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!

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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!

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 Stop Falling into the Social Media Habit

I had a problem and yet I knew that I was not the only one. I went into Facebook to send a message to someone. Instead of sending the message, I was in the news feed for a good 15 minutes to then log out, realizing that I did not do what I originally intended to do. I was shocked at how easy it is to go unconscious on social media. I logged in again, accomplishing my mission by completing that message and sending it off.

I noticed an increase in social media use after my cat’s death. This distraction was normal and okay for a short amount of time because it helped me cope. It was a good way to numb out the intense feelings of loss and grief. As an empath, I feel a lot and deeply. Perhaps you can begin to see that this type of social media checking is not all bad because it would be too overwhelming to process grief/loss all at once.

There comes a time when you and I need to face the music; meaning we need to sit with the feelings, deal and heal. When is that time? The time is when you or others become aware of what you are doing and are no longer comfortable with it. If you do not notice your over usage, you may hear comments from family or friends. Not only can it cause problems in relationships, the longer you avoid your feelings, the more disconnected you become to your own soul and that of the Divine.

Social Media Boundaries

I am not here to tell you what the proper boundaries are for you concerning social media. I believe that you as much as I already know that answer. Trust your instincts, get off social media and do something else. What I will do is share some definite warning signs to be aware of. Many of these can be applied to abuse and addictions behaviors of all kinds.

  • If you spend more time with your nose in your phone than talking to your significant other or family.
  • If you need to check social media first thing in the morning, all throughout the day and last thing before bed.
  • When your friends’ social media responses or lack thereof starts affecting your mood in negative ways; anger, depression and sadness.

 

The Psychology Behind this Habit or in Some Cases this Addiction

When any habit gets rewarded, it increases the likelihood of you doing it again. Every notification, like, reaction and share reinforces our social media checking behavior. Guess what? When you are stressed you rely more on your habit system as a way to feel in control. It is understandable why during times of high stress; grief, loss, unemployment or illness an increase can be found with social media use. Even positive stress can trigger an increase in usage such as a move to a new home, new job or a book release.

Here is the kicker, the reward does not even have to feel pleasurable in order to repeat it.  This is what happens in all addictions. Clients tell me I don’t even enjoy using yet I can’t stop; why is this happening? When you repeat a behavior, the brain gets rewarded with a release of a chemical called dopamine. This dopamine sends a signal within your brain that says whatever you just did, do it again regardless of whether it has a positive or negative outcome. This creates a compulsion to repeat that behavior.

How do you get out of this behavorial loop? You need to slow your brain down in order to give yourself a chance to pause, think and then respond. Now you have the power to choose what you want to do next. For some it is shutting off notifications, deleting the app from your phone or taking days off from social media. If you continue to have difficulty, there is no shame in seeking professional psychotherapy.

The move from Mindless to Mindful Usage

Sit down and pick a goal for your social media use. Is it for fun, business or connecting with friends? Yes, it can be different each time you log in. Think before you post; what is the purpose of this sharing? Does it fit with my overall goal of social media use?

Notice your mood prior to logging in and stay aware of how it shifts and changes. Do you log in when you feel bored, alone, empty or to calm your nerves? When you feel stressed, aggravated or numb that is the time to log off. If you are using it to boost your self -esteem, remember the real work is within. Social media is a place to express not to impress. If you are trying to feed your ego, it is time to sign off.

When you are in the present moment, you are awake to what you are doing and what is happening. Anytime you notice your distraction, like I did in the opening paragraph, use it as a reminder to get back into your body and connect. After all, that is what we are truly searching for when we go online, an authentic connection. When you don’t find it online, make time to connect in more direct ways through meditation, prayer, phone calls or in person meetings.

More about 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 car reader she helps her clients find realistic life solutions that work whether it is health concerns, work or relationships. To get her FREE 10 page E- book, 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos Now visit www.lisahutchison.net