How to Stop Absorbing a Coworker’s Stress

Highly sensitive people can also experience emotional contagion with customers and clients, even over the phone. You actually feel what they are feeling in your body. One empathic workshop participant said, “I started a new job selling life insurance. I became anxious about making calls, even if customers requested information. My heart went out to families who had no coverage and lost their homes, or when their spouses died unexpectedly. I started taking on their pain!”

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Here are some tips for protecting your energy level in an over-stimulating, emotionally demanding, or crowded environment from my book “The Empath’s Survival Guide.”

Set Energetic Boundaries at Work to Prevent Emotional Contagion. 

If you are in an open space or chaotic office, surround the outer edge of your desk with plants or family or pet photos to create a small psychological barrier. Also, sacred objects such as a Quan Yin statue, the Buddha, sacred beads, or protective stones can also set an energetic boundary.

Also, take bathroom breaks for relief, or walk outside in fresh air if possible. Noise-canceling earbuds or headphones are useful to muffle conversations and sound. In addition, visualize a luminous golden egg of light surrounding your entire work station that repels negativity and only lets in positive energy. You are safe and protected within the golden egg. There is nothing to worry about. Using all of these strategies creates a cocoon of protection to rely on. This will help in preventing emotional contagion in the workplace.

Though you can’t control everything about your job environment, you do have the power to shift the energy in your immediate vicinity. If you focus on the safe space you’ve created rather than on the surrounding noise and confusion, you can minimize emotional contagion. Then your work experience will feel more pleasant and protected


Adapted from “The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People” by Judith Orloff MD. More information about empaths and emotional contagion at www.drjudithorloff.com

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Dr. Judith Orloffhttp://www.drjudithorloff.com
Judith Orloff, MD is the New York Times best-selling author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. Her new book Thriving as an Empath offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people along with its companion The Empath’s Empowerment Journal. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating highly sensitive, empathic people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA and has a popular TEDX talk. Her other books are Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People, The Empowered Empath’s Journal, Emotional Freedom and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Explore more information about her Empath Support Online course and speaking schedule on www.drjudithorloff.com.
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