While I was a university student I kept coming across fascinating people who shared the same traits: they were particularly sensitive, intuitive, and compassionate. They were also often introvert, sometimes shy. After getting to know them, many confessed they just couldn’t help but feeling mentally drained by the challenges they and their close ones had to face.
I get it. At times I feel completely drained simply thinking about how I’m trying to achieve my professional and personal goals. How can I help friends who are struggling with their health or their careers if I’m worn out? So I’ve come up with a few tips that help me keep from being overwhelmed.
Reign in your inner judge: telling yourself that you shouldn’t feel drained won’t help you get through the day. You might not be able to get it all (writing that paper, clocking in 10000 steps, going three times a week to the gym, helping your sick mother) but small things can still help you make a great difference. If you’re tired, you need rest. If you’re hurt, you need your own compassion.
Meditate (There’s a reason it’s called Buddha of Compassion)
Buddha taught that to reach enlightenment a person must develop two qualities: wisdom and karuna. What’s its meaning? Karuna means – yes, you guessed it – compassion. In The Essence of the Heart Sutra, The Dalai Lama wrote that “compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive – it’s not empathy alone – but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering”. But to have compassion for others, we have to have compassion for ourselves. In Buddhism, you can connect to your suffering through meditation. By doing so, you’ll transform it. Start meditating with the playlist down here to learn that being sensitive doesn’t imply feeling mentally drained.
Let’s go back to my college friends. With time it became increasingly clear to me that it was my male, rather than female, friends who had the greatest problems. These were caused by the notion of how a man should be, which is not particularly inclusive towards compassionate men. If you’re feeling this way, let go of the idea of the “typical man”. You may feel like boys don’t discuss their feelings, but sensitive men can be better fathers, husbands, and partners.
Listen to the Right Music
Classical music and jazz always do the trick for me. But new-age playlists or nature sounds can help you feel better as well, freeing you from overwhelming feelings. You will be a better friend if you’re able to take more time for yourself. If you don’t, you risk breaking up into pieces, whether that means physical burnout or an emotional breakdown. Enjoy a wide selection of soothing, relaxing music on our YouTube channel. Its effects on your body are well known. You can try it for yourself with our new compilation of water sounds just for you.
Remember: it’s not selfish to take care of yourself. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour water out of an empty cup. You can start feeling less drained right now by practicing karuna through meditation with a little help from the right music.