Overcoming Worry & Trusting Intuition During Stressful Times


The world is experiencing unprecedented amounts of stress as humanity finds its way through the pandemic. The volume is enormously cranked up on stress and fear. Of course, worry is natural but we must do our best to shift out of obsessive worry and focus more on hope, health, intuition and a positive future. Is this unrealistic? I don’t think so.

As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen with patients and in myself that resisting or stiffening during this period only increases stress, wears you out, and depletes power, what I call the side effects of bunker mentality. If you fight pain or adversity, the spasm of discomfort tightens. But when you relax more, your mind, body, and spirit relaxes and suffering lifts.

Empaths and highly sensitive people are particularly susceptible to feeling overwhelmed and worried in stressful times, especially when they obsessively watch the news about daily updates, trauma, economic stress and violence, and then are not able to turn bad news off. Also they are prone to absorbing the suffering of the world. They are natural care-givers and helpers but need to clarify healthy ways to help in this crisis. During these times, staying grounded and centered is the key to an empath’s well-being.

I look at life as one big meditation practice. Our practice becomes how to center ourselves in the midst of chaos, how to calm an overactive mind (a big cause of suffering) and how to awaken your intuition more than ever before.

Intuition, the quiet voice within, supports your happiness and survival. Each day you want to keep listening to its advice. Keep asking your intuition, “Where do I feel safe?” “How can I thrive today?” and “What do I need to learn and heal during this stressful time?” Then, take a few deep breaths, quiet yourself, and listen to what your inner voice says. This may take practice, but the answers will come if you stick with it. The idea is to look at anything in life, including a crisis, as a vehicle to foster your own (and the world’s healing.)

To bring yourself back into balance paying attention to your breath will help to center and relax you. In Hindu traditions, the breath is revered as prana, the sacred life energy. You can tap into this vitalizing force to reduce stress. Your breath cleanses toxicities from your body. The purifying power of breath involves inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. You also can exhale harmful emotions such as anxiety and fear. Conscious breathing will anchor you in your body and release stress.

I also recommend practicing the following restorative mantra and other techniques from Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People to release the worry you may be carrying in your body. Having a daily self-care practice is invaluable during these over-the-top stressful times.

A Mantra to Release Worry

Chronic worry is your attempt to gain control over something that is out of your control. My Daoist teacher says, “If you are climbing a mountain and worrying about tomorrow, you will have a very difficult time.” Stretch your soul and set yourself free of worry (even for a few minutes) by repeating this mantra as many times each day as your like:

May I be free of worry.
May I be free of stress.
May I stay in Now.
May I not project my fears into the future,
May I be free.

Set your intention. I will have mercy on myself when I worry. I will ask the suffering of worry to lift so I can face my challenges with clarity and faith.

(Excerpt from “Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People” by Judith Orloff, MD)

Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at www.drjudithorloff.com.

Connect with Judith on  FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

9 thoughts on “Overcoming Worry & Trusting Intuition During Stressful Times

  1. In my experience, telling yourself what not to do, as suggested in the mantra “May I not project my fears into the future” is unhelpful. I’ve learned that telling the mind what NOT to do doesn’t work. The mind wants to receive positive instruction. Telling the mind what not to do leaves a hole that the mind wants to fill. Saying instead “May I project love and caring into the future” is more helpful. Positive over negative is more instructive.

  2. Thank you for this space. I’ve read all your books (please write more) and know when you understand the real life of an empath many issues become so clear and working with these issues let you breathe and smooth the ragged edges that being an empath brings. Thank you so very much.
    What a wonderful old soul you are

  3. Hi Dr Judith Orloff – I have just found you today. Am super excited to read all your articles. Thank you for being so courageous as far as being in the medical profession and voicing your true identity as an empath. Think there will be more of us who will be looking to you for guidance. We tend to know the answers deep inside, being so sensitive, it is the tools to handle situations as they arise that is challenging.
    looking forward to the journey. Sorry jumped in and commented on K site before introducing myself.

  4. Judith I am 50 years of age and just now having my “ah-ha” moment pertaining to the subject of being an empath. So this is what’s been “wrong” with me? Trust me, my entire life I’ve felt wrong because I am different. There have even been more times than not, I’ve felt so many emotions that I couldn’t differentiate between them. Judith, I even have visions, premonitions, , and can see into the spiritual realm and at times converse with spirits. My family and dr.’s have claimed me “Crazy, D.I.D., Borderline personality, and even going to Hell if I interact with the spiritual realms. I realize I am gifted, not sick or crazy. I’m now finding out who I am on purpose and learning very diligently. Any start up advice? Info? I will eventually get all your books and envelope myself in your much appreciated knowledge and experience. I’m really excited to finally get to know who I really am.

  5. I bought your book its fantastic explained alot about my self if you think your an empath it for you thakyou

  6. The energies around feel different at the moment. Others fear, frustration, anger and anxiety feels like it’s being magnified and passing right into the body and being absorbed. How in this time of lockdown, where getting away in to nature and being in a remote area isn’t possible, how can we clear others negative energies from themselves and then stay centred and protected from other people’s energies, and do this consistently even though the onslaught is fairly constant?

    P.S. thank you for being authentic and courageous and normalising the empath experience and providing practical resources. You being you is helping me step more fully and courageously in to my own authentic space and I’m incredibly grateful

  7. dr. Judith Orloff I am very grateful and I appreciate your valuable blogs articles supporting me and tansform my daily life.

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