While you’re not going to find a lot of double-blind peer-reviewed studies to chart “bad vibes,” it’s a concept that almost everyone understands. You walk into a room, and it feels off. You spend time with someone whose negativity seems like it’s created a dark cloud that follows you home. Or maybe you’re the one who needs to get rid of “negative energy” attached to you and you just want to lighten things up somehow—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It’s definitely possible, according to people who believe that everyone has an energetic field around them—which is the foundational principle of the chakra system in India’s traditional medical system, Ayurveda, and the idea of energy meridians, which Traditional Chinese Medicine manipulates with techniques like acupuncture.
“We all feel and respond, to each others’ vibrations, even if we’re not aware of it,” says Bridget Ambrose, an energy medicine healer who has studied reiki and craniosacral therapy. Both use light touch to reputedly help balance your energetic field to boost health and offer a feeling of well-being.
According to Ambrose, “negative” energy is used to describe a lower, denser vibration—and it may feel like exhaustion, overwhelm, anger, helplessness, and even jealousy.
It can also come in the form of addiction to worry, feelings of fear, suppressed anger, says Alyson Charles, a New York-based energy healer known as the “RockStar Shaman.”
“When anger is continuously suppressed and not healthily expressed it can morph into deep resentments, unconscious sabotaging behaviors, etc., like when someone is trying to manipulate you (again a fear-based, lower-realm energy system at the root of it),” Charles says.
Since fear, anger, worry, exhaustion, and other emotions are a part of everyone’s life, Ambrose suggests viewing them as an opportunity—as hard as that may seem.
“Learning to strengthen your own force field and maintain your energy within no matter the external circumstances is a skill we all need,” she says. “There are truly so many ways to release negative energy and keep energy flowing through us in a healthy way from meditation, a clearing ritual, a healing session with a trusted practitioner, as well as simple things you can do daily.”
So…what are the best ways to deal with these kinds of energy? I got the top tips from Ambrose and Charles on how to try the energetic route to shake off these feelings.
1. First: Rethink that whole “negative” thing
“When it comes to energy, I think it’s most important to establish up front that all energy states are our teachers (and medicine) and should be viewed and worked with from a place of compassionate observance and exploration,” Charles says. “Which is why I refer to the energies as lower-realm rather than ‘negative’ because it is all here to teach and serve us positively when worked with appropriately.”
2. Take a bath
“This is a wonderful way to purify the aura of any negative energy and renourish your spirit. Adding in some essential oils such as eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender along with some Epsom or sea salt works to calm the body, mind and spirit,” Ambrose says. “After soaking as the water drains know that it is taking with it all that was stuck to you see all that doesn’t serve, going down the drain.
3. Get in an alchemy mindset
“It’s important to remember that we incarnated here as humans to be able to experience the entire range of human emotions on the scale,” Charles says. “The key is being able to be in healthy relationship to lower-realm energies and being able to alchemize them into love and compassion as efficiently as possible, which is the gateway to then having a lower-realm experience lift you up and strengthen you rather than take you down.”
4. Check in on your boundaries situation
Got healthy boundaries? If not, get some quick. It’s okay to say no to that person, that event, that favor, if it’s something you know in your gut that it’s better to avoid.
“While there is incredible magic and miracles within shadow work, within confronting fears, there are some situations where we just know we are going to be at a place we don’t enjoy, or around someone who just brings the lower-realm energy. So in this case, setting yourself up with energetic protection and healthy boundaries is key!” Charles says.
5. Give your environment an energetic reboot
“At home, open a window, thanking everything that showed up for you that day and allowing anything that is not in your highest and best to leave through the window,” Ambrose says.
Charles suggests clearing your energy field using palo santo, copal, or sage—”firstly honoring and thanking the spirit within the plant and asking that it release anything not serving your highest, greatest, earthly good and only burning the smallest amount needed for clearing,” she says.
6. Take mindful mini-check-ins
You don’t have to settle down on your meditation pillow to give your mind a boost—smaller breaks are helpful as well, when working with heavy thoughts and feelings.
“Throughout the day, take a moment to pause, feel your feet as they connect to the ground, even place your hand on your belly and take three deep breaths,” Ambrose says.
7. Oh hey, spirit animal
If you already know you’re a total panther (or bear, or butterfly), Charles suggests calling on them for help.
“Call upon your spirit animal guide to walk with you and protect your energy field or if you don’t know who your animal is, sacred armadillo brings the power of protection!” Charles says.(Or you can check out Charles’ monthly column here in Well+Good for spirit animal inspo.) “Call upon armadillo to surround you with its shell to shield you and reflect away anything that is not of unconditional love.”
8. Get the rainbow connection going…
Charles suggests trying some “rainbow medicine” using the following visualization: “Envision all the colors of the rainbow filling your entire aura, sealing any gaps or holes and then place an outer layer of bright, golden white energy on the outside of the rainbow and say, ‘With these divine energies completely surrounding me I am fully protected in all ways. Only unconditional love may enter my field.’”
9. …or try these visualizations instead
In addition to the rainbow exercise, Charles says this exercise—which uses the image of mirrors—can be effective as well: “Envision the outside of your aura covered in mirrors and these mirrors will completely reflect back out, away from you, any energies that would not be of love and light. Follow your soul guidance and to what process resonates most with you.”
Ambrose says that she imagines the following scenario when she leaves her house and returns back home: “I often imagine myself being surrounded and protected in a beautiful warm light (you can choose any color) that holds all the wisdom, sweetness and love from the universe. I visualize my entire body filling up with this light, every cell being bathed in it. I imagine it surrounding me. Once I feel, sense, and know it is, I then send it out to any situation, person place that could use a higher vibration.”
10. Carry an amulet
“Crystals are wonderful allies for keeping us in our center and deflecting negative energy,” Ambrose says. “Carrying a small pocket stone of smokey quartz or black tourmaline work to absorb negative energy and provide you with a stabilizing center.”
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