It’s natural to feel concerned if you’ve noticed a change in yourself. Recognizing this feeling and addressing it is the first step toward feeling better. Finding ways to stop feeling empty may depend on what’s causing it.
Gently acknowledge the emptiness
If you’re experiencing emptiness that’s more like a gaping hole, acknowledge it, and be gentle with yourself. Remember that you’re doing the best you can at any given moment. Feeling guilty is not uncommon, but it might stop you from seeking help.
Begin by recognizing your own feelings and needs. Even if this is challenging, try to avoid dismissing yourself and what you feel. If you acknowledge that your feelings are linked to a loss you experienced, consider allowing yourself time and space to grieve openly. Grief looks and feels different to everyone, and there are no right or wrong ways to do it.
Save time for yourself every day
It’s natural to sometimes turn to certain events or activities to not think about how you feel. It is important to fight this urge and instead save time to be with yourself and look within. This may include exploring your own desires, fears, hopes and dreams. Because different activities work for different people, you might find that meditation, writing or exercise helps you refocus yourself. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you practice devoting time and energy to yourself and caring for yourself, the less present those empty feelings will be.
Explore your current feelings
Spend a few minutes noticing what you’re feeling right now. You might want to write “bored” or “distracted” or “curious.” If you’re having a hard time naming your feelings try Google “feelings list”. It also can help to pick one part of your body, such as your hand or head and scan for various categories of sensation like temperature, tension or movement. Practicing these exercises every day can help you open yourself to deeper and longer self-explorations.
Explore your feelings of emptiness
Journaling might also help work on your feelings of emptiness. Explore the following questions as a starting point:
- Have I been judging myself or comparing myself to others?
- Do I tell myself positive things? Or do I tend to notice failures or call myself names?
- Are my feelings being considered in my relationships, or am I minimizing what I am feeling?
- Am I actively tending to my physical and health needs?
- Have I turned toward behaviours or addictions to avoid my feelings?
- Am I focusing solely on the needs of another person or people?
- What am I trying to prove or win?
- Am I blaming myself or feeling guilty about things that are out of my control?
- Am I showing myself compassion like I would with a close friend or family member?
- Am I asserting myself in my decisions and respecting my personal opinions?
Connect with others
After sitting with your feelings and exploring them, you might find it helpful to connect with others. Reaching out to friends or family can help you feel better, especially if you’re able to confide in them about your feelings. One idea is to regularly connect with loved ones through social engagements, hobbies and mutual interests.
Depression and grief might sometimes cause you to neglect daily self-care. This is not something to feel ashamed of but engaging in acts of self-care might help you feel better. This could include basic things, such as eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep and exercising. Hunger and tiredness can sometimes exacerbate negative feelings. Consider finding positive outlets for your emotions, like journaling, a new hobby or creative pursuit.
You might also want to limit the time you spend on social media. This could progressively help you feel better. If you can’t or don’t, then try reminding yourself that what you see on the screen might not be an attainable goal for anyone. You could see it as watching a science-fiction movie that’s fun to watch but not based on reality.
You’re doing the best you can with the resources at hand. Even as children, some people find ways to protect themselves from hurt. One of these ways might be repressing feelings. In that case, give yourself credit for coming up with a solution that worked when you were small and powerless. Commend yourself for all the ways you’ve come up with to cope with events in your life. Now consider allowing those feelings to come out. You may have some catching up to do. And you don’t need to rush to override your old ways of survival.