How To Make Authentic Connections In Times Of Crisis

Throughout the world, the coronavirus pandemic has changed how we connect with others. In Massachusetts, many other states and our entire world, restaurants have closed and community events are being postponed or cancelled. We are being asked to social distance and stay home as much as possible. I am reminded of the anxiety we felt after September 11th and how we worked through it individually and as a society. We did it before and we can do it again.

How much anxiety is too much?  

Our routines have been upset and there are many unknowns, this results in an increase in anxiety. If you are feeling some anxiety, it is normal. If anxiety is disrupting your relationships, work or general well being, take some steps now to reduce stress.

Some Signs of Anxiety

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep).

As empaths, we have to be aware of how much anxiety we absorb from others. It is our responsibility to protect and rejuvenate our energy. Remember, connecting through our fear over and over again is not authentically connecting. It is called obsessing and ruminating. In the long term, this damages our health and weakens our immune system. 

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What can I do?

Become aware of what is raising your anxiety. Notice what people and circumstances are triggering anxious thoughts. What feels frightening to you?

Choose your thoughts and responses. I am reminded of my Mom in difficult times like these. She suffered a severe stroke which left her entire right side paralyzed. She taught me an important lesson, nine years ago, this month. No matter what your circumstance in life (whether you are ill, ordered to be in a quarentine, practicing social distancing, are required to travel into work, etc.), you CHOOSE your thoughts and responses.

Take precautions. Do what the CDC recommends which includes washing your hands, not touching your face, covering coughs and sneezes while practicing social distancing, and holding off on non-essential travel.

Feel the fear, don’t dwell. Allow yourself a brief time each day to sit, feel and release your fear. You may do this through writing, talking to others or online/phone counseling. Learn to shift into gratitude, focus on what you have and practice ways to distract your mind. (reading a book, watching a comedy, going for a walk)

Have compassion for yourself and set some new boundaries. You may need to watch less news. Read the news once a day, rather than checking it every few hours. Don’t watch the news before going to bed. Spend less time on social media, which can fuel your fear and spread misinformation.

Start connecting to spirit, yourself and others in alternative ways. You can use phone calls or Skype/Zoom to connect with others. Make more time to pray, meditate, write, be creative and connect within. 

You are all in my thoughts. This is a temporary situation, it will not last forever. I am always available for phone counseling and angel card readings.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC  is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

 

How to Stop Being Controlled & Get Empowered

How to Stop Being Controlled & Get Empowered

At some point in your life, you have felt controlled by another person or event. Growing up, I witnessed some people passively going along with the controlling actions of others. I knew it could be different. I tried to change the situation, which left me exhausted, upset and reactive. I did what many well-meaning helpers do; I tried to control the control. As you guessed it, it did not help at all.

As I grew into mid-life, I learned how to detach and speak up for myself with assertiveness training. This doesn’t mean I let go perfectly. I have moments of stress, anger and fear. The difference is I visit these emotional states but I do not live in them. I do not allow a controlling person or situation to take up space in my head for too long. You can learn how to live in peace and happiness, despite what others do or do not do.

Are you victorious or a victim?

The decision to be controlled lies within each one of us, you can choose to be victorious or a victim. In the most dire of situations; prison camps, slavery, illness, politics, natural disasters, abuse etc. people have chosen to keep their thoughts positive and hopeful. No matter what situation you are facing, you can learn how to let go of controlling behaviors.

How to Stand in Your Power:

“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket – keep it in your own.”- Elizabeth Gilbert (Author; Eat, Pray, Love)

1.) Avoid Reacting. The controlling person wants a reaction, do not give her one. She is trying to get into your head and have the upper hand. You cannot control what another person does, but you can choose your response. To be truly empowered is to learn how to stand, breath and pause when you feel triggered (angry, depressed, guilty, scared or upset). Become neutral, like Spock from Star Trek.

2.) Have Empathy for the Person. Their behavior is not personal. It comes from a deep feeling of insecurity and low self-esteem. People who act controlling may look confident, yet they have a lot of fear. Remember: Understanding them does not excuse unacceptable behavior.

3.) Know Your Boundaries. You deserve to be treated respectfully.  Here is a Personal Bill of Rights from The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook. I highly recommend this book if you struggle with anxiety dealing with the world or in relationship with others.

  1. I have the right to ask for what I want.
  2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I can’t meet.
  3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.
  4. I have the right to change my mind.
  5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
  6. I have the right to follow my own standards.
  7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe, or it violates my values.
  8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.
  9. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.
  10. I have the right to expect honesty from others.
  11. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.
  12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.
  13. I have the right to feel scared and say “I’m scared.”
  14. I have the right to say “I don’t know.”
  15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behavior.
  16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.
  17. I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
  18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.
  19. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.
  20. I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.
  21. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
  22. I have the right to change and grow.
  23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
  24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  25. I have the right to be happy.

4.) Be Clear About Your Limits. Those who control want you to get accustomed to their expectations and way of living, rather than they become flexible by giving and receiving. Where are you going to draw the line? You have the power to decide what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable to you.

5.) Limit Your Time with Them. You need to protect your energy. Make an honest assessment and take a hard look at your life. What is your need to stay or be around this type of energy? Take steps to be around this person less and less.

Remember:

“No one can control you without your consent.”- Walt Disney (Co-founder; The Walt Disney Company)

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She specializes in working with professionals who often get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and rejuvenate their energy. Pick up her FREE 10 page E-book 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now!  

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You may also be interested in Lisa’s MP3 meditation Renew and Heal: Releasing the Chaos Meditation. 

Renew & Heal Meditation-Releasing the Chaos

How to do the Letting Go Part of Grief

How to do the Letting Go Part of Grief (2)

I find myself facing the transitory nature of life again. In 2016-2017, I had two friends die. Last month in February, another one joined the light. I am in a mixed state of denial, shock and intermittent sadness. You would think it gets easier to grieve when you have had a lot of practice with it such as myself, it doesn’t. Each grief experience is unique and takes you into the depths of your being. A part of yourself dies because you no longer have that shared physical experience and memory of being together.

Life is all about holding on and letting go

I have found the letting go part scary and at times I have not been very good at it. I want to recreate and sit with the memories a little bit longer. I read old texts, emails and look at photos in an effort to grab a hold of that old connection once more. Then the realization sweeps over me and the pain of the loss sets in.

I reach out but find I can’t make or control certain family members to care more. I try to force a square peg into a round hole and find myself tense up when it does not work according to my plan. I want to assure you, this is normal in the beginning stages of grief. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you adjust to a new reality. Overtime, this tensing up and holding on can translate into body pains, sleep difficulties and irritability. This is when you need to let go…

 Tips to let go

1.) Awareness– Know your own signs of holding on too tight. Are you are an obsessive thinker or doer? Learn your body signals and see where you resist letting go. A couple of days after the loss of my friend, I received a message from spirit telling me; “Relax, you don’t always have to be going someplace.”

2.) Don’t think about it, just do it – Choose to let go and take a leap of faith. Do not intellectualize the letting go. Rather than focusing on how to do it, be present with releasing. Start by surrendering to your breath. Breathe in and state, “I am calm.” Breath out and state, “I let go.” You will need to practice letting go many times as it is not a natural process for most people.

3.) Remind yourself, it is safe to let go. Often our fears make letting go worse than the reality is. Believe and trust you are safe. You may need to tell yourself, “I am safe or it is safe to let go now.”

4.) Remember how letting go can feel positive. When you have fully healed and let go, you are left with a feeling of joy, release and freedom. Think back to when you were a child and rode a bike unassisted or stood up on ice skates to move on your own.

In letting go, you trust and release the emotional pain. What remains is the love, memories and spiritual connection. Now you are open to a new way of living. If you need more help through the grieving process check out these blogs:

Coping with the unexpected death of a friend  (grief, sudden loss, friend, PTSD, complicated grief, empath)

5 Powerful Ways of Finding Freedom from Empathic Guilt (petloss, guilt, empath)

This blog is dedicated to my friend Gary who would have been 63 years old today when this blog was published on March 6th. He died from a courageous battle with esophageal cancer on February 3, 2018. Thank you Gary for shining your light upon my life.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for empaths and artists. Unresolved grief or loss is one of the many ways your energy becomes depleted overtime. Lisa specializes in working with professionals who get drained from their helping/caring efforts, refill and recharge their energy.  Visit her website and get a FREE gift- 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now! at www.lisahutchison.net  

5 Benefits of Meditation that Restore Your Energy

“Our world needs more time to wonder and reflect but there is too much fast paced constant distraction.” – Mister Rogers.
 

We live in a complex world with a lot of stimuli flooding our senses each and every day. It is easy to get caught up in the whirl of activity around and within you. For empaths and HSP (highly sensitive people), the feeling of overwhelm can engulf you due to your ability to absorb energy from the people, places and things around you.

Here are 5 specific ways meditation restores your energy

  1. Reduces Stress– The act of focusing your mind, relaxes your entire mind-body-spirit system. When you meditate, you decrease stress hormones called epinephrine and cortisol. These hormones are activated by a part of your brain known as the amygdala. It is this part of your brain that reacts to stress and trauma causing you to go into a fight, flight or freeze response. In an eight week study (2011), Lazar found the amygdala got smaller through meditation and mindfulness. The participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises. 
  2. Calms Racing Thoughts– When you observe your bodily sensations and the stimuli around you, it slows the thoughts. One 2013 research study called Mindfulness Training Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance While Reducing Mind Wandering found that just a couple of weeks of meditation training helped people’s focus and memory during the verbal reasoning section of the graduate record examination (GRE).
  3. Increases Your Patience Meditation may increase your empathy for others. By consciously focusing on your breath, you learn detachment. Detachment or letting go naturally gives you more patience as you become more responsive rather than reactive. In a 2011 study Loving-Kindness and Compassion Meditation: Potential for Psychological Interventions  It is hypothesized that “loving kindness meditation may be particularly useful for targeting interpersonal problems such as anger control issues, whereas both compassion meditation and loving kindness meditation be particularly useful for treating relationship problems, such as marital conflicts, or counteracting the challenges among care giving professions or nonprofessionals who must provide long-term care to a relative or friend.” 
  4. Maintains a Mind-Body Connection– When you slow your breathing down it can sync up your mind and body. In a 2016 study called Entrainment of chaotic activities in brain and heart during MBSR mindfulness training it was found  “the chaotic activities of the brain and the heart became more coordinated during Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training, suggesting that mindfulness training may increase the entrainment between mind and body.” 
  5. Improves your Sleep– Your body and mind become more relaxed through a meditation practice which can help you let go, release and get a better quality of sleep. In April 2015 a study called Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment among Older Adults with Sleep Disturbances was published.  It was found that those in the mindfulness group had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of the six sessions than those in the sleep education group only. 

My story

Meditation has saved my sanity as an empath. It not only has helped me let go of other people’s energy but also reconnects me to my soul. Without meditation, I am impatient, anxious, overwhelmed and more easily focused on the negatives of life. When I slow down, relax the body and release excess energy, I feel at peace, rejuvenated and myself again.

I am honored to have written, recorded and created an MP3 recording just for compassionate professionals like you called Renew and Heal: Releasing the Chaos Meditation.

I know how difficult it can be to let go of the craziness around you when you care so deeply. This energy of stress gets absorbed deep within your system causing fatigue, irritability and impatience. Now more than ever compassionate souls are being called to stay centered and grounded despite the chaos of our daily world and life.

I invite you to purchase your copy today here: Renew & Heal Meditation Releasing the Chaos 

Be as good to yourself as you are to others!

Renew & Heal Meditation-Releasing the Chaos

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for empaths and artists. Her specialty is working with professionals who get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and renew their energy. If you would like to learn more about Lisa and her practice visit www.lisahutchison.net and pick up your FREE 10 page e-book called 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos From Your Life Now! 

6 Ways to Reconnect to the Body & Feel Secure

6 Ways to Reconnect to the Body & Feel Secure

Each morning when you awaken, you receive energy from the Divine. Throughout the day, you become drained through energy leaks which give your power away. Energy leaks can occur from many causes; some are illness, over thinking, not saying no to others and even having too much clutter. When these happen, it is easy for an empath to get disconnected from her body, mind and spirit.

You achieve natural stress reduction and energy renewal when connected to the body, allowing any excess energy to pass through you. Grounding connects your energy to Mother Earth, a natural stabilizing force. Think of a lightening rod as a metaphor for grounding your energy. Lightning rods are made out of metal and are good conductors of electricity. When lightning strikes the rod, energy flows freely without resistance into the ground.

Empaths attract and absorb energy from others due to having a sensitive nature. One of your lessons is to learn how to allow energy to pass through you without getting attached to it, much like the lightening rod. When you can remain grounded or reconnect to the body shortly after feeling depleted of energy, you create mental and physical stability within. This naturally decreases anxiety, depression and insomnia.

How to reconnect to your physical body

1.) Connect to your breath- Remember to breathe! Often under times of stress, people hold their breath. Notice your breath right now. Is it shallow or deep? Focus on sending your breath into your lower abdomen, let it go and allow your body to relax.

2.) Relax the physical body- This can be done through meditation and visualization. Busy minds often benefit from guided meditations led by others. Also take a bath or shower and add sea salt to the water because this grounds you, releases the stress of the day, and any energy you may have absorbed from others.

3.) Practice sensory activities- Use the 5 senses to direct your attention into the present moment. Right now; What sounds do you hear? What does the room temperature feel like upon your skin? What do you see and taste? Smell your favorite scent.

4.) Get out into nature- Connect with the outdoors. Breathe fresh air, put your feet in some grass or sand, and watch the animals and birds. Hug a tree and create a picture in your mind of the root structure going deep into the ground.

5.) Eat some protein and or root vegetables- For those who eat meat, do so. For vegetarians and others choose vegetables that grow deep within the earth. Potatoes, carrots and yams have the energy of grounding within each of their cells.  When you eat these foods, it gives your body an unconscious signal to ground.

6.) Get an energy session- Reiki can be useful to clear your chakras and release other’s energy while grounding your body to the Earth.

For specific ways to prevent your own energy depletion, contact Lisa Hutchison LMHC. She offers counseling and angel card readings by phone and in person to teach you how to rejuvenate and recharge your unique energy issues. Go to her website http://www.lisahutchison.net and pick up this FREE 10 page E-book 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now! 

 

Are you feeling pressure to do more with life?

Many sensitive souls I work for feel pressure to do more with their life. This burden can originate from your own internal process but also external forces, such as parents, relatives and friends. One common theme is a drive to move forward in some great way, yet you are unsure of what that is or where you are going. This weight is felt emotionally and can be expressed as restlessness, anxiety and depression.

Are you feeling pressured to do more in life-

 

My personal story

For me, this stress began in childhood. I was born an empath and experienced my father’s sudden death when I was 5 years old and my brother-in-law’s death when I was 15 years old. From these experiences, I felt I don’t have a lot of time in life. In some ways this awareness has made my life richer and more beautiful because I push myself to not have any regrets. In other ways, it has caused me great pain.

Trauma theorists in the psychology world would say a part of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is believing that you will not have a normal life span or in technical terms, a foreshortened future. What happens when you only have this one symptom? One symptom of PTSD does not qualify anyone for a diagnosis.

In the recent year alone, I had two friends die suddenly. Adding this to my mother’s death over 5 years ago, I see how life can change in the blink of an eye and death has touched me very deeply. Death has manifested in me a compulsion to achieve. I need to hurry up, get things done and make my mark on this world before I am out. I am sharing my personal experience because I know others of you are out there who also pressure yourselves for this reason and others.

Reasons why you feel pressured to do more in life

  • Empaths are born healers, who need to become more visible with their gifts, yet often hide them and avoid public exposure. One theory is this restlessness comes from your soul to get you moving and put yourself out there more. Yet, you will be no good to anyone else if you burnout from self-imposed pressure. Read more about burnout here: What helpers like you need to know about burnout 
  • You worry that you are not doing enough with your life. This inferior thinking leads you to compare yourself to others or feel something is missing. What worsens this effect are milestones such as deaths, birthdays, reunions, weddings and births for yourself or those close to you. These events get you thinking about life, regrets and how fast time seems to be moving.
  • You are experiencing post-traumatic stress. You experienced trauma around a life threatening event or a death and are now experiencing symptoms such as startle responses, nightmares, avoidance of triggers that remind you of the trauma, emotional numbness, a sense of a foreshortened future and anxiety. You have flashbacks which put your mind back into the scene of the trauma and feel stuck reliving it through your thoughts and feelings.
  • You are psychic. It could be you are predicting your own shortened life. I have often felt this way. Unfortunately, you will not know you are right until you are on the other side.

What to do

There is a lot of healing that needs to be done in this world, the best place to start is with yourself. When you become overwhelmed with the wounds of others, make an appointment to heal your own. If you are experiencing trauma symptoms, make an appointment with an empathic psychotherapist or healer.

There is no perfect life. Learn to live from your heart and not your head. Become aware of the pressured thinking, stop it in its tracks and focus on what is right in front of you. No one knows how much time any of us have on Earth, relax and enjoy it as much as you can. Trust that there is time and space to do everything you need to do according to divine planning.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone’s life has challenges, do not get sucked into the hype of social media where everything looks great. That is one snapshot of a person’s day, it does not tell the entire story of their life. Compare yourself to yourself 6 months or a year ago and use that as a measure of success.

To wrap things up

Life is short and we live in an uncertain world. The key is to become aware of the thinking that causes you to suffer and learn to drop down into your heart space. Focus on your breath, relax and let go with each exhale. Enjoy this ride called life as much as possible, for this is how you end your life with no regrets.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empathic healers who feel drained after their helping efforts, refill and recharge their energy with intuitive counseling and angel card readings. For more information visit her website at www.lisahutchison.net, while you are there get this FREE gift 8 Simple Things that Release Chaos from Your Life Now!

Why compassionate people have lost their empathy for others

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2016 was a heavy year for people collectively from celebrity deaths to the US election. Many clients have told me about their personal losses, anxiety and disappointments. When you are in your own emotional pain feeling another’s emotional pain overwhelms you. I am here to reassure you, you are not alone it was a rough ride for many people, including myself.

If you are a sensitive person you may wonder why you suddenly lack compassion and patience for others. Anger, fear and numbness block the connection to your heart. When you feel contempt, judgment, or fear towards others you lose that mirroring of empathic response and feeling. You disconnect yourself out of a fear of being hurt again, yet, empathic response and experience require connection which means risk and vulnerability.

After a trauma or period of intense stress you can experience a sensation of being shell-shocked and reactive. When a person’s nervous system becomes overstimulated it goes into the fight (anger), flight (anxiety) or freeze (shuts down into numbness) response. In psychological terms this could be an adjustment disorder, acute stress reaction or post-traumatic stress. For an accurate diagnosis and treatment, go to a licensed professional rather than the internet.

Why don’t I feel better yet?

It is a new year and a new energy, although energy does not merely change with a flip of a calendar page, it is a process. Wait a good 3 months to give the energy a chance to build and move collectively. Individually, you are not damaged or broken. A disconnection has occurred and it has happened to many of us. Now the power is in your hands, what are you going to do about it?

What you can do:

My number 1 recommendation is to find an empathic psychotherapist to work with you. Yes, even therapists, healers and coaches need their own healers. Here is a little secret, the best ones do! I had a session in January to release much energy around 2016 in order to help others like you do the same with the work I offer.

You need someone who understands sensitive people, grief/loss issues and trauma reactions. This person will help you process the issues that trigger you so you can release them and connect again to your natural empathy for others.

While you are waiting for an appointment or in between sessions

(a) Practice mindfulness -Become aware of the present moment and that is all. This relaxes your mind, body and soul allowing you to reconnect to your empathic response.

(b) Engage in a meditation practice- Focus on your breath, it trains your nervous system to slow down and teaches you to become the witness to your thoughts. When you observe your thoughts and sensations you can choose a more empathic response or perhaps a non- response.

(c)For helpers- remember it is not your job to fix others. The best way to help others is to work on your own healing and to hold the space for others. Read How To Maintain Your Energy When Helping Others for how to do this practice.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Are you making up stories? Anxiety’s influence on the mind

We all subconsciously make up stories that are not even true about other people and ourselves. Sounds outrageous, right?  Even though you may be disagreeing with me right now, I hope you will sit tight and read on.

How does such a thing happen to educated spiritually minded people? When a person feels stressed out the brain releases hormones, such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine. These hormones encourage anxious irrational thoughts to develop. Ever heard of the term, jumping to conclusions?

Your brain also does not like a vacuum. When facts are missing, it fills in the blanks. The problem is when you assume a negative intent is happening when in fact it is not or you take it in the opposite direction making a situation more positive than it actually is. Where does the brain get this extra information? It goes to your past experiences vault and picks a memory with a positive or negative association.

The risks of reacting

The problem with reacting to negative thoughts and stories is it isolates you and keeps good people at a distance when you are incorrect. When you assume the worse in people, you lose your trust in yourself and others who have good intentions. Slow your roll, and assess the truth of what is going on before moving forward. You could be right, yet you could be wrong.

On the other side of the coin, you may be too trusting. Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses sets you up for a big fall when reality hits because no one and nothing is perfect. Empaths get stuck in this one when they imagine a person who has hurt them did not mean what they did or said. Being in denial put you at risk from people who act abusive to you.

Assuming the worst

Recently, I had a conversation with a person who did not want to hear my “no” to her request. I became like a robot saying multiple no’s again and again. The humorous part of it was that we were both stuck in this irritating moment. Finally, something kicked in and she moved onto someone else.

A couple of weeks later, I received a phone message from the same woman requesting to call her, yet she did not say why. As I listened to the recording I heard her demand to talk to me and said out loud in an angry voice, “I am not doing that.” Luckily, I chose not to respond in that moment. I recognized that I was triggered from our first exchange and every other person from my past who did not respect and honor my “no.” I let it go and listened to the message again the next day. Wouldn’t you know it, I heard it differently because she didn’t demand to talk to me like I thought she did.

Assuming more than what is

I have had experiences of verbal and emotional abuse from those I thought loved me. I built up in my head glorious stories of how kind and great they were. A part of this problem was they were narcissistic and I was uneducated about what that meant. These people had an exaggerated sense of self that I played into without questioning. They thought they were great and I absorbed that energy empathically, fully agreeing to it. When I was educated about these types of behaviors I still found I was susceptible to being manipulated at times. Many of us are, even the best of professionals, please do not feel bad when this happens to you. The goal is to pick up on the cues sooner than previous times in order to set your boundaries and protect your energies.

My wish is for everyone to see and hear clearly what is. 

There is no substitute for psychotherapy which is the best way to unravel the stories of our lives. I have developed some tips in the meantime to help you get out of this habit.

  • Practice the pause and use mindfulness 

The more you are under stress, the worse the stories become in either direction. In order to see reality more for what it is rather than a reflection of your past experiences, do not assign it any label. Watch and observe the behaviors of others. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment which means leaving your assumptions at the door. The truth about a person is revealed through time, be patient and see what develops before you fill in the blanks. When you catch yourself assuming, be kind with yourself. Understand that this is an indication that you need more stress management, awareness and self-care.

  • Use cognitive refuting (a fancy term for questioning your thoughts)

When you have a thought that feels irrational, don’t accept it, question it! Ask yourself the following;

Is this thought true?

Are these thoughts based on fear or love?

What is another possibility here?

Does this belief connect or disconnect me from others?

You may also enjoy this YouTube video on this subject: Your mind’s ability to tell a false story

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who works for empathic healers and artists. She helps you recharge your depleted energies and increase your awareness and skills. Her thought-provoking sessions remove the blocks that help sensitive souls not only survive but shine!  Click here for your FREE 10 page E-book called 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now!