Welcome to the club. You sound like a solid empath. And while your skills may seem to be a burden now, you can learn to get them under your control to help people. Most of us are emotional empaths first and foremost where we pick up emotional feelings from others (and negative feelings come through strongest). And then from there we all split off with various empath skills. You sound like you are also physically receptive and claircognizant. Here's a web link that explains all of this:
You are correct. Practice and understanding does help you control it better. Before I knew I was an empath these empathic feelings made me think I was possibly losing my mind. And that caused extra anxiety and made it worse. Now I know it is normal and about 5% of the world's population is estimated to have empathic abilities (although probably less than half of that are awake and understand it).
Right now you appear to be an empath with a radio dial where the volume is turned up full blast. That's why being around people and crowds are very hard for you. Over time you will learn how to calm yourself (grounding), and turn down that dial. Grounding through meditation is really helpful. We empaths are like sponges. We soak up everyone's "stuff". You have to learn how to ring that sponge out (so to speak). The way to cleanse yourself is through grounding. When you are quite adept at this you will be able to be talking to someone. And while absorbing their emotional and physical energy from (as healing), you will be able to immediately flush it right through your body to the earth (all in the same conversation). In that manner you heal them but also don't retain their "stuff" since you flushed it right through.
Another thing I do to mute what I take in from others is I carry around protection crystals and stones. This alone probably shields me from 70% of the energy that I am faced with each day. It’s been really helpful. Have you heard of this?
You and I share a lot of the same empath traits so feel free to connect at any time with questions. I know you are probably stressed out right now but you found the right place for help. This is a terrific community with a lot of empaths with different experiences and viewpoints to share to help you better understand you and your gifts.
With respect to protection crystals and stones, you have to open your mind to it a bit. I was the biggest skeptic on all this mystical empath stuff before finally confronting my reality that it was real. And when I used to think of a crystal shop I envisioned tree huggers and hippies. But no more. For the vast majority of empaths, crystals are medicine. But that said, you have to be open minded and believe that it will work. If not, you can block their ability to work.
The protective stones that I like to use daily are black onyx, black tourmaline, shungite, and black obsidian. A lot of the darker crystals are usually the best to help block negative. I place one of each in a small cloth bag that I keep in my pocket. They work pretty well indirectly in my pocket. But if I'm having a tough day I will often place one or two in my hand and squeeze them while doing a breathing exercise to de-stress. Here's a decent article on this:
I also keep protection stones on my night stand. You may not yet have this happen but as an empath you may see, hear, or feel ghosts. And that has kept me from sleeping. Having the protection stones near by while sleeping helps me sleep through the night.
A good local crystal store is your best bet to find stones and crystals. But I have also bought several off Amazon with success. Just buy it from a highly rated Amazon retailer if you go this route as sometimes there are some fake immitations.
Grounding is anything that clears your mind and relaxes and refreshes you. I like to share that empaths are like an empty glass at the start of each day. And as you take in people's emotions and feelings that glass gets filled up with everyone's stuff. When it is full and overflowing is when you feel your worst and are exhausted and anxious. You have to empty that glass to feel better, and grounding is that tool.
I like to do rock salt baths where I soak and relax my mind. There is something magical about that salt water and it really whisks away the stress. And when I am short on time I'll do a salt water foot soak. If you try this make sure you use rock, sea, or Himalayan salts (don't use table salt).
Meditating is a skill that takes a little while to perfect. You basically quiet your mind and let the negative move out of you.
And then a lot of people ground through breathing techniques or just being out enjoying nature. Here's another link that has some good info. on a few topics for you.
They say to pick stones that call to you or attract you. But I would say personally and from other empath feedback that black tourmaline seems to be a consistent winner. Here's an amazon link to the one I bought a year ago as an example:
But I will say that tourmaline worked even better when I also added black onlyx and obsidian.
And not to overwhelm you, but in addition to protection stones I've had good luck with other stones to make me feel good and solve other problems. Two of those favorites are amethyst and rose quartz. They give me general happiness and peace and are great to have nearby when sleeping for restful sleep.
I pulled this from one of the web pages I referenced earlier. It covers some important details on protection stones including that they need to be cleaned or energized. I personally have two sets of protection stones. I keep one set on me and lay the other set in the sun for a day to "recharge". And then I alternate. Another good method is to let them soak in salt water for 24 hours. In fact, when you buy them you should always soak in salt water as you don't know where they have been energetically. Here's what I copied from the website:
Stones have been known for their healing and protective properties for thousands of years. Stones are the oldest material on the earth, they are living creatures who offer their medicine to us if we will use it. Stones can be worn by carrying a medicine pouch around your neck or by wearing stone jewelry. I have found that the three best repellants for negative energy are Tourmaline, Onyx and Obsidian. Just like you, your stones must be cleaned regularly. I clean my stones usually every few days, depending on the intensity of my daily empath interactions. Give your stones at least 2-3 hours of direct sunlight in a crystal or glass bowl filled with sea salt and water. If you can’t get access to sunlight, run them under some tap water. It does almost as good a job.
I find that touching someone can be good or bad. If that person is in a good place of love you may pick up their positive vibes. But if you touch a person with a lot of problems and emotional baggage you will fast track the transfer of it to you.
I feel the same with stones. They do work be near to you (on a desk or nightstand etc…). But they work even better when touching your skin. That’s why some people like to wear them as jewelry. And on that note, some empaths are especially sensitive to negative emotions that may have attached to the stone before it came to you. For example, a poor miner or factory worker in a foreign country may have been involved with your stone at one point. And their misery may have been transferred to the stone. I have heard from many empaths who actually got sick or really down after receiving a new crystal or stone. For this reason you will always want to place new stones in a cup of water with rock salt in it for at least 24 hours to clean it. The salt neutralizes any low energy that may have attached to it.
And if I have a tough couple days I will even soak my stones in salt water to clean it from the stuff that it is getting from my life. And then separately from the salt I like to set the stones in the sun every few days to help keep them in tip top shape to do their job protecting me.
One more thing. After your stones arrive and you clean them, see if any of them do anything in your hand. Test out one at a time in a closed fist. Some work without you feeling a thing. While others that are at a higher vibration to you and a good match for you will make a buzzing feeling. It's almost like an electrical charge. I tested it out with two people who are not empaths. They felt nothing from a stone that had a very strong buzzing pulse while in my hand. This is why I call crystals and stones medicine for empaths.
You can get a 1 lb box of Morton's salt at Walmart or your grocery store in the baking aisle. Some say sea salt is best but it can be pretty pricey. The key is not to use processed salt that you would normally use for food. I have found rock salt to be reasonably priced and effective.
Epsom salt really doesn't contain salt. It is magnesium. But if you take salt baths to relax and rid yourself of negative, the epson salt does help relax your muscles and pairs well with sea salt or rock salt.
With crystals and rocks I have done some extensive testing. And I have to say the ones that buzz and vibrate in my hand are not necessarily my best functioning stones. I'm still trying to find out the connection there. Some say the ones that buzz are better meditation stones. But black tourmaline is my stead-eddy don't leave home without it stone. And I don't feel any buzzing from it but yet it does the job the best as a protection stone for me. I will say that we all have our favorites and what works well for me may not work as well for you (and vice-versa).
Good job remembering the tourmaline while out shopping. I'm glad you are noticing an improvement. And it's funny you mentioned Costco. Once in a while on weekends I get out of my weekly routine and forget my stones when running errands. And when that happens I have a real tough time at Costco. I don't know what it is about that place as I really like the store but get a lot of anxiety.
In my experience only about 1 out of 10 stones create a buzzing or electrical feeling (or in your case heat). That doesn't mean that the other ones aren't working. It just means the one that vibrates is at a higher vibration and may be a good stone for you. As humans when you are happiest you are at a high energy vibration. And when down and depressed you are at a low vibration. I have read that as empaths we have a higher vibration than others to start and can get our vibration a lot higher. When you learn to raise your vibration you will not only feel better but will bring healing and happiness to those around you.
I think the stones that have high vibrations and buzz in your hands can be useful to raise your vibration. But don't be surprised if they also make you feel dizzy or uncomfortable. That is your body adjusting to it. In that case, just hold the vibrating stone for a short amount of time each day and increase over time.
You will notice that some of the stones that work the best for you don't really feel like anything. My black tourmaline, black onyx, and black obsidian just feel like cold stones to me. They have never radiated or buzzed in my hand. But they work their magic and keep negative energy away from me each day. And I am very grateful for that.
The protection stones go through a lot for us. Some block negative while others absorb it to keep it off of you. So they do need some care. I like to set mine out in sunlight for the day every 2-3 days. But I also at times will let them soak in salt water for a day to clean and reinvigorate them.
I have a quick story on the practical use of stones. Rose quartz is known to bring calm and love and is supposedly especially effective for females. Every once in a while my wife gets grumpy or stressed and basically is well on her way to having a bad day. And I will covertly put a rose quartz on her nightstand or sneak one in her purse or on her desk. And while it doesn’t have an instant impact, it does calm her down and brighten her day. And just the other day I was at my doctor's office and she had a large rose quartz sitting on her desk. Others in this forum have put Rose quartz around their office to try to create more peace and harmony. Long story short, there are lots of stones and crystals that do some cool things. But for an empath struggling with anxiety and overload, protection stones are the best place to start.