Why Do I Feel So Empty?

PinExt Why Do I Feel So Empty?

feeling empty1 Why Do I Feel So Empty?Are you feeling empty inside?

Feeling empty is more common than you think.  Many people struggle with this.  If you are one of them or you know someone that feels this way, then it is highly important to identify the root cause.

Often, correctly diagnosing the reason someone is struggling with feelings of emptiness is the first step on the road to recovery.

There are numerous possibilities for why you might be going through a slump where you feel hollow and listless.  In this condition, things that used to appeal to you just don’t seem to matter anymore.  You simply have very little desire for anything.

This can be a slippery slope.  A lack of motivation and engagement can quickly lead to problems in your relationships, your job and may even endanger your health.

Possible Reasons You Feel So Empty

I want to say right up front that I am not a doctor or therapist.  If you suffer from extreme feelings of emptiness or depression, then you need to seek professional help as soon as possible.  It is imperative that you get assistance to resolve this issue as quickly as you can to avoid what are sometimes devastating consequences.

For the rest of you with a milder, but still concerning, case of the blues, I want to share some possible causes in hopes that it will help you dig yourself out of the doldrums so you can return to a state of happiness and fulfillment in life.

Here are some common reasons for feeling empty and what to do about them:

1.  You Are Overtired

According to the Centers for Disease Control, lack of sleep is a public health epidemic.  When you are not getting the proper amount of sleep, it has a powerful impact on your emotional state.  It can definitely lead to feelings of listlessness, apathy and emptiness.  How much sleep is enough?  Well, it depends, but most adults need somewhere between 7 to 9 hours a night.  As the National Sleep Foundation points out, you may need more to catch up if you suffer from sleep debt.  Some of the NSF’s suggestions for establishing a healthier sleep pattern include:

  • Practicing a regular sleep and wake schedule.
  • Eliminating or at least greatly reducing our intake of caffeine.
  • Exercising a few hours before bedtime to relieve stress and relax your body.

2.  You Are Burned Out

Along the same lines as being overtired, you can simply be burned outYour mind and body can only operate for a limited period of time at high intensity levels.  Eventually, you will start to suffer from a lack of motivation, withdrawal and a general void of caring. 

If you think you are burned out, then my first suggestion is to avoid doing anything rash like quitting your job or leaving home.  You could quite likely regret these knee-jerk reactions later.  Instead, you should take at least a weeklong relaxing vacation.  Get away from the stressors in your life so you can recuperate.  You’ll be amazed at what this can do.  If you can’t afford to go somewhere, then try a well-orchestrated staycation.

3.  You May Have a Medical Condition

Sometimes feelings of emptiness can result from thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, infections or other more serious ailments.  If you feel like you’ve “tried everything” to resolve your feelings of emptiness to no avail, then I’d highly suggest discussing it with your doctor

If you’ve already done this and didn’t get the help you needed, then I’d suggest getting a second opinion.  Ask around and find a doctor that will really listen and work with you to help accurately diagnose why you feel the way you do.  Health conditions that cause these kind of feelings can have serious long-term consequences if they aren’t treated properly.

4.  You Lack a Sense of Purpose

It is very hard to get and stay motivated if you lack a sense of purpose.  You need to feel that what you do is meaningful and of value to others and yourself.  I’ve written before about how a lack of engagement at work is bad for you.  It can certainly cause emotional and physical issues that will make you feel empty and detached.

Finding purpose in your life isn’t always easy.  I suggest that you start by getting a clear handle on what you truly value.  If you need some guidance to help you do this, then please read The Easiest and Best Way to Define Your Purpose.  It will walk you through a process that worked for me a couple of years ago to do this for myself.  This one article probably won’t cure all that ails you, but it will help you start in the right direction toward recovering some deeper meaning in your life.  That glimmer of hope will likely be the spark you need to dig yourself out.

5.  You Have Lost Perspective

It is possible that you’ve done this to yourself.  You may feel empty because you’ve lost perspective.  You may have fallen into a cycle of negative thinking about your life, your circumstances and your future.  You may be judging yourself harshly or comparing yourself to others in an adverse way.  This can all lead to a very dark and ominous state of mind.  It will certainly zap your motivation and leave you feeling like nothing you do matters.

If this is where you are at, then you need to open your eyes and count your blessings.  It is likely that you have a lot more to be thankful for than you think.  You need to mindfully and intentionally bring to mind things that fill you with gratitude and joy.  Typically, these are the things that we call the simple pleasures.  They may be simple, but they are powerful in terms of well-being.  I challenge you to make the effort to pull your mind out of the terrible habit of thinking negatively about your life so you can overcome your feelings of emptiness.

Beat Your Feelings of Emptiness and Live Large

I hope the ideas above will help you to start to figure out why you feel so empty.  It might not be just one reason.  Therefore, you may need to implement more than one of the recommended solutions to fully recover.  I say this so you won’t be surprised.  Also, once you do start to feel better, be on guard for minor setbacks.  These are natural.  When they occur, simply go back to some of the things you did before to get yourself back on track.  I wish you the best.  I hope you overcome your feelings of emptiness and start to live large!

Which of these reasons resonate with you?  What are you going to do to overcome feeling empty?  What things have helped you?  Leave a comment so others can benefit.

Photo: Copyright PhotoXpress.com

PinExt Why Do I Feel So Empty?

12 thoughts on “Why Do I Feel So Empty?

  1. Very good article, Jeff. Really has a lot of good, informative and practical suggestions. I was also relating this topic to recent sermons at my church where the pastor spoke of having an empty place in your heart. This was attributed to someone not having Jesus there.

    While it may sound a bit corny and old-fashioned, I truly believe that anyone having times where they feel empty may also try to simply work on their spiritual health. All the reasons, you’ve cited truly are excellent but there is also the human body’s desire to communicate with others and one place that this works best is a good church.

    When we’re involved with helping others and finding meaning in something greater than ourselves, we begin to fill that empty place in our heart and the joy begins to take over and bring that long-neglected peace to our soul. It’s worked for me.

    Keep up the great work,

    • Wolfgang, you’ve made a great point here. Emptiness often is a result of spiritual deficiency. Thanks for bring this up. I know it will help others as they try to find greater meaning in their lives.

  2. Great article, Jeff!

    Whenever I am feeling less than my tops, I can almost always trace it back to too little sleep. I’m an automatic early riser, so whenever I stay up too late for several days in a row, it starts to wear on me a bit.

    Another reason people can feel down and empty is something dissatisfying about their life is tugging at their heartstrings, perhaps a dysfunctional marriage or guilt over how they are raising their kids.

    I also think that almost everyone at some point struggles through feelings of emptiness. That’s why your article is so important, Jeff. People need to read this!

    Thanks for writing it!

    • Ken, I know what you mean about staying up late a few nights in a row. It seems to take me a lot longer to recover nowadays when I do this. Funny, I don’t remember that being an issue for me back in my twenties.

  3. very good article. the reason I feel empty at work is due to the fact that I don’t get any work/tasks/assignments/projects, etc. I have two masters degree, MBA and MIS. I am not using them. Plus, the other day I wrote to my manager what is the probability in getting promoted. That was a big no, no… He insulted me back. I was so inocete in asking the question. He blewed me away. I do nothing at work. It is bored. I continued to ask and I continued to be insulted. I do not know what to do. It takes me about two hours to get to work from the time I hit the shower to the time I sit at my desks. It a frustrating event. I don’t to go to work but a least I feel fortunate that I have a job and I am contributing toward retirement. help me, please!!!!

  4. i never feel so empty and emotionless like today! still try to find out WHY! i never feel this way too much. Thanks for the article

  5. Hello. Your article was very helpful to me. The reasons 1, 4 and 5 are true to me. Yes, they did explain a lot. I don’t think my job is really useful or important to someone. But I can’t change my job, because it’s not easy to find a job here that would provide a good remuneration. Sometimes you can find one with a good remuneration, but then the workers have to work like slaves… And I’m already tired of working so much. Also, my mates at work are women. I don’t like women as company. I’m a woman too, but I get bothered next to them. What am I supposed to do to be able to work with men? I’m totally unmotivated; don’t know what to do with my life. And I have only one friend, which is a girl. She is one of the rare girls that don’t make me bothered. Men don’t like to be my friends. So I end up feeling helpless, lonely, bored, and unmotivated with my work.

  6. Somehow my life just doesnt make any sense anymore. Ever since I joined MBA classes, this feeling is getting even worse. I hardly have any friends anymore, and nobody cares if I exist. I dont have a girlfriend or even anybody to share my feelings with. I feel I am rotting inside and wasting my life away. I am worthless and insignificant. I wish I could run away to some uninhabited island in the Pacific and spend the rest of my days there, since nobody gives a shit about me anyway.

  7. Gee, I really hate to hear that, depressed soul. I wish better days ahead for you. I know what it’s like to feel neglected, unloved. Great article, though, Jeff. You might not be an expert, but it sure looks like you know a lot about psychology. Just remember, everybody, IT’S A BEAUTIFUL WORLD!

    Illuminated by the cold sun
    I had some tame freedom
    On the miraculous night reflected in the mirror
    My soul began to remove its mask

    On the other side of the crumbling wall
    Despair and hope wear the same face
    If your heart is not satisfied
    Head towards the ending prologue that flies away

    In this world where the wind blows like a knife
    What is it that I should protect?
    When I know one pain after another
    I draw closer to my true self

    kieyuku Fake Light
    umareyuku True Light
    kono te ni…

    The fake light that is disappearing
    The true light that is being born
    In these hands…

    Pierce through the white-dyed night
    Go on creating a new era
    With a heart that’s been released
    Fly through the endlessly continuing white night

  8. I’m too busy making sure everyone else is happy but then something happens like my feelings don’t count & I get myself into a funk. I become depressed, stay in bed for days crying thinking the worst & when I do finally hear from the person I’m so deeply in love with i pull away & tell him it’s not going to work. I thought our relationship was strong/amazing something we both wanted. I forwarded a poem my daughter sent about losing loved ones & the reasons they come into our lives inthe first place. He replied with “I see this is a read between the lines type of letter & I have a lot of anxiety with our relationship” he’s bi polar & always feels some is out to get him. I feel like a yo-yo & very hurt as I truly love this man & when we’re together everything is perfect, he goes home & there’s issues. Every 3-4 months we break up for a month but then he’s back stating he’s lost without me & loves me. He’ll work at his insecurities. I’m at my wits end & tired of the hurt.

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