14 essential protection strategies for empaths that actually work

Empaths are familiar with the struggle that comes from juggling your emotions and the emotions of everyone around you.

It’s not easy to be so aware of how other people feel, to care deeply, and to keep your energy in check all the time.

But what if you could manage all this by simply putting some empath protection strategies in place?

The good news is there are several simple steps you can take when faced with negative energy – and plenty that can be done to keep your energy balanced and grounded.

But first, let’s explore more into why empaths need protection in the first place before we dig into our essential protective strategies.

Why do empaths need protection?

Empaths have the unique ability to absorb other people’s energies, so being in crowded places or close contact with others can be overwhelming.

You know you’re an empath when you feel things deeply and you’re prone to pick up on external emotions but may mistake them as your own.

Being around negative energies can make you feel drained, and even hanging out with friends who are stressed or unhappy can cause you to feel as if it’s your personal burden to carry.

The truth is:

You face a constant battle between helping the people around you and looking after yourself and your empath needs.

And that’s why you need to protect yourself as an empath – otherwise, you’re in for an emotional rollercoaster.

The problem is, many empaths don’t fully understand what they can do to protect themselves both long term and in the moment when they’re faced with unwanted energies.

But it doesn’t have to be such a struggle if you only take the time to practice some of the strategies below.

By having these handy tools at hand, you can not only protect yourself and your emotional wellbeing, but you can also prevent emotional overload.

So, let’s get straight into it and learn more about empath protection strategies:

14 empath protection strategies (that actually work)

1) Cut out energy vampires

Let’s start with a protective step that will make all the others fall into place a little easier – cutting out energy vampires.

We all have them, whether it’s your boss at work, your sibling, or an old friend. An energy vampire is simply anyone who makes you feel drained after being around them.

Energy vampires don’t always realize they’re doing it (although some do), but unconsciously they suck your precious energy to the point where you feel extremely tired and weak.

It could be that they’re jealous of you, they have narcissistic traits or they enjoy feeding off your caring nature and willingness to help others.

The good news is, you don’t have to get bogged down with them any longer.

A great way to protect your empath needs is to cut out any energy vampires that you can because let’s face it, you’ve got better things to do than have your day ruined by these types of people.

And for the ones who you can’t (e.g. close family or a colleague) try to set healthy boundaries in the relationship.

2) Have strong limits and boundaries

So now you’ve identified who the energy vampires are in your life, you’re probably wondering how you can go about co-existing with the ones you can’t avoid.

The most important thing you can do to create a healthy, manageable relationship is to set boundaries.

So what do boundaries look like?

For example, if you’re dealing with an energy-sucking sibling, you might set limits on how much time you spend around them.

If that means limiting your contact to family get-togethers, so be it. If they want to hang out regularly, you’ve got to stick to your guns and say no if it doesn’t suit you.

The truth is, boundaries can and should be used in all your relationships, even the most loving and supportive.

Boundaries help relationships and friendships flow much more smoothly because both people know what is acceptable and what isn’t.

When thinking of what boundaries you want to have in place, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I willing to put up with, and what crosses the limit?
  • Who do I need to set boundaries with the most?
  • What am I comfortable saying yes to and what do I want to say no to?

The stronger you are with yourself in your boundaries, the more successful you’ll be at getting others to respect them, so get them clear in your head first (or make a list if it helps to remember them).

3) Be upfront about your empath needs

A big part of being able to set boundaries involves knowing what your needs are before you can decide how to look after them.

As an empath, you’re already aware that you pick up on energies much more than others, and that you’re more sensitive to certain situations or stimulations.

But have you worked out what exhausts you and what energizes you? Are you in touch with your emotions and able to identify triggers?

Once you’ve reflected on what your unique empath needs are, you then need to convey them to your loved ones honestly and without holding back.

Even with the best intentions in the world, your partner, parent, or friend may simply not understand what you’re going through, and by being upfront with them, you’ll help create healthier relationships.

Find your voice, speak up if something doesn’t feel right, and don’t be afraid to explain how you feel in certain situations.

And that’s not all – you’ll also be able to better protect yourself from relationships that don’t meet your needs because you’ll have a better understanding of who you are.

4) Move away from negative environments

If you find yourself in a space with a lot of negativity or energies that make you uncomfortable, the easiest way to protect yourself is to move away.

Don’t worry about offending anyone, regardless of if you’re at the cinema, in a doctor’s waiting room, or sitting in the park.

Just by putting some distance between you and the unwanted energy, you’ll quickly start to feel the difference in your mood and you’ll feel much calmer.

It’s normal for empaths to feel overwhelmed in large social situations, so protect yourself by taking some time to yourself in a quiet place before rejoining your group – sometimes even just five minutes in the toilets alone can do the trick.

5) Avoid body contact

Just as you might avoid certain spaces, it’s also okay to say no to hugs, kisses, or handshakes with people who make you uncomfortable.

Energy can easily pass through when you touch others, so it’s possible that a hug meant to console a friend can easily result in you absorbing their emotions.

Now that’s not to say you have to be heartless and avoid hugging a friend in need, but it’s good to be aware of when to keep it brief and when it’s okay to have a longer physical touch.

And, just as importantly, physical touch is an essential part of all relationships so don’t hold back unless you’re picking up bad vibes.

6) Practice detachment

And while we’re on the subject of learning how to walk away, knowing when to give up helping others is also a key strategy in protecting yourself.

As an empath, your natural desire is to help others, even if they don’t want it. By opening up this channel of empathy you’re also opening a tunnel for energy to pass between you.

And every time you do this, you’re taking on the person’s energy without even realizing it.

What does this mean for you?

It means being far more exhausted than you should be, stressed with other people’s issues, and drained from being a constant companion of support.

And if that wasn’t enough, in many cases the very people you try to help don’t need it (or in some cases, don’t want it).

Learn to let people come to you if they genuinely need help, and for the ones who don’t – see it as a learning curve that everyone needs to go through.

Always helping them won’t make them more resilient or independent in life, and it’s draining you in the process.

7) Visualize protection

Did you know that you can visualize your own protection?

This is one of the easiest and quickest ways you can block out unwanted energies – all just by using the power of your emotions.

The next time you’re stuck with an energy vampire or sat next to negative energy on the bus, picture a large, protective shield around you.

The trick here is to focus all your energy on seeing the shield, feeling its protective forces, and visualizing the negative energy being evaporated.

And the best part?

The shield isn’t just blocking external forces, it’s also keeping in all your energy and positivity. It’s your personal bodyguard that can be summoned in the blink of an eye, so get into the habit of using your shield whenever you need it.

8) Use mantras and affirmations

Visualizing protection isn’t the only thing you can do using the power of your mind – repeating mantras and affirmations are also a quick and convenient way to protect yourself.

But first – let’s look at the difference between the two:

Mantras typically come from Sanskrit, but in any language, they are largely linked to spirituality – many people chant mantras whilst meditating.

The purpose of a mantra is to help you achieve inner peace so that you can reach higher levels of spirituality.

On the other hand, affirmations were developed by neuroscientists in the 1970’s – they were used to try to rewire thought patterns by affirming people’s beliefs in themselves.

But even though they have different origins, affirmations and mantras are both geared towards promoting inner-peace, clarity, confidence, and positive emotions.

There are plenty of protective mantras online, so it’s a case of finding one that suits you and flows well when you call upon it.

An example of an affirmation you can use is:

“I will not allow negative thinking to penetrate my thoughts, dictate my decision making, or intimidate my hope for the future.”

Or,

“Negativity has no choice but to leave when I am present.”

The key is to use your mantra or affirmation as soon as you feel like your energy may be under attack – don’t wait for it to take hold of you.

Much like the shield, these sayings can help you clear your mind, cleanse your energy, and focus on positivity rather than the unwanted energies around you.

9) Practice meditation

If you’re an empath and you haven’t tried meditation – you’re missing out on an undeniable strategy for protection.

Meditation isn’t only useful for reducing stress, other benefits include:

  • Reducing anxiety
  • Enhancing self-awareness
  • Improving emotional health
  • Increasing concentration
  • Sleeping better

A meditation I find easy to follow and extremely relaxing at the end of a tiring day is the Self Healing Meditation by shaman Rudá Iandê.

Not only is it a chance for me to disconnect from the world for a while, but I’m able to check in with my body and any emotions or energies that are lingering.

With Rudá’s calm guidance, you too can learn how to reconnect with your body and take a journey with your mind, the perfect way to recenter yourself and your energy.

Whilst many of the tips in this article are about ways to protect yourself in the moment, this healing meditation focuses more on protecting your energy continuously.

You see, one of the best forms of protection for an empath is to prevent your energy from being drained or your emotions from becoming overloaded, and meditation does just that.

It’s the ideal way to keep your emotions grounded and your mind clear, and what’s even better is that it can be done at work, home, or even sitting in your car when you need a break from other people.

10) Focus on your breathing

And just as meditation can work wonders for the soul, so can breathwork.

Our breath has the potential to change our entire mood, and knowing how to harness this power means you’ll always stay in control when in a stressful or tiring situation.

When you’re faced with negative energies, calmly breathe in deeply. As you do so, imagine yourself breathing in peace and tranquility, and exhaling any stress or negativity.

In his article on The Air You Breathe, Rudá explains how our breath has the power to dislodge stuck energy from within our bodies and make room for fresh, positive energy to take its place.

And, as well as cleansing your energy space, breathwork can also calm you down and clear your head.

It’s the perfect form of protection to use in situations where you can’t leave, for example during a meeting at work or when in line at the supermarket.

In my experience, breathwork can be an easy tool to incorporate easily into your daily routine, and soon you’ll learn to harness your breath to your advantage without even realizing it.

11) Use gemstones

Gemstones all have different purposes depending on their color, but they can be a great way to carry a physical form of protection.

It’s believed that the effects of gemstones are due to “color therapy” – different colors can affect our behavior and mood.

In particular, black is known to be the best for neutralizing energies and grounding emotions – perfect for empaths who need to block out external emotions and reign in their own.

And the great news?

They look beautiful and can easily be carried around in your pocket, or worn as a piece of jewelry so that you feel protected at all times.

12) Reduce social media usage

Taking breaks or reducing your social media usage is another great protection strategy – the internet is riddled with emotional triggers and overstimulating content.

Simply put, social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all designed to keep our attention.

From our news feeds to ads, we’re bombarded with information and taken on an emotional journey that often ends up with hours being wasted scrolling on our phones.

For empaths, this can take a great emotional toll, and whilst there’s a lot of positivity online, it can still quickly wear you down – so set limits on how much you use it.

And, when you’re already feeling down in the dumps, scrolling through your phone isn’t the best pick-me-up.

Instead, try and get your creative juices flowing or get some fresh air and exercise. That’ll be a much better cure for your exhaustion than staring at a screen, and your mind and body will thank you for it.

13) Prevent empathy overload

Just as you might set time limits for your social media usage, it’s also handy to structure your time in a way that avoids empathy overload.

If you know that certain activities during the week cause you to go into overload, rearrange your schedule so that you have less to do on those days.

Having time management is useful here because you can plan your time around your empath needs and create a life that doesn’t ever get “too much”.

Think about it:

How can you protect yourself if you don’t first get in control of your time?

Alongside being upfront about your needs, you’ll also need to plan for emotional overload and be prepared for it.

By knowing when you’ll need some downtime, you can effectively prevent becoming burnt out or overwhelmed in most situations – and you’ll automatically create more time for self-care.

14) Spend time in nature

Our final point leads us into nature – the ultimate form of protection and healing.

Empaths need nature to reset their emotional dial and reconnect with themselves and the earth.

Whether it’s a quick walk in the local park or a day out at the beach, being around trees, water and animals is a sure way to cleanse off any negativity and regain strength.

And, as empaths are often called emotional sponges, it makes sense that being in nature works so well – they absorb the calm yet powerful energy that can only be found in the wild.

A great exercise for empaths to try is “earthing”. This is where you connect your body with the earth, usually by walking barefoot on the ground, lying down, or swimming in open water.

So what’s the point in earthing?

Well, to start it’s a direct way to feel the earth’s energy transfer between you, which in itself is a powerful experience.

Secondly, it’s believed that earthing can reset our body rhythm, creating better sleeping habits, and improving emotional stability.

And if that wasn’t enough, earthing can also reduce our stress levels and have a positive effect on tension and pain within the body.

Understanding your empath needs

So now we’ve covered the top ways you can protect yourself as an empath, let’s take a step back and recognize why you need to know yourself first before you can protect yourself.

You need to first embrace who you are as an empath and be upfront with yourself about your needs, otherwise, you’ll be blindly neglecting areas in your life where you need protection.

Reflect on times when you’ve experienced empathy or emotional overload – what caused it?

Are there certain situations that make you feel more stressed than others?

Are there any energy vampires that you need to reduce contact with?

As with anything in life, knowing what the causes of your overloads are can help you reduce or eliminate them – and once you’re clear on what they are, nothing can hold you back from thriving in life as an empath.

And with these protection techniques, you can go and be your best self without worrying about negative energies dragging you down.

It’s time to take control of your emotional needs. You and you alone are responsible for your self-care and wellbeing and only you can apply the right protective strategies to suit your needs.

So what are you waiting for? Cut out that energy vampire, learn those affirmations, and start visualizing your shield – you’ll soon start to feel better for it.

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Written by Kiran Athar

Kiran is a foodie, writer and traveler. She considers herself a citizen of the world, who gets her inspiration from the people she meets along her journeys. She's currently living in Spain, where she spends her time writing, watching the shepherds and eating tapas in the mountains of Andalucía.

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