Emotional Sponge : How to NOT Soak Emotions As An Empath

What is an Emotional Sponge? How can you stop soaking other people’s emotions? A meaty post on how can you cope, both spiritually and psychologically.

Empathy is a term that’s been going around a lot lately, along with its side-effect, emotional sponge. I can explain this phenomenon best by a personal experience.

This will be blend of metaphysical and psychological investigation. Keep reading!

I recently got into the morning practice of clearing my energy. The results are so amazing, that for hours to follow, I continue to feel very light and peaceful. You can read about the 5 ways I maintain my mood, everyday.

But one morning, I made the mistake of checking my phone too soon.
Phone, Female, Lady, Black, African, Text, Chat

I had received a message from an anxious and flustered friend, that was dealing with a problem. Though my friend is sensible and was only bouncing the problem to get a second opinion, I immediately felt heavier. I was annoyed and angry too, now.

I became an emotional sponge. In other words, I was so empathic towards the person’s problems, I absorbed some of their emotions. And then, made them my own!

I immediately became alert and stirred by what had happened, because the dip in energy level was significant. So this time, it didn’t go undetected. And, I was able to look at it from a more conscious and critical view.

This is where psychology pops in to say hello! We have just experienced a sign of an unhealthy Emotional Boundary.

In being the good listener, I am holding TOO much space. And as a consequence, it is getting into my own space. But why did this happen in the first place?

Face, Head, Empathy, Meet, Sensitivity, Emotional Sponge

There’s a phenomenon called Mirror Neurons. In countless science experiments conducted around human behavior, they’ve observed things like:

  • If someone simply watches the other person dip their hand in cold water, the temperature of their own hand becomes cooler;
  • When one friend leans to the side, another involuntarily mimics them;

Infact, the other day, my husband told me how he experienced sadness the whole day because I had told him I was feeling sad. Cute! But also, problematic. As empaths, we are constantly trying to protect our energy and build the ‘dont care’ muscle. To no avail. Because we do care, that’s second nature to us!

Ofcourse I never write without solutions, so here it comes.

In dealing with other people’s problems, we need to create a safe space for ourselves to comfortably listen from.

Like visualizing yourself in an impermeable bubble of Divine Light.

Or imagining an object placed between you and the listener, that becomes the emotional sponge in your place.

We don’t need to lock ourselves away from the world or try to ‘not care’. We infact need to remind ourselves mentally that we can remain detached and still help others.

Detachment being the key word, lets walk our way back to the spiritual side.

Detachment means to be able to hear a problem, and then foresee a better outcome. Without being shaken by the problem itself.

It means operating from a higher frequency of thought.

This, thus, means always choosing a higher frequency until it becomes second nature – that I am AWARE I am able to make this choice freely and voluntarily every time.

What are these frequencies I am talking about?

I love the Nicheren Buddhism philosophy that suggests, each being holds 10 different states of mind within themselves. These are called the Ten Worlds.

Our behavior fluctuates between each of these states. Well, it fluctuates as long as we are unconscious and operating on auto-pilot. But we can choose the frequency by repeatedly staying aware and growing gentle in our ‘reaction’ in situations.

The Ten Worlds are, in ascending order of the degree of free will, compassion and happiness one feels, the worlds of: (1) hell, (2) hungry spirits, (3) animals, (4) asuras, (5) human beings (6) heavenly beings, (7) voice-hearers, (8) cause-awakened ones, (9) bodhisattvas, and (10) Buddhas.

As explained on the Sokka Gakkai website

Operating from higher frequencies becomes our way to experience detachment.

But is compassion even possible, if we are detached?
Empathy, Person, Human Waves, Compassion

True compassion can be understood when we hear stories of enlightened Masters such as the Buddha that would become teary-eyed in seeing another’s pain, in seeing the plight of the world around.

Compassion may not necessarily mean attachment – it means sometimes, to be able to experience the emotion by letting it pass through you. What does that mean? It means not holding back, understanding that is a byproduct of humanness and simply holding the space for yourself to process the emotion out of your system.

Yet at the same time, we are staying rooted in the knowing, that we are not the emotions we are experiencing and that we are holding space for another person to share their load.

This led me to think – is THIS why we feel better when we share our problems? Because we literally share our problem?
Empathy, Head, Brain, Wave, Compassion, Emotional Sponge

I don’t want this talk about emotional sponge to scare the empaths of the world. I want all this to empower you, by showing you that yes, you are a being of great capacity, that has immense love and care. The skills that you need to work on now, are detachment and healthy emotional boundaries.

All the empaths reading this, give me a holler and let me know if this changes things for you! 🙂

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Emotional Sponge : How NOT to soak emotions as a Highly Sensitive Person

Easy Vegan Gnocchi in Pesto Sauce

Easy, 7-ingredient vegan gnocchi, prepared in pesto sauce. This is a perfect recipe for mid-week meal preparation on lazy days!

Easy, 7-ingredient vegan gnocchi, prepared in pesto sauce. This is a perfect recipe for mid-week meal preparation on lazy days!

THE BACKSTORY OF THIS RECIPE

You know, carbs are at the very centre of Italian food. And homemade food too, in general, ofcourse.

I grew up with my mother making everything from scratch, so this is something that I take with me as a very deep meaning of love. Nothing tastes like homemade. Loving, delicious and healthier.

I love gnocchi, those little potato balls that are so easy to make but need a bit of preparation and not everyone might have the time!

So if you want to enjoy something similar and surprise your loved ones, I urge you to read this recipe and to find out how to make these gnocchi that requires no cooking at all. Well, almost. *wink*

INGREDIENTS FOR PREPARING GNOCCHI

For 2 portion you will need:

  • 200gr of wholegrain couscous (alternative given below)
  • 70 gr of basil leaves
  • 150 gr of green peas
  • 40gr of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (alternative given below)
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
ingredients to prepare vegan gnocchi

SUBSTITUTES

You can use any type of cous cous, gluten free too. If you cannot find cous cous or you don’t like it, you could use white risotto rice instead.

As for nutritional yeast, I love to use it for its cheesy taste. But you can easily substitute it with pumpkin or sunflower seeds roughly blended with some salt and garlic powder. That would work a treat too!

RECIPE PROCEDURE FOR GNOCCHI

  • Cook couscous according to packet instructions.
    Normally it would be 1 portion of cous cous to 2 portions of water.
  • Add some salt and let it fluff.
  • Then, wash the basil and prepare the peas for the sauce.

    NOTE: I don’t normally cook peas if I am making a sauce out of it. I would just pour boiling water on them and let them sit for a while until they are a bit softer. But you can cook them, if you’d like. So up to you. It does save you time and pots to wash!
  • Once the couscous is lukewarm, start mashing it together with your hands. You should create a play dough texture. You can work in smaller batch if it’s easier for you.
  • Roll the dough in between your hands and make little sausages. With a knife, cut small pieces of around 2 cm and place in a plate previously oiled. This will avoid the gnocchi sticking to the plate.
  • Now make your sauce by simply blending the basil leaves and the peas together with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and 1 cup of boiling water.
  • Optional : feel also free to add a garlic clove, if you like it.
pesto sauce for gnocchi
  • Now, we’re ready to assemble the dish and to warm it up!
    In a pan, add the sauce, the gnocchi and the sun-dried tomatoes cut into thin strips.
  • Let it simmer for 5 minutes, add more hot water if you want a creamier sauce and the dish is ready!

Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with some extra sundried tomatoes, nutritional yeast and basil leaves, to add that extra zing.

And in less than 30 mins you can eat a healthy, nutritious meal that will be also fun to make. Who doesn’t like playing with play-dough?

I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as much as I have enjoyed making it.

You may also enjoy another easy, high-protein recipe, the Vegan Blondie.

Sending love to all beings,

Annalisa ❤️

Annalisa D’Agostino is a Reiki Master, also professionally pursuing holistic and spiritual counselling.

She enjoys cooking and making delicious vegan takes on everyday food.

So here you can find a little corner, TheVeganSense, where you will find recipes and Vegan insight to show love not only to your loved ones, but also the animals and the planet.

Follow her on Instagram @TheVeganSense

Work-Life Balance : 5 Easy Spiritual Tips

5 crucial self-care practices that can help you attain work-life balance in a spiritual way.

Where work asks you to DO more, Spirituality says, BE more. Is it even possible to do both? To have work-life balance? Yes.

So, my attempt today is to show you through some practical examples, that it very much IS. Because life should not be about choosing between your roles, spirituality can and should be an inherent part of every role you play.

TIP #1 – Reuse the intermittent spaces between and after work.

  • Don’t pull out your phone when you are waiting for the elevator to come, or while taking the ride. And there are many other moments like this, where you have ‘a few seconds’. So, identify them and use them to tap back into the moment, by being mindful of your surroundings or your breathe.
Office, Business, Accountant, Accounting, Work Life Balance Spiritual Tips
  • If you don’t have the time to be in nature (guilty!), instead of sitting and talking during lunch, walk and talk outdoors. Some offices have a great policy, of having walking meetings as well. A perfect way to regain energy naturally, is by removing yourself from the concrete jungle.
  • Eat mindfully, atleast once a day. Even if it means a 10 minute coffee break, give yourself that space and time to just let your mind off of ‘work-mode’ and into present moment awareness. That’s the easiest way to gain benefits as huge as your close-eyed Meditation.
  • Instead of listening to mindless ads on the radio on the drive home, listen to something relaxing that can help you start unplugging and start tuning into yourself. Some gentle music, or chants – have a playlist.

Related : Spiritual Prayers To Rebuild Your Connection With The Universe

NOTE : I would NOT recommend podcasts, or anything mentally stimulating. Drive time is known to facilitate a connection with our Higher Self, which is only possible when our mind isn’t constantly consuming new information.

Car, Traffic, Man, Hurry, Steering Wheel, Drive

TIP #2 – Do smaller doses of ‘subconscious’ work.

  • SAVE the quotes and affirmations you scroll throughout the day, and read them every morning as a self-care practice (without using your internet).
  • While at your seat, reboot yourself. A great example, is by closing your eyes for a 30-second visualisation where your stress dissipates, and bright white Light recharges your body.
  • If you’re too ashamed to reboot with your eyes-closed, try the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding rule (also great for anxiety and stress). This article describes the rule beautifully.
  • Say a few quick morning affirmations in the mirror if you don’t have time to write them.
selective focus photography of man's reflection on a broken mirror

TIP #3 – Work-life balance means no more concoctions!

  • Whether 10 minutes or 1 hour, have a me-time habit. Start the day on your terms. You will feel more nurtured. If you’re looking for some inspiration, I talk in a lot more detail about some of my daily self-love and self-care practices in this post.
  • Delay the work mode, until you’re actually there. Do not jumble up me-time with work-time. This also means, do NOT check or respond to your emails the moment you open your eyes.
Woman, Hair Drying, Girl, Female, Person, Work-Life balance
  • How much time are you spending with yourself, honestly and authentically? Are you cheating on yourself with your work commitments? Ensure your work day doesn’t end at the same time as you sleep. Signing out of devices, disconnecting from the internet are essential.

TIP #4 – Achieve work-life balance by practicing the spiritual philosophies at work.

  • When you are unable to figure a solution for your problem, SURRENDER. Walk away from your desk, take that 10-minute coffee break we discussed before, and rest be assured, you will come with more inspirations that lead you to the solution. Don’t trust me? Try it for yourself.
  • I always find difficult relationships to be our best teachers. Exhibit the practice of healthy boundaries and self-love, by being more mindful of the dynamic between your peers and your employers. Identify the nature of your Spiritual Contract. It may mean learning to be less of a ‘yes-man’, for example.
Youtuber, Blogger, Screenwriter, workaholic, laptop, anxiety, stress, work-life balance
  • Do your karma, don’t try to manipulate the outcome. In other words, stop feeding the drama of your ego when things don’t go your way at work. Time to transcend the temptation to ass-kiss and indulge in project politics.

    NOTE : At the same time, your employer not being able to fulfil your expectations, is a bounce-back at the previous point about practising self-love and voicing your concerns in a gentle and firm way.

Tip #5 – Work consciously, whatever you do.

  • Be mindful and less on ‘autopilot’ – you will make less mistakes that way.
  • Stop reacting, start responding. You will spend less energy being flustered.
  • Allow yourself to conform less and think more ‘outside of the box’.
  • Work beyond your fears. Sometimes, it means expressing unpopular opinion.

Concluding Thoughts

These are just some of the many ways in which spirituality can crossover with work and give you the work-life balance you deserve. If these tips helped you, don’t forget to share this with other people! 🙂

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Work-Life Balance Tips, Spirituality