What is Your Level of Empathy?

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Empathy is when you care about others in both sadness and joy.

Empathy allows you to understand where another person is coming from even if you don’t agree with them. It bridges differences and opens communication with others. The world needs more empathic leaders, parents and people in every profession.

Just as intelligence can be measured with an IQ, your level of empathy can also be assessed with an Empathy Quotient (EQ).

Take the following quiz adapted from The Empath’s Survival Guide to determine your EQ:

What is Your Empathy Quotient (EQ)?

  1. Are you sensitive to others, care about them, and want to help?
  2. Do you listen with your heart not just your head?
  3. Can you hold space for others to express their emotions?
  4. Can you listen without needing to fix someone’s problem immediately?
  5. Are you capable of the give and take of intimate relationships?
  6. Are you intuitive and sensitive to other’s needs?
  7. Do you care about the greater good, and the wellbeing of Earth?
  • If you answered “yes” to six to seven questions you have an extremely high empathy quotient
  • Responding “yes” to four to five questions you have a high EQ
  • Responding “yes” to two to three questions you have a moderate EQ
  • Responding “yes” to zero to one question you have a low EQ and are ready to start to develop your empathy.

How to Develop Empathy

If you have a lower EQ, empathy is a skill that you can developed through mindful awareness. To do this first quiet your inner chatter so you can bring your total presence to a conversation. Then take the time to listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Even if you don’t agree with them, try to understand what they are experiencing and feeling. This will allow you to develop more empathy for the other person and improve your ability to communicate with them.

How to Cope with Empathy Overload

If your EQ is high, you might be prone to empathy overload. To avoid this, it’s important to learn to center and protect yourself and practice on-going self-care. When you find yourself overwhelmed, take a breath to center yourself and make time to meditate and decompress. Get out in nature to relax if you can. It’s also wonderful to learn how to set kind but firm boundaries with others so you don’t over commit yourself. In addition, it’s important to realize that it’s not your job to emotionally fix others and that people deserve the dignity of navigating their own healing path.

No matter what your EQ is, it’s always possible to develop more empathy and to protect and center yourself if you are experiencing empathy overload. You don’t have to absorb the stress of the world. More information and protection strategies in my book “The Empath’s Survival Guide” and “The Empath’s Survival Guide” online course.

Adapted from The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Judith Orloff, MD 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 New York Times best-selling author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. Her new book Thriving as an Empath offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people along with its companion The Empath’s Empowerment Journal. 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, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA and has a TEDX talk. Her other books are Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive HealingExplore more information about her Empath Support Online course and speaking schedule on www.drjudithorloff.com.

Connect with Judith on  Facebook Twitter and Instagram.

4 thoughts on “What is Your Level of Empathy?

  1. Wow,exhausting, i know things also,things alway happen around me,
    I beleive in good .and i believe in cummication ,talking lol ,,,see things on didferent point of view…
    Views …
    Healer ?
    Sometimes sick people takes my breath away ,i get sick for a min and,they feeling better. But i getting weaker….i do feel their pain…
    Hum,
    Well i beleive it to be true,than it,is
    I need to be grounded,electricty,i attracted,lighting it chases me lol never bee n hit but got close and personal lol .yes on all questio ns lol

  2. As far back as I can remember, I have known things before they happened, and have known others thoughts even ones they don’t share. I never knew why I was drawn to the outdoors with the need to touch the trees or ground and the ocean which calm me more then anything. As I got older crowds became to overwhelming and dating was so hard that I would excuse myself to get some alone time then steal myself to return. I have always been drawn to babies and the elderly. I became a nurse and could feel where people’s pain was and would take it from them to myself to help them. I also became a foster parent and took drug or medically fragile newborns. We adopted 7 of those children and I had 2 bio children. I started to really realize I was different in my late 20’ early 30. As time went on I found I was able to connect with those who have passed. They would come to the what I called the waiting room and speak to me. I could see them in my mind and describe them to others. I didn’t always know their names and I learned that I had to close the door because I would be overwhelmed with so many. However all these years and I never really thought it might have a name and others are the same. A few days ago I was told I was an empath from a doctor. I looked it up and was floored by what it said. It was if they were talking about me ! All these years and I never knew. I just knew I was different but didn’t want to tell anyone for fear of being called crazy or thinking I am better then others. Now I know I an empath. Always have been. My mother told me stories of when I was little and what I would do or people I was drawn too. Why isn’t this taught. Why did I have to go so long without someone helping me learn to control it and strengthen it and center myself. Why did I have to learn that myself. So many years of unnecessary stress when I have been bombarded with stress from picking up everyone’s feelings. This lead to depression that I have struggled with. Now I know though and the knowing is power.

  3. I think I am an empath. I am INFJ. I had to move out of the city to the quiet of the country to find solace. I have had dreams all my life that come true. Animals seek me out. People just come up to be and pour their heart out. I asked them why they spoke to me. They all said that I was approachable and that they felt safe with me. Shopping overwhelms me. I stopped going to malls because I got so very tired. The dreams scared me. People I told about them said I was crazy or possessed. I’ve only hated one person in my life and I went to my church and prayed for the hate to leave me. It did immediately. The hate consumed my entire life in every dimension. I married 3 narcissts. I feel danger. I have a very active intution. I’m not weird am I. I have had an OB. It was at my son’s funeral. His death shattered me for many years. I cried when Bambi’s mom dies.

    1. Rebecca, No you’re not weird you’re an empath. I felt as if I wrote your comment. I’m exactly like you and we are kind, loving people who were born this way. Janis

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