Feeling Empty Doesn’t Have to Be a Curse—It Can Be a Useful Tool

For many of our clients, the worst feeling is not feeling anything at all. Feeling disinterested in the things around you. Feeling “empty inside.” How do you deal with this feeling? How can you make it go away?Photo of a middle-aged woman looking out a window looking melancholy.

Before we answer that question though, let’s take a step back. What does it mean to feel empty? Why do we feel this way, and where does the feeling come from?

Is Feeling Empty Abnormal?

Here in the West, we look at feelings of emptiness as something wrong with us. However, this isn’t universal. Consider how many eastern religions view inner emptiness. Meditation and the Buddhist conception of inner peace focus on emptying the self of concerns so that you can declutter your mind, explore your inner self, and face it squarely. Could it be that we sometimes involuntarily feel empty inside as a natural mechanism to serve the same purpose?

Maybe this is a normal feeling that everyone is supposed to experience sometimes.

Modern life, especially in this country, goes at a breakneck pace. Americans are working longer hours for less pay, moving to new places more often, and have their attention constantly dominated by smart phones and computers. Between the stress of getting by and the constant assault on our senses by entertainment media, our minds are always busy, with barely a moment to catch our breath.

What if the emotional center of your mind shuts down sometimes because it’s had too much? Every feeling we feel is an expression of our body responding to stimuli in the world. Fear is a bodily response to danger. Grief is a bodily response to losing a loved one. What if this is no different, and we can turn our feelings of emptiness to our advantage?

Take Shelter in Your Creative Workshop in the Eye of the Storm

To create, is to make something from nothing. First though, you need the nothing before you can make the something. In other words, you can’t truly be productive when you’re cluttered with invasive thoughts that get in the way.

When you start to feel empty inside, consider what it is your body is trying to do for you. Try looking at emptiness as your creative workshop, where you’re free to clear away the clutter, put nonessential thoughts on hold, and take stock of the situation. This is your opportunity to evaluate and create.

Don’t fight the feeling of emptiness. Instead, take yourself on a tour of your creative workshop. Explore this place of nothingness. Don’t bulldoze the Grand Canyon just because it’s nothing more than an empty hole in the ground.

This emptiness, this creative workshop, is the eye of the storm of your life. When things get too hectic, it’s useful to be able to shut off for a bit and enter your creative workshop, where you can plan out what you wish to create. You should be able to visit the eye of the storm for a moment of rest when things get too wild out there.

Of course, this may run counter to your initial reaction to these feelings. That’s fine. With practice and guidance, you can learn to harness this feeling, just as you can learn to be in control of all your emotions, rather than the other way around. One thing that helps you get there is cognitive skills training.

By isolating and focusing on developing core cognitive abilities, you can learn greater emotional control and problem solving. You’ll know yourself and your capabilities better, and be better equipped to deal with this and other emotional conflicts. Critical Thinking for Success is the go-to provider of cognitive skills training in the Chicago area, and Dr. Robert Kauffman is one of the few trained practitioners in the country. Give us a call today at 847-845-0422 for a consultation, and let’s talk about how you can be your best self.

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