“It’s only a movie!” my husband always reminds me. I decided years ago to stop watching violent films and TV shows and to carefully read every review before I commit, yet so many movies still bring me to tears or make it hard for me to sleep.
In my first years as a social worker, I often felt depressed because I took on my clients’ pain and anxiety. It wasn’t until I made Reiki an essential part of my daily routine that I began to recognize my sensitivity as a gift and to understand that I need to protect myself in order to preserve it.
Over the years, I have noticed that many of my Reiki students also report feeling highly sensitive to the energy of others. Just like me, they experience other people’s pain, get easily overstimulated, feel deeply moved by music or art, and overreact to emotions. It took time for me to connect the dots, but I eventually recognized that empaths and highly sensitive people share these characteristics.
How Do You Know if You’re an Empath?
Many people are natural givers—intuitive, creative, and loving. Deeply caring about others. Able to feel intense compassion and empathy for other living beings. But are all empathetic people empaths? No
There are three levels of empathy:
- People who are empathetic
- People who are highly sensitive to energy
It is not always easy to identify if you are highly sensitive to energy or a real empath, but there are differences. For example, empaths can be introverts or extroverts, but Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) are typically introverts. Empaths absorb other people’s energy more easily than HSPs, and they often internalize other people’s pain.
Whether you are a strong empath or an HSP, you should start to develop regular practices to clear and balance your energy. Doing so will help you to stop judging your sensitivity and allow you to use your acute sensitivity as a gift rather than seeing it as a curse.
11 Ways for Empaths and HSPs to Clear Energy
- Wash your hands
Let’s start with the basics! Every time you cleanse your hands with soap and warm water, you are also cleaning your energy.
- Shower with salt
Keep sea salt or Epsom salt in your shower. Pour some in your hand and mix it with your soap or shampoo. I use this practice regularly, especially after teaching a Reiki class or spending a day in deep conversation with clients who are dealing with internal struggles.
- Take a bath with salt and essential oils
Mix sea salt or Epsom salt with your bath water. Then add essential oils such as lavender and sage (I love adding ylang-ylang for a flowery smell), and enjoy a relaxing soak in the tub.
- Develop an external or internal water cleansing ritual
A water cleansing ritual can balance the second energy center, the sacral chakra.
Drink a glass of water mindfully and visualize the internal cleansing process. When you bathe or take a swim, focus on the cleansing and energy purifying effects of the water on different parts of your body.
- Clean your space energetically
In my Reiki classes, I teach my students to use specific Reiki techniques to purify the energy of their physical spaces. One simple way is to place small bowls of salt water (one cup of water with two tablespoons of sea salt or Epsom salt) in the corners of any room or office. Leave the bowls overnight so the salt can absorb the old energy, and remove them the following day. It is a great practice for daily life or for purifying a new space.
- Smudge yourself and your space
You can use any incense to smudge around yourself and your space. (My favorite is white sage.) Simply light it, and wave it around the area. You can also find smudging sticks online.
- Ground yourself
Even if you feel comfortable connecting to spirituality and centering yourself, it can be hard to “come back to earth.” Creating a strong connection between your feet and the ground and visualizing the energy moving down to the earth is a simple way of grounding yourself.
- Listen to guided meditations
Listening to guided meditations helps you clear your mind and unplug from internal noise. My Reiki students love this guided meditation from my library, Get Grounded: Step into your Power.
- Set boundaries
If there is someone in your life who drains you with every interaction, set a boundary. Spend less time with him. Let her calls go to voicemail. If he tries to dump his anger and frustration on you in conversation, change the subject. Get honest and tell her you understand her pain but that you must limit your interactions in order to take care of yourself. Don’t take responsibility for anybody’s pain.
- Unplug and turn down the noise
Honor your need to detach from your environment from time to time. Limit your use of technology, and create quiet time for yourself. Immerse yourself in nature. No matter what, make time for yourself.
- Learn to give Reiki to yourself
Reiki offers empaths a variety of ways to clear and purify built-up energy, including specific techniques. Simply giving Reiki to yourself for 10 minutes every day helps you protect yourself energetically. Every time you tap into Reiki, you create an alignment with the universe. It might sound strange to you, but hundreds of my students have shared with me how Reiki has helped them to detach from other people’s negativity. In just six hours, you can learn to give Reiki to yourself. We offer Reiki classes in two locations, New York and Atlanta, but if you don’t live in those areas, consider looking for a Reiki master teacher near you.
It took me many years to finally understand how to use my sensitivity to help others change their lives without depleting my own energy. In order to serve as Beacons of Change, we must take care of ourselves first.
I am curious to hear about your experiences. Are there special techniques you use to purify and balance your energy? Please share in the comments.