When someone feels empty inside, it is a strong, all-encompassing feeling that takes over their whole life. This could make you feel like life has no point, which would keep you from connecting with people, especially your friends and family. It can be a short-term emotional void that some people feel during hard times, or it can last for months or even years.
Several things, like unresolved trauma, unmet emotional needs, and depression, can make you feel empty. On top of all of these, long-term feelings of isolation or loneliness and unresolved grief can also make this mental state more complicated.
Emotional numbness, deep hollowness, and persistent loneliness usually accompany emptiness. These emotions interplay with feelings of sadness, anxiety, and despair, as well as this complex array of emotional stress.
Prolonged feelings of emptiness can cause emotional distress, relationship strain, mental health disorders, and decreased life enjoyment.
Self-help can alleviate long-term emptiness. Anti-negative strategies include mindfulness meditation, expressive journaling, and positive affirmations. Empowerment comes from socializing, setting goals, and self-compassion.
This article will attempt to examine the various and diverse reasons why people feel such a profound sense of emptiness and offer some valuable tips to help you get back to the place of fulfillment and find meaning in life once again.
Possible reasons for feeling emptiness
Mental and physical problems are at the root of the feeling of emptiness. If you do not deal with your trauma, meet your emotional needs, or feel like your life has no purpose, you may feel this emotional void. Emotional scars from the past can still follow a person around and color their present life. Also, these conditions may include mental illnesses like anxiety and depression that make people feel even more empty.
When it comes to the body, however, there may be underlying health issues, trouble sleeping, or even drug abuse. It is also important to remember that feeling emptiness can be caused by many different things.
Feelings associated with emptiness
Also, it is important to note that different people may feel different emotions when they are feeling empty. Some common feelings associated with emptiness include:
- Hollowness. Feelings of emptiness and hollowness in one’s stomach, as if there was nothing inside.
- Loneliness. The concept of emptiness can create loneliness, or feeling like one is all alone even while surrounded by many people.
- Numbness. A muted emotion state is one in which one can be emotionally numb or have only partial feelings at best.
- Sadness. Mostly, emptiness is associated with enduring sadness, where an individual feels unsatisfied and disappointed.
- Anxiety. Emptiness could cause anxiety and feelings of restlessness because it leads people to be uncertain and uncomfortable.
- Despair. This emptiness could be accompanied by a deep sense of hopelessness and helplessness, as one is unable to see any path forward.
- Frustration. This inability to find a sense of fulfillment leads to frustration that can make one feel stuck.
Emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion usually follows long-term wrestling with emptiness.
Anhedonia. A loss of the ability to experience pleasure diminished by an inability to derive pleasure from formerly enjoyed activities.
The dangers of prolonged feelings of emptiness
Living with an ever-present vacuum for a long time has many problems that can make different parts of life harder. One of them is a lower quality of life, which can lead to mental disorders and emotional stress. Unmet expectations make it hard for people to connect in a meaningful way, which can cause relationship strain.
Feelings of emptiness make it more likely that someone will use drugs to medicate themselves. It also makes people more likely to get mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. Sleep, hunger, and general health can all change, which can have an effect on physical health. Emptiness also lowers self-esteem, which leads to a bad view of oneself and a lack of value for one's own worth.
Could it mean a deeper mental health condition?
Feeling empty all the time could be a sign of a mental illness. Emptiness is one of the typical characteristics related to depression, borderline personality disorder, dissociative disorders, schizoid personality disorder, and existential depression.
The feeling of emptiness is often a sign of deeper emotional problems, but it does not have to be linked to a specific disorder. People who feel a deep sense of emptiness that affects their health should get professional help for a correct diagnosis and treatment.
Physical reasons for emptiness
Sometimes feeling emptiness inside can be related in physiological terms as well, so it is worth taking into account all kinds of causes—psychological and/or physical. Some potential physical causes include:
Hormonal imbalances. Hormonal fluctuations associated with thyroid function and reproductive cycles may lead to changes in mood and create a feeling of nothingness.
Sleep disturbances. Emotional emptiness or fatigue can be caused by unhealthy sleep or insomnia that impairs mood regulation.
Chronic illness. Mental health can be impacted by long-term or chronic illnesses coupled with ongoing pain, which may result in a lack of satisfaction within an individual.
Medication side effects. Some drugs can also result in emotional side effects, whereby patients may express emptiness as a consequence of their drug interactions or adjustments to dosages.
Neurological issues. When there are neurological injuries or diseases that affect the nervous system, which is essential in making sensory experiences, it can cause feelings of emptiness, numbness, and depression.
Self-help strategies for emotional emptiness
This segment will provide a list of some useful self-help tips for emotional emptiness that may elevate one’s mental wellbeing. Here are some of the most effective strategies:
- Mindfulness meditation. Practice mindfulness meditation on a daily basis with the purpose of becoming conscious of the here and now and in the process, learn how to deal with the thoughts and feelings of emptiness.
- Journaling. In your journal, write down what you feel at any specific point in time. Such practice helps one gain clarity, reflect on oneself, and express and process their feelings constructively.
- Positive affirmations. Incorporate positive affirmations into your daily life as a way of countering negative self-talk. Affirmations that reiterate personal dignity and promote positivity.
- Social connections. Actively nurture meaningful relationships. One should make it a habit to involve themselves with friends, family members, and support groups that will help them and prevent loneliness associated with the feeling of emptiness.
- Therapeutic activities. Try some therapeutic activities like art, music, or poetry that appeal to you. These activities can provide an avenue for expressing creativity and help achieve a sense of purpose.
- Goal setting. Larger goals should be broken down into smaller, achievable tasks. Build a sense of achievement by celebrating your accomplishments, even if they are small.
- Self-compassion practices. Be kind to yourself. Self-compassion by offering yourself the same kindness you would give your friend experiencing similar challenges.
How to help a loved one experiencing deep emptiness
Emotional support in cases of emotional emptiness implies a combination of empathy, patience, and openness.
Create a non-judgmental environment where they feel safe opening up.
Give them time to share their feelings and actively listen without quickly attempting to offer solutions.
Assist them in seeking appropriate professional help, and let them know you will be at their disposal.
Do things together that are fun or relaxing and promote togetherness.
Balancing physical and mental health to combat emptiness
Physical and mental health are inextricably linked, so taking care of your body will greatly impact your mental health. This section discusses how physical health can help overcome emotional emptiness:
|Things to do
|You should introduce some exercises on a daily basis to help relieve the signs of depression and emptiness.
|Make sure that you eat healthy foods and keep your diet in balance. Taking in enough nutrients helps one be physically and mentally fit.
|Ensure you drink plenty of water every day. Dehydration can have a negative impact on mood and cognition.
|To enhance well-being and alleviate the fatigue feeling as it relates to emptiness, prioritize the quality of your sleep by establishing a regular sleep routine.
|Limit substance use
|Remember to consider substance abuse where it is appropriate. The abuse of substances may worsen depression and emptiness.
|Use relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation to relieve physical tension and boost general health.
|The natural light may be helpful if you can spare some time walking or playing outdoors. Sunlight, as well as other positive aspects of nature, are generally related to improved mood and good mental health.
Living with emptiness is a very upsetting thing to go through. The good news for people who are dealing with emptiness disorders is that things can change. People can use self-help techniques for their physical and mental health to understand and get rid of emptiness, which will help them live a meaningful life. Always remember, though, that getting help from professionals is a very powerful and important part of this process.
How does emotional emptiness differ from everyday sadness?
Emotional emptiness is a chronic and pervasive experience of nothingness more profound than simple sadness. It does not always have a particular origin, and it can affect one’s everyday life, relationships, and health.
Can engaging in physical activities help alleviate feelings of emptiness?
Yes, this is true, as endorphins may be released during physical activity, stress is reduced, and people feel accomplished after exercising regularly. Taking up some physical activity could help you cope with feelings of emptiness.
How does a person know when they should get professional help for emotional emptiness?
Consider consulting a doctor if feeling empty becomes very overwhelming, affects your ability to function normally on a daily basis, and includes symptoms like changes in sleep, appetite, or mood. Mental health professionals can offer specialized counseling and assistance in this regard.
- Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotional Dysregulation. Understanding chronic feelings of emptiness in borderline personality disorder: a qualitative study.
- Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. What is the Role of Dissociation and Emptiness in the Occurence of Nonsuicidal Self injury.
- PLOS ONE. Measuring the shadows: A systematic review of chronic emptiness in borderline personality disorder.