Are you an empath? Take the test here to determine your empath score.
Empathic illnesses are those in which you manifest symptoms that are not your own. Many patients have come to me labeled “agoraphobic” with panic disorders, chronic depression, fatigue, pain, or mysterious ailments that respond only partially to medications or psychotherapy. Some were nearly housebound or ill for years. They’d all say, “I dread being in crowds. Other people’s anger, stress, and pain drain me, and I need a lot of alone time to refuel my energy.” When I took a close history of all these patients I found that they were what I call “physical empaths:” people whose bodies are so porous they absorb the symptoms of others. I relate because I am one. Physical empaths do not have the defenses that others have to screen things out. As a psychiatrist, knowing this significantly changed how I treated these patients. My job became teaching them to center and protect themselves, set healthy boundaries, and let go of energy they picked up from others.
To determine if you are a physical empath take the following quiz.
Quiz: Am I a Physical Empath?
- Have I been labeled as overly sensitive or a hypochondriac?
- Have I ever sat next to someone who seemed nice but suddenly my eyelids got heavy and I felt like taking a nap?
- Do I feel uneasy, tired, or sick in crowds and avoid them?
- Do I feel someone else’s anxiety or physical pain in my body?
- Do I feel exhausted by angry or hostile people?
- Do I run from doctor to doctor for medical tests, but I’m told “You’re fine.”
- Am I chronically tired or have many unexplained symptoms
- Do I frequently feel overwhelmed by the world and want to stay home?
If you answered “yes” to 1-3 questions you are at least part empath. Responding yes to 4 to 5 questions indicates you have moderate degree of physical empathy. 6 to 7 “yeses” indicate you have a high degree of empathy. Eight yeses indicate you are a full blown empath.
Discovering that you are a physical empath can be a revelation. Rest assured: You are not crazy. You are not a malingerer or hypochondriac. You are not imagining things, though your doctor might treat you like a nuisance. You are a sensitive person with a gift that you must develop and successfully manage.
Strategies to Surrender Toxic Energy
Physical empathy doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Now that I can center myself and refrain from taking on other people’s pain, empathy has made my life more compassionate, insightful, and richer. Here are some secrets to thriving as a physical empath that I’ve learned so that it doesn’t take a toll on my health.
A Survival Guide for Empaths: 9 Strategies To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Illness and Pain (from The Power of Surrender)
Keep practicing these strategies. By protecting yourself and your space, you can create a magical safe bubble around you that nurtures you, while simultaneously driving negative people away. Don’t panic if you occasionally pick up pain or some other nasty symptom. It happens. With strategies I discuss in my book to surrender other people’s symptoms you can have quicker responses to stressful situations. This will make you feel safer, healthier, and your sensitivities can blossom.
(Adapted from “The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People“ by Judith Orloff, MD, which is a guidebook for empaths and all caring people who want to keep their hearts open in an often-insensitive world.)
Judith Orloff, MD is the author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing.
Explore more information about empaths and intuition on www.drjudithorloff.com.