Do You Have Too Much Empathy?


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Do You Have Too Much Empathy?

For many empaths and highly sensitive people, their empathy is out of balance. They wear an invisible sign saying, “I can help you.” Then they absorb another person’s emotions and stress symptoms into their bodies and experience empathy overload. You can have too much empathy if you are exhausted from feeling too much.

Take the following quiz to determine if you have empathy overload:

Do You Have Too Much Empathy?

  1. Do I often take on the pain of others and the world?
  2. Do I tend to over-give and become exhausted?
  3. Do I enable friends who are in a “victim mentality” and listen too long?
  4. Do I let a chronic talker go on and on?
  5. Is it difficult for me to set healthy boundaries?
  6. Am I afraid to say “no” to someone in need?
  7. Do I care so much that it affects my health?
  8. Do I become highly emotional when watching, hearing or reading about an upsetting incident?
  9. Do I become financially challenged from giving too much to others?
  • If you answered “yes” to all nine questions you have an extremely high amount of empathy and are prone to developing empathy overload.
  • Responding “yes” to seven to eight questions indicates you have a high amount of empathy and must be careful not to develop empathy overload.
  • Responding “yes” to five to six questions indicates you are empathic but need to balance how much you give and receive so you don’t get drained.
  • Responding “yes” to three to four questions indicates you are empathic and making progress in keeping your empathy in balance.
  • Responding “yes” to one to two questions indicates that you are less prone to become overloaded by giving.

The secret to having healthy empathy is to learn self-care and to set boundaries. If you feel there is no on/off switch for your empathy you can learn strategies to prevent empathy overload in my book “The Empath’s Survival Guide” and “The Empath’s Survival Guide” Online Course at

Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at

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