The current state of the world right now is anxiety-inducing for the majority of us, but especially those of us who are empaths or highly sensitive. Now more than ever we need to stick together and use the tools available to us so that we can deal with what is going on while limiting our panic and anxiety.
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Learn The Similarities & Differences Between Highly Sensitivity & Empathy
Today I want to share with you some of my top tools and strategies to take care of yourself as a highly sensitive or empathic person and help you cope with our current environment. If you are unsure if you are a highly sensitive person, want to learn the similarities and differences between high sensitivity and empathy, or are looking for ways to overcome your anxiety during this time, the information shared on this episode is what you have been searching for.
Everything from getting enough sleep to limiting the amount of time you spend on your phone or social media can have a huge impact on both your physical and mental ability to handle stress. By understanding what makes you tick on the inside, you can advocate for yourself and your needs in a way that feels good for you.
You can use your skills, talents, abilities, and creativity to help others, and in turn, will give you a greater sense of a bigger impact and ability to become energetically bigger. Are you ready to explore some of my suggestions so that you can find what supports you? Share your favorite tip or recommendation for highly sensitive people or empaths with us in the comments below.
On Today’s Episode
- Strategies to help you deal with what is going on in the world today (3:10)
- Why you should view your high sensitivity or empathy as a gift not a curse (9:04)
- Learn the difference between feeling empathy and being a highly sensitive person (10:34)
- How to take care of yourself if you are a highly sensitive or empathic person (14:56)
- Practices to clear your space and help you feel more grounded and grateful (25:20)
Resources Mentioned In This Show
- Take The Highly Sensitive Person Quiz Here
- Facebook Live with Rachel Dash-Dougherty
- HTK 206: Energy Tips for Empaths
- HTK 156: Sensitive
- HTK 76: Karina Antonopoulos
- HTK 188: What Is Nutritional Therapy?
- LTYB 276: Dr. Sara DeFrancesco
- LTYB 277: Self-Compassion in Uncertain Times
- LTYB Podcast Archives
- Join the Core 4 Club on Facebook
- Nutritional Therapy Association Website
“I know empaths and highly sensitive people are just struggling to deal with what is happening in the world, and yes I am feeling this as well. But I wanted to share some of the strategies I have learned along the way.” (2:55)
“One of my goals in this world and one of the things I feel called to do… is helping other empaths and other highly sensitive people learn this about themselves. And not only that but learning how to thrive because these are truly gifts that we have.” (8:33)
“It becomes part of the background, the things that are piling up and we don’t notice them. But it does create space. It creates mental space, ti creates energetic space and it creates physical space for us to really just get around our environment.” (24:45)
“Sometimes as an empath and a highly sensitive person, it is easy to get overwhelmed by what is happening to you. What energy you are taking in, what you are absorbing, and sometimes that can feel very constrictive and closed off… it almost energetically causes you to shrink. So right now be mindful and respectful of yourself.” (29:33)
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Listen To Your Body Podcast is sponsored by the Nutritional Therapy Association. Registration is now open for the NTA’s Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online Program. Learn more and save your seat (and don’t forget to mention my name on your application!)
Energy Tips For Empaths & Highly Sensitive People w/ Steph Gaudreau FULL TRANSCRIPT
This is Episode 278 of the Listen To Your Body Podcast. On today’s solo episode, I’m going to be sharing some tips for fellow highly sensitive people and empaths. about dealing with what’s going on in the world right now and how we can take care of ourselves. The next evolution of Harder To Kill Radio is here. Welcome to Listen To Your Body Podcast on this show, we’ll explore the intersection of body, mind and soul health, and help you reclaim your abilities to eat and move more intuitively. Hear your body’s signals, and trust yourself more deeply. I’m Steph Gaudreau, certified intuitive eating counselor, nutritional therapy practitioner, and strength coach. On this podcast. You can expect to hear expert guest interviews and solo chats that will help you deepen your trust with food movement and your body. Remember to hit the subscribe button and share this podcast with your friends and loved ones. Now, on to the show.
Hey there, welcome back to the podcast. Thanks so much for joining me today. I just want to say that I’m really glad that you’re here. And that knowing that my listeners including you are out there right now, in the world, perhaps seeking this information, this advice, these strategies have really helped me to do this work today and with the things that I’ve been sharing with my community, you know, the core four pillars that form sort of the backbone of the things that I talk a lot about in this space have really been so I think grounding for a lot of people. But also, some of the other things that folks are dealing with right now the extra anxiety, the emotional eating the feeling like every you’re just being crushed under the weight of all the extremeness that’s happening right now as an empath and a highly sensitive person.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a list. I wrote a post actually, and I shared it on my personal Facebook and it was really aimed at helping my friends and family, people, my, my personal network that I know are empaths and highly sensitive people are just struggling to deal with what’s happening in the world. And, yes, I’m feeling this as well. But I wanted to share some of the strategies that I’ve learned along the way and these are just things that helped me, but things that I’ve learned along the way that have really helped me too. To deal with this, and I won’t say that I’ve dealt with it perfectly. I’m a human having this experience to select all of you and I don’t have all the answers and I do vacillate in between feeling like, Okay, I’m gonna, I’m handling this. I want to show up for my community, I want to continue to teach and coach and do the things that I know folks are needing now more than ever. And the opposite of that, which is just feeling like I am just, I don’t even know what to do with myself. Overwhelmed by the news and the stress and the not knowing and all of this other stuff. So on this episode today, I wanted to share with you some of the things that have been helping me and I’ve also talked in the past about being an empath there was an episode that I did. I can’t remember the name. I should have looked this up before the shows how prepared I feel right now. But he did a show on empaths. We’ll pull that out and put it in the show notes. And they also did a show on high sensitivity. called sensitive. I’ve had Dr. Sarah DeFrancesco on she talked about high sensitivity, as it specifically relates to anxiety that was very recent. Katrina Antonopoulos. I’ve had her on the podcast in the past. So we’ve covered this topic before but I feel like now more than ever, it’s obviously bringing things to the surface for people and so I wanted to share some things with you today on this. No real huge calls to action today other than to say if there’s something that would be supportive for you on a previous podcast episode, you can head over to the website, which is StephGaudreau.com and search through the archives you can search by keyword. If you’re really not sure and you’re looking for something specific come and hang out the in our Facebook group. community, the Core Four Club and we’ll try to get you hooked up as best we can. So make sure you do all of that. And of course, you know, one of the best things I ever did for myself professionally was to put myself through the nutritional therapy associations NTP program, I did that in 2018. And I really looking back can see how incredibly important it was in my ability to be able to approach and address people’s nutrition from a really bio-individual approach from a range of nutritional strategies, everything from how to properly prepare foods, how to restore balance in the body, how to include things like emotional well being the role of the environment, sleep, movement, stress, all of that was so incredibly powerful, so important in my ability to listen to my body to my ability to coach people through what that’s like. The MTA is the sponsor of today’s show. And I want to encourage you if you’ve been wondering what their programs are like, what you’ll learn in terms of motivational interviewing your clinical and practical skills, everything that you need to know to be able to work with people from a bio-individual approach to nutrition, head over to their website, nutritionaltherapy.com there’s a link also in my show notes that you can check it out. And if you want to hear my episode that I did on nutritional therapy, then go ahead and tune into Episode 188. Their registration is now open and seats are going to fill up pretty quickly. So go over to nutritionaltherapy.com to learn more. And of course, if you join, don’t forget to mention my name on your application.
Okay, let’s do this. So I first learned about high sensitivity a few years ago, sometimes called sensory processing sensitivity. It’s not the same as sensory processing disorder. high sensitivity is not in the DSM. It’s not considered a disorder. It’s considered to be a neurotype. And this research was really popularized by Dr. Elaine Aaron and her husband. So I am not the originator of many of these concepts that I’m about to tell you about. However, I am a human being who has lived for 41 years on this planet earth with high sensitivity and it’s only until the last few years that I even knew it was a thing. And Previous to that, I just thought I was weird. I am weird in my own way. But I just thought there was something wrong with me and learning about heightened sensitivity has really been an incredible gift because not only you know, I hear a lot about like coping as a highly sensitive person, one of my goals in this world, and the thing I feel one of the things I feel called to do, I’ve, I’m a multi-passionate person, I like to do a lot of things. A lot of things really speak to me, but one of the things that really stands out for me is helping other empaths and other highly sensitive people, like learn this about themselves. Not only that but learning how to thrive because this is truly these are gifts that we have caveat. If we don’t know about it, it’s oftentimes easy to think that there’s something just wrong that we’re defective in some way. We’re fucked up. We’re like, just so strange or odd. We’re not normal. And sometimes a lot of the stuff out there is like how do you cope? How do you cope and I feel like that is a step but also, I do believe that this is a gift and learning How to thrive with that gift. And Dr. Sarah and I talked about this couple weeks ago, is kind of tricky because, like, how do you learn how to do that? And I think it’s best by incorporating different strategies into your life seeing what fits this is not a one size fits all. And so stuff that I mentioned today on this podcast, may you might think that this is just never going to work for you. So first of all, how do you know you’re a highly sensitive person? There’s a quiz that you can take on Dr. Elaine Aaron’s website, which is both HS person calm or HSperson.net. Both of those are go to the same place. We’ll link that up in the show notes. There’s a quiz you can take that points to, you know, sort of based on how many things you answer as a yes. your level of high sensitivity or your level of sensitivity in general. Now, I can tell you, I am, I am very high on that quiz. My husband has some of those traits, but he’s not a highly sensitive So, you know, a lot of the traits that come up with high sensitivity are things that lots of people have. But it’s really the intensity, and the number of these things that you do have like the degree to which you feel them. That is the defining factor. So for example, all human views, I guess, unless you’re a sociopath, have the ability to feel empathy and respond emotionally to each other.
However, in highly sensitive people, it’s just extra is more so. So it’s estimated that one in five people have the highly sensitive neurotype, again, not a disease or a disorder. And here are the four kinds of main bullet points. The first is the depth of processing, and it’s relating to, you know, how much do you process your thoughts? How much do you process your environment? What’s your inner world, like? What’s your imagination, like? I can tell you as a highly sensitive person, I get caught up a lot in my own head and I can very easily go off on these really fanciful, scary trains of thought. So that’s one. The second is sensitivity to subtle stimulus. So for example, it’s not uncommon for us to be sitting in the house, and for me to say to Z, do you smell that? And he’s like, nope. I hear you know, hearing sounds, being able to taste things, which is usually kind of a cool thing. Being able to smell things, not always a cool thing. This is for me why for years and years and years, I just felt like, if I had to empty out a Tupperware container full of old food, I would just completely gag and lose my shit. So very sensitive to a lot of that stuff and especially to sound that’s one for me, that’s just like off the charts. So Quiet sounds subtle sounds loud sounds, it’s just wow.
Okay, so the third thing is empathy or emotional responsiveness. So again, all humans, if you’re unless you’re a sociopath Are you have the capacity for empathy, but a lot of empaths are highly sensitive people. So a lot of highly sensitive people have high empathy, which means we are able to tune in extremely easily to other people’s energy into other people’s emotions. And right now, this is like off the charts, okay, so that high empathy is not you don’t always have to be a highly sensitive person to be an empath or have high empathy. It’s just like you can be a highly sensitive person and be an extrovert. It’s different. A lot of highly sensitive people are introverts, but there is also a high or high percentage of extroverts who are also highly sensitive. And the last one is that you’re easily overstimulated. So there you go, those are in the acronym is d. o s or does so you can go find out more about that on Dr. Elaine Aaron’s website, HS person calm take the quiz when you’re there. Now I don’t, I think we have to be careful to not be super constrained by quizzes and personality tests and things like that there’s a tendency sometimes to get too caught in the label, such that insofar as we feel like we can never change, we can never, quote, overcome things, that sort of thing. And so I just want to caution you that this is not like a death sentence. If you find out that you’re a highly sensitive person, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to live with or that it has to feel impossible. There are strategies that you can learn. Again, it’s personal for everybody, but strategies, strategies that you can learn to help yourself. Not only deal with this stuff but to also recognize yourself talents and gifts in it and be able to help other people help the world, help the planet, help your community.
Whatever that looks like for you. Not everybody has a massive global purpose, whether that’s just to be able to better connect with your family, your friends, etc. I think it’s really important that we start to play around with some of these things. So here’s the list of things that I said, could help you right now if your depth of processing or your empathic sensitivity is just making things extremely difficult. And again, if this is bordering into things like anxiety, please go back and listen to the podcast that I did with Dr. Sara difference ESCO very recently on anxiety, you can also find and we’ll link to the Facebook Live that I did with Rachel dash Daugherty. She is the grounded therapist, we recently did a live all about anxiety. So I just want to point you in those, the direction of those resources. So here’s a few things you can do. Okay. This is really basic and I think a lot of these things will help you No matter if you’re a highly sensitive person or not, but nevertheless, turn off your phone notifications, okay, I’m going to put a big caveat in front of this entire list, you may not be able to do these things.
My heart is extremely grateful for those of you who are going out there, right now into the medical environments, the healthcare field, into hospitals into clinics, and you are at the frontlines of this. I know you can’t always turn off your notifications. I know you’re not. There’s so many situations, so I can’t caveat everything. But please know that I’m really sensitive to that and that you may not have that ability. So and that’s okay. So is there something that I mentioned today that is doable for you. But in general, turn off your phone notifications and consider silencing the phone if you can, and then just remembering to check-in. So for example, for me as a highly sensitive person, the phone notifications, the constant like notifications, the dinging and even the vibration of the phone is too much vibration can be very overwhelming, especially with apps like we have a family WhatsApp going on right now it’s been going on for a long time. But I have family, with my siblings all over the world, from London to San Diego, and everywhere in between. And so we’re using WhatsApp a lot right now. Voxer is another way we’re keeping in touch with, for example, my beauty counter team. And the vibration of that even though the screen notifications is off. It’s just like some days, I just want to scream at the phone. So I have my notifications turned off. Unless I know I’m expecting a very important phone call or something of that nature. And then I just remember to check my phone. So if somebody in hairs, one of the things that you may have to do in terms of communication with people, people might not know you’re a highly sensitive person. So if somebody is really being too much for you right now. Consider, you know if it’s safe for you to do so, expressing what you need. So hey, right now, I’m really overwhelmed. Can I have some space and I’ll get back to you tomorrow? Great advocating for yourself in that way I think is extremely important. Number two was noise-canceling headphones. Again, if you can, if you can’t, maybe you can wear them when you’re not at work or something like that, but I bought had to buy a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones A few years ago, they were expensive. I just thought Fuck, this is a really expensive pair of headphones. I still have them they’re in great shape. So keep good, you know, keep good care of them and the lasts for a long time. But I don’t always just use them for listening to music or to record this podcast. I oftentimes just put them on as literal fucking earmuffs. So I cannot hear all of the noise. Now you might live in a very rural environment where you don’t have a lot of noise. We live in the middle of a city and sometimes even the street noise is just too much. So headphones. Were them a little extra quiet in your head can really, really help to just calm yourself down a little bit.
I think this goes without saying, but for me limiting my time on social media, and staying connected and informed while not being too connected or to inform, so you’re going to need to figure out what that balance is like for you. But I will tell you, I heard I read actually, Paul Jarvis, a good friend of mine, we’ve actually never met in person. Maybe we will someday, but I consider him to be a good friend. He’s a really awesome guy was on this podcast. At one point he was talking about, you know, he and his wife are taking just a complete, you know, news-free day, social media free day, like no talk about what’s happening in the world right now a day. I would just say what do you need to do because especially being on the phone being on social sites coming across stories you didn’t expect to see Late at night some which could be very disturbing, especially if you do have this propensity toward empathy, high empathy, highly sensitive person can really at night especially everything feels it feels amplified, right, it feels worse, it feels harder, it feels scarier. And sometimes the light of day can help to put things in perspective. So I try to stay off as best I can on social media, especially at night. close to bedtime, if you can set a phone curfew and if you can, again, I know this isn’t possible for everybody but if you can sleep with your phone in another room, get a regular alarm clock and use that if you need to. If you don’t need the phone there for a particular reason. I know some of you don’t have that luxury. However, try to get it out of the bedroom if you can. getting enough sleep and rest is so important. I know for me right now. You know keeping a regular routine. You can with sleep, your bedtime routine. You do it with the kids, see if you can stick with it as an individual or a family. And continue that because getting good sleep right now is going to help on so many different levels, not only for your general overall health but to you know, help you reset your mind to get that psychological, mental rest in just so many things. So if you can, you get as much sleep as you can.
For me meditating daily, I don’t get it. I don’t get to it every single day, I get to it probably six out of seven days a week. I can tell you that if I don’t do it in the morning, first thing, it makes it more and more and more unlikely that as the day goes on, I’m going to take time to do it. So I’m trying to get my meditation. I won’t say do as in so far as Oh, it’s just another thing to check off my list and it becomes like a chore because I actually really do enjoy it. But taking the time to do the meditation earlier in the day, there are so many kinds of meditation. You can explore you can start with an app and do a few minutes you can move to something longer. I really personally like things like Tibetan singing bowls, Crystal bowl meditations, things with sound things that I can connect to in that way. And even though I am sensitive to sound, those things are very pleasing to me. There’s one tone of bowl however, that’s really hard for me to hear. So were you at a much higher frequency bowl and I can’t remember the letter that it corresponds to, but nevertheless, find a meditation experiment, try some different things. It’s not necessarily about emptying your brain. But it can help you to just settle I mean, you can geek out if you like to geek out on all the research about meditation, here are some other things that I do. I incorporate grounding practices. That could be anything from visualizing, you know, my feet or my butt, if I’m sitting, connecting to the ground and growing roots and sending roots down into the ground and feeling like the earth, is there to support me. It could be. So some of the other things energetic cord-cutting, you can Google that if you’re not sure what it is. But essentially, it’s releasing energy that does not serve me right now and recognizing what energy is not mine, because I do as a highly sensitive person and as an extreme empath to take in people’s energy without even knowing who they are without being close to them. And it is, I mean, we’re distancing right now, but I could still, when I went to the grocery store the other day, were distancing. But picking up on people’s energy while I was in the grocery store of being very afraid, afraid, very fearful. And I’m not saying those energies or in those emotions are invalid, but I have to be really mindful of taking on too much. So things like energetic cord cutting practices, giving back to the sender, those kinds of practices. And even something like tapping or EFT can really help energetically to break thought patterns and so on and so forth.
For the physical space, really important to me is to declutter my living space. Now I am on a scale of like zero to 10 I would say I kind of fall into the middle in terms of what I can tolerate. You know what my normal is for clutter. I’m not a bear minimalist. I have some things around and that’s okay for me but when my workspace, for example, is too cluttered, I’ve got a pile of something sitting somewhere. I thought this was going to be a short episode. I’m just kidding. If I have a pile of something hanging out or a particular workspace or the kitchen gets cluttered, I feel overwhelmed. And it’s kind of running in the background a lot because we, especially now that we’re spending more time, a lot of us being at home, we’re in our space, we tend to get a little bit oblivious, we see it becomes part of the background, the things that are sort of piling up and we don’t notice them, but it does create space. It creates mental space, it creates energetic space, and it creates physical space for us to really just get around in our environment. Clearing if you like to do some kind of smoke practice, I highly recommend you to something other than white Sage or Palo Santo, especially if those are not part of your heritage because they can be over-harvested right now. So you can just Google it go on Etsy. You can find all sorts of other things. You can use a smoke practice other herbs, cedar, rosemary, Eucalyptus, you can use, there’s tons of different incense. If you really like that kind of practice can help to clear your space, or just make you feel a little bit grounded.
A daily gratitude practice. I know this feels really hard when in the world right now, it’s, it can feel like there’s not a lot to be grateful for. However, gratitude we know is so supported by evidence, scientific evidence, so many studies. And if you do it, you can feel the difference. And it could be just sitting down and right now just repeating to yourself a few things that you’re grateful for. You could write it down. If you have a journal practice the other day I asked people on my social media, on my Instagram in stories and then actually in my feed posts, what is one thing you’re grateful for, and I really do believe that as a Collective if we can tune into that, what other people are grateful for it also helps to trigger that in ourselves. Again, I’m not saying it’s all love and light. I’m not saying it’s invalid, to feel like this is really heavy and hard, or that we’re trying to ignore those heavy, hard, challenging feelings. However, it can help us to stay connected to remind ourselves what we do have that is good, and keep us connected to that. Have some creature comforts nearby. So especially as highly sensitive people, maybe you want to have like a really cozy blanket that just feels really really soft on your skin. I know for me textures like fabric is too scratchy, forget it. Tags and clothing, forget it. Be comfortable, allow yourself to be comfortable and I think you know That’s really important, right now feeling physically comfortable when a lot of can feel out of your control as a highly sensitive person can be extremely helpful. Maybe you have a favorite tea, favorite chocolate, I mean, whatever creature comforts you have, I’m about I’m going to go buy a plant tomorrow. So there’s this amazing plant store in San Diego, that I love to go to. It’s called Wild Island collective and they’re doing all virtual ordering and then payment and then they on pickup day, just put your orders out off on a table outside and you just come up and just take your plan and then just get back into your car. So huge shout out to them, but I’ve been bought buying a few more plants here and there. I mean, I think I can do wonders to just perk up your environment a little bit. Another suggestion is to consider things like herbal nerve vine tea. An Irvine is something that helps to calm the nervous system. So in herbalism, these are calming herbs, nerve vine, herbs, you need to do your research here because some of these herbs and roots and things like that have contrary indications or you shouldn’t use them if you’re pregnant or nursing or so on and so forth. So, please just consider this a starting point for your research things like lemon balm skullcap, passionflower, catnip, lavender, Valerian tea or decoction is a good place to start with those things if you want to start incorporating some of those. You also have other things like Kava, but again, you’ve really needed to do your research on those. So I’m not making any specific recommendations, just that those are some points of research that you could go off on if you’d like.
And then lastly, you know, that one of the things that’s helped me is to be of service if and when it feels good to you, and it doesn’t have to be big, but is there something that you can get do when you’re ready. When it feels good, it feels right. Because I think sometimes as an empath and a highly sensitive person, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with what’s happening to you what energy you’re taking in, what you’re absorbing and to some times that can feel very constrictive and very closed off almost like things are being put on you. It’s very, almost energetically causes you to shrink. And so right now, yes, be Be mindful and respectful of yourself if you need to rest right now and you need to unplug and not see a single human soul and not talk to anybody. Please give yourself that grace, that compassion. Go back and listen to the last week’s episode on self-compassion if you need more help on that. But when it feels good when it feels right, how can you use your gifts? How can you use your talents, your abilities, your skills, your creativity in a way that can help others I think that that can really be something that can feel much more expansive? And give you a greater sense of, you know, it’s not just all kind of crushing down on you like you’re able to be a little bit energetically bigger and make some kind of an impact. And it goes from that Me too, we. But again, it’s very easy to get too caught up in helping everybody else and doing everything for everybody else. And getting very, very overwhelmed very quickly. So that is going to really depend on your individual tolerance, and how you’re feeling right now and giving yourself that that capacity to tune in check-in and rest if you need it. Please, please, please rest if you need it.
Okay, so that’s our episode on tips for empaths and highly sensitive people in being in the world right now. I don’t know what we’re going to call this one specifically, but I really hope that this helped you with some specific ideas that you can try, you could further look into. You can sit with and feel you, what feels really good, what feels like something that would be supportive for you. And you can try those out right now. So we give you lots of resources in this episode. If you want the show notes. For the episode, go to StephGaudreau.com, there you’ll find the show notes. Yes, but you’ll also find a full transcript. I talked really fast. In this episode, I realized I got pretty into a flow with what I wanted to say. So if you miss something, or you want to read it, you can go ahead and get the transcript. And then, of course, join the community on Facebook. If you’re seeking some connection right now. We would love to have you there. So that’s the core four club over on Facebook, and there’s a link to that in the show notes as well. All right. I really truly holding space for you. Right now I know it’s challenging as an empath and as a highly sensitive person and just as a human being in general, but just know that you’re not alone you are supported. You are very, very loved and I appreciate you so much for being here. Until next week, be well.