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Last Updated on October 3, 2022

Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void

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Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void

Do you struggle with escaping the feeling of extreme purposelessness and emptiness? Or maybe you know a little about what you enjoy and want from life and what you want to achieve in the future, yet you still feel empty and tortured by episodes of loneliness.

If you’re asking yourself, “Why do I feel empty,” keep reading and learn what these feelings of emptiness mean and how you can begin overcoming them.

Why Do I Feel Empty, and What Does It Mean?

According to psychology expert Dr. Margaret Paul, lack of love causes inner emptiness. [1]

When you don’t love yourself, ignore your feelings, and always try to get attention and approval from others, you can experience feeling empty.

All people are creative and full of potential, but not all of them use this potential and, thus, feel as though they’re wasting their time and energy. Most of them report feeling empty. We try to fill the void with food, relationships, work, and things that are supposed to distract our attention.

Unfulfilling job, a lack of close friendships, a toxic relationship, or a simple lack of self-love and compassion are all things that could cause emptiness. Whatever the cause, you can overcome the emptiness if you’re willing to make some key changes to your routine and thought processes.

The most important thing to realize is that feeling empty is a state of lack.

Some people who struggle with a chronic sense of emptiness had parents who were incapable of intimate relationships with them. When you do not get enough love and attention in childhood, you start to believe you are not good enough. That means that the real cause of inner emptiness is a lack of emotional connection and demonstration of love. [2])

As a result, this feeling can travel through our lives like baggage. The lack of belonging becomes a traumatic imprint that becomes so acutely uncomfortable that we are willing to do anything we can to get away from that particular feeling.

Although this feeling is not uncommon for many people, it can result in a mental illness, such as depression, or substance use disorders, if left unattended. Furthermore, people tend to get out of this feeling with unhealthy habits, which increases the chance of alcohol and drug addiction.

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For these reasons, having a clue about what is really important to you will help to identify the cause of your feelings of emptiness.

Many reasons can lead to feeling empty. These reasons can be mental, physical, or emotional.

Physical Factors

While there are lots of physical ailments or issues that can lead to feeling so empty, here are the main culprits:

Lack of Sleep

Getting enough sleep every night is beneficial to your health. An individual can start feeling empty when they are tired. Adults who sleep for seven to nine hours every day will improve their mental and emotional resilience. [3] You should never sacrifice your sleep for anything.

Exhaustion

Exhaustion can cause you to feel like you don’t have enough energy to carry on. Perhaps you’ve been working so hard that your energy levels have dropped dramatically.

If you are feeling empty inside, you should consider seeking assistance from a friend, colleague, or neighbor, incorporating rest time into your calendar, and meditating.

Scientific studies show that meditation may help alleviate pain, fatigue, and depression, and slow cognitive decline. [4]

If these solutions don’t work for you, you’ll need to find the cause of your exhaustion. You can:

  • Write down your goals
  • Visit a psychologist or doctor to get medical advice
  • Delegate some responsibilities to capable people
  • Step away from a demanding job temporarily or permanently

When you assess your situation and responsibilities, you’ll find that there are obligations that don’t fit into your life the way they did a while ago. Sometimes, quitting something is a sign of strength.

Mental and Emotional Factors

Circumstances or life events can lead to a sense of emptiness and sadness. Everyone experiences their world differently; how you perceive events will greatly influence your emotional and mental health condition. Some of the common causes of chronic feelings of emptiness include:

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Boredom

Are you dissatisfied with your life? You can start feeling empty because you don’t have a clear purpose. You need to write down a list of activities that you can do to increase your sense of fun, joy, and meaning. You can also consider writing down some of the things that you are grateful for.

Gratitude exercises play an important role in promoting health and well-being. Studies have shown that gratitude exercise boosts happiness and life satisfaction and reduces negative effects including symptoms of depression. [5]

Loneliness

When a relationship ends, you may start feeling a void. To feel happy, you must maintain relationships with family, spouses, and friends. Loneliness has been closely linked to dangerous mental conditions, such as clinical depression and mental illness. [6]

Grief

After losing a loved one, it’s common to feel emotional numbness and emptiness. To come to terms with losing a loved one, you’ll need to accept your grief, find support groups, get advice on diagnosis, learn the best ways to express your grief, and get involved in something.

Symptoms of Emptiness and Void

In order to find the solution to the problem, we should learn how to tell whether we’re feeling empty inside. Understanding emptiness calls us to learn more about our inner feelings.

Let’s have a look at the most common symptoms of emptiness and void:

  • You don’t understand who you are and your purpose in life.
  • You are full of negative thoughts.
  • You always seek approval from family and friends.
  • You don’t know how to explain your feelings.

Sometimes, emptiness feels like an inner void or emotional numbness. It may manifest as anxiety or depression if it has become a long-term feeling. If you feel as though you’ve lost a sense of direction, you may be experiencing emptiness.

5 Ways to Overcome Feeling of Emptiness

The key to fighting emptiness is to find out what you are missing. Is it a sense of belonging, meaning, or interpersonal connection? Here are several medically reviewed suggestions from leading experts on how to recognize and stop feeling empty.

1. Refocus and Rebalance Yourself

In order to be in a positive state of body and mind, you can spend several minutes meditating or exercising. Focus on yourself and spend more time thinking about your desires.

Many research studies have shown that bathing has many benefits, including pain relief, enhanced mobility, and improved psychological well-being. [7]

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While it’s easy to get distracted by all the negative emotions you’re feeling, it’s important to re-center yourself by practicing self-care through exercise, healthy eating, meditation, and other healthy habits.

Try to pick up some of these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit.

2. Discover Your Needs With the Help of Others

Everybody has needs, and it’s important to realize that we can’t always achieve them without help from others. We think that we have to meet them by ourselves, but sometimes, it is important to ask for help.

Asking for help can resolve many life issues and can be a first step towards meeting your needs. For example, if you’re lacking interpersonal connection, ask a family member to introduce you to some new people. Just one introduction can lead to many new connections.

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to get to the gym to exercise, find a friend who also wants to start so that you can act as accountability partners. Whatever you may be lacking, there’s likely someone out there who can help you if you’re willing to reach out.

If you find it difficult to ask for help, check out these tips: How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So

3. Appreciate and Treasure What You Have

Another way to stop feeling empty is through gratitude. Research suggests that feeling grateful is a very important positive emotion that allows people to expand their worldview and view of themselves, which later leads to building better social relations and skills. [8] It is a sort of spiritual practice that helps you tap into a constant inner smile.

This means that individuals who are thankful are also more satisfied with their relationships with friends and family. They are also less stressed and much happier overall. [9]

Try to be appreciative of what is around you by noticing all good things we take for granted. A simple compliment given during the day will show you how much positive energy you can create.

If you enjoy writing, start a gratitude journal. Take 5 or 10 minutes each morning or night to write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for.

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These 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For can inspire you to be more grateful today.

4. Never Stop Learning New Things

Neurobiologists have found out that learning something new has motivational effects similar to dopamine, which leads to emotional stimulation. [10] Therefore, it’s important to not only review the information you’ve learned before but also push yourself to learn something new each day or week.

You can tap into educational podcasts or YouTube videos to do this. TED talks are often quite short, meaning you can squeeze some learning into even your busiest of days.

If you like to read, buy a few used books and make it a goal to finish them within a certain time frame. Even fiction books have a lot to teach about the human condition and psychology, so just find something that interests you.

5. Ask for Professional Help if Needed

Many people cannot identify the reason behind this feeling no matter how long they analyze themselves and search for a problem.

Find a good mental health professional who will help you explore your feelings and understand why you’re feeling empty. They’ll help ground you in the present moment so that you can become whole again.

You can also seek out support groups in order to connect with others who may be experiencing similar problems.

Try to overcome the sensation that seeking professional help means that you’re weak because it certainly doesn’t. Asking for help is a sign of incredible strength and bravery, and once you begin to receive the benefits, you’ll wish you had done it sooner.

Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void

Recommended actionable tasks to benefit immediately
3 Actions
Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void
Start meditating every day
Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void
Write down five things that you are grateful for every morning
Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void
Share your feelings with a trustworthy friend

Final Thoughts

Finding the cause of inner emptiness can be a long, challenging process. However, instead of distracting yourself by filling this emptiness with things like shopping, food, alcohol, and drugs, find out what makes you feel incomplete and regain your happiness.

Featured photo credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Anna Y.T. Chui

Anna is the Editor-in-Chief of Lifehack. She is also a communication expert and shares tips on happiness and relationships.

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