If you are a highly sensitive person, highly intuitive person or consider yourself an empath you might notice that it takes a lot of energy to set and maintain boundaries in relationships. According to the research of Dr. Elain Aaron fifteen percent of the population meet the criteria for being a highly sensitive person, and this can cause you to experience emotions on a deeper level as well as have a heightened sensitivity to your environment. In my work with developing psychics, mediums and highly intuitive or empathic people I find that many relate to the highly sensitive person traits. Likely because mediumship and intuition requires a heightened sensitivity to energy and the unseen world.
Energetic boundaries are the boundaries we set around our energy, and for highly empathic or psychic people this is an important part of caring for ourselves.
The first step in setting energetic boundaries is often understanding what your own energy feels like. Practicing mindfulness, journaling, and developing self awareness can help you to get a sense of this. You might also try meditating to connect to your own energy. Once you have a sense of what it feels like to be in your energy, it will become easier to differentiate between that and another person. You can begin to recognize when someone’s energy is affecting you negatively or positively.
1. You feel drained, tired, or self conscious after spending time with someone.
Start to notice how you feel in the presence of others and after spending time with someone. If you feel drained, tired, or self conscious continually after spending time with certain people or in certain environments, that can be a good indicator that you need to start becoming aware of and setting boundaries to protect your energy.
2. You have a strong physical reaction to the emotions of others.
If someone has an emotional outburst in your presence how does that affect you physically? Even if the energy is not directed at you, perhaps a friend is venting to you or your partner shouts when they accidentally drop something. Sometimes we may absorb the energy of others if we feel it’s our responsibility to calm or manage their emotions. Your friend may feel better after venting to you for an hour, but you may walk away feeling drained and on edge. If this is a regular occurrence this may be a sign that you are taking on the energy of others. This is not a supernatural phenomena or anything to fear. You can adjust your boundaries to support yourself by telling your friends and loved ones how you feel, limiting the time you spend giving energy to others problems and restoring your energy when you do feel depleted. Having a strong physical reaction to others emotions is not always a negative experience and can have benefits as well as help to restore your energy. Imagine the joy you feel at witnessing another’s joy—maybe playing with your pets, hearing others laugh, or spending time in nature is restorative to you. As a highly sensitive, intuitive or empathic person the deep effects of emotions you feel can be a gift to you and allow you to live a rich and meaningful life.
3. You worry constantly about others and can’t seem to stop.
This is a common energy leak and one that takes time and practice to close. It can take time and dedication to break the habit of worrying about other people. There are many reasons we might find ourselves in this situation and often the circumstances are beyond our control. For example, many people who experience trauma may struggle with anxiety or intrusive thoughts and can benefit from working with an experienced therapist. While the circumstances that lead you to excessive worry or checking in on others may not be within your control, you can start to take your power back by seeking support or practicing mindfulness on your own. Each time we worry about the future or lament the past we take ourselves out of the present moment and this can erode our energy and sense of wellbeing. If throughout the day you feel your thoughts constantly going to other people or situations or worrying about what will happen to them or what they will think, start by practicing mindfulness and bring your thoughts back into the present moment. Taking a deep breath and putting your focus on your physical senses can help bring you back into the present moment. You can experiment with different grounding techniques to do this. Running your hands under cold water, taking a sip of a beverage and noticing or savoring the taste, look around your environment and notice what colors you enjoy or what sounds you can hear. Continually bringing yourself back to the present will help to conserve your energy.
4. You feel guilty saying no.
Saying no without apology can be challenging. You deserve to set boundaries that allow you to live in the present moment as much as possible. Guilt can have a similar effect in draining energy as worrying about others incessantly. Practicing mindfulness around thoughts of guilt or questioning yourself may be helpful. Giving yourself permission to say no, rest, and restore your energy can be empowering. Practice this first with something small. Next time someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, try saying no and notice whether or not feelings of guilt creep in. This may be as simple as acknowledging your feelings and giving yourself compassion. Perhaps this is a pattern from your childhood or family dynamics and feeling guilty for saying no was something that was expected of you in the past. The more you say no to what drains your energy now the more space you create for joy and upliftment in your life.
5. You’re not sure how to restore your energy.
This is an essential part of caring for yourself especially if you are developing intuition or developing or working as a psychic or medium. It’s not possible to consistently give to others without restoring your energy—you can’t pour from an empty cup! Find out what allows you to feel energized and spend copious amounts of time doing that. Changing your routine, learning something new, being creative, listening to music, being in nature, or meditation are some ways you might start to feel restored.
When you feel your energy is depleted try this exercise from my book Uncovering Intuition:
EXERCISE: Setting energetic boundaries (protecting your energy)