When you hear the word “empath,” what comes to mind?
- Someone with more conscious awareness of basic human empathy?
- Someone like Deanna Troy of Star Trek: The Next Generation – or Mantis of the Marvel Universe?
- Someone with an innate psychic ability about the feelings of others just by being around them?
Whatever you think of, maybe you’ve wondered, “Am I an empath?” and what does that really mean?
Does your empathic ability (which can be a mixed bag) make you a kind of psychic superhero? Or does it just make life harder than it has to be?
You’d probably have to ask a lot of empaths to get some kind of consensus on that, but the results might sound a lot like “both.”
Being around those who are in pain does affect empaths. And their hypersensitivity to others’ emotional states can even affect their health.
Whether you call yourself an empath, an empathic, or just a “very empathetic person,” you know by now that other people’s moods tend to influence your own. But how much do you know about what it means to be an empath?
And are you ready to take the empath test below to learn just how strong your empathic abilities are? Your test score might clarify if you are an empath.
Are You an Empath?
Empaths are more likely than anyone to pick up on the moods and emotions and even the physical pain levels of those around them.
They do this not by analyzing other people’s body language or asking pointed questions (though they might do those things, too) but simply by being around them and remaining receptive to impressions.
Other people tend to gravitate toward empaths, as though the latter had the power to drain them of their negative thoughts and replace those with positive ones.
Related: The Power Of Empathic Listening
Empaths take other people’s emotional (and sometimes physical) pain upon themselves, and if they’re not careful, they’re likely to take on too much and suffer as a result.
Here are the chief traits of an empath:
- Hypersensitive to bright lights and loud noises
- Overwhelmed by crowds and public areas with a lot of people
- More aware of the suffering in the world than others
- Able to feel the emotional states and even physical pain of those around them
- Unable (or likely to find it difficult) to detach from those in need — even from energy vampires
- Likely to feel overwhelmed and even sick from watching the news or anything violent or sad
- Receptive to first impressions — which tend to be correct
Why People Become Empaths
While it’s generally true that empaths are born that way, being born with a natural gift for empathy doesn’t make you an empath — nor does it prepare you to make the best use of your EFP (extra-feeling perception).
Becoming a true empath in the fullest sense of that word means not only acknowledging your sensitivity to the moods and pain of others but also learning to act on that sensitivity in a compassionate and responsible way and to practice mindful self-care to prevent burnout.
So, becoming a true empath isn’t so much about adding a superpower as it is learning how to cultivate and make the most of innate abilities.
Someone who already knows they’re sensitive to other people’s emotional states may choose to develop that sensitivity – which others might perceive as a weakness – into a strength that serves the well-being of others as well as their own.
Find Out If You Are An Empath With The Empath Test
Are you an empath?
And if so, would you like to know more about making the best use of your empathic gift?
Enjoy this empath quiz and use it as a catalyst to becoming a more mindful empath — capable of helping others while maintaining a balance between vulnerability and self-care.
For each of the following questions, give yourself a zero for every “never,” a 2 for every “sometimes,” and a 3 for every “always.”
Tally up your answers at the end of the empath test and find out what your empath score says about you.
1. Does your mood or emotional state change when someone enters (or leaves) the room?
2. Do you find you can’t watch violence without feeling sick (even if it’s just in a movie)?
3. Do you ever feel so overwhelmed by the suffering and emotions of those around you, you feel a strong need to be alone?
Related: 29 Unique Traits Of An Empath
4. Does a sensory-deprivation chamber sound like the height of luxury?
5. Do you find that you always feel the same emotions around certain people? Do you notice your mood changing in adaptation to their emotional states when you come into their presence?
6. Do you feel drained around certain people (even before they vent, complain, sigh, start talking, etc.)?
7. Do you sense other people’s sadness or emotional pain? I don’t mean, “Do you notice from their body language that they seem sad?” but “Do you actually start to feel at least some of the sadness others around you are feeling?”
8. Do you take longer than others to recover from seeing something sad — like a child grieving the loss of a pet?
9. Does anyone ever ask you why you have to feel everything so deeply — or why you can’t just “let it go”? Has anyone ever said something like, “You take things too hard”?
10. Do you ever feel sick or even in pain when you’re around certain people? Does it ever seem as though you’re taking on other people’s physical symptoms?
11. Do people seem drawn to you — as if your company restores them or relieves some of their pain and makes them feel better?
12. Has anyone ever called you a “bleeding heart” for empathizing so deeply with others? Do they consider your emotional response a distraction from more important or more pragmatic considerations?
13. Do you get strong first impressions (negative or positive) from people — and find out later your impressions were right?
14. Do you ever walk into a room and immediately sense the predominant mood or emotional state of others in the room — even without obvious signs?
15. Do you ever feel that your emotions change dramatically from one moment to the next, but you don’t know why (and you’re tired of people assuming it’s hormone- or stress-related)?
16. Do you prefer to be near water — and especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Does the sight of water (a river, a lake, the ocean, raindrops splashing in puddles) make you feel calmer and have the effect of flushing stress out of you?
17. Do you ever feel the need to recover by spending time in nature (walking barefoot in the grass, walking on the beach, camping, etc.)?
18. Do you ever feel compelled to take care of others and to put their needs before your own? Do you have a hard time tending to your own needs, because you’re too busy tending to others?
19. Do you ever suspect or even believe that animals and plants have souls and awareness and that your behavior toward them has far-reaching effects? Do you talk to animals — or even plants — out of a conviction that your words affect them at a deep level?
20. Do you get overwhelmed when there are a lot of people around — even before you’ve socialized with any of them? Do you start to feel your mood change in strange and unexpected ways within a few minutes of entering a crowded place?
21. Are you ever hyper-aware of shifts in the moods of those in your surroundings? Do you ever sense when someone’s mindset has changed?
22. Do you ever, when you approach someone, immediately feel their internal reaction to you, even before they’ve said anything?
Related: 17 Reasons Being An Empath Is A Gift
23. Do you feel a deep need to make the world better – not just for the people you love but for everyone?
24. Do you find that you attract broken people or bullies – without trying (or wanting to)?
25. Do you find it hard to say “No” to people – even when it would be best for you to do so? Do you think it’s because you feel responsible for making their lives better or making them feel better?
What Your Empath Test Score Means
Score: 0 to 25
You’re generally not affected by other people’s moods, which isn’t to say you don’t care about them. You’re able to be in a crowded place without feeling overwhelmed by the emotional states of those around you.
Sometimes, maybe, you secretly envy those who can pick up on other people’s emotions, even when the latter do their best to hide them.
But you’re in no hurry to feel the distress, angst, or bitterness of others, and you don’t really understand how your empath friends can be so influenced by other people’s internal business.
You’re grateful, on the one hand, that you can be around others and genuinely care for them without having to feel what they’re feeling. On the other hand, sometimes you feel as though you’re missing something — a deeper level on which you could connect to those you love.
But it hasn’t compromised your ability to meet people where they are and be the friend they need you to be.
Score: 26 to 50
You’re an empath, and you probably know it — at least on some level. But you’re not so overcome by your receptivity to the pain of others that it adversely affects your quality of life.
You know how to balance your vulnerability to others with your own self-care needs, and that has served you well. You love being an empath, and you love that others are drawn to you, though it can be exhausting sometimes.
You wouldn’t give up your gift for all the wealth in the world, because it enables you to engage others on a deeper level, to let them know without a doubt that they’re not alone, and to help them take the necessary steps to recovery and to a more joy-filled life.
Score: 51 to 75
You’re an extreme empath who is having a hard time balancing the needs of others with your own. You can’t help feeling overwhelmed by other people’s pain — emotional and physical.
You can’t even watch the news or any movies with violence or sadness in them, because it’s just too much, and it makes you feel sick for hours afterward.
You need to find a way to protect yourself around others, so you don’t spend any more of your life as a human sponge for the pain and destructive moods of others.
It’s not your job or your purpose to siphon off other people’s pain and bear it in your own body and soul. And you can’t fulfill your purpose if you burn out trying to do what no human is designed to do long-term.
Making the best use of your gift involves taking good care of the person endowed with it.
It doesn’t mean you’re holding back and depriving others of comfort; think of it as putting on your “oxygen mask” before helping others with theirs. You can’t help others if you can’t breathe.
Did you find this empath test helpful?
If you found value in this article, please share it and encourage others to pass it on. Empaths may not be in the majority, but there are many out there, and if you can help at least one of them make better use of that gift, you’ll make the world a better place.
Wherever you are on the empathy spectrum, you have plenty to offer others, and I hope you know that.
As we get closer to the end of another year, I want you to know how grateful we are for readers like you, who care about helping others and yourself to thrive, to develop your gifts, and to experience more joy.
May your generosity and thoughtfulness infuse everything else you do today.