A few years back I learnt how to stop feeling empty when bad things happen.
It was after my father died.
It hit me hard.
I felt empty. Lost.
And I had to learn how to stop feeling empty.
If people were honest, we would all admit that at sometimes we all feel empty. Maybe you feel empty after a breakup. Maybe you feel empty after losing someone. Maybe you feel empty because you lost your job. It’s not that we have major depression or anything. It’s just that sometimes, life hits you hard and leaves you wounded.
Have you ever felt empty like that? If so, you probably don’t ever want to feel that way again, right? So what do you do about it?
How To Stop Feeling Empty
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what exactly, that feeling of emptiness is?
What does it actually mean when you feel empty inside?
The words “feeling empty” actually tell you everything. When you are feeling empty it is because your mind it literally empty. And your mind is empty because you are not letting the world in.
You go through a bad break-up. I’ve been there. You close yourself of. Because if you’re not with that other person, what’s the point, right? And because you’ve closed yourself off, you don’t allow the world in. You don’t listen to other people. You don’t lift your head up to look at the world. You let everything slide you by because without that other person there’s just no point.
But the reason you feel empty is because you are not letting the world in.
Ask yourself. If you’re feeling empty, what is it to feel full? Because there must be an opposite, right? So what is the opposite?
The opposite is when you’re alive, when you’re feeling like the whole world is a beautiful place. It’s when you exist in that state that Buddhists call Oneness. That’s the opposite. That’s what we’re going to get back to. But how?
The best way how to stop feeling empty is with a mindfulness exercise
Mindfulness is all about letting the world in and focusing your mind on the present moment.
That sounds more complicated than it is. To help you out I’ve written a beginners guide to mindfulness.
Once you’ve read that introductory guide, try the exercises below.
How To Stop Feeling Empty By Being Mindful
The trick is to get in touch with your senses. You’re going to focus on each of your senses one at a time. That’s going to let the world come rushing back in. And it will stop you feeling empty.
Here’s how to do it.
- See again
Begin with the sense of sight. Pay attention to the light in your environment, how it plays with various objects, any interesting shadows… Be inquisitive of the behaviour of the light and take your time to notice how it intermingles with your surroundings. This should last several minutes. Try to be genuinely appreciative of the natural beauty of light.
Next move onto the shapes around you. Notice any interesting geometric formations. Notice any recurring patterns of shapes. Notice the angles of objects in relation to one another. Try to develop a sense and appreciation for how all the shapes, objects and the light are interconnected to create this one scene, of which you are part.
As you do this you will start to feel less empty inside as the world comes rushing back to you.
- Pay attention to the movements around you
Next, begin to focus on any movement around you.
It could be from people, from creatures, from water, a tap dripping, the wind blowing an object or any other movement. Pay attention to the various tempos of movement, to the qualities of the move . If more than one object is moving, try to see if there is any relationship between the motions of different objects. Now pay attention to the colours. Are there patterns to the colours, do certain colours blend together or contrast? What is the overall quality of the colour in the environment (bright, dull etc.) Does any particular colour stick out to you?
As you notice movement you will feel more alive and you will stop feeling dead inside because the world is once again coming to life before your eyes.
- Remember the beauty of sound
Begin by paying attention to sounds that are close to you. Pay attention to the pitches, the timbre (quality of sound), reverberation etc. Imagine the sounds in this environment are part of a orchestral masterpiece and you are listening intently to the interplay of sound.
Now move onto sounds slightly further away. Pay attention to the loudness, pitch, timbre and reverb of this orchestral masterpiece (even if there are only a few sounds). Is there any relationship between the sounds at this distance to sounds closer (other than the volume, of course)? Mindfulness Exercise Finally move onto sounds in the distance and repeat the process. Then listen to the masterpiece as one work and notice how all the voices come together to form this one orchestra of sound.
- Meditate on your feelings
Now how about paying attention to what you can feel. Is there a breeze? How does it feel on your skin? Is it hot or cold? How intense is it? Does it tickle or stroke your skin?dfulness Exercise
Are you aware of your clothing? Is it comfortable or uncomfortable? Can you feel the material on your skin? How does it feel?
Try touching a couple of objects in your environment and really take your time to examine them with your fingers. Is the object hard or soft? Does it have edges? How do they feel? Is it smooth or coarse?
- Get a nose for now
Continuing in the same fashion, pay attention to any tastes and smells. Can you smell or taste the air? Is it clean, polluted, dry etc? How does it feel in your sinuses? Are you aware of any taste in your mouth? Take your time to examine it. Continue to work through your senses, paying attention to this most beautiful and complex flow of life. The more focus you give to your external environment, the more you are able to relax, to let go of any depression or anxiety or negativity and to simply enjoy your life right now, in this present moment.
Your senses are the key to living in the present moment. Get in touch with your senses and let the world back in.
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