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Protective Meditation is helpful for sensitive people and empaths to release other people’s energy.

Are you someone who feels everything, often to an extreme, with a flimsy guard up between yourself and others? You may be an empath. If you are, taking the time to meditate with a focus on releasing other people’s energy may be an important survival technique. Empaths are emotional sponges who absorb both the stress and the joy of the world. As a result, we often become overwhelmed by excessive stimulation and are prone to exhaustion and sensory overload; protective mediation practices can help alleviate this. I’m a physician with fourteen years of conventional medical training. My personal experience in this area is significant as I am also an empath.

In my psychotherapy practice of over two decades, I specialize in treating highly sensitive people. A tip-off that you are absorbing someone’s energy is to notice whether or not you experience a sudden change of mood or physical state when you’re around them. If you didn’t feel anxious, angry, or exhausted before, most likely the discomfort you’re feeling now is at least partially from someone else’s energy or presence. In another example, if your discomfort dissipates when you are not near the person, it’s probably not your own.

Meditation is my primary spiritual practice. It keeps me centered in my body so that I am able to fully enjoy the many gifts of this sensitivity. The following five-minute protective meditation practice can be beneficial to help everyone, including empaths, to ground themselves and release any uncomfortable sensations absorbed from other people or even the surrounding world. You can use it in conjunction with your yoga practice to maintain serenity and high energy.

The secret to success is to begin this meditation quickly when you’re starting to feel tired, off-center, overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, or when you notice that you are absorbing unwanted energy from other people.

5-Minute Protective Meditation to Release Negativity and Stress

When negativity strikes, immediately focus on your breath for a few minutes. Set up a spot where you can experience some uninterrupted time. Find a comfortable position and relax. Close your eyes and gently inhale and exhale a few times. Slow yourself down so you can become more aware of your body. Allow any thoughts that you might have—your “to-do” list included—to float by like clouds in the sky as you keep returning to your breath. Feel—don’t think. There is nothing to do, nothing to be. Just breathe and relax. Settle your awareness within the bounds of your body.

Then, from this centered place, slowly and deeply inhale and exhale to begin to expel any uncomfortable energy you might have picked up from another person. Deep and focused breathing circulates negativity out of the body. Holding your breath and breathing shallowly can keep negativity stuck inside you.

In this practice, breathe out negativity and stress. Breathe in serenity and peace. Breathe out anger and pain. Breathe in calmness and contentment. You can picture breathing toxic energy out of your lumbar spine in the lower back. The spaces between the lumbar vertebrae act as channels for eliminating the negativity or physical symptoms you might have picked up that do not belong to you. Visualize the discomfort exiting through these spaces in your spine. Fully allow the breath to remove any unwanted energies from your body.

As you continue to breathe deeply, you can repeat the following mantra inwardly or aloud to help release any discomfort you’ve picked up from your environment. Say it in a way that conveys that you mean what you are saying.

Return to sender.
Return to sender.
Return to sender.

By repeating this message you are commanding the discomfort out of your body while your breath is the vehicle that transports the discomfort back to the universe.

Now, in order to center yourself even more, take some time to focus on your heart chakra, the seat of loving-kindness within you. The heart chakra is located in the mid-chest area, a few inches above your solar plexus. Place your palm gently over your heart. As you do, focus on a beautiful image that you love: a sunset, a rose, a child’s face, an animal companion, the ocean. Let this loving feeling soothe you. In Taoism, the heart chakra is called the “little sun,” a source of warmth, healing, and purification. Feel all toxic energy leave your body as you become purified with unconditional love. Declare, “I completely release you,” as the unhealthy energy leaves your body and blends with the giant matrix of life.

If you notice that a specific part of your body has taken on unwanted emotions or physical symptoms, you can send heart energy there too. For instance, if you sense that you’ve absorbed negativity in your gut, gently place your hand over this area and send it loving-kindness. If your neck or back feels painful, picture sending loving energy from your heart to those areas of your body. The energy of the heart can clear stress and negativity. Feel the peacefulness and warmth of the heart expand throughout your chest and penetrate your body, soothing all that ails you.

To conclude the protective meditation, thank the universe and the divine forces of healing for helping you clear negative energy. Experience your body as healthy and whole. You are clear. You are purified. You are strong. Then, slowly, gently, open your eyes and return your awareness and attention to the room you are in, completely anchored in your body.

As an empath, I practice this meditation daily along with a variety of other grounding and protection techniques. My tools also include fierce time management and setting clear boundaries with people in my life who are draining. With these protection strategies in place, being an empath feels marvelous! I am grateful for the blessings my sensitivities bestow on me each day. I love being intuitive, reading people, and feeling the energy flow of the world. I love being so open to life and nature. My meditation practice helps me filter unwanted energies of the world so I can remain centered, grounded, and balanced even amidst the challenges of the world’s energetic flow.


Dr. Orloff will be making the following appearances as part of her book tour: April 11 (7:30pm) at Mystic Journeys Bookstore in Venice April 13 (7pm) at Vromans in Pasadena, and May 20 at Insight LA in Santa Monica.


Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True, April 2017) upon which this article is based. Dr. Orloff is a UCLA-based psychiatrist and an empath with a private practice in Santa Monica. She combines the pearls of traditional medicine with a cutting-edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff will be making the following appearances as part of her book tour: April 11 (7:30pm) at Mystic Journeys Bookstore in Venice April 13 (7pm) at Vromans in Pasadena, and May 20 at Insight LA in Santa Monica.