Coping with the unexpected death of a friend

Coping with the unexpected death of a friend

Death has a deep effect upon an empathic soul. The more you are attached to someone, the stronger your grief reaction will be. As an empath, your energy becomes enmeshed with those close to you. When a death occurs, it is a process of letting go of those physical connections and establishing a new connection that is only at a spiritual level.

Grief can become more complex when a death is unexpected or sudden. The state of shock you first experience cushions you in the initial days. It is also exhausting and draining because you are carrying the emotional pain of your loss, which has yet to be expressed. Some people experience trauma symptoms similar to PTSD after an intense loss, this is known as complicated grief.

Helpful Suggestions in Your Grief

1.) Acknowledge grief is work and it takes its toll physically, emotionally and spiritually when it is ignored. In order to heal, you need to feel. Make time for grief. If it pops up at inconvenient times, write about it at night or on the weekends.

2.) Feel the pain of the loss. This is the most difficult part of grief, without it there is no moving forward. At this point in the healing process, you may need to reach out to an empathic therapist who has expertise in grief/loss issues.

3.) Keep your routine. Structure will give you a sense of stability and control when emotions feel intense or come out of the blue.

2 friends, 6 months

One of my best friend’s died from cancer, last October. It was a month from the diagnosis to his death. Six months later on the exact date, I found out that a friend of mine that I met on Facebook and talked to by phone, died suddenly on her 54th birthday.

Sharon and I were both co-authors in 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul and 365 Life Shifts books. I often visited her Facebook page when I didn’t see her posts in my newsfeed because there would be a variety of positive and uplifting messages. She felt this was something she needed and wanted to do every day for others. I am grateful she listened to that voice within that I often encourage others to do. I know many days, I was helped by her posts.

I read about her death when I visited her Facebook page the day after her birthday. At first, I was in complete shock and disbelief seeing a couple of posts from others that spoke about her death. I hoped it was a cruel joke, but it wasn’t. I felt angry and questioned God, why her? I reasoned saying that others could have been taken off this Earth instead. I also cried over the loss realizing that there will be no other phone calls or positive posts left by her on her page anymore. These feelings of denial, confusion, anger, shock, bargaining and sadness are all normal parts of the grieving process.

Here are some of her recent posts that inspired me, perhaps they will inspire you also. She often wrote one word to empathize the post which I have included here:

Inspire

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Courage

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Faith

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Some Days

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Practices I learned from early loss and death in my own life. 

1.) Shine your light. The Divine gave you this light for a reason. Go out there and be your best self without apology.

2.) Value your connections. Enjoy every moment of this journey called Life and everyone who is in it. Acknowledge and give others attentive love, you never know when you or the other will be called home.

This blog has been dedicated to those who have suffered sudden losses and to my friend Sharon Rothstein. I know you are shining your light down on us from heaven. xx

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empathic healers who feel drained after their helping efforts, refill and recharge their energy with counseling and angel card reading sessions. As a licensed mental health counselor and intuitive psychotherapist she helps you work through all stages of grief. http://www.lisahutchison.net 

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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 currently accepting new clients for her empathic psychotherapy practice, certified angel card reading and writing coaching sessions. Sessions are offered in person and by phone. Visit http://www.lisahutchison.net and help yourself to a copy of 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now!

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?

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! 

 

 

 

 

How Archangel Michael Discharges Negative Holiday Energy

Many sensitive souls dread the holidays because it means more time with family and social occasions that you would rather avoid. Empaths can absorb other’s expectations and energies leaving them fatigued on a regular day but are especially vulnerable during the holiday season. To help you not just survive but shine through the holiday season, I wanted to talk about a good friend of mine, Archangel Michael and why he is the ONE to call upon before, during and after these events.

Before your holiday event: Crystal Clear Intentions

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Archangel Michael does wonders with releasing pre-party jitters. Set your intentions for this event. One of my favorite intentions is, “No matter what happens, I make my own fun.” I enjoy this statement because it is impossible for fear and fun to be experienced at the same time.  Archangel Michael helps you to create crystal clear intentions such as these. Ask for his help in creating intentions that resonate with you and protect your energy. Speaking of protection, ask him to surround you with his royal blue/purple light and energy. Give any anxiety over to him and allow for his courage to enter your internal body.

During the event: You are Safe

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As soon as you notice negativity entering your energy field, ask Archangel Michael to release it. Physically, when you feel a twinge in your stomach, light headed or a sensation of heat, ask him to come and vacuum it out. Emotionally , when you feel guilty, angry or fatigued ask him to help you release that. Ask for his help to identify and release other’s resentments, jealousies and expectations. He will also help you protect your boundaries with assertiveness. Learn what you need in these situations and then follow through with taking care of yourself.

After the event: Remember Who You Are

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When you leave an event, you may notice fatigue, irritability or sadness. At times you may feel insecure and obsess about what you said or what others said to you. Ask Archangel Michael to cut any attachments to other’s energies. He does this by slicing through any cords that others subconsciously or consciously have attached to your energy field. This cutting action on his part releases this residual energy. “Remind yourself that you are a powerful, loving and creative child of God, You are very loved.” Thank Archangel Michael for his protection and support. Remember that he is with you anytime you need him., all you have to do is ask!

Share with me any intentions in the comment section that you will use prior to holiday events.

All angel cards featured in this blog are from the Archangel Oracle Card Deck from Doreen Virtue, Ph.D.   If you would like to purchase click this Amazon link.  I receive a small portion of the sale, with no additional cost to you. Thank you if you choose to purchase through me.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC work for empathic healers who want to recharge their depleted energies in order to heal themselves and others through angel card readings, psychotherapy sessions and writing coaching. She offers angel card readings by phone and in person; contact her at lisadhutch@verizon.net for more information or visit http://www.lisahutchison.net/Services  

 

How to Overcome the Shame of Wanting More

As an empath, you need more self-care than others in order to nurture your gift of sensitivity and many people will not get it. Some people will seem confused by your need for solitude or special requests, while others will get downright nasty. No matter what others’ reactions are, it is essential that you take care of yourself. It is not your job to make others understand you, it is your job to protect and rejuvenate your energies. The good news is other people do not need to understand your need for more, but you do!

Why do people shame others?

People who shame, were shamed and are doing to you what they were taught. They were fed big ol’ shame sandwiches most likely by their parents and did not question or have awareness of this destructive emotion. Shame stunts personal growth by halting self-development. You cannot grow bigger under a cloud of shame.

People who shame others do not take responsibility for their feelings. When they feel insecure or uncomfortable, they will project that negativity onto you. Remember when this happens, it is not personal and take steps to protect your energies.

A personal story

I kept myself small because of shame. As a child, I was shamed for wanting more out of life and as an adult for taking care of my own needs. The message I received from my step father was;”You want too much.” Today, I wonder why wanting more caused so much fear in this man? I can only surmise that he felt unworthy of having more himself.

As a psychotherapist, I have spent a lot of time analyzing this man’s behavior to understand myself. According to people like him, I want a lot. I learned to say; so what? People who are on the path of self-development require a richer life. I accept my need for more without apology or shame.

To be crystal clear, when I talk about more it is not necessarily in the form of stuff because that has never brought me happiness. I am pretty low maintenance on most things yet I don’t budge on certain aspects of comfort/self-care. When traveling with others besides my husband, I need my own room because I require space by myself to relax and unwind. I know I can absorb a lot of energy from other travelers, people and places, therefore I take the necessary steps to care for myself.

 5 Steps to Overcome Shame & Shine

  • Know your real self– Do you identify as an empath or highly sensitive person? If yes, what does that mean for you?
  • Know what you need– What are your self- care requirements (regardless of how other people respond to them)?
  • Know that you deserve it– You are worthy of having what you want and need. Yes, it is okay to want more!
  • Assert yourself and hold those boundaries– Speak up about what you need without stepping on other’s boundaries and stand in your power.
  • Learn the signs and feelings of shame- Put shame squarely in its place by recognizing it and not absorbing it into your body. Look at it as an outdated emotion that no longer has a purpose in your life.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empathic healers who want to recharge and replenish their depleted energies in order to heal themselves and others. Lisa is an intuitive psychotherapist who offers counseling, certified angel card readings and writing coaching sessions to compassionate helpers by phone and in person. Help yourself to her FREE 10 page E-book 8 Simple Things that Release Chaos from Your Life Now! at http://www.lisahutchison.net  

6 Facebook Behaviors that Suck Out Your Energy

There are many ways empaths can feel depleted energy wise and one is sitting in front of you in the form of your phone or computer.  As human beings we have a healthy drive to be social and desire connection. From my clinical work, I am observing increased social media use with disconnection and energy depletion especially among sensitive souls.

I decided to write this blog as a way to increase your awareness around these Facebook behaviors that suck your energy dry, if you let them. It isn’t fair to blame Facebook as it is a neutral entity. It is you who gives social media a positive or negative experience through the thoughts and actions you create about it. You can take your power back by choosing how to use it and listen to your feelings as guides. Sometimes you need outside help such as a psychotherapist to do this and that is okay too. When I was on a recent retreat and shut off my Facebook for an entire week, these behaviors that I have seen in myself and others became crystal clear.

  1. Eye Rolling at Other’s Posts- When your judgment towards other’s self-expression sets in know that it isn’t so much about them but about you. This irritation has to do with a lack of keeping up with social media boundaries. Simply you are on it too much, otherwise these type of posts wouldn’t bother you that much.
  2. Increased Checking- Watch for this behavior when you are bored or trying to avoid feelings of loneliness, sadness, grief, anger, etc. Do you find that you are watching TV and scrolling through the news feed at the same time? Most likely you missed the ending or an important part of the movie or show. Your friends and loved ones may not tell you but they feel unheard when you are checking your phone during conversations.
  3. Posting Everything!- Are you telling everyone what you are doing all throughout the day, reporting in on every place you visited, who you were with, what you ate? You may believe that you are experiencing the moment when you are doing this. In actuality, you are commentating upon your life which removes you from the present moment experience. You are no longer a participant but an observer of your own life once you begin checking for likes and responses.
  4.  Sharing to Receive Validation and Recognition- When you share anything whether it is family photos or your creativity, check in with yourself first. How am I feeling? If you are feeling good, go ahead and post. If not, are you looking for love in all the wrong places?
  5. Just Browsing- You may not be a poster but more a window shopper, going into Facebook to see what everyone else is doing. If your browsing is taking up more and more time, it can be due to a fear of missing out. “The fear of missing out is defined as a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent, FoMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.” (Przybylski, A. K.; Murayama, K.; DeHaan, C. R. & Gladwell, V.,2013)  Similar to the serial poster, you are not connected to your own self and missing out on your own life.
  6.  Adding More & More Friends– You may think that adding more friends will equal more connections, yet it only equals more people who aren’t liking and commenting on your posts. Stick to people you know, have met in person or have a common interest. Otherwise don’t add to gain numbers, in the end does it really matter?

To learn about the psychology behind this behavior and tips you may also want to read my previous blog How To Stop Falling into the Social Media Habit.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empaths who want to recharge and refill their depleted energies in order to heal themselves and others. As an intuitive psychotherapist and certified angel card reader she helps her clients find realistic life solutions that work whether it is health concerns, work or relationships. To Get her FREE 10page E- book, 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos Now visit www.lisahutchison.net

References: Przybylski, A. K.; Murayama, K.; DeHaan, C. R. & Gladwell, V. (2013), “Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out.”, Computers in Human Behavior, 29 (4): 1841–1848, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014

Important information about how your senses get overloaded

In American culture, we need at least an arm’s length of space between us and other people in order to feel comfortable. As a sensitive soul, there are times you will need even more space than that. Your personal space is an invisible bubble that surrounds you. When you connect with someone’s energy that is groovy, you feel good. However, when you connect with a lower energy frequency, you can feel drained rather quickly.

Psychic invaders

As a psychotherapist and lifelong intuitive empath, I can reassure you that this type of personal space invasion is rare. I write about it because it happens and it has happened to me numerous times throughout my life. To clarify a bit, what I am writing about is not space invaders or invaders of the extraterrestrial variety.

Psychic invasions occur when another’s energy intrudes upon your energy field, when you are in danger. You will feel this sensation as a sudden twinge or cramping in your second or third chakra (respectively your reproductive area and stomach) quickly upon meeting them. When you recognize this signal within, leave as soon as possible. This is an indication that your gut intuition has been activated and its job is to keep you safe.

Other’s content

Empaths feel invaded by others energy on a daily basis. Due to your sensitivity, you pick up and feel whatever is around you. This includes other’s physical pain, depression, anxiety and anger. This type of constant inflow of feeling creates fatigue in an empath. This is why it is essential self-care to learn boundaries and protect your energies.

Enough to turn up your nose

Psychologically, the sense of smell is most strongly connected to your past memories and emotions. For this reason, anyone, not only sensitive people, can easily get triggered by a smell in a positive or negative way. People who suffer from post-traumatic stress can be transported back to traumatic memories from a certain smell. Some odoriferous offenders that overtake sensitive souls are smoking, spicy foods and fragrances.

Can’t touch this

Unwanted touching can range from irritating to inappropriate. Touches that bother sensitive people can include resting your arm or leaning against someone on a train or airplane to having certain types of fabric rub against your skin. Some people use touch as a means to intimate or control, such as in the case of sexual harassment or physical assault. These types of intrusions are against the law and should be reported.

A sight for sore eyes

Empaths have a difficult time with not only the sounds on the news but also the visual footage. Anything that is violent, hurts people or animals can invade a sensitive person’s space. Rapid images can also overload your nervous system sending it into a tail spin such as fast clips shown in certain movies or TV shows and rapid scrolling of social media newsfeeds.

When it is not music to your ears

Sounds can easily invade the personal space of a sensitive soul. These can include loud music, sirens, dogs barking, horns blaring, screaming and fireworks. Any sound that does not resonate with your personal frequency will disconnect you from your spirit.

Fascinating studies have been done by Dr. Masaru Emoto using high-speed photography which captured how crystals formed in water when specific thoughts were directed toward them. He found that water exposed to loving words and sounds showed beautifully complex, colorful snowflake patterns. While water exposed to negative thoughts, formed fragmented incomplete, patterns with dull colors. Overtime too much sound that does not resonate with you not only depletes you of energy but also puts your health at risk. I highly recommend this specific healing book and cd source, it is a favorite that I have used: Water Crystal Healing: Music and Images to Restore Your Well-Being by Masaru Emoto

What is a sensitive soul to do?

  • Have awareness of your personal level of space that you need.
  • Assert yourself when needed.
  • Learn to protect your energies.
  • Heal your energy when you are overexposed.

I can help you with all of these techniques and much more through intuitive psychotherapy sessions and individualized angel card readings by phone or in person. Go ahead and check out my website and feel free to help yourself to 8 Simple Ways that Release Chaos from Your Life Now! http://www.lisahutchison.net