2 Tips to Combat Energy Vampires

After you’ve recognizing an energy vampire, the next step is to learn how to deal with him/her. To ward off mythical vampires you need wooden stakes, holy water, and garlic, but to ward off energy vampires you need one thing: to stay centered.

vampire-bats

Energy vampires operate by keeping you off kilter. When you’re off kilter, you can’t think clearly and the vampire is in control of the interaction. If If you stay centered, you’re able to think clearly about what your options are and exercise them, keeping you in control of the encounter.

Here’s two tricks to keep you centered and in control:

1. Breathe.

It may sound simplistic, but breathing can be a hugely helpful tool to center your energy. Deep breaths oxygenate the blood and help keep energy moving, so you’re able to think more clearly. If you know you’re going to encounter one of those energy suckers, make some time to take a few deep breaths. If you find yourself in the middle of an encounter, remember to take three deep breaths to center your energy. It helps more than you can imagine!

2. Plan Ahead.

It’s hard to combat an energy vampire when you’re not at your full strength. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep and staying hydrated. That way you’ll have more energy to deal with them. And plan some escape routes ahead of time when you’ll be in meetings or family gatherings with an energy vampire. For example, if you know your Aunt Mildred is an energy vampire but you have to see her for Grandma’s birthday dinner, plan to limit the time you interact with her, and have several polite but workable excuses on hand to disengage from her. (If all else fails, disengage by excusing yourself to use the restroom. No one can argue with the need for a bio break.)

Staying centered will help you better stay alert and energetic for encounters with energy vampires. Try these two tricks to help you combat their influence to stay energetic and strong.

How to Recognize an Energy Vampire

When you think of the people in your life who lift you up, who immediately comes to mind? I’m guessing that whoever it is—whether it’s a friend, family member or coworker—you usually leave conversations and interactions with him or her feeling peaceful, energized or happy.

Unfortunately, interactions with others can sometimes have an opposite effect. And if you leave interactions feeling drained of your life force, it’s a good indication that you’ve just been in contact with an energy vampire.

I know it’s a dramatic archetype: the vampire. But it’s a very fitting one. Mythical movie vampires suck your blood, but energy vampires suck your energy. And since all of our interactions are energy exchanges, it’s important to prepare yourself so you’re able to protect your energy level and wellbeing.

mythical-vampire

Spotting a vampire in the movies is relatively easy because of their pale complexions and fanged teeth. But spotting an energy vampire on sight is less easy because they could be anyone, whether a stranger on the train or your favorite cousin. You’re more likely to recognize the effects of an encounter with an energy vampire before you recognize the vampire him or herself, which, according to Dr. Judith Orloff, are:

1. Your thinking becomes clouded, confused.

2. You feel like the rug was just pulled out from under you.

3. Your mood is suddenly really down.

4. You feel tired (zero energy, eyelids getting heavy, ready for a nap).

5. You feel put down, sniped at, or agitated.

victim

Aside from feelings as indicators, you’ll learn to spot energy vampires because their interactions with you take on patterns that place them in common vampire types. Some of these include the criticizer (who finds fault with everything and offers unsolicited advice), the victim (who has a “poor me” attitude and complains often), the drama queen/king (who exaggerates small incidents into extreme crises and seems to thrive on chaos), and the blamer (who berates and accuses).

Look for these signs and patterns to start learning to identify the energy vampires in your life, which is the first step towards protecting yourself against their attacks. Look for more tips in a future post to help you stay energetic and healthy.

2 Tips to Help You Enjoy Each Moment

liveinthemoment

By nature, I’m a planner, list maker, and goal maker, so it’s not uncommon for me to be working on or thinking about more than one thing at a time. With my brain going in different directions, I often miss living in the present, let alone enjoying it. I’ve been working on improving this, and I’ve found that I’m a lot less stressed and much happier when I do. But it’s easy to slip back into multi-tasking mode. So how do you live in the moment when there are so many things demanding your time and attention? Here are two tips you can try today to not just live in the moment but enjoy it too.

1. Try doing just one thing at a time. Enjoying the moment means focusing on it, and that’s difficult to do when you’re doing more than one thing at a time. Try leaving the multitasking madness behind just for an afternoon or evening. Let go of the need to do a few things at once, and focus on each task individually. Relax and relish the moment simply by focusing on it. You’ll find yourself enjoying even the most mundane tasks more, and you’ll find that attention makes the end results all the better for your efforts. As Todd Henry says, “The greatest efforts in life are done with singular attention.”

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2. Shut out thoughts about the future temporarily. Even if your body is only doing one task at a time, that doesn’t mean your mind is following suit. It’s pretty normal for our thoughts to wander. But to truly enjoy the now, your mind needs to be there as much as your body. How do you keep that mind on the now? According to Richard Moss, when we recognize we’re not in the present, concentrating on what we see, hear and experience in that precise moment will bring us back. This is also the way we can tame our egos and not let them take us out of the present into Worry Land. Once our brains are experiencing the moment, it’s much easier to enjoy it. Try it once or twice today when you catch your mind wandering or concentrating on worries. See if it helps you enjoy the moment more.

Follow Your Dreams – Go For It!

Marianne williamson quote

I love this quote, because I think it gets to the heart of why we sometimes don’t pursue our dreams. Whatever you’re dreaming of, it’s possible to make it happen. In fact, there’s really never been a better time to follow your dreams.

I know…in difficult economic times, following your dreams sounds like the opposite of what we should do. We get the idea that we should hunker down and wait for the storm to pass–just survive, really. But as counterintuitive as it seems, dreams are the best things to pursue in difficult times, because they have the power to end difficult times. Dreams can lift us from the difficult times and give us hope.

If you think about it, every Fortune 500 company began as someone’s dream. Someone dreaming of better times or a better life or someone tinkering in the garage or the kitchen. Then they took steps to make those dreams happen, it caught on, others joined in and then businesses were incorporated and before you know it, you have a huge companies like Proctor & GambleApple or Ford.

Even if you don’t want to build a Fortune 500 company, that’s ok. Maybe you want to sell handmade hair bows on Etsy or invent a greener air purifying technology or make people laugh doing stand-up comedy. Whatever your dream, by pursuing it you could make the world a better place.

We need creativity and innovation, now more than ever. And creativity and innovation start with dreams. You have the power inside of you. Don’t let your fear of that power get in the way. Embrace the light inside of you and in your dreams and make them come true. We don’t have to go down the beaten path—we can forge our own path to a new career, a new life, a new future. We can, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, dare to live the life we’ve dreamed for ourselves. We can make our dreams come true. There’s never been a better time.

Silence Your Inner Critic

I confess that I’m very hard on myself. Whether it’s because I’m the oldest child or a Capricorn or any myriad of other things, it’s just a fact of me. And because of this, when I fail to meet my own (often ridiculously) high expectations, I sometimes say unkind things to myself. I use mean, rude, awful words that I’d never dream of saying to anyone else. And I don’t just say these things once, let it all go and walk away. I often repeat them, berating and punishing myself.

During one berating spree, I happened to catch the television drama, Parenthood, and a character said something I needed to hear: “Life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don’t knock yourself down.”

inner-critic

Why is it that we are almost always harder on ourselves than we are on others? Why can’t we give ourselves the same compassion and understanding that we give others so freely? And why do we even listen to ourselves when we get like that? Author Natalie Goldberg said “We follow that voice inside us as if it were God. But it’s really just a thought.” It’s so true: those awful things we tell ourselves really are just thoughts. So how can we silence them? I don’t know all the answers, but here’s what I’ve been trying.

Realize you’re being critical. Sometimes these reactions are so automatic we don’t even know we’re doing it. Like breaking any bad habit, realizing you’re doing it is the first step.

Tell yourself it’s just a thought and tell yourself to stop it. Just because you’re saying it to yourself—and just because you’re buying it—doesn’t mean it’s true. When you realize it’s just a thought, it deflates the intensity and the power it has over you and it’s easier to tell yourself to stop. By the way, I recommend telling yourself these things aloud if doing it silently doesn’t work. You may feel a little crazy at first talking to yourself, but it brings a conscious awareness that’s sometimes more effective than saying it silently.

Imagine what you’d say to a friend and say it to yourself. When you change the words you say, you change the energy being directed at yourself. That inner critic cannot thrive in that more loving kind of energy. And I recommend doing this one out loud for effectiveness too if needed. The weird stares you may get are totally worth the effectiveness.

These are the steps I’ve been trying that are helping me silence my inner critic and grow on my spiritual and emotional journey. I hope these tips help you too.

loving-onesself

Be Open to Spiritual Guidance

It’s only human to feel stuck every once and a while. Life gets difficult and perspectives narrow, and we need a little help now and then. I know when that happens to me, I need a little guidance to help me widen my perspective.

When you feel stuck, where do you turn for help? Do you read an inspirational memoir or a self-help book? Talk to a relative, family member or a good friend? All of these are wonderful options to give you some needed perspective. But sometimes, the guidance I need is something beyond even the best friends or books. That’s when I’ve found being open to spiritual guidance can give me much-needed answers, direction, and peace.

You don’t have to be uber-religious or a Zen master to be receive spiritual guidance. You don’t even have to be certain what you think or believe about the metaphysical world. I’ve found that just have to be open to it for it to come. You just have to do three things:

1. Get quiet. It’s hard to receive answers when your mind is buzzing or you’re stressed or preoccupied with all of the noise that vies for our attention every day. Unplug and sit quietly. Go on a walk. Go to nature. Just remove yourself from your to-do list and the hustle and bustle long enough to hear something besides all of that.

2. Get centered. Get out of your head and into your body so when the answers come you can really recognize them. Here are 5 tips to help you.

3. Ask and listen. I’m not going to guarantee that you’ll physically hear a voice or you’ll see angels or a light or anything, because it’s not always like that. More often than not, when you really need answers and ask honestly, and when you’re quiet and centered, they come in various ways. Maybe they’ll come from inside of you and you’ll feel them suddenly or gradually. Or maybe the next time you talk to that friend or read that book or get a reading, the next thing you hear or read will be just what you need. But when you sincerely need something and are open to it, I believe the answers come.

The next time you feel stuck, be open to spiritual guidance. Whether it’s something with work or life, whether it’s something seemingly small or a pivotal life decision, spiritual guidance can help you navigate it with peace and assurance.

Like clouds parting, spiritual guidance  gives you clarity and perspective.
Like clouds parting, spiritual guidance gives you clarity and perspective.

Letting Go Brings Blessings

As a teenager, I participated in a memorial service for the mother of a friend who’d lost her battle with cancer. The service ended with those in attendance releasing colorful balloons into the sky. (This was long before we knew that act may have adverse repercussions on local wildlife). It was a beautiful sight to see those balloons ascending into the air, cheerfully honoring a woman who’d brought cheer to our lives. And releasing those balloon gave us all a tangible way to begin to let go and move on from the loss of her in our lives.

It is both painful and scary to choose to let go sometimes. Whether it’s letting go of the loss of a relationship through death or change, pain from the past, or a belief or situation that no longer serves you, it can be a difficult choice to make no matter how necessary that choice is at the time.

balloons

But there are also many blessings that come from letting go. Just like the balloon floating into the atmosphere, you feel lighter and less weighed down after letting go. And the lightness that letting go brings can open up room in your heart and life to make room for new relationships, situations, beliefs, and more than can teach and enrich your life in countless ways that never could have come without it.

I encourage you to choose to let  go of a belief, situation, or relationship that doesn’t serve you any longer in order to make room for the blessing of one that does. Your heart will be lighter and your life will be transformed for the better. Then watch for new opportunities to flow that never could have otherwise.

I’m not promising it will be easy. But I will promise it’ll be worth it.