I have found two points of view on how to protect yourself, dear Empath. Let's talk about the eggshell theory today.
In this theory, you mentally surround your aura with a gold or white light in the shape of an egg. A large egg, to be sure, but some people swear by this. I read an author who even suggested that you activate this eggshell protection by first naming it ("Shield!" or "Protection!" or "Harvey!" -- whatever suits you). Practice a few times calling its name and then visualizing the eggshell surrounding every part of your aura. Once you're pretty good at that, then take a deep breath and repeat the process (breath, name, visualize). Once that becomes easy, you can use this protection any time you feel someone's energy is affecting you. The breath centers you in your body so that you can focus on you for a minute, the name calls forth the image, and the protective energy becomes manifest. Try it and see if this works for you. If not, let's discuss the river theory next time.
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)