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 out. Your 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.
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