An empath test is a popular tool used by psychologists. But what is an empath and what is this test all about? These are common questions to cross the mind when it comes to this subject.
Empath originates from the word empathetic. But, there is a stark difference in being an empath and being empathetic. We will understand this difference at a later stage in this article. First, let us focus on the basics.
What is the Empath Test?
An empath test is a simple test that helps understand the levels of empathy in an individual and to get an answer to your question – “Am I an Empath?”
Empath test is a mode of self-assessment. The assessment helps to understand the levels of compassion that an individual possesses. It is a common tool used by psychiatrists. Interestingly, the capability to show compassion is wired down to the genes. Research indicates that listening to your heartbeat can improve the levels of empathy. Ten percent of the variation in empathic behavior is associated with genes.
Few people are able to identify an empath when they spot one. Such people are usually dismissed as highly sensitive. An empath test is the only way to confirm the presence of such traits in an individual. Also, this is not a gender-biased trait. Women are known to be more empathic but there is no genetic evidence to confirm the validity of this fact.
This test revolves around seeking emotional views on different scenarios. This test to discover a person’s empathic abilities mostly involves quizzes. You can also take an empath test right here and know the answer to your question – “Am I an Empath?”
Empathic people experience a heightened emotional response as compared to an ordinary person. A true empath is highly sensitive. He or she will be able to identify the emotions of a lot of people around them. Simply put, they understand people’s emotions in a better way as compared to their peers.
What Affects Empathy?
There are various factors that affect an individual’s ability to show empathy. These factors are broadly categorized into genetic and environmental.
Empathy is not an inherent trait. People develop empathy or sensitivity to emotions over a period of time. So what impacts the development of an empathic personality? There are genetic and environmental factors that are linked to the empathic behavior.
Though there is very little scientific evidence to establish the impact of genes. The research in this field is still work in progress. Scientists have confirmed an impact but its extent is yet to be verified.
Below is a list of some of the non-genetic/ environmental factors that impact the trait of empathy:
Those who grow up in a caring environment learn to nurture relationships. For example, if a mother values her children’s opinion and understands their needs. She teaches them to replicate the same behavior as adults.
Children raised in a caring home are more likely to exhibit an empath personality. But, it is important to understand that the focus should be on giving them access to the right tools. Do not spoil them for choices. This nurturing helps to cultivate an empathetic attitude in the children.
Empathy is a trait that one develops by observing others. A child learns to show compassion when he or she sees people around him doing the same. So, the more people around you exhibit empathy, the more you are likely to do so.
Try to be kind to people around you. Showing compassion is addictive!
The above factors impact the development of empathy. Empaths are people who exhibit heightened empathy. Also, empaths are a rare personality. There are people who exhibit empathy as a trait but empaths take it to a higher level. The empath tests are designed to bring out these traits. This helps psychiatrists identify such individuals.
Being an Empath
An empath is someone who has the rare ability to experience literally every emotion that the others around him/her are experiencing.
Like every story has two sides, being an empath has pros and cons. An empath easily experiences the emotions of people around him or her. For instance, a true empath can feel the pain or negative energies of someone who is heartbroken.
There are two ways to look at the situation. On one side, the empath is able to perceive the pain without the person actually saying it. But on the other side, doing this every time and for everyone can take a toll on the emotional health of the empath.
List of the Advantages of Being an Empath
- Empaths make great friends. They are very easy to connect with as they are almost always on the same emotional plane.
- Honesty is important for empaths. They value it as one of the most crucial traits. This also makes it easier for them to spot the liars.
- They are always aware of their feelings. Yes! An empath does experience heightened emotions. But this is also what makes it easier for him or her to be extremely conscious of their feelings.
- Empaths are extremely creative personalities. They are able to understand emotions much better than others. This gives them an upper hand when it comes to showcasing their creative abilities.
- Their emotional insight makes it easier for them to be their true self. They are very hesitant to hide aspects of their character. Such people wear their emotions up their sleeve.
- They are very generous. Empaths feel compelled to provide emotional support to people around them. This generosity often ends up extending beyond just the emotional bit.
Now let us look at the other side of the coin.
The Disadvantages of Being an Empath
- They feel too much. Since empaths experience all the emotions that their friends do, they feel overwhelmed. They also experience chronic fatigue and feel drained. Directly experiencing someone else’s emotions is quite draining – physically and mentally. Imagine feeling everyone’s pain, beyond a point it will become very difficult.
- Empaths are highly sensitive people. Things that bother them may not even raise an eyelid for others. The result is that they take things personally, almost every time. This ends up giving them a lot of heartburn. For example, they can get emotional even while reading the news.
- They don’t understand why others can’t see the emotions the way they do. This often ends up becoming an emotionally exhausting experience for them. Therefore, the piled-up frustration often ends up impacting their personal and professional relationships.
- Frequent anxiety attacks are the norm for people experiencing heightened emotions. Even simple things like background noise or loud talking disturb their mental balance.
- They carry a lot of unnecessary emotional baggage. This is because of their ability to experience everybody’s pain. It ends up becoming a challenge. They carry this baggage after the first meeting itself.
Signs of an Empath
Empaths are not common. This is because empaths themselves are unable to identify their emotional traits. They are so overwhelmed by the emotions of the people around them. Their feelings end up drowning in this emotional overload. But there are some signs that can help identify an empath.
Most psychologists use questionnaires to identify empaths. These are empath tests. It is important to understand that people are capable of varying degrees of empathic attitude in their behavior. However, the sooner you seek help, the better it is.
So, here is a look at some key signs that an empath can show:
- Friends will label empaths as people with high sensitivity.
- They will feel the pain and the happiness of the people around them.
- Empaths will find it challenging to channelize their emotional energies.
- Being around a lot of people will make them very uncomfortable. This is because they will experience too many emotions at one time.
- Fearing the possibility of emotional overload, empaths stay away from intimate relationships.
- Coping with emotional stress becomes a tedious task for them.
- Even the simplest things will hurt them hard, at least on an emotional level.
- Empaths are always struggling to refuse people.
If you notice people around you exhibiting any of these signs, do not ignore them. Talk to them and tell them to seek professional help. The problem may not appear to be dangerous at the beginning. But as the symptoms progress, the person’s mental health deteriorates.
What Can Help?
Empathic abilities allow you to experience sadness, positive energy, and even physical pain. The circle of experience includes everyone that you meet. Being an empath is an emotionally draining experience.
Thus, one needs to find a balance. Ideally, they should channelize their emotional energy in the right direction. The first step to do so is to identify the trait. Once it is identified, seeking the right psychiatric help becomes easy.
How to Manage Empathic Traits?
Caring for others is absolutely normal as long as it is restricted to close friends and family. But when you start showing this concern for random strangers, it takes a toll on your mental health.
Here is a look at some simple methods that can work really well for empaths. It will help them to get a hold of their emotions.
Boundary is important
Empaths feel inclined to provide emotional support to everyone. But this is not possible every time. Since the empathic people are not able to refuse, they end up being overloaded. Thus, the first step is to learn to set boundaries. Stop overpromising people and understand that you can not be there for everyone.
Indulge in self-compassion
Showing compassion towards others is normal for empaths. But, if they want to control their emotions, they have to connect with their inner self. The idea is to be compassionate towards your emotional needs. Pay attention to them and work towards fulfilling them. For example, if something is bothering you, speak about it and confront your feelings.
Do things that you like to do
Empaths should spend some time engaging in their hobbies. For example, go for a swim or a walk in the park. You can even enjoy the natural surroundings. This tends to distract the mind. It prevents the emotional overload from impacting your mental well being. It also gives the mind an opportunity to de-stress.
Start with mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness can help empaths in a big way. As they are always busy responding to the emotional needs of other people. This gives them little time to experience their feelings. In such cases, practicing yoga or meditation techniques is helpful. It gives you a chance to understand your feelings. Thus you can channelize your emotional energy to achieve positive outcomes.
And to conclude
An empath test is only the first step to helping empathic people. But this test is crucial. Being an empath comes with its own blessings and challenges.
It is up to the individual to focus on the positive aspects and improve the final outcome. Of course, taking charge of your emotions is not an easy task. But with practice and perseverance, you can achieve it.
A freelancer by profession, Kavita writes on a variety of topics, mental health being one of her favorites. Fond of traveling, socializing and meeting new people, most of her inspiration for writing comes from real-life scenarios as well as experiences. Her motto in life has always been to look for a reason to smile.