Many empaths struggle with anxiety. It’s just a fact of life when you’re sensitive and susceptible to the emotions of others. However, if this anxiety starts to take over your life, then it can become very problematic. What’s an anxious empath to do?
As always, let’s start by defining the terms and go from there. I got your back!
What Does it Mean To Be Anxious?
According to my favorite good old dictionary.com, anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
Because “uncertain outcomes” are just part of being alive, occasional bouts of anxiety are a normal part of life.
But with our crazy modern lifestyles, it is becoming more and more common for empaths and non-empaths alike to experience frequent, and sometimes debilitating bouts of anxiety. The current state of the world and political climate are highly volatile, which naturally creates mass states of uncertainty, and by default, mass states of anxiety, especially for empaths.
Empaths may have their own feelings of anxiety around the uncertainties of their own lives, but they can also feel the anxiety of everyone else, especially when people are anxious on a mass scale. And because like attracts like, once an empath feels personal anxiety, they can easily pick up on external anxiety and create a vicious, anxious cycle. I’m getting anxious just writing about it!
When an empath is debilitated by anxiety, it can leave them unable to really function optimally, depriving the world of whatever gifts they may have to offer. It is therefore crucial that empaths learn how to manage their anxiety in order to be the best version of themselves they can be.
The good news is that anxiety can be managed and with time and practice, erased almost entirely. Below are 3 very simple tips to help empaths who may be experiencing anxiety.
*(Just a heads up, this page contains a few affiliate links. If you purchase any of the items through the links, I’ll get a small commission, which helps to keep the Modern Empath up and running and free to everybody. I just like to be open about this).
3 Tips for Empaths Struggling With Anxiety
1. Learn to master the art of grounding.
I harp on this all the time, so I apologize if it’s redundant, but grounding yourself really is THE best way to reclaim your personal space. When people experience anxiety, whether or not it is coming from inside or from outside influences, it can leave the mind feeling very scattered and unable to focus. A person in the midst of an anxiety attack can feel like they are suffocating and their mind may spin in circles, perpetuating the situation. It’s not a fun place to be.
By getting grounded, you are allowing your brain a chance to relax for a bit and reconnect to the earth. We are all creatures of the earth, no matter how modernized we have become, and grounding helps us to return to the earth, which can instantly turn down the volume on an anxiety attack.
2. Get unplugged.
If you’re dealing with anxiety and you can’t get yourself calmed down, one of the worst things you can do is overstimulate yourself with media. Have you ever noticed that if you’re feeling bad mentally or emotionally, if you go online to try to distract yourself with the news, Facebook or other social media, you stumble upon the worst articles that will only make your anxiety feel worse? Been there, done that!
Using media as a distraction for anxiety is a recipe for disaster and the best thing you can do is to get yourself unplugged. Put your phone on airplane mode, turn off the TV and just relish in the quiet. Get outside, be in nature, go for a walk, look at the stars or clouds and breathe the tension away. Ditching the phone for a bit and allowing yourself to spend some time disconnected from media is a great way to soothe an anxious mind.
3. Do something artistic.
A common theme I’ve observed amongst anxiety sufferers (in myself, patients at the acupuncture clinic and fellow empaths), is that once the anxiety kicks in, the brain can spin in circles, creating a debilitating cycle of being stuck in the panic. One thing I have found that works wonders for me personally when I feel like this is to just get out of my head completely. And a great way to do this is to do something artistic. No joke.
Art helps quiet down the chatter-y left side of the brain (the part that spins in circles when you get anxious) and gets the creative right side of the brain stimulated instead. When wrapped up in an artistic project, anxiety quietly and gradually subsides, leaving behind a wonderfully refreshed feeling.
Any sort of artistic project will work to soothe anxiety. Dancing, painting, drawing, crocheting, editing a video or even graphic design are all great things to do to quiet that pesky left-brain. One particular artistic project that I like to work on when I’m feeling anxious is to color. Adult coloring books are all the rage now as coloring has been shown to help with achieving a meditative state and gets people feeling better both emotionally and physically.
I like to sit outside (if weather permits), throw on some music and lose myself in a coloring book. I personally love mandala coloring books. Try turning to art the next time anxiety strikes and see if you don’t feel better after it.
The Bottom Line
These are all tools that can be used when anxiety is just too much. While these tools are very handy to have, they are not meant to solve the problem of overactive empathy, as that is something that takes time and practice. These are just meant to be a way to help the struggling empath feel a little bit better so that they can do the necessary work they need to do in order to become masters of empathy.