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It’s no secret that life can feel hard at times. This is especially true for empaths, who tend to be deeply affected by the energy of those around them, says Judith Orloff, MD, a Los Angeles–based psychiatrist and author of the new book The Empath’s Survival Guide.
Yet rather than turning to bad habits to cope—say, overeating or binge-watching your favorite Netflix series—Orloff recommends a simple meditation to help you re-center. Here, she shares three top triggers for empaths (and the rest of us!), plus simple practices to counter any resulting stress.
1. When you’re overwhelmed and have an urge to nosh…
Sit in front of your fridge or pantry and try to home in on what you’re feeling underneath those cravings—be it stress, loneliness, sadness, or excitement. “Even simply leaving a meditation pillow in your kitchen can be a visual cue that’ll stop you from reaching for food,” says Orloff. “You might not need to sit at all.”
2. When a narcissistic acquaintance isn’t listening to you…
Excuse yourself and go find a window or some open space, close your eyes, slow your breath, and imagine something or someone you love deeply, such as your child or the ocean. “This will help you center yourself in your own heart, giving you a greater capacity to manage the energy of those around you,” says Orloff.
See also Love-What-Is Meditation
3. When your coworkers’ stress becomes contagious…
Place an object that feels sacred to you on each corner of your desk—it could be a small charm or crystal, or bottle of essential oil. “Imagine that these objects are creating a protective shield to guard you from any negative energy that could be swirling around you,” says Orloff.
See also Creating a Healing Space