POSITIVE ENERGY: HOW TO BUILD VITALITY AND STOP ENERGY VAMPIRES FROM DRAINING YOU
By Judith Orloff, M.D.
Adapted from Positive Energy, Harmony Books, April, 2004
I learned to honor my energy needs the hard way. As a psychiatrist who specializes in intuition I knew how important it was to listen to my body. Yet still I’d vacillate between intense weeks of speaking tours to bouts of utter exhaustion at home. I couldn’t turn down “irresistible” opportunities. Here was my dilemma--I trusted my intuition, and was committed to living by it. But I had a blind spot: Although I was quite successful at helping others at trusting intuition and leading high energy lives I was ignoring my own energy crises. Finally my fatigue was so profound I had to change.
I know first hand how important it is for us to cherish our precious energy so we don't compromise our capacity for passion. I now believe that the most profound transformations can only take place only on an energetic level. I’ve met many patients who’ve spent much time and money on talk therapy hoping that intellectual insights will bring emotional freedom, but they’re disappointed. As much as I love the linear mind, my approach, which I call “Energy Psychiatry,” goes further to also facilitate a conscious rebuilding of a subtle energies, the most basic life force in each of us.
Do You Get Drained By Other People’s Energy?
Our bodies are made of flesh and blood, but they’re also composed of energy fields—though sadly I wasn’t taught this in medical school. Each day we encounter a wide range of energies, both positive and negative. Positive energy includes compassion, courage, forgiveness, and faith. Negative energy includes fear, anger, hopelessness, and shame. We need to be experts at dealing with energy so we don’t get demolished by draining situations or people who’re energy vampires.
Like me you may be an intuitive empath, someone who’s so sensitive to energy you pick it up but you’re also drained by it. This goes way beyond feeling sympathy for a distraught friend—we actually take on their pain either emotionally or physically. To cope we take refuge in solitude. We empaths are so attuned to others that we can feel what’s going on inside of them. This can put us on energy overload and aggravate everything from chronic fatigue to overeating.
Growing up, my girlfriends couldn't wait to hit the malls, but I dreaded them. I always felt overwhelmed, exhausted around crowds, though I was clueless why. "What's the matter?" friends would say, shooting me the weirdest looks. All I knew was that crowded places and I just didn't mix. I'd go there feeling fine but leave nervous, depressed, or with some new ache or pain. Unsuspectingly, I was a gigantic sponge, absorbing the energy of people around me.
Thank goodness, as my intuition matured, I realized I had intuitive empathy. Once I learned to protect my energy, empathy has become a gift enhancing my compassion. Here’s how empathy works: the more people per square foot, the more our energy fields intersect--thus the tendency to become overloaded in high-density areas. This aspect of intuition is the most neglected.
Empaths, unintentionally, can make even a good doctor's life hell. They manifest so many "unexplained" symptoms, that frustrated physicians write them off as hypochondriacs. Empaths are notoriously misdiagnosed. Patients have come to me with obesity who’ve failed diets because they needed strategies other than eating to protect themselves from negative energy. Others were labeled "agoraphobic" or with "panic disorder," having received only minor relief from traditional treatments. Some were nearly house-bound. They'd all say, "I dislike crowded places where there’s no quick escape. Forget department stores, busy streets, elevators, tunnels. I just avoid them." Sounded very familiar. So I decided to take a history of how these people processed subtle energy in the world, something all health professionals must be trained to assess. Voila! I found many were undiagnosed empaths. For me, this changed everything. My job as a physician then became teaching my patients to center themselves and protect their energy.
A Survival Guide to Protect Yourself from Energy Vampires.
You don’t have to be an empath to experience the fang marks of an energy vampire, though empaths are often hit the hardest. Relationships are always an energy exchange. To stay feeling our best, we must ask ourselves: Who gives us energy? Who saps it? It's important to be surrounded by supportive, heart-centered people who make us feel safe and secure. It's equally important to pinpoint the energy vampires, who, whether they intend to or not, leech our energy.
Positive energy in others can be rejuvenative. For instance, you're nervous about a job interview, but the minute you meet your prospective boss you relax. He's so calm and welcoming, you calm down too. Or perhaps you have a good friend around whom you always feel loved. These are energy-givers, those we must gravitate towards.
In contrast, energy vampires exude negative energy that drains. Vampires range from the intentionally malicious ones to those who are oblivious to their effect. Some are overbearing and obnoxious; others are friendly and charming. For example, you're at a party talking to a perfectly nice person, but suddenly you're nauseous or weak. Or how about the co-worker who drones on about how she broke up with her boyfriend for the tenth time? Eventually, she feels better, but you're spent. The bottom line is that on a subtle energy level these people suck you dry.
There are many types of vampires to watch out for. The main ones I stress in my book are the Drama Queen who wears your out with her dramas; The Sob Sister, who whines all the time; The Blamer, who cuts you down with criticism and The Go-For-The-Carotid type who purposely cuts your down without any respect for your feelings. Keep an eye out for these types so you’re aware of their methods, and stop them from draining you.
Strategies for Dealing With Energy Vampires
1.Take an inventory of people in your life who give energy, and people who drain. Specifically identify the energy vampires, and begin to evaluate ones you'd like to limit contact with or eliminate. Plan at least one complete afternoon with people who give off positive energy and avoid drainers. Notice how this beneficially affects your physical and emotional well-being.
2. Set Clear Boundaries. It’s crucial to limit the time you spend discussing a vampire’s gripes. When approaching her, remember: the difference between being a bitch and setting boundaries is attitude. Instead of saying, “You’re selfish and self-obsessed, I can’t take you anymore,” which a part of you likely feels, take a breath and shift to your heart.
3. Meditate. Sitting in meditation is a life-line to your center, to the earth. it will ground you when you’ve been struck by a vampire. By calming the mind, you can re-align with your essence. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Then gently extend your awareness downward to strata, bedrock, minerals, and soil. From the base of your spine begin to feel a continuity with the earth's core. Picture having a long tail that roots in that center. Allow the earth's energy to infuse your body and stabilize you. If you meditate for five minutes or an hour this is sacred time.
4. Walk away. If you feel your energy being zapped don't hesitate to politely excuse yourself from a killing conversation. Move at least twenty feet from the person, outside the range of his or her energy field. “I have to go to the bathroom” is a foolproof line. Most people are oblivious to how their energy impacts others. For years, reluctant to hurt anyone's feelings, I needlessly endured these types of situations and suffered. How many of us are so loathe to appear rude that a raving maniac can be right in our face, and still we don't budge for fear of offending? In a spot, physically removing yourself is a sure quick solution.
5. Build an energy shield around you. When you’re with vampires you can’t get away from visualize a protective shield of while light surrounding every inch of you. This lets positive energy in, but keeps negative energy out—particularly efficient for vampires at family dinners or social events where you’re trapped.
I hope I’ve inspired you to be more fierce about asserting your energy needs. Never put yourself down as being “overly sensitive.” Sensitivity is an asset as long as you learn how to protect yourself from negative vibes. Understanding how you react energetically in the world is particularly important if you’re chronically tired and want to build vitality. Knowledge is power. Meeting your energy needs can balance mind, body, and spirit to create a vibrant life.
Judith Orloff, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist and a medical intuitive. This article is adapted from her newest book, Positive Energy: Ten Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love (Harmony Books, 2004)..She’s also written the bestsellers Guide to Intuitive Healing and Second Sight. Dr. Orloff is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and an international workshop leader. For more information on Dr. Orloff’s workshops and national book tour schedule visit www.drjudithorloff.com.
How do you know if you’re an empath? What are the signs?
Quiz: Are You an Intuitive Empath?
*Have you ever sat next to someone at a dinner who seems pleasant, but suddenly you're nauseous, have a headache, or feel drained?
*Are you uncomfortable in crowds, even go out of your way to avoid them?
*Do you get easily over-stimulated by people or prefer being alone?
*When someone is in pain, do you start feeling it too ?
*Do I overeat around people I’m uncomfortable with?
If you've answered "yes" to one or more questions, it's likely you have experienced intuitive empathy. Responding "yes" to every question indicates empathy is draining your energy.
Dr. Orloff’s Tips for Keeping Your Positive Energy High
1.In crowds or stressful situations take a few deep breaths to exhale negative energy from your body
2.Meditate daily to center yourself—visualize roots going through you and planting firmly in the ground
3.Take daily baths or showers to wash off negative vibes. Water is a potent purifier and can get rid of the slimiest of energies.
4.Burn sage in a room to purify left over negative vibes. Sage is an ancient purifier. (Many of my patients who work in the entertainment industry use this technique to clear the energy in the room after back-to-back pitch meetings in their office.)
5. Eliminate energy vampires from your life
BOOK REVIEW: POSITIVE ENERGY: TEN EXTRAORDINARY PRESCRIPTIONS FOR TRANSFORMING FATIGUE, STRESS, AND FEAR INTO VIBRANCE, STRENGTH AND LOVE BY JUDITH ORLOFF, M.D. (HARMONY BOOKS, APRIL 2004)
By Caroline Myss – author of Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit
POSITIVE ENERGY is destined to become a classic in the field of energy medicine and health because author Dr. Judith Orloff is meeting the needs of a culture that is rapidly becoming more intuitively and energetically aware. In her book, she shows you how to tap into the positive energy flow in your body and in your life as well as how to protect yourself from “energy vampires” who can sap you dry.
As an energy psychiatrist who is also a medical intuitive, Dr. Judith Orloff draws upon years of clinical experience and a rich interior life to map out the many kinds of energy that impact our lives. POSITIVE ENERGY presents ten chapters that Orloff calls “prescriptions,” each one focused on a central life current, such as creativity, sexuality, relationships, and expanding personal intuitive practices. Throughout the book, she describes her practice of energy psychiatry, a field Orloff has pioneered which incorporates intuition, the body’s subtle energies and mainstream medicine to provide fresh solutions for everything from depression to “technodespair,” a term Orloff coined to describe burnout from emails, faxes, and phones. Woven into every chapter are case histories of patients Orloff has worked in addition to intimate examples from her personal life-- including lessons learned from her own energy crash. Plus there are grounded suggestions for self-care. It’s very easy to offer advice in a book – try this, do that and with a little determination – poof, all is well. In contrast, Orloff’s approach is compassionately demanding. First she defines each category of energy. Then she clearly describes how easily a person can become energetically depleted by the stresses of life and discusses the emotional and psychological consequences. Nearly every page has an exercise or concrete suggestion that draws the reader into self-examination and perhaps more importantly, into action.
Of particular interest are Dr. Orloff’s descriptions of “intuitive empaths.” These are people who, like herself, are often labeled as “overly sensitive” from childhood and tend to absorb the negative energy and pain of others into their bodies. This can cause tremendous exhaustion, chronic fatigue, and depression. As Orloff states, the problem is that traditional physicians have no knowledge of subtle energy--so they can’t accurately diagnose this relevant medical issue. Some empaths become obese to protect themselves from negative vibes; others experience panic attacks in crowds because of the intense energetic overload. Empaths are often labeled as “hypochondriacs” and run from doctor to doctor with “mystery symptoms” without getting help. In addition Orloff says that empaths often have trouble with intimate relationships because they easily feel engulfed by a partner’s needs or energy field—that’s why so many stay single. POSITIVE ENERGY gives empaths practical solutions in the areas of health and relationships. It teaches them techniques to safeguard their personal space and energy fields so they don’t absorb negative vibes like a sponge or feel constantly overwhelmed by a partner or the world.
Orloff also devotes a section of POSITIVE ENERGY to energy vampires, those people who drain our energy. Here’s the scenario: You’re talking to one, then suddenly you start feeling sapped, anxious, or sick. We’ve all known our share of energy vampires. Orloff describes the sob sister, the drama queen, the blamer, the go-for-the carotid type. But it’s not enough to know who they are. Orloff gives you strategies for dealing with each type such as setting boundaries, shielding yourself with light, and breathing negative energy out the back of your spine. Learning these skills are essential if you want to keep your energy high.
Following each chapter in the book are interviews that Orloff conducted with celebrities such as Naomi Judd and Larry King, who offer their own wisdom about the chapter’s topic. Naomi Judd confronted Hepatitis C, for example, and describes her healing journey with tremendous warmth and inspiration. Quincy Jones tells how his intuition expanded after two brain surgeries. Jamie Lee Curtis shares how she protects herself from energy vampires. These interviews are great fun and give you an inside look into the care with which these well known people treat their energy.
For every one interested in energetic health and well-being, POSITIVE ENERGY is a must read. You can read it cover to cover or go specifically to chapters that address your immediate energy needs. In the end, this book fulfills it’s promise by teaching you to “transform fatigue, stress and fear into vibrance, strength, and love.” It is a comprehensive energetic text book that speaks to our contemporary evolving energetic culture.
For more information about Dr. Orloff and Positive Energy visit www.drjudithorloff.com
Additional Resources covering Intuition can be found at: