Life should feel, well, like living. Sadly, there are many people out there who feel empty, like there’s a black void in the space where they should be keeping all of their emotions.
When someone feels this way, they don’t really feel anything. No desire, hope, or aspirations. Even feeling angry or sad might be better than feeling nothing.
If you feel empty, figuring out why is the first step toward unlocking your emotions. All it takes is a bit of self-reflection. Although everyone has a different reason for feeling this way, there’s a high chance that you might resonate with one or more of the following reasons:
Number 1 — Long-Term Stresses
Humans are incredibly vulnerable to stress. While our bodies do release hormones that are intended to help us get through stressful situations, say, if you want to run away from something or make it through that interview, over a long period of time, these stress hormones can cause serious psychological and physiological problems.
You could end up depressed, anxious, or even suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Long-term stress may be to blame for your feelings of emptiness if you’ve survived abuse, violence, or poverty, making you more susceptible to Complex PTSD, a form of disorder that occurs when victims are stuck in their trauma.
Number 2 — Family, Friends, Or Relationship Issues
Your emotional state is more dependent on the people you surround yourself with than you might think. That empty feeling can arise when your relationships bring negative emotions into your life such as stress, loneliness, or pain.
And maintaining your mental health is even more difficult when the people around you are struggling to maintain theirs.
If there are problems in your relationships that your partner or family members refuse to address, that can be an added source of stress. We all want to be on good terms with the people we love, but, sometimes, that’s easier said than done.
Number 3 — Excessive Social Media Use
You’ve probably heard the argument that too much social media is not good for you and brushed it off. But, there’s actually evidence that excessive social media use can cause problems in your life, including feelings of emptiness.
Seeing negative stories on the news in addition to the “perfect” lives of other people fuels insecurities and can make other issues like personality disorders, depression, and anxiety worse.
Since no one truly lives a perfect life, people end up comparing themselves to unattainable standards. And the more time you spend on social media, the more negative feelings you may experience. If you’re feeling empty, perhaps it’s time to cut down on all that social media.
Number 4 — Excessive Media And Video Games
Like with social media, people tend to fill the void with TV shows, movies, and video games. While spending time indulging in media isn’t bad, overconsumption like binge-watching and playing video games all night can be harmful to your wellbeing.
Media addiction will reduce your motivation, and it can also lead to sleep problems. What’s worse, is that when you’re not feeding into your addiction, you’re more likely to feel anxious, depressed, and empty.
Number 5 — Significant Life Changes And Transitions
Transition can bring great things into your life, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be stressful or hard. Whether that change is planned or imposed on you, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable and nervous about what lies ahead.
If you’ve lost your job, moved to a new home, just had a child, or experienced some other significant change, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.
If you’re not coping well with these changes, your brain might shut down, causing you to feel empty inside.
Number 6 — Neglecting Spiritual Health
Whether you’re religious or not, your spiritual health is essential if you want to feel fulfilled. Spirituality can come through creativity, a relationship with nature, or volunteer work, but it always involves a deep connection with yourself.
When life is busy and stressful, it can be difficult to carve out time for yourself. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
Grinding with no breaks usually results in a life devoid of fun and playfulness. You’ll only end up feeling burnt out, depressed, and empty.
Number 7 — Unrealized Goals And Regrets
Regret is one the heaviest weights that someone can carry. Of course, almost everyone has at least one thing they wish they could have done differently, but regret can consume some people.
If you spend a lot of time ruminating on your past actions and mistakes, you’ll quickly fall into a pit of sadness, regret, and emptiness. Not all wounds heal with time alone, you also need healthy coping skills.
Number 8 — Grief
Like loss, grief is natural. Some people have time to process their loss before it comes. This level of emotional preparation can help you move through an ending, but you won’t always be given this opportunity.
When you lose a loved one unexpectedly, there will be a flood of emotions, and it might not be immediate. Numbness or denial are often part of the grieving process, and this might explain the emptiness you feel.
It can be a rather uncomfortable experience when you think you should feel sad or angry, but you feel nothing.
Number 9 — Absence Of Purpose
An absence of purpose is one of the common reasons people feel devoid of emotion. In modern society, many people are pushed to live a life that isn’t necessarily in line with their values and desires.
The norm tells us to get an education, start a career, and land a well-paying job. But for many people, this trajectory only brings misery, lethargy, and emptiness.
Your purpose probably lies somewhere outside of the norm. It could involve helping other people, expressing yourself through art, finding new adventures and experiences, or discovering new places and cultures.
If you feel like you lack purpose, meaning, or direction in life, that could be the source of your emptiness. To wash away that empty feeling, try escaping your comfort zone. Meet new people and try new things until you find something that gives you a sense of fulfillment.
Number 10 — Mental Health Issues
Unfortunately, some people feel empty due to poor mental health that can’t be managed with introspection and exploration alone. When you feel empty, you’re probably depressed, too.
You might feel tired all the time or never be able to muster up motivation for the things you need to or want to do.
If you suspect that underlying psychological issues could be causing you feelings of emptiness, consider talking to a mental health professional. While feeling empty can be a terrible and sometimes overwhelming problem, it’s not the root of your issues, it’s a symptom of them.
If you don’t know why you’re feeling this way, it’s important to examine what situations, experiences, or ways of thinking could be contributing to this.
When you figure out the source, you’ll have a much easier time taking action to alleviate this feeling and finding joy in life once again. Most people who experience feelings of emptiness don’t feel prepared to address the problem on their own.
And if you feel that way, too, consider talking to a trusted friend, family member, or a professional, especially if it’s been a long time since you felt anything.