I was curled up in my bed, in the fetal position, my thoughts deep in the darkness. Everything about my life felt sad and empty. I was lost in the depth of it all.
All I wanted in life was to learn how to stop feeling sad and empty.
Life felt so sad that I contemplated ending my life at the time; the emptiness was deafening. All I was feeling empty feelings.
I did my best to fulfill my responsibilities while doing just enough to make it through the day. On top of that, I found myself feeling lonely feelings in all emptiness.
The sadness and emptiness were gray clouds that would open up with pour over me at any given moment.
If you’ve been feeling sad and empty, I’m sure you relate. And you may be seeking ways to stop feeling empty all the time.
Sometimes it can feel like such a deep hole that seemingly has no escape.
But I assure you there are ways to deal with feeling empty and sad so often. I found my way out of the sadness and emptiness and towards sustainable happiness. And now, as a Happiness and Manifestation Coach and Educator, I give everything I know away.
In this article, we will discuss why we might feel sad and empty, how we know that we have these feelings, and how to stop feeling sad and empty.
What causes emotional emptiness?
Emptiness is associated with mental health issues like narcissism, schizophrenia, and depression. However, even those who have never struggled with mental health might sometimes feel empty.
Feeling emptiness is a poorly understood state in psychology, with complex emotions experienced differently by different people.
It’s a feeling where you often feel alone and socially disconnected, unfilled in your personal life, and that life has no meaning.
Why do I always feel sad and empty?
Some reasons why you might feel sad and empty are:
A traumatic experience can make you feel empty, insecure and lose your sense of self. And this can cause long-term distress. To cope with these feelings, your body may make you physically feel empty to protect itself. In a way emotionally numb protects you from the pain of the traumatic experience.
When you face difficult times, you may sometimes feel numb or disconnected as a way to manage. It often happens without you being aware of it. And while this can help you temporarily, relying on this too much can lead to a lasting feeling of emptiness.
If you’re experiencing burnout, you may feel completely drained and disengaged from the things that used to bring you joy. Burnout is not just about work, this can happen in any aspect of your life, from your career to your personal relationships or responsibilities, and can leave you feeling defeated and unfulfilled.
When you lack the tools to handle complex emotions, it’s tempting to shut them off and become indifferent. I’ve done this myself and know others who have as well, since processing the emotions was much harder then turning them off.
For many shutting down is a form of survival. But avoiding these feelings can make you feel empty.
When you feel physically, emotionally, or energetically drained, it can leave you feeling empty. It’s a crash and burn pathway.
Not getting enough sleep during this time can make your feelings of emptiness even more significant and harder to manage.
Lacking happiness can cause you to have a sense of emptiness and often, it’s tempting to also start to neglect your well-being. It’s a vicious cycle that causes the unhappiness and in result the feelings of emptiness.
If your reasons aren’t listed here, remember that feeling empty can be experienced for various reasons. So, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is unique and valid, including yours.
Is emptiness a form of sadness?
The feeling of emptiness often comes with other unpleasant emotions and experiences like sadness, frustration, overburden, lack of interest, indifference, and numbness.
Unlike the heaviness that can be felt in depression and sadness, with emptiness, you feel void of emotions.
However, each person’s experience with emptiness is one of a kind.
There are different ways in which this emotion can manifest, such as postcoital dysphoria, which is a feeling of sadness after sexual intercourse or a sense of emptiness after crying. The latter occurs because crying requires a lot of energy and can leave a person feeling drained.
Continue reading, as you will learn how to overcome sadness and emptiness.
What to Do When You Feel Sad and Empty
It might take time, but as you do these steps, you will start to feel better. Always remember that you don’t have to do it all, just start with what you can, even if it’s one thing.
1. Acknowledge and Accept Your Emotions
To overcome feelings of emptiness and despair, you must acknowledge and accept them. Don’t ignore or suppress you emotions, but recognize their presence. This is a necessary step towards healing.
Emotions can live in our bodies and cause even more damage to our well-being. Find ways to release the emotions and to process through them so that you can begin moving forward towards happiness.
2. Cultivate an Awareness of Your Emotions
To effectively manage feelings of emptiness, it is so important to gain a deep understanding of your emotions and the root causes behind them.
You can proactively anticipate and manage these emotions by identifying triggers and patterns.
There are many techniques on how to do this, but using techniques from emotion-focused therapy, or EFT, can help you develop emotional awareness and take control of your emotional well-being.
3. Practice Emotional Regulation Techniques
You can enhance your emotional regulation skills to manage overwhelming sadness or emptiness.
One way you can do this is by practicing deep breathing techniques, systematically relaxing your muscles, and engaging in grounding exercises.
Make sure to inhale deeply and exhale slowly to aid in calming your mind and body.
Try methodically tensing and releasing your muscles to alleviate built-up tension in your body.
Lastly, practice grounding exercises to direct your attention to the present moment and restore a sense of tranquility.
4. Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A typical method used in therapy to relieve feelings of emptiness and sadness is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT allows you to recognize unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs, which allows you to confront those thought patterns and ideas and replace them with healthier, more positive thoughts.
To use CBT you’ll work with a therapist, which can be found either online or locally in your area.
5. Create a Set Schedule for Yourself
Maintaining a regular schedule can give you a feeling of control and predictability, which can help reduce feelings of emptiness.
A daily routine provides structure, enables you to manage your time effectively, and ensures you have time for self-care.
Your routine can be as simple as you’d like, however it is the consistency of repeating it each day that will help regulate your inner wellness.
6. Participate in a Variety of Social Activities
If you’re feeling empty or grieving, engaging in social activities could help alleviate those feelings.
While you may not want to do so initially, building meaningful relationships with others can provide emotional support and decrease feelings of isolation.
Even if this means calling one friend and having coffee with them, do this at least once this week as you begin opening yourself to engaging socially, despite the sadness and emptiness.
7. Set Achievable Goals
You can gain a sense of purpose and direction by setting a few goals for yourself.
Choose small goals that you know you can confidently accomplish.
Start with tiny goals. The accumulation of the good feeling hormones you will receive by accomplishing your small goals will boost confidence and self-esteem. And in turn, doing these goals can assist in the fight against feelings of emptiness.
8. Show Kindness and Compassion
To feel better, try being kind to yourself and others.
You can generate positive emotions by practicing compassion. You can also cultivate these qualities by helping others.
Simple acts of kindness, like volunteering or helping a neighbor, can bring a sense of fulfillment to your life.
10. Make a Checklist of Your Favorite Things
Make a list of the things, activities, and people that bring you comfort in life.
During the week choose or two things from your list and experience them. For example, if nature is in your list, then you might choose to take a walk around your local park. Or if you have special desserts on your list, you can visit a local bakery to have your favorite dessert.
Remember that seeking treatment from a mental health professional is essential if you are experiencing feelings of emptiness or melancholy that do not go away.
These techniques are not meant to replace assistance from a trained expert. They can be used in conjunction with psychotherapy and other forms of treatment.
How to Stop Feeling Sad
Feeling sad is a normal part of being human. It can happen for many reasons, like losing someone important, adjusting to a new place, or feeling disappointed.
However, if your sadness overwhelms your ability to live or enjoy things, then it is time to seek help.
Here are some ways that might be useful to do in order to stop feeling sad:
Reach Out to Others
Connecting with sympathetic and helpful people is essential.
Talk to them about how you’re feeling. This could be a dependable friend, a family member, or a professional in the mental health field.
Expressing your emotions and putting things into perspective can be incredibly therapeutic.
Do Daily Physical Activities
Studies have shown that regular exercise can help lessen feelings of sadness by improving mood and functioning as a natural stress reliever.
You should participate in an activity you enjoy, such as walking, riding a bike, doing yoga, or even dancing.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Maintaining good health for the body and mind relies heavily on our food.
Try to get a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. What goes into your body can affect your emotions, so be mindful of what you choose.
Being mindful is paying attention to the here and now without judging what you see.
By doing so, you can better accept your feelings of melancholy without trying to avoid or alter them.
I often use mindfulness as a helpful technique for managing stress and increasing my ability to feel ground and calm.
Make Time for Self-Care
Practice good self-care by giving yourself time to relax and unwind.
Your self-care can be anything as simple as having a hot bath, reading a good book, listening to your favorite music, or doing anything that makes you happy and relaxes you.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal in which you write about your feelings gives you an outlet for dumping all your thoughts on paper and processing them through writing.
Be sure to not judge or edit yourself as you write, this is your safe and personal space to be, through your writing.
Consult a Mental Health Expert
If you find that your emotions of sadness are persistent or have a substantial impact on your ability to function, consult a mental health expert such as a psychologist or psychiatrist for assistance.
They can offer a correct diagnosis and a treatment plan, which may involve the use of therapy or medication.
Is Being Empty an Emotion?
You might sometimes hear people say they feel “empty.” That’s not a primary emotion like being happy, sad, scared, angry, surprised, or disgusted.
When you feel empty, you might feel like there’s nothing inside you. You might also feel numb, as if you’re not feeling anything.
Sometimes, you might even feel like you’re not connected to yourself or the people around you.
Even though feeling empty isn’t a basic emotion, it’s a real thing that people feel.
Feeling empty and sad often keeps you stuck in life, but there are ways out. Follow the tips in this article, seek support, and you will overcome. You will become happier.