4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Other People’s Energy and Pain

empathby Endorsed Coach,Uma Sanghvi

Do you tend to absorb other people’s feelings and pain?

Does it feel like there’s no membrane separating you from the world?

Do you ever feel depleted or sick from taking on other people’s energy?

If you answered “yes”, then you’re probably an empath.

In The Empath’s Survival Guide, Dr. Judith Orloff, M.D. says:

“Empaths don’t have the same filters that other people do to block out stimulation. As a consequence, we absorb into our own bodies both the positive and stressful energies around us. We are so sensitive that it’s like holding something in a hand that has fifty fingers instead of five. We are truly super responders.”

I resonate deeply with this visual of having ten times as many feelers as a “normal” person! If you do too, know that you’re not alone. Research shows that about 20% of the population displays this trait of being energetically sensitive.

After decades of absorbing the emotions and pain of my family – and friends and colleagues and strangers and everything everywhere all the time – I am SO relieved to finally have practical and uplifting tools in my toolkit to protect my energy!

Being energetically sensitive is a huge asset when you learn how to manage it. Shielding is a basic skill that empaths can use to prevent empathic overload.

Here are 4 steps to shielding your energy:

1. Mantra: Stay on your own journey.

When you notice yourself getting caught up with someone else’s emotions, use this mantra: stay on your own journey. It’s a reminder to stay on your own mental, emotional and spiritual journey, without crossing a boundary and wandering into someone else’s journey.

You can also say it “out loud” in your mind, to the other person. On an energetic level, you’re reminding others to stay on their own path, and not to give you their burdens.

This mindset will naturally start to shift your perspective on relationships. Using your voice (even the voice in your head) is empowering and has the effect of creating a healthy boundary.

2. Grounding: anchor your spiritual energy in your physical body.

Grounding is the most important step to self-protection.

If you’ve ever tried to visualize a protective bubble around you in the middle of a stressful situation and it didn’t work – it’s likely that you missed this crucial step.

Before we build a shield around our body, we need to be INSIDE our body. A house is only useful for protection, if we’re living inside of it.

When our spiritual energy is rooted in the physical body, that’s called grounding.

The problem is that sometimes we will ourselves right out of our body – consciously or unconsciously – to escape feeling our own pain, emotions, vulnerability and humanness.

Empaths are particularly challenged to stay grounded, as we are sensitive to harsh physical world energy and much prefer to hang out in the lighter, gentler energies of the mental plane and the spiritual plane.

But we are at our most powerful, healthy and safest when we are grounded in our body. Living “in” the body means that we have present-moment awareness of our internal sensations. There are the denser sensations in the body such as pain and there are subtler sensations in the body like tingling, buzzing, coolness, warmth, expansiveness, heaviness, lightness. When you become aware of this field of vibrations in your body, you’re in touch with your own life force energy.

The best grounding technique is the one that works for you. Simple ways to ground your energy include bringing your attention into your feet, noticing your breath, and doing a body scan. I love walking barefoot on the earth (or simply imagining that I’m walking barefoot) and letting the soles of my feet open to receive the delicious texture of the ground.

3. Shielding: Visualize an energetic boundary around you.

Once you’re grounded, make sure you stay connected to your body as you build your shield.

There are many ways to build a shield around you. One of my favorites comes from Karla McClaren’s book, The Language of Emotions:

“Reach your arms straight out to either side of you. Imagine that your fingertips are touching the edges of a lighted bubble that encompasses your personal space. Reach your arms out in front of you, and then raise them above your head. Feel how far your personal boundary is from your body. It should be an arms length away from you at all points – in front of you, behind you, on either side of you, above you, and even underneath you. When you can imagine this area all the way around you, drop your arms and let them relax.

Imagine that this oval bubble, which is around and above you and even underneath the floor, is now lit up in a bright neon color, such as lime green or electric magenta. Make your boundary quite obvious in whatever way you can.”

I love her suggestion to breathe with your boundary; imagining the boundary expanding a few inches in diameter in all directions as you inhale (just as your torso does when it inhales). On your exhale, the boundary returns to the arm’s-length distance from your body.

Another way to create a shield is to build a ball of brilliant white light in your belly, and then let it expand outwards so that it completely surrounds you.

Once you have a boundary, get a visceral sense of safety inside your boundary. You can bring to mind a place or memory where you feel safe, and fill up your bubble with a tangible feeling of coziness and comfort.

4. Practice shielding when you don’t need to.

Get used to the sensation of the shield protecting your body. It’s crucial that you practice it when you don’t need it. That way, whenever you suspect that you’re absorbing someone else’s emotions, creating a shield will be easy.

When you DO take on someone else’s negativity or pain inadvertently, remember to have self-compassion. You’re learning a new skill and if you’re not “failing” regularly then you’re doing it wrong J It’s going to happen sometimes, and that is absolutely OK!

Be loving with yourself as you play with these techniques (emphasis on play). Love is the highest of vibrations. And anything that raises your vibration will organically shield you from lower frequency energy. Self-love is grounding, shielding and healing. It’s the perfect medicine for all humans, not just empaths.

Do you have a favorite shielding technique?

Would you like to learn how to be more grounded?

Join me for Shield Your Energy – a free 5-Day challenge for women.


Uma Sanghvi is an Anxiety-Relief Coach who helps women heal from anxiety, stress and worry using trauma-informed techniques that calm the nervous system. She helps empaths to thrive so they can share their magic with the world. A life-long traveler on the spiritual path, Uma began Buddhist inquiry and meditation at the age of 16 and is currently a Unity prayer chaplain in Austin, Texas. Uma is a Fulbright Scholar, proud Hufflepuff and has a degree in biology from Stanford University.
To learn more about Uma please visit www.umasanghvi.com. She can be reached at uma@umasanghvi.com.
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Tracking Deliciousness

by Endorsed Mind-Body Coach, Mara Wai

I love Summer. I loooong for it by Spring. Right before it arrives I fantasize about it, imagining all the fun and sun I will soak in.  I imagine luxuriating in quietude and peace, natural settings and beauty. I imagine kids playing, running for the ice cream truck, rainy days and movies. In my imagination it’s perfect, sweet, nostalgic, and timeless. And yet.  While it’s happening, it’s usually not how I imagine it.  I get caught up – in the planning and prepping, the getting to and from all the activities, one after the other. When the long-awaited planned and prepped thing is finally happening I get caught up in thinking about what needs to happen next and about how and when I can take a break and recover from the thing. It all feels so planned, so jammed in and busy.

Nope, not this Summer. This Summer, I vowed to slow it all down, to slow myself down and drink in the moments. that I have longed for all year.  And I must say, it has felt DELICIOUS.

This Summer, I set an intention to notice and be with deliciousness. I began to track my Summer deliciousness. I looked for – and am continuing to look for – the experiences that brought about the yummy feeling that I longed for.  I did those delicious things, consciously. And there were so, so, so many.

  • the first sighting of fireflies.
  • kids selling lemonade on the corner
  • sunsets and sunrises
  • full moon glow
  • beach days
  • the cat on the back stoop
  • canoeing in the cedar rivers of the Pine Barrens
  • kayaking on the Ocean City bay
  • boardwalk pizza
  • the birdsong, first thing in the am
  • the crickets
  • the locusts, now in late Summer
  • garden veggies ripening
  • seeing a beloved friend I haven’t seen in forever and sharing our lives together
  • seeing my son getting taller
  • rainy days on the porch
  • visiting the pig farm
  • not talking to anyone for five hours
  • reading a novel for the first time in years
  • not scheduling, intentionally
  • the camp show

I could go on and on.  And, so can deliciousness. Deliciousness doesn’t need to come to an end when Summer does. We can actually build more deliciousness into our lives. We can become aware of how we want to feel, and notice the feeling of it when it arises. We can notice what we can do in our lives right now that sparks that delicious feeling. Like a tracker in the wild, we can begin to notice exactly what conjures up the feeling that we want, and then do more of that. We can practice it. We can cultivate the skill of feeling deliciousness whenever and wherever we want to.

Deliciousness is a feeling. It’s in the body, it’s in my throat and around my heart.

It feels tender and soft, almost like an ache but in an oh so pleasant way. It radiates out, like sun rays. It’s fragile. It can be easily dampened or shut out completely if we’re not noticing.

When we notice deliciousness rising , we can simply be with it for however long it lasts. And we can enjoy it in all it’s delicious splendor.

The picture above, that’s me on the bay, in a moment of  Summer deliciousness.

What is deliciousness for you? How does it feel, what brings it about?

Share one or some of your delicious moments here.



Mara Wai, M.Ed. is a mind-body coach who supports her clients to shift their consciousness and energy for healing, growth and self-transformation. With mindfulness and a variety of mind-body awareness tools, her clients deepen awareness of inherent mind and body conditioning that exacerbates their pain, prolongs suffering or is no longer resonant with what they want out of life. With gained insight and practice, her clients create new, more desirable mind-body patterns that result in greater ease in body, clarity in mind and an inherent sense of self-trust to discern what’s best for themselves and take “just-right” actions. In addition to her work as a coach, Mara is the Associate Director of the Penn Program for Mindfulness, where she oversees administration and facilitates Mindfulness-based Stress Management programs. To learn more about Mara go to www.marawai.com.

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The Happiness Hoax And How It Impacts Your Health

By Endorsed Mind-Body Coach Elaine Jeffy “The notion that a human being should be constantly happy is a uniquely modern, uniquely American, uniquely destructive idea.”  Dr. Andrew Weil Flashback to the time my high school aged son asked me: “Mom, where’s your great big smile?”  Daniel had noticed the absence of the ever- present smile that […]

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