’t stand being lied to.
All it takes is a simple glance in your direction to know you are lying to us. A lot of people don’t realize this, but being lied to really sucks for an empath. We feel it ooze into every aspect of the relationship…and it usually ends them.
3. Negative media images directly affect us.
It’s hard, almost impossible, for an empath to “unfeel” something. We avoid the news, and if we see something upsetting, our emotions are a mess for quite a while. Imagine feeling overwhelming sadness and suffering every single time you saw something violent or upsetting on the news. That’s what it is like for us.

4. Crowded places can overwhelm us.
Empaths exist in all personality types, including introvert and extrovert, but even the outgoing ones are easily overwhelmed in crowds. The sheer force of energies and feelings you absorb is exhausting. You might like going to concerts and sporting events, but once there, you can’t wait to leave.

5. We love to heal.
Empaths want what is best for you and your wellbeing. Of course, as with all of our advice, it is only helpful if you actually implement it in your life.

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6. We are sensitive to stimulants and medications.
Coffee, certain teas, energy drinks, soda- anything with caffeine makes us more anxious and agitated than the rest of the world. And, when it comes to medications, we try to avoid them as much as possible because of the myriad of side effects we experience.

7. We can only be us.
As far as honest people go, empaths are the truest friends you could ask for. We know who we are and we embrace it fully. It’s other people who seem to have an issue with our sensitive nature and honest attitude.

8. We experience what you are experiencing.
If someone we are close to is ill, depressed, or agitated, we display those same symptoms. We are so connected to what you are going through, that we go through it with you.

9. We don’t like animals, we LOVE animals.
Empaths don’t have pets, we have family members. When we see an animal in the wild, we see a soul…perfect and pure. We talk to them in various ways just as you would your best friend, and guess what…they talk back.

10. Tired, exhausted, and fatigued is normal for us.
Because we absorb so much from others, we don’t just deal with our own emotional and mental drains, we deal with everybody’s.

11. If we give advice, take it. If we take the time to listen to your dilemma, and give you heartfelt advice, just listen to it. We know what we are talking about and if you ask for our advice and ignore it, well, let’s just say it kinda annoys us to no end.

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12. We are easily distracted.
Perhaps it is due to our heightened sensitivity to everything around us, but empaths are easily distracted and tend to lose focus. It’s not a bad thing, we are simply enjoying all the small things you might not notice.

13. We can’t stand narcissism.
If you are head over heels in love with your reflection, your money, and your ego- just stay away. We really can’t roll our eyes any harder.

14. Certain sounds really bother us.
But it’s not just sounds. Certain textures, fabrics, bright lights and loud noises can really get to us. The polar opposite is true as well. Soft sounds, gentle caresses, and delicate tastes are also highly noticed, but in a pleasant way.

15. We are great listeners.
It’s true. You can tell us anything and everything about your life and we will listen. We will take that journey with you and experience all the highs and lows contained within. And what’s even better, is that we hold no judgement over what you tell us. We are there to help you, not to hurt you.

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MOVE

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My Intention Word for the month of January is MOVE. Since the 1st I have diligently woke in the morning and immediately started the day with warm water and lemon (a new thing for me, even before my morning coffee. I’m liking this new morning ritual a lot more than I thought I would. And liking it so much, my morning coffee seems to be becoming more a beverage of taste choice more than necessity. I kind of am amazed by this. It’s the same feeling I had when I first decided to quit smoking. I though, nahhh that’ll never work. But even being healthy and making healthy choices can become a habit. Also since the 1st with my water I am heading directly for the elliptical and spending a half hour or so waking up my body with movement. This will likely get replaced with a morning yoga sequence later this month but will stay a part of my weekly movement schedule!

The other thing I noticed is that the less bravado I seem to have about starting a new habit, the easier it seems to accomplish. I took this new year to be a reset for myself. A complete re-alignment of my body, mind and soul. I’m one of those people who rush headlong into something with lots of fanfare and gusto and then I get bored or uninspired. So I needed to learn to work within my own boundaries and roadblocks to learn how to overcome them. And to learn to be my own inspiration instead of searching for outside sources. So I begin anew.

MOVE being the word for January had different meanings to me, multiple ones. For one, we are physically moving in a few months and making some decisions as to where later this month. Also move…ment out of my own negative head space that I’d been in regarding my progress with races.

You see I know a lot of very fast runners. I even know quite a few very fast race walkers. And I found myself kicking myself down for not achieving things as fast as others do. This again is another bad habit of mine. Never feeling good enough for myself. Not embracing my progress because my progress did not meet MY expectations.

Well, enough of that nonsense. I am only damaging myself and slowing myself down. So, MOVE…ment away from self deprecation and negative self judgement. And replace it with embracing accomplishment and even minuscule advancement.

I entered this challenge for this month. I adore yoga and have been avoiding it knowing that yoga makes me come face to face with the underlying issues that trouble me. But my new mindset has me excited to take this journey . Some times you have to take steps backwards to move forward and this is my step back. (If interested, click the image to find out more about the free challenge).

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And also this month I’m setting up my new running schedule and cross training schedule. Instead of doing what I read others say to do, instead, I’m going to do what feels right and what inspires me and absorbs me in a fabulous way! More on that as the year progresses!

But for now I’m just happy that I am inspired with movement and feeling the joy again as I begin my re-set year! The last six months of this past year were pretty rough. I’m happy to say it’s 2017!

 

Running out of my darkness

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 writer for New York Magazine wrote this article “How Running and Meditation Change the Brains of the Depressed” and exercise helping depression is something I knew was real but something when you’re slipping into that dark place, you forget.

I’m not a full fledged “runner” by any means, yet. But I know just lacing up my shoes and stepping out the door were some of the first moments I was reminded, I am alive and I breathe. So I’m thankful just for the training, for the ability to step out into nature and move forward. It was hard at first. I cried. I couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating a few times. But every day was just a tiny bit easier. Easier to live beyond the sadness, or despite it. Easier find bright moments in a day that would remind me that I needed to thrive.

Something about feeling the sun beating down on my face (vitamin D is awesome) and leaving the emotionally cocooned safe  walls  of our apartment allowed me to not have anywhere to hide from the vulnerability of grief. And I think that’s a necessary step in battling depression. Allowing the vulnerability to release itself maybe is where you find renewed strength of spirit. That comfort of four walls are like arms embracing you with a huge hug when depression begins to set in, especially from loss. But soon the walls become a prison cell locking you into a moment in time. Maybe we do that because we fear we are letting go of that which we lost, that last spark of life remembered.

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But we don’t. All the good memories remain as long as you choose to be brave enough, vulnerable enough to remember. I still cry. I still hurt. And I think when we lose someone (this includes furbabies as someone’s) who is close to your soul, you always will hurt, there always will be tears. But you have to find a way to smile despite it all. You have to choose to live the life they can’t. It’s the very best way we can honor them.

So how does it all work this running (exercising, walking, aerobics) help with depression? What’s the proof, or scientific mumbo-jumbo?

 

 

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Running

• It elevates the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, slowing cognitive decline and strengthening your capacity for and rate of learning, and protects neurons against the corrosive effects of cortisol (exercise boosts BDNF ) 8 Ways To Increase BDNF Levels (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)

• It promotes brain growth. Not like, your heads gonna get big lol. Running and the chemicals release while going through very physical things stimulates new nerve growth. Endorphin’s are an amazing fix for depression! 5 Ways Running Boosts Brain Power .

• It helps ward off stress. If you include some sort of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, like walking and running your body and mind is better prepared for whatever comes at ya in the form of stress or depression triggers. If everyday stress is minimized coping skills are much more effective and with easier transition. Physical Activity Reduces Stress

• It’s kinda the closest we have to a Fountain Of Youth (naturally) Physically, the effects are obvious. But also mentally. Following a half hour of strenuous exercise, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex works harder to resist distracters and performance on tests of attention improves. Studies also show that immediately following exercise, problem solving, memory, and attention improve.  Think Better: Exercise

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•It interrupts the mental feedback loop of stress, anxiety and depression within our brains. When we are stressed in our everyday life, or depressed because of a loss of some kind or dealing with anxiety because of something life has thrown unexpectedly at us, we can get “stuck”. Our brains go on a loop and doing a vigorous activity can be just the thing to snap our brains back into problem solving, or at least into acceptance of a situation if no other resolution is possible. Along with this, when depression sets in our bodies produce less Cortisol and that is bad news for our body trying to help us out of that loop, exercise increases Cortisol levels! The Brain on Stress

• It reduces muscle tension. Ever notice your body when you’re stressed out, or depressed? We tend to contract muscles and hold them in tense states. It’s all a part of that fight or flight mode ancient humans carry within them. Our body is ready to defend us against the perceived threat. Even if that threat is coming from ourselves being depressed or stressed to the max. Exercise, running, gives those muscles something to actually do. It then tires them out, they feel they fought the good fight and finally they can relax. Exercising to Relax

• It improves your self esteem which in turn gives you the confidence you can move forward away from the depression and anxiety. Developing Self-Confidence Through Running: How I Found Myself Out on the Road

 

So I don’t run very well, nor very fast or far (yet). But lacing up those shoes and putting your best effort in is what matters. You don’t have to be skinny, or already healthy. And you don’t have to be happy either. But your mood will lift as you continue running out of your darkness and into a better state of physical and mental health.

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