There are all sorts of different people in the world, which, I hope you’ll agree, is a big part of what makes it wonderful!
Some live very deep, rich emotional lives, while for others, emotion plays second fiddle to intellect.
There are people who hide their emotions and those who wear their hearts on their sleeves. There are also people who can suck all the positivity out of any situation, and there are people who can inject positivity anywhere they like.
But if you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you’re a different type of person altogether – one who easily absorbs the emotions of others.
While this can certainly help you get closer to people by sharing their emotional experiences, it can also be a big burden. Taking on too many negative emotions can wear you out and even leave you unable to process your own feelings.
Let’s take a look at what this means, who it happens to, and how to manage it.
If you want to stop absorbing other people’s emotions because they’re more than you can handle, I’m going to suggest seven habits to say goodbye to.
What does it mean to absorb other people’s emotions?
Emotions are spilled Kool-Aid, and you’re not a paper towel.
But you might still feel like you actually soak up other people’s emotions when they’re around you.
If you’re at a great concert, you might feel like you’re soaring on all the happiness you feel from the people around you.
But when you drive past the scene of an accident, you can be overcome with horror and grief.
What’s really happening is that you’re observing other people’s emotional responses and mirroring them in your own head.
You’re showing empathy by picking up on their emotions and sympathy by actually sharing in feeling them.
What kinds of people absorb other’s emotions?
Most people are able to recognize other people’s emotions and sympathize with them to some extent.
However, there are two special types of people who can be said to really sop up other people’s feelings.
Highly sensitive people are so-called because they sense more from their environments.
They may take in the same information as anyone else, but they process it differently. They experience smells as stronger, sounds as louder, and lights as brighter than the rest of us.
Because they’re more sensitive to their surroundings, HSPs may also be more sensitive to what others are feeling since they’re highly perceptive as well. This can lead them to pick up other people’s emotions more easily.
Empaths are the other type of people who easily soak up other’s emotions.
These are people who have extremely high emotional intelligence and can interpret other people’s feelings and emotional states incredibly well.
They also very adeptly put themselves into other people’s shoes and can easily imagine what it feels like to experience what another is experiencing.
As you can see, this is what makes it seem like they are absorbing other people’s emotions.
Why do you need to stop?
Whether you’re an HSP, an empath, or both, you might find that this special talent of yours is bringing you more grief than joy.
Other people’s emotions can be positive or negative, but one thing they share is that they add to your own emotional burden, and that can interfere with your quality of life.
You might feel burdened by carrying all these extra emotions around, which can make you feel worn out and exhausted.
The other big reason to stop absorbing other people’s emotions is because they can confuse you. You may start a day really happy but end up feeling really down despite the fact that nothing negative actually happened to you personally.
Other people’s emotions can overwhelm your own. They can even make you feel confused as to which emotions are yours and which come from outside.
Stop these habits
If you’re feeling confused or depleted, managing your emotional absorption may be the answer.
You don’t need to put an end to this special ability you have completely, but you may need to stop letting everything in to keep from being overwhelmed.
If you want to stop absorbing other people’s emotions, say goodbye to these seven habits.
1) Not defining your boundaries
One of the biggest issues empaths and HSPs face in absorbing other people’s feelings is being too open.
It’s so often the case that, because of your empathy, people want to be around you and discuss or share their emotions with you.
They might not, however, realize just how much of a burden that can be on you. Of course, you want to help, but not at the expense of your own happiness, right?
So stop letting everyone in whenever they want.
Form your boundaries and make sure that you and others respect them. In this way, you’ll be better able to control how and when you’re exposed to difficult emotions.
2) Not practicing self-care
You can also reduce the burden of all these emotions by taking better care of yourself.
You should say goodbye to the habit of putting your self-care in the backseat and make this a priority.
This can include downtime, getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising – the whole lot!
When you take more time to focus on treating yourself well, the negative emotions that come your way will have less of an effect on your well-being.
3) Spending time with emotional vampires
Emotional vampires are those people who drain you of your energy and positive emotions.
Whether they do it on purpose or not, this can have a major effect on your happiness. They usually need so much validation and attention that they suck it out of everyone around them.
Well, isn’t that a way to keep you from absorbing so much emotion from others?
Not at all.
All this does is completely upset the balance. When the vampires drain away other people’s positive emotions, they only leave negative ones in their place.
So, all that’s left for you to absorb in those situations is the negatives left over. Plus, they can also drain away your positive emotions, too.
If you have emotional vampires in your circles, stop spending time with them. They’re not doing anything but harming you.
4) Paying attention to every emotion
If you want to stop absorbing other people’s emotions, or at least absorb a whole lot less, you need to kick this habit.
When you notice yourself feeling emotions, try to recognize what they are and what’s driving them.
Instead of letting everything in, you can create a filter to block out emotions that you don’t want to deal with.
You could screen out emotions that are way too intense by recognizing them and saying, “I don’t need the trauma of letting this emotion in.”
You can also choose to quickly reject minor emotions that aren’t really important.
However you do it, kicking this habit starts with mindfulness to be able to recognize and screen the emotions coming your way.
5) Not recognizing your own emotions
It’s also very important to be able to recognize which emotions are actually yours and which are coming to you from others.
This is something that empaths struggle with since they tend to feel other’s emotions so strongly.
Again, cultivate mindfulness to say goodbye to the habit of not recognizing your own emotions.
Ask yourself, “Where is this feeling coming from? Is it mine or someone else’s?”
When you can tell the origins of emotions apart, it becomes a lot easier to select which ones you’ll let in and which you can and should block out.
6) Socializing more than you should
If it becomes overwhelming to be near others and their emotions, you may need to create some real, physical separation.
Take a step back and really examine how much exposure you can handle, then set your limits.
You may find that this means you need a lot more alone time than you’ve been giving yourself.
Follow your instincts and set your limits to help you feel a whole lot more comfortable.
7) Staying in toxic relationships
For people who easily absorb other’s feelings, being in a relationship with a negative person is next to impossible.
For an empath or an emotion-absorbing HSP, toxic people are those who have unlimited amounts of negativity to share.
As much as you might think you’re helping these people by letting them express and share your emotions, you might also be doing yourself some real damage.
Whether these are toxic friends or romantic relationships, their negativity is going to continually affect you and bring you down.
If you want to stop absorbing other people’s emotions all the time, say goodbye to these seven habits, and you’ll quickly find yourself much happier.
You might need to make major changes in your life, but they’ll definitely be worth it to protect yourself from the draining effect of taking on too much of an emotional burden.