Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

The New Science of Empathy and Empaths

 
Judith Orloff - Tuesday, February 28, 2017
 

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's ” The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People”


As a psychiatrist and an empath, I am fascinated by how the phenomenon of empathy works. I feel passionately that empathy is the medicine the world needs right now.

Empathy is when we reach our hearts out to others and put ourselves in their shoes. However, being an empath goes even farther. Like many of my patients and myself, empaths are people who’re high on the empathic spectrum and actually feel what is happening in others in their own bodies. As a result, empaths can have incredible compassion for people--but they often get exhausted from feeling “too much” unless they develop strategies to safeguard their sensitivities and develop healthy boundaries.

In my book, "“The Empath’s Survival Guide” I discuss the following intriguing scientific explanations of empathy and empaths. These will help us more deeply understand the power of empathy so we can utilize and honor it in our lives.

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Tips to De-Stress Over the Holidays

 
Judith Orloff - Tuesday, November 08, 2016
 

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's ”Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love ”


While the holidays are a cherished time to spend with family and friends it can also be a stressful time trying to juggle all the additional demands of this season. This can be particularly challenging for empaths or sensitive people who tend to absorb the stressful energy of others.

To successfully navigate the strain of the holidays it’s important to learn to de-stress. Consider making your home as a place of retreat, not merely a stop off point to plop yourself after work, or stare at the TV, or inhale a fast-food dinner. Happily, it doesn’t take much, to instead think of your home as a haven.

The way to start is to create a sacred space, a self-fashioned altar, which can’t easily be intruded upon. It’s a specific location in your home, a refuge where you can kick off your shoes, breathe deeply again, meditate, and re-join yourself and Spirit. Just knowing you have your own spot can be reassuring, offers a back-up when things are falling apart. Your sacred space may be in a separate bedroom, nook, or alcove, or it can become part of an office in your home. My patients who have young children and limited square footage, often assemble one out of reach in their closets. Wherever you choose, it’s ideal to be able to shut the door. Also to select a site where guests don’t go, one you can designate “off limits” to your kids or mate, at least for blocks of time. A sacred space isn’t supposed to be a conversation piece, but rather a refueling sanctuary.

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Beware of the Go-For-The-Jugular Vampire

 
Judith Orloff - Wednesday, October 19, 2016
 

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's ”Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love ”

One of the most malevolent of bloodsuckers, this person is vindictive and cuts you down with no consideration for your feelings.

Driven by envy, competition, or severe insecurity they deflate your energy with just the right insult. Their jabs can be so hurtful, and are hard to get them out of your head. Whoppers my patients have endured include: “Darling, gray hair is so unattractive;” “Forget him. He’s way out of your league;” “Don’t be absurd, you’re not material for that job!” Some are unapologetically bent on bloodlust; others are more passive aggressive. This fiend uses their own darkness to maim and insinuates that darkness in you, a maneuver they probably learned from their parents at the dinner table. Energetic fallout from these vampires is nuclear, leaves you sickened by siphoning vital energy. Excessive exposure can cause illnesses from chronic fatigue to depression.

In my book, Positive Energy, I discuss The Go-For-The-Jugular Vampire, who is the most damaging when they have you cornered. The place you least want to be is stuck in a car with them. The noxious vibes from their comments pollute that closed environment. You, the recipient, can practically feel them congealing in your arteries. Research has shown that driving brings out horrific behavior; cars are a set-up for road rage, aggression, and family warfare. A common form of spousal abuse is for one partner to verbally incinerate the other in a car, and start driving erratically. Heed this warning. If you suspect someone belongs to this vampire species, don’t even consider getting into that vehicle!

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The Secrets to Managing Overwhelm

 
Judith Orloff - Monday, September 19, 2016
 

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's ”Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love ”

Over the years, throngs of stressed out patients have come to my office to consult me about burnout. Mothers, actors, teachers, dog groomers, each with their own reasons why life is overwhelming.

When they are feeling overwhelmed one of the first aspects I address is how to pace themselves in a rhythm that makes intuitive sense for them. Just as heart beat and respirations determine our physiological tempo, pacing sets our subtle energy clock’s timing. Often we get caught in extremes.

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Are You Having an Emotional Affair?

 
Judith Orloff - Friday, June 24, 2016
 

(Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being)

A soul mate relationship is based on trust, commitment, and a strong desire to be together.

Still, despite this powerful bond, it’s also true that your hearts will be stretched in countless ways. The danger, especially during challenging times, is that you may be vulnerable to having an emotional affair. This can damage trust and stop you from surrendering to the growth needed for your relationship.

What is an emotional affair?

I describe it as when you turn to a friend or co-worker for emotional (not physical) intimacy. The seduction is that this person gives you what you feel your mate doesn’t: support, ego boosts, empathy, playfulness, an undercurrent of flirting or attraction. Initially, this can seem innocent but you may begin to share more with this “safe” person than with your mate.

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