Feeling empty inside is an awful emotion. If you have struggled to make sense of why it happens to you or how you can cope with it, this is the right place for you.
“I feel like there are no emotions inside me. Like nothing could ever affect me anymore.”
“I constantly feel that something is missing in my life.”
“I don’t really know how I feel about anything in life.”
“Sometimes, my chest tightens, and it feels hollow inside.”
“I am feeling so empty inside me. Like not happy, not sad, just plain empty.”
These might seem like five different statements to you, but they are actually five people describing what feeling empty inside means to them.
Yet, of all the emotions humans can feel, emptiness is one of the worst. It’s like having this full-blown void inside you without knowing how to fill it. No matter how busy your life is or how many people you are surrounded by, this existential crisis always clings to you. And the moment you stop, it starts overwhelming you, and that freaks us out.
And so we desperately search for ways to get rid of this feeling. We cling to relationships, hobbies, work, more work, bigger social circles, and whatnot. But we don’t realize we are on a futile quest because you never really asked yourself, “Why do I feel so empty.”
This is why understanding what feeling empty inside truly means and why these feelings occur in the first place is the right way to deal with them.
In this blog post, we are doing just that. We’ll dive deep into what it means when you say, “I am feeling empty inside.” We will look into what fuels these feelings and how you can deal with them. Let’s get started.
“I Feel So Empty Inside.” What Does It Truly Mean?
Emptiness, in terms of mental and emotional health, is a feeling of existential crisis associated with how you interact with yourself and the world around you.
Since feeling empty inside is not a medical diagnosis, there are no specified definitions. It is more of a subjective experience. Researchers from across the world who have studied this complex feeling describe it as a negative emotional state that can adversely affect your mental and physical health.
Feeling empty inside is associated with:
- dissociation, and
- an unstable self-identity.
While the term ‘empty’ may seem like a feeling of nothingness to most people on the outside, it’s far more complex.
A study was conducted in Australia in 2021 to study the feelings of chronic emptiness in patients with bipolar disorder. It concluded that feeling empty inside mostly meant a disconnection people felt from themselves and the rest of the world. It was accompanied by emotional numbness and reduced functional capacity. Most participants in the study describe this state as extremely distressing.
Why Do You Have A Feeling Of Emptiness Inside?
If you have ever said, “I am feeling empty inside,” you understand how deeply disturbing and awful the emotion is. And the best way to deal with it is to understand what’s causing it. Knowing the cause allows you to get the right help and treatment (if required).
Here are a few reasons why you might be feeling empty inside:
1. Physical Factors:
There are a host of physical reasons that can make you feel empty, but here are some of the main culprits:
- Lack of proper sleep: Getting the right amount of sleep is significant in your daily life. As per research published in Nature Journal, people who sleep for seven to nine hours increase people’s resistance to stress and emotional regulation capacity.
- Exhaustion: When you’re exhausted, it becomes a challenge to carry on with the basic tasks of the day. This can eventually lead to feelings of emptiness and hopelessness.
2. Unresolved Trauma
It has been noted that recent experiences of trauma and grief can cause one to feel empty inside. A traumatic experience is anything that threatens a person’s physical and emotional safety. It’s highly distressing and can lead to recurring flashbacks. It’s now scientifically proven that trauma stays in your body. Therefore, feeling empty inside might be your body’s warning signs of the same.
3. Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
If you use numbing or disconnecting techniques as coping mechanisms, you are more likely to experience feelings of emptiness inside. While it might feel easy to emotionally detach yourself from a triggering experience, it’s supremely unhealthy for you in the long run.
Burnout can occur due to multiple reasons. It has been defined as a feeling of complete exhaustion, detachment, and cynicism. Whether it’s related to your personal or professional lives, burnout can deepen feelings of emptiness.
5. Mental Health Conditions
There’s a whole list of mental health conditions that have felt empty inside as a symptom. Determining whether your feelings are regular or a sign of something deeper is pretty challenging. This is why seeking professional help is the right first step.
Here’s a list of mental health issues commonly associated with a feeling of emptiness inside.
- Depression: Depression has an adverse impact on how you feel and perceive things. It causes feelings of hopelessness and sadness, leaving you feeling empty inside.
- Borderline personality disorder: This personality disorder affects your ability to regulate emotions, which can lead to increased impulsivity. It can make you feel dissociated from the rest of the world and cause feelings of emptiness inside.
- Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD): This mental disorder is characterized by an inflated sense of self. However, on the inside, people with NPD feel empty and sad.
- Schizophrenia: People affected by schizophrenia feel dissociated from reality. It can obstruct their daily functioning and leave them empty inside.
6. Loneliness And Grief
Being physically and emotionally lonely can also trigger feelings of emptiness inside someone. Internal loneliness marked by low self-esteem and harmful coping mechanisms can inflate such feelings.
Additionally, losing someone or something very close to you can also hit you hard. And while the experiences of grief are very subjective, they can make you leave you feeling empty and numb on the inside.
How To Stop Feeling Empty Inside?
Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward way to learn how to stop feeling empty inside. However, there’s a lot that you can do to help yourself. Here are a few initial tips to help you stop feeling hollow inside.
1. Stop looking outside for a sense of purpose in life.
One of the best tips on how to stop feeling empty inside is to stop looking outwardly for a sense of purpose. Whatever you are searching for is inside you. If you continue to rely on outward ideas, they will stop inspiring you and making you feel alive at some point. So try finding whatever fire, motivation, or will you are looking for inside you.
2. Examine your life and put things into perspective.
If you don’t understand who you are or what’s actually missing in your life that leaves you with a feeling of emptiness inside, you will never find your answers. So, try to refocus and rebalance your life. Spend time thinking about what you truly want in life.
If you can figure out what makes you feel hollow inside, you can take tangible steps to fill the void.
3. Connect with supportive people.
If you have ever said, “I feel an emptiness inside of me,” you know how difficult the situation is. And that’s why you don’t need to face everything alone. Leaning on your loved ones and friends for support is important. Acknowledging that you aren’t feeling good and sharing it with someone can make you feel less isolated.
If you don’t want to confide in someone you know, support groups or volunteer groups are a great way to connect with people going through similar situations.
4. Build a routine around activities that make you feel happy.
One of the most important tips on how to stop feeling empty is to focus on things that make you happy. We live in a hustle culture-powered society that looks down on anything you do to rest or make yourself happy. And so we forget about happiness.
This is where the problem begins. It’s essential to make time for yourself. A good way to start is to center your routine around hobbies and activities that leave you feeling fulfilled and content.
5. Seek professional help.
Sometimes, feeling empty inside might lead to distressing and harmful thoughts. If that’s what’s happening to you, it’s important that you seek professional help. Additionally, if your feelings of emptiness have persisted for longer than usual, there might be deeper issues that you need to take care of.
Getting professional help might help you understand the underlying causes of your emptiness. They will also empower you to make positive changes in your life and incorporate healthy coping mechanisms.
If you or someone around you is considering self-harm or suicide, there’s help available for you. Here are a few resources that can help:
- Call a helpline number like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
- Send a text with ‘HOME’ to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
- If you reside outside America, here’s a list of helplines from different countries.
Feeling empty inside is an AWFUL feeling caused by negative self-image, physical factors, mental health issues, and much more. While it’s natural to say, “I am feeling so empty inside,” if the feelings persist for longer than two weeks, it’s time to consult professionals.
Acknowledging your feelings and actively seeking help are the first steps toward learning how to stop feeling empty inside.
With the advent of online therapy platforms, seeking professional help is now easier than ever. To learn more about the most affordable and accessible online therapy platforms, click here.
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