For HSPs/Empaths

Workshop: Part 4 - Power Up Exercises

These 'power up' energy exercises will boost your joy and light

It's time now in our workshop to introduce some exercises. These will be valuable to everyone - not just empaths. I've divided them into two different categories:   

In POWER UP mode, the exercises are proactive and they are all about YOU — helping you get strong and powerful from the inside out. (As opposed to PROTECTION mode when you are focused on maintaining your energy boundaries.)

In this entry, we'll be focusing on the Power Ups. Ready?

Over the course of the last 100 years, there have been many theories presented as to where our emotions come from and how we can control them.   It has been suggested that our emotions are controlled by our body’s responses to external stimuli.   Then it was believed all emotions were controlled in the thalamus – then the amygdala.  In the 60’s some experiments indicated that our emotions are influenced by the emotions of people around us – explaining why we cry at a wedding for someone we hardly know.  The term for this is ‘emotional contagion’.  Stay with me, it gets fun! Not long after that, an American psychiatrist Aaron Beck concluded that our thoughts control our emotions.   And going a deeper than that, it is thought that our beliefs and attitudes result in every emotion we have about everything in our world.

But another idea is coming into the mix – or coming back – because it was previously suggested that our emotions are controlled by our BODY'S responses to external stimuli.   The idea is simple: our brain is constantly monitoring what’s happening in our body.   It analyzes things like muscle tension, posture, heart rate, breathing, and, facial expressions, to judge how you are feeling.   Your brain then responds by producing and releasing the corresponding chemicals and hormones.


So what happens if you put a happy expression on your face?  Can we really feel happier?    Is this the ultimate “fake it ‘til you make it”.

In 2012, an experiment was conducted and results indicated that YES.   Sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy!   

So let's try this one out:

  1. Insert a chopstick or pencil into your mouth as shown by the lovely model in the image on the left.
  2. Breath normally and hold the position for 2-3 minutes (or until your cheeks get so sore your eyes start to water).
  3. Pay attention to how you feel. Is there any chemical flush or rush - like an adrenaline boost? Is there any tension being released? Are you smiling on the inside as well as the outside? Maybe you're even laughing. Notice all of the subtle changes you feel.
  4. Keep your smile stick handy (for you or for a grumpy friend).


In 2010, the Association for Psychological Science published a study on the effect of body positions in relation to hormone levels – specifically those that control stress, confidence and risk taking. In a nutshell, the study revealed that higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) lead to increased feelings of confidence.  Meanwhile, lower levels of cortisol lead to decreased anxiety and an improved ability to deal with stress. What is particularly important about testosterone and cortisol is that your levels of each hormone can change rapidly depending on the social, physical, and environmental cues that surround you.

And they may also be changed (controlled) by how you position your body.   In other words, by standing in a “Wonder Woman” pose, our body is actually sending a signal to our brain that we are feeling confident. The brain (the hypothalamus to be exact), in turn, says, “Oh, then I better up the testosterone and lower the cortisol!”    So just like the ‘chop stick smile’, power poses are another way we can control our internal systems regardless of the external environment.


Try these different poses when you get out of bed, stand up from your desk or are about to face any stressful situation. Pay close attention to how you feel after 1-2 minutes of holding the pose. Repeat as needed!

Wonder Woman - Stand straight with feel shoulder distance apart. Chin up. Shoulders back. Make fists with your hands and plant them firmly on your hips so your elbows stick out.

Muscles - Like the girl in the photo, stand straight, shoulders back. Raise your arms up like you are lifting weights. Take a bunch of deep breaths here and try a mantra "Strength and Power"

Victory - Extend arms overhead so they form a V-shape. This pose is almost a reflex for winning athletes. Here's a great article explaining why.

Top Dog - Sit in a chair. Lean back. Intertwine hands behind head. Prop feet up on desk (optional). This is an "act like you own the place" pose. It's open, completely unguarded, and conveys 100% confidence.

It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.
—Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat for Humanity


We all know - even without the research - that hugging or touching another person (or a pet) is good for our health.   It makes us feel connected, lowers our heart rate and stress levels, and can even alleviate pain. Did you know that there’s an even more powerful affect when we hug or touch ourselves? Think about it. When you wrap your arms around yourself, you are not only initiating the physiological / chemical response in your system, but you're also sending confirmation to your consciousness that you love and care for yourself.

Try these two exercises:

  1. In any position (standing, sitting or laying down) cross your arms in front of you and grab your shoulders with your hands. Now imagine you are greeting an old friend. Give a little squeeze. Smile. Rock back and forth. Stroke your shoulder. Pat yourself a number of times. Repeat for 2 minutes.
  2. Take your non-dominant hand and put it on your opposite cheek. Close your eyes and stroke your face with your hand, your thumb or your fingertips. Stroke your hair. Repeat for 2 minutes. This is a great one to do when you are first waking up or going to sleep. Your mind will surrender to the cross-tactical stimuli if you are in a more relaxed state.


The strongest power you can cultivate as an empath / human sponge is self-love. Rather than trying to protect yourself from negative energies coming into your field, learn to be the fountain of positive love that flows out to others. In my book, "Diary of a Teenage Empath - The Awakening", Jenny creates her own self-love routine that we'll use as an example here. You can download a full-size version of the poster here.

#1 Gratitude Meditation - Scientists are digging deep into learning the effects of practicing gratitude and we will have an entire blog post dedicated to gratitude in the future. For now, have fun with it! Try beginning your sentences with "I am so thankful that" ... (my mom didn't ground me after finding out I dented the car). Or stick a piece of paper in your school locker or bedroom closet and jot down or doodle something you are grateful for each morning and evening. When your paper is full, start another one and reflect back on previous pages like it's a Gratitude Scrapbook.

#2 Self-Care - A Divine Responsibility - We all have days when we feel too tired to brush our teeth, take a shower or change our sheets. We excuse ourselves believing that we have more important things to do — like caring for others, for example. But our subconscious isn't fooled. Laziness isn't on the map of consciousness, but maybe it should be! Our behavior is intertwined with our thoughts and feelings. To raise your vibration, you need to change your underpants, scrub your face, floss your teeth and tell the universe you are thankful for having such a great body to take care of.

#3 Grounding - You can learn how to do this either from the book (page 66) or in the next part of the workshop when we explore defensive exercises.

#4 Nutrition - I'm not qualified to suggest specific foods you should be eating to raise your vibration. There are many sites and books available. What I will say is that your body knows best. So if you find yourself having stomach aches, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, or smelly farts that make your dog leave the room — chances are, you're eating

#5 Kind Gesture - In the book, Jenny spreads out her kind gestures over three channels: Face-to-face (like hugging someone, holding a door open), Electronically (like sending a happy meme or email to a friend), and Spiritually (like saying a prayer or holding positive thoughts for someone). The power of doing a kind gesture is increased if you INTENTIONALLY do the gesture, as opposed to it happening by chance. For example, are you calling someone because you wanted to convey kindness to them? Or did you need to borrow their class notes and just dropped in a few kind words? INTENTION always makes a difference.

#6 Connect with Nature - Empaths can be completely rejuvenated by the elements/nature. I used to stand outside as a kid on windy days because the movement of the wind across my face stripped away all negative thoughts and feelings and restored me to my natural state of energy. Don't worry if you're not 'the outdoors type'. You don't have to become Survivorman, Les Stroud. Have fun with it. Experiment with what elements clear and re-charge you the best. It might even change depending on the season.

#7 Reflective Contemplation - It's a rather serious term to describe a fun technique that entails recalling moments where you felt the energy and connection to a high vibration. Holding that memory in your immediate conscious, can you allow yourself to reproduce the energy / vibration in your present moment? It takes practice. At first it might feel like a part of you is stepping outside of yourself, going to that place (the memory in your mind) where you experienced the energy, and then returning to your present self with it. A better example might be to imagine yourself in the shower stepping in and out of the water spray. There is a shift...a pressure...a tangible difference when moving from one level of energy to another. Start by doing this exercise somewhere quiet where there isn't a lot of energy interference. The more you practice, the better you'll get -- and the more you'll be able to do it even in stressful moments.

#8 Celebrate Myself & Life - Whatever this means for you! Dance, paint, mow the lawn, study your fingerprints, dye your hair, climb a tree, ride a bike, peel an egg, hug somebody, hug yourself, adopt a dog. Whatever activity generates love and joy will raise your vibration. But don't do anything because you think you SHOULD be happy doing it. We'll get into should-ing more in another blog post. In the meantime, just remember that to ENJOY is to be IN JOY.

#9 Music - An entire stadium could be filled with the benefits of engaging in music. If you're an empath, you've probably already noticed how certain music can lull you into a blissful state while other music can agitate you to the point of getting a headache. Sometimes empaths can get into a musical rut. We have a playlist we love and it initially has a positive effect on us, but as time goes on, the "high" can wear off and eventually those same songs can have the opposite effect because we become irritated (low emotional vibration) that they no longer give us what they once did. Weird, I know. We'll be exploring a lot more about music in future posts. For now, just take a few minutes each day to listen, perform or dance to one of your good vibration songs.

#10 Learn from the Masters - The list of powerful minds and spiritual leaders in the world is extensive. There are thousands of books, podcasts and video out there. Where do you begin? For me, I think of these leaders, authors, and speakers like singer-songwriters.  There are tens of thousands of singers in every genre of music. And despite there being 1,025,109 words in the English language and over 75 billion note combinations (based on a 10 note melody line), many of them sound the same. Or do they? Music — each note, instrument and voice — vibrates at a certain frequency and when we are attracted to a particular song, it is because is resonates with our own. To put it in other words: one man's James Taylor is another man's P Diddy. The same holds true for spiritual and personal growth "artists". Like music, many of the messages are the same (love, loss, joy, sadness), but each one crafts the message and delivers it in their own unique way. Our task is simply to keep listening, keep reading, and when something truly resonates with us... SOAK IT UP!

Jeannette Folan
Jeannette is the author of the novel "Diary of a Teenage Empath" and two HSP/Empath workbooks for children & teens. She is an Integrative Health Coach who, with her mentor Dr. Wendy Nickerson, launched the first-ever accredited HSP training program for mental health professionals. She leads an HSP community group in Halifax.
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