How to Be Hopeful in Tough Times

Hope fuels a sense of purpose and energy. You know without a doubt, I can do this! With the human brain’s tendency to focus more on the negative, it can be challenging to find hope in tough times. If you have doubts or despair, the good news is you can build and develop an optimistic thinking style. Throughout this blog, I will reference research and material from a recent continuing education training I attended from Dr. Jaime Kurtz.

Why Choose Hope?

According to research, when you are realistically hopeful, you are more relaxed. (Kurtz, 2022).

  • Your brain wants to explore possibilities through play and creativity.
  • You find it easier to problem solve and grow.
  • You experience better health and a stronger immune system.
  • Hopeful people are more sociable, well liked, are better leaders and even make more money.
  • Hopeful people cope better with setbacks and have better marriages.

Why Being Hopeful isn’t Always Easy

Remember how I said, the brain has a tendency to focus more on the negative than the positive? It takes at least three positives to overcome one negative. For some of us, who are more sensitive, it may take even more. This emphasizes the importance of protecting your energies from lower vibrations, moods and thoughts, including yourself and others.

Our routines and habits often get in our way. When under stress, we tend to fall into habitual patterns of thinking and doing. There is a upside and downside to this. Habits can shield the brain from harm or too much input. The unfortunate part is we often turn to mindless behaviors, such as scrolling endlessly through social media, obsessively watching the news, thinking pessimistically, ruminating or worrying and even eating comfort foods. All of these activities keeps you stuck and at times feeling hopeless.

Let’s just admit it…life can be really, really hard. For this reason, we can lose hope easily. The realistic aspects of living life can bring your mood down. People have financial stress, health issues, relationship problems, etc. When you are a helper, in the role of healing others, you can absorb other’s negativities and lower energies.

How Can I Be More Hopeful?

A part of being hopeful is changing how you think. According to Dr. Jaime Kurtz, an optimistic thinking style has four elements.

  1. Temporary- Knowing whatever you are experiencing will pass.
  2. Local- Thoughts are focused only on your current situation and no other.
  3. Not Personal- You know this is not entirely my fault.
  4. Controllable- There IS something I can do about this.

Stress management or filling your cup is essential. This can be unique to each one of you. Find activities that nourish and replenish you. Some ideas are exercise, being in nature, listening to music, or practicing a hobby. If you haven’t seen my book, I Fill My Cup: A Journal For Compassionate Helpers, you may want to check it out. As Kurtz states, “Hopeful people engage in more preventative behaviors.”

Pennebaker (1997) discusses the power of story telling to increase hope. The instruction is to construct a clear narrative of what you want and how you might get it. You can write or tell your story to a trusted friend, coach or counselor.

Reframing your thoughts- Think of a previous hopeless or negative situation that has happened. Next name three things that help you see the bright side of life because you did not get what you wanted.

Spend more time with hopeful and positive people. As many of you absorb the lower energies from others, you can also absorb or take in the positive energies. Choose wisely.

Being hopeful may not be easy, but it is possible. YOU CAN DO IT!

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa 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; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

REFERENCE: Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process.
Psychological Science, 8, 162-166.

How to Effectively Heal Your Body with Intuitive Listening

Most of us when we feel unwell, search outside of ourselves for a solution. You want to feel better now! This is fueled by feelings of anxiety, pain and suffering. Sometimes you find a quick fix. Most often you end up worse off than you started or back to square one.

When you look within yourself rather than react to fear, you will know without a doubt which direction to go. If you already use your intuition in your daily life and work, you may find this easier than those who have difficulty trusting their inner voice. I am going to lay out the steps you can take here and then recommend a book I recently read to help you begin your own healing journey. If you require more assistance in the future, such as spiritual coaching or psychotherapy, I am here for you.

How to Tune into Your Intuition

Create Quiet- It is best to be in an environment where you will not be disturbed. This ensures you hear the wisdom of your soul.

Author David Rome uses GAP: Grounded Aware Presence to describe how to connect to your felt sense. I will summarize his points here. There is a lot more interesting information in his book, which I will list below.

  1. Feel the weight of your body and where you are sitting. Once you feel solid upon the earth say the word , grounded.
  2. Bring your attention to your head. Focus on your hearing and assign a simple mental label, such as car horn, breathing, etc. Once you sense the space around you, say the word, aware.
  3. Place your hand on your heart and experience you being here. Once you appreciate your existence, say the word, presence.

Ask your body what messages it has for you. What do you need me to know at this time? You can mentally take note of what you hear or write it down. Be with your body. Hold the space. Acknowledge and use your empathy skills on yourself. What do you need? This answer will be different for all of us. It could be go to a doctor, a need for rest or more inner attending like this. Take the next steps.

Thank your body for its messages and reassure your body you are always here to listen. Make time to listen again soon.

Your Body Knows the Answer Using Your Felt Sense to Solve Problems, effect Change & Liberate Creativity by David I. Rome

How Do You Intuitively Heal Your Body & Life?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa 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; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Be kind to you: Boost your self-compassion with these tips

Self- compassion is an easy concept to understand, yet many people struggle with being kind to themselves. As professional helpers, we all know having self-compassion benefits our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, yet we find it difficult to incorporate this kind of thinking into our lives.

Why is this?

As human beings we resist change. It is easier to stick to our routines, even when these behaviors drain or harm us. Many helpers have formed a habit of putting their needs last, in order to help others. In our society, this type of endless giving, becomes positively reinforced, yet it is not a positive when you lack boundaries.

Many health care workers struggle with self- compassion because change takes mental work. You may be finding yourself in a state of chronic stress. Your jobs have been challenging, but add on the pandemic, you may be feeling as if you can’t take on one more task. 

Another factor is, it is easier for your mind to focus on the negative or what is wrong. Rather than focusing on a positive self-care activity, your mind prefers to focus on the struggle of grinding forward. This is a great survival mechanism, however, it does not assist your growth mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

How can we get over this hurdle of not taking care of yourself?

  • Educate yourself about the importance of self-compassion
  • Schedule self-compassion practices into your calendar with reminders
  • When the opportunity presents itself, practice self-compassion. Forgive yourself when you don’t follow through or are giving yourself harsh criticism

“Stop beating yourself up for beating yourself up.”- Eleanor Brownn

Do you ever notice, it is easier to treat others with compassion than ourselves? We all have an inner critic, a judgmental voice which brings our mood down with negative, self- critical thoughts. The best way to decrease the inner critics influence on your life is to first become aware of it.

One technique I teach my counseling and coaching clients is; Notice, Acknowledge, Re-direct

  • Increase your awareness- Mindfulness exercises will help you notice critical thoughts more readily. Sometimes, it is helpful to have another person, such as a coach or therapist, to bring attention to faulty thoughts.
  • Acknowledge this voice and the feeling- Often this voice crops up when we feel vulnerable. You could be feeling scared, anxious, fatigued or tired. Are you experiencing compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma or burnout?  You can say to yourself; I know you are scared, tired etc.
  • Redirect- Now is the time to focus on what you want. Put it together. I hear you. I know you are experiencing compassion fatigue. We are going to make a counseling appointment or fill in the blank (self-care activity) ______________________________.

Cognitive therapy works well to increase self-compassion and decrease the inner critic. Cognitive therapy is developed by Aaron T. Beck.  In therapy, the therapist helps you develop skills for identifying and changing faulty beliefs, distorted thinking, and implementing new behaviors. This can be useful for developing self-compassion.

Practice self-kindness. Sometimes we can’t think of how to be kind to ourselves. Think of a kind person in your life, what advice would she give to you? How would you talk to a friend or your child?

Compassionate letter writing exercise. This information is from Self-compassion: Stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind. (Neff, 2011) on Amazon.com

The first step in this process is to sit quietly and think about something that triggers feelings of inadequacy, or something about you or your situation that makes you feel badly about yourself. It is important not to judge the emotions or to try to fix them. The focus is on awareness and experience of the feelings.

In the next step, think about an imaginary friend who is kind, loving, accepting, and compassionate to you. This friend knows all about you, even the piece of you that makes you feel bad. How would this friend respond about giving yourself such harsh self-criticism and judgment?

Write a letter to yourself from the perspective of this compassionate friend. This involves asking questions such as;

What would they say to you?

How would they remind you that you are only human and humans are not perfect?

Would they suggest you do anything differently?

Once the letter is finished, you can put it away for a while. When you are ready, retrieve the letter and read it again.

Learn to laugh with yourself

Laughter, as a coping mechanism, can decrease stress, improve memory and even make you more productive. Whether you live or work in a stressful environment, find something to laugh about. This eases the psychological and physical tension you carry. Embrace the fact that no one is perfect and laugh off your screw-ups. A mistake can be an experience you learn from or an experience to reinforce negative thoughts and feelings. The choice is yours.

How can you be more kind to yourself?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa 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; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Say No: An essential guide to setting boundaries for helpers

Since compassionate helpers want to please others and help, it is often foreign for them to set a limit or say no. When empathic givers say no, they are often plagued with guilt. Sometimes this is solely within themselves, other times it is from absorbing other’s manipulations. When empathic people teach others they are limitless in their giving, this leads other people to expect constant help and in some cases, even demand it.

The importance of boundaries

The risk of not setting boundaries for the helper can range from anxiety, depression, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and even burnout. If you would like to learn more about compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout, I have included this video for you to watch. Remember, boundaries are a part of self-care.

Boundaries teach others how to treat you. Limits show without a doubt what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. These invisible lines protect you from abuse. Boundaries allow you to have your own separate feelings, thoughts and actions. Now, you know why it is important to have boundaries, let’s get to how to actually do it.

Identify what is your boundary

This part of the process, increases your self-awareness and is not to be shared with anyone else. Take a moment and write down what you want and why. Others do not need to know your reasons for limit setting, but you do. If you have a close relationship you may want to share when you set a boundary or at a later date, why this is important to you. Sharing your why is not required or even necessary. Sometimes your explanation waters down your message. The next time you say, yes, think about why you say, yes. Is this something you want to do or are you trying to avoid fear or confrontation?

Communicate

It is important to be direct about what you want and need. You do not need to explain or justify your reason for a limit. Say what you want in simple terms, without apologizing.

For example:

It is inappropriate when you____________________________ (speak that way or touch me)

Then you may need to redirect the person’s behavior. I would appreciate if you ask me rather than assuming I will do it for you, etc. If you are dealing with a patient who is touching you, Re-direct them and say place your hands here instead.

When someone asks or requests your help and you are unsure of your answer, feel free to ask additional questions. How long do you expect this task will last? Perhaps you can help in a different way then requested and offer that. If you don’t know your answer, give yourself the space to figure it out. Tell the other person, I will have to get back to you tomorrow or I have to check my schedule first.

If you are impulsive with your answers, you may want to read How to slow down impulsive decisions and improve relationships

Practice saying no

First start saying no to little things, then work your way up to the big things you do not want to do. Sometimes saying no is not as big of a deal as you think it will be. Often your anticipatory anxiety, the anxiety you feel before you say no, makes it worse than the reality of saying it.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

When you set a limit, expect some people to be upset with you. People pleasers who feel other’s disappointment or anger, can feel threatened. When a person feels threatened, we want to avoid the threat at all costs. You can survive other’s negative feelings towards you. You will do this by getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Remind yourself, you are setting a limit to help others. Sometimes people don’t need help but rather need to learn for themselves or even hit rock bottom.

Instill consequences

Boundaries are not meant to be a punishment but rather a natural consequence of behavior. A consequence needs to be firm. For example. If you continue to talk to me this way, I will end our phone call until you can talk to me calmly. If you continue to yell at me, I will be in the other room. Feel free to join me when you want to talk calmly. If you break plans with me at the last minute or do not show up or call me, I will call you out on your behaviors and let you know how I feel.

Practice, practice, practice

The well-known proverb says, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Practice setting limits with yourself and others. The more you do it, the less anxious you will feel.

What is your experience with setting boundaries and saying no?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa 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; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

3 Ways to Maintain Good Boundaries

Boundaries are invisible limits that inform people what behavior you will and will not tolerate in your relationship. These parameters are healthy not only for yourself but others. When someone has a negative reaction to a compassionate limit, it reveals more about their character, than yours. Since empaths are natural people pleasers, they often have a difficult time creating limits and sticking to them.

You deserve to be treated respectfully. In order for boundaries to be effective, you need to be clear about what you want, know your values and voice these assertively.  You may want to read this blog; How to Stop Being Controlled and Get Empowered to learn more about your personal rights. 

Now you have communicated your boundaries, the real work begins. This is where you walk your talk. Some people will test your limits, to see if you will hold the line firm. Here are three ways to make your boundaries stick:

1.) Call upon a Higher Power for a Boost 

When a sensitive person speaks up, he or she can feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Each time you feel tested, either by yourself or someone else, one affirmation you can say is, “God/Divine, give me the strength to value myself.” There is no shame in reaching up for help. Remember, with God/The Divine everything is possible.

2.) Feel All the Emotions but Don’t Act on Them

When you set a boundary, you may feel confused and begin to second guess yourself. Was I too harsh? Maybe it is too much? Did I hurt their feelings? Guilt can sabotage you, if you let it. Process all of these feelings, in your journal or with a counselor, in order to release any unnecessary emotional burdens you carry. Think about how much the other party is considering your feelings at this point. Is he or she offering you the same energetic consideration?

3.) Self-care is Essential

Improve your mental, physical and spiritual health. You give a lot to others, make sure you give to yourself. Have a luxurious cup of tea or do an activity you enjoy. Another aspect of self-care is limiting your time with those you set boundaries with. In order 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. You may find my book, I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers, beneficial for you.

Here is an additional resource: My presentation about boundaries on SkinCare Talk Radio: Boundaries, Difficult People & COVID-19

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa 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; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my You Tube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

4 Easy Ways to Refill Your Cup

How do you recharge and rejuvenate your energies after a long day caring for others? 

I spent many days coming home from work, exhausted on the couch. I would tune out from my hectic day by switching on the TV. Weekends were spent much the same way with the dreaded Sunday afternoon and night thinking, I have to go back to work. I didn’t see a way out of this pattern.

My body began to break down. I became sick and tired physically, mentally and spiritually. I hit my rock bottom with this way of living and decided; enough is enough. I did research, consulted healers, found what depleted my energy and what rejuvenated it. Things began to turn around when I learned how to fill my cup.

4 Easy Ways to Refill Your Cup (1)

1. Become aware

This takes some time and practice, as the society we live in does not support introspection. I recently heard; why are introverts told to speak up yet extroverts are not told to listen more? The point is you cannot change who you are. Whether you are introverted, extroverted or a combination known as ambivert, each energy is needed to create the beautiful world we live in.

Learn what kind of personality you have and become mindful of your present moment. When you witness what is happening within your body and around you, you become empowered to make healthier choices about your energy.

2. Learn how to identify and put your experience into words

Many helpers are outwardly focused on how others feel. Often you ask; what can I do to make you feel better? In order to refill, you need to turn some of that compassionate focus around.

You cannot solve a problem, you cannot name. Sometimes you don’t even know what questions to ask yourself to turn this problem around. I had this issue when I was stuck in the work-fatigue cycle. Start to journal each day, even briefly. This helps you connect within and write out what you are thinking and feeling. You can speak it, but there is a power in seeing your truth in the written word.

3. Plan to protect your energy

As a compassionate helper, it is important to learn how to protect your energies from people, places and situations. There are numerous ways to do this. Once you find what works for you, implement these strategies into your schedule each day.

4. Find ways to maintain your energy

What gives you energy and fuels your passion? Look at what is working in your life. These activities and people will help you rejuvenate your energies.

Lastly, learn about and buy this new Amazon bestseller I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers. 

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Whether you are feeling disconnected and depleted or are already connected and looking for new ways to increase your energy awareness, this journal provides lots of easy ways to recharge and rejuvenate your energy. Filled with helpful suggestions, writing prompts and space to journal your thoughts, you will generate problem solving for this common issue many helpers face.

Here’s what inside:

How to Use this Journal

The Energy Scale

Are you an Ambivert, Extrovert or Introvert?

Writing Prompts

Plans to Protect or Rejuvenate Your Energy

Ways to Maintain Your Energy

Plus, you get ten to eleven weeks of space to journal and record your observations.

This makes a great gift for friends, family and other loved ones, of course do not forget to include yourself!

BUY yours first and then get one for a friend on Amazon.com

LisaHutchisonLMHC

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is the bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers, a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She specializes in working with professionals who often get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and rejuvenate their energies. Lisa’s psychological advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest and The Huffington Post. http://www.lisahutchison.net

How to Find Pain Relief Through your Mind

How to find pain relief through your mind

When you are in a state of suffering and distress, it is difficult to be peaceful, spiritual and at ease, yet this is the place you long to be in. I know because I have experience with chronic pain and illness.

I have enjoyed many months with little to no pain by working on myself emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. When I began to have chronic pain issues, nine years ago, I never thought I could have a day without pain. I tried several different medications but decided to live without them because I could not tolerate the side effects being a sensitive person.

You look healthy!

As a child, I hid my pain from others. I felt responsible, being an empath, for everyone’s emotional well being. I often wore a smile and focused on those around me, ignoring my own needs. From the outside, I looked healthy, yet within I carried hidden pain. The saying, “you never know what someone is going through,” is true for someone who lives with chronic pain and invisible illness.

Today

Now, I express my pain in healthy ways, in order to take care of myself.  I let others know what I am going through when I need to withdraw temporarily in order to heal myself. Pain has brought me a more spiritual life. I cry out to God, the angels and spiritual helpers, while I surrender to their love and guidance

I write as part of my healing. Recently, I had a flare up of two sites at once. At first, I thought; what did I do wrong? I realized with any chronic condition you will experience cycles of relapse and remission.

Working with the pain

Acceptance- Be where you are. Trying to escape pain does not work because it is with you and focusing on the pain intensifies it because you are teaching your brain to think about the sensation. If it is not severe, you can distract from it temporarily.

There are times the answer lies in acceptance. Accept the hopeless feeling and sit with it. As you focus on your slow, rhythmic breathing, say to yourself, “I feel stuck right now, I feel hopeless, I don’t know what to do.” People are resistant to use the word hopeless because they have a fear of getting stuck in it. You need to admit where you are, in order to surrender and move through it. It is when you resist or deny feelings, you get stuck.

Remember there is hope even when you do not feel it. Know you can keep going and you are not alone. There are answers for you even if  you haven’t found them yet.

Be gentle with yourself. When you see someone you love in a vulnerable state you give them gentle loving care, why not yourself? You are just as valuable and worthy. Soften your voice, speak kindly and hold a space for yourself. When you experience a rough day, keep your schedule light.

Employ self-care. What does self-care mean for you?  It can be a favorite cup of tea, a warm blanket, soft music and/or a scented candle.

Exercise. If your doctor recommends exercise, do it. A gentle walk can help some forms of pain. When you circulate the blood and connect with nature, it supports the healing process.

Rest. There is great power in being. A lot of healing takes place with restorative sleep, meditation and mindfulness. Pain is an exhausting experience, it drains your energy. Make time to rest.

Find a therapist. You will want a psychotherapist who is compassionate about your health but also will challenge you to think and act differently. Cognitive behavioral therapy works specifically with your thoughts and behaviors. This type of treatment helps you change your thinking about the pain sensation and has been highly effective with pain management.

In closing

We all suffer pain at some point in our lives whether it is mental, physical or spiritual. It is human nature to want to avoid pain, yet pain can teach you something valuable about yourself. It is up to you to discover that meaning and a therapist can help you with this process. The next time you feel pain, work with your body but do not forget your mind. Your mind is much more powerful than any of us know or believe.

I highly recommend this book to help you through your journey, it has helped me through mine. The 12 Stages of Healing by Donald M. Epstein D.C. In it, the author teaches breathing exercises and affirmations for each stage of healing from suffering through reclaiming your power. Buy it here on Amazon. 

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! 

What helpers like you need to know about burnout

What helpers like you need to know about burnout (3)

 

Helpers and first responders often believe that they can push through irritation and emotional pain. You soldier on despite multiple systems in your body screaming out for you to stop. Some of these warning signs are unending fatigue, sleep difficulties, appetite changes, concentration problems, anxiety, depression, increased illnesses and anger.

As an empathic helper, you are going to experience work or help related stress due to caring so much. When that stress is combined with a lack of self- care and a lack of support more serious stress reactions can occur such as burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatization.

Compassion fatigue and burnout arises from too much work, or as many people say burning the candle at both ends. Empathic helpers often absorb other’s pain and take it with them into their home life. Too much sympathy or working with empathy without proper boundaries drains helpers of energy and leads to burnout. In a study of 216 hospice care nurses from 22 hospices across the state of Florida it was found that, “Trauma, anxiety, life demands, and excessive empathy (leading to blurred professional boundaries) were key determinants of compassion fatigue risk in the multiple regression model that accounted for 91 % (P< .001) of the variance in compassion fatigue risk.” (Abendroth & Flannery 2006).

Vicarious traumatization can happen when you absorb the psychological material of your client who has experienced trauma. You feel the trauma in your own energetic system as PTSD symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, irritability and startle responses. This is why it is important to hold the energetic boundaries and seek supervision or your own counseling. If you are experiencing increased anxiety, startle responses or irritation, after your work with a client ask yourself; is this my trauma or yours?

What can a compassionate helper do?

  • You need to limit your use of empathy. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing.  Empathy is one tool a helper uses in combination with other techniques to ensure client growth. At times you may need to use more directive or instructional types of methods rather than an all-out holding of the space for another.
  •  Be aware and recognize that trauma and stress are running the show. When you notice a change in your mood and thoughts, review your day and think about who you were with and what was discussed.
  • Self- Care. All empathic helpers need a self-care regime that refills and recharges your energy. Relaxation and energy increasing activities will balance out the fatigue you are experiencing. Grounding through the use of mindfulness can keep your focus in the present moment.
  • Seek psychotherapy with an empathic therapist who can help you with burnout and trauma. Going to a therapist who knows trauma, work stress and energy work can make a world of difference for yourself and your clients.
  •  Get this workbook for yourself and your clients. I have found this to be a valuable resource that I use with my clients: The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms Workbook Edition by Mary Beth Williams (Author), Soili Poijula (Author) Some of the chapters include: Before Doing the Work: Safety, Security and Intention and Helping Yourself When You Re-experience a Trauma. (As an amazon affiliate I receive a small portion of the sale when you buy after clicking the above link, without any addition cost to you. Thank you for choosing this method of purchasing.) 

References:

Abendroth, M., & Flannery, J. (2006). Predicting the risk of compassion fatigue: A study of hospice nurses. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing, 8(6), 346-356.

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 take advantage of the free gift 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