The Ripple Effect: Creating Change Through the Power of Your Relationships

Nov 24, 2023

What's on the news right now is devastating, and especially triggering for highly sensitive, empathetic people. 

If you're dedicated to sustainable compassionate action, honor your relationship with yourself first. Then, you'll be able to leverage your connections for positive impact.

Breaking the Loop: Strategies for Empaths Amidst Global Suffering

If you're worried about turning off the news temporarily, I get it. Even though it adds to your stress levels, you feel an obligation to bear witness to the suffering of others. Many of us have personal connections to this suffering, but even if we don't, it feels that way.

I'm not going to try to convince you to turn it off, that's your decision. But can you pause for a second, touch your heart, and notice how affected you are by vicarious trauma?

If you're also caring for others right now, while following the 24/7 coverage of horrific events, you being triggered can't help but impact those you're caring for.

Taking a temporary break to do something kind for yourself might help your nervous system settle so you can stay present and connected with your loved ones. 

Keep it simple and give yourself a ton of grace right now. 

Bearing witness to this level of suffering is hard on everyone, but you're not everyone. Your body doesn't differentiate. It's as if you are right there, experiencing the fear and pain, and that empathy is a gift but also a burden.

Take care of yourself, so that you can continue to make a positive impact where you are most needed. It is not neglecting your values. I'm not suggesting you stick your head in the sand and keep it there. But you do need to resource and regulate yourself, or you'll burn out and harm your health.

Never think you are helpless. You can make a massive impact. But staying informed is only a small part of social responsibility, and empaths can get caught in a loop of overwhelm, never reaching the stage of compassionate action. You can make a positive impact on this world, in your own way.

First, you need to self-regulate. 

When you're triggered by vicarious trauma or feel overwhelmed, think about how it affects your relationships. Do something different. Reach out for support, and reach out to communities that share your values. 

3 things you can do today to pause the stress cycle:

  1. If you can't turn it off, look away from the screen. Look out a window at the horizon. Count 3 slow breaths.

  2. Interrupt your pattern by taking a micro-break. Set a timer for 3 minutes, and move around. Rub your shoulders, make a grilled cheese sandwich, check on a loved one. Give yourself permission to turn the news back on when the timer goes off... but also permission NOT to.

  3. Harness the power of your relationships to create change and foster a sense of community...

Unleash the Power of Your Relationships to Create Change

Here's how you can leverage your connections for positive impact:

  1. Heart-to-Heart Chats: Start genuine conversations with your loved ones. Create an environment in which your friends and family feel comfortable discussing important issues. This can involve practicing active listening, empathizing with differing viewpoints, and creating a safe space for dialogue. Share your feelings and insights about the issues that matter to you. 

  2. Pass Along What Inspires You: Send articles, documentaries, or books that moved you to friends and family. It's a small act, but it can spark meaningful conversations.

  3. Participate in Collective Action: Join forces with local organizations or online movements to actively contribute to positive change in a collaborative manner. Get directly involved with community initiatives or nonprofits addressing your chosen causes to witness the impact of your efforts firsthand.

  4. Lead by Example: Inspire change by embodying the values you believe in. Your actions, whether small or large, can serve as a powerful model for those around you.

  5. Advocate Together: Team up with others who are passionate about the same causes. Together, you can engage in advocacy, such as contacting policymakers, attending rallies, or organizing awareness campaigns.
  6. Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate the small victories and positive changes that result from your efforts. This positive reinforcement can fuel your motivation and inspire others to take action.

If you're having trouble sleeping, guided audio relaxation might help. Guided relaxation and breathing have been shown to reduce stress in 85% of mindful yoga practitioners. So if stress is keeping you awake, try these 3 free guided relaxation audios, so you will have some support in winding down before sleep.

It sure beats falling asleep in front of the news!

During These Stressful Times, Remember Your Strengths and Challenges as an HSP

Turn away from screens and sensationalized headlines that trigger vicarious trauma in you, even if they don't seem to upset others. Lean into genuine conversations, support local initiatives, and acknowledge your impact - no matter how small. Care for your body in ways that give you pleasure. Soaking up joy is a powerful strategy to maintain longevity. We need you to stay present and well, so that you can be part of the positive change needed, both now and in the future. If you're truly dedicated to sustainable compassionate action, honor your relationship with yourself. 

You are already doing so much.

How can I support YOU? Let me know in the comments. 

Stop Walking On Eggshells!

Gentle yoga to release your stress and shift your mindset about struggle.

If you get your buttons pushed often by other people's issues, you may be hypervigilant. You might feel it in your body as clenching, tension, or chronic pain.

You'll become more grounded in awareness of your body.

Stop Walking On Eggshells