“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~Buddha
Emptiness has taken over.
You think back to those exciting days when you had so much energy. You remember that burning feeling of raw energy deep down in your stomach. That shiver of excitement running through your body. When life was just alive with positive emotions running wild. It was incredible.
And you can’t help but think…
Where has it gone? How did I lose it? Will it ever come back?
You think if you keep moving, everything will work out for the best, right?
Yet, regardless of the steps you take, everyone else seems to be happy while you’re left behind with a feeling of soul-wrenching emptiness.
It just feels so stagnant; you feel like you’re becoming stale and boring.
No matter what you do, nothing seems to change that nagging voice in your head that constantly wonders, “Is there really a way out?”
The solution is a lot easier than you think.
You know those moments when everything becomes clear and a feeling of relief flows through your body?
My realization came after a terrible numbness just after graduating from university. I made the decision that success was more important than life itself, so fun was out of the question and I devoted all my time to work.
I immersed myself in that deadly day-to-day grind with no excitement in my life. It was easier to let an emotionless state of utter numbness take over than to take a risk and be adventurous.
It’s scary how quickly such numbness can take over if you let it, and how deep you can fall down the rabbit hole without even realizing it.
Has this happened to you?
It wasn’t until six months after graduation that I finally broke the monotony and decided to attend a social gathering with some university friends.
That one moment sparked a fire I had lost. That was the moment of clarity and realization.
I realized that life had turned into a boring rhythm of wake up, eat, work, eat, and sleep. I was expecting to become happy and successful from following this process, but while doing so, I forgot how to be happy.
How can you create something beautiful or inspiring to the world if your life is boring and numb?
It reminded me of a simple but powerful quote by Albert Einstein:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
This kick started my realization that life is more and that you can beat your emptiness. You can beat that numb grind, and you can keep your spark for life going too.
Attending the party opened my eyes to the painful insanity I had bestowed on myself—an insanity I want you to avoid too.
5 Unconventional Ways to Fill Your Emptiness
1. Start small; do something different.
Think back to the last time you went on vacation and traveled to a new location. Remember the feelings you had and the excitement of a new place? Your body was alert, and your mind was running wild with curiosity.
Remember the time you took a forced detour on your journey home? It was a bit frustrating but also slightly exciting, right?
There are many ways to replicate this type of novelty in your everyday life. For example, you can take your work to another part of your office, house, or library.
The most important thing is to stand up right now and do something small but different. On your route home from work, take a little detour. Just experience the excitement.
2. Go crazy.
The big kick for me was letting loose and having fun at a friend’s Christmas party. Despite the slight headache the next day, all of my prior numbness disappeared as a result of my interactions.
I’m talking about interactions where you just let go and truly experience the moment. Where you talk to friends, laugh, and live.
So dance, sing, and have fun.
Just remember one rule—think back to the event after a month, and if you don’t have a massive grin on your face, you did not go crazy enough.
3. Get your heart pumping.
Any exercise is a great way to kick-start your day. A treasure trove of science and research proves the physical and mental benefits. But, exercise only filled my emptiness when I switched from gentle long-distance runs to intense sprinting sessions.
I used to run seven kilometers a day at a gentle pace, but it only aided the numbness. I was hoping it would instantly give me a burst to get me going again, but it did nothing.
Think back to the last time you ran over two kilometers where you got into that gentle rhythm and it felt like you could run forever. Now think about the last time you ran at full speed; imagine that feeling you had when your heart was pumping.
Sprinting or doing any high-intensity exercise produces loads of endorphins, also known as the happiness and motivational hormone, but normal running doesn’t. That gave my numbness a massive hit and supercharged my energy.
So head down to your local park, sprint for a bit, and then stop and feel your body. Feel the burning inside you, and ask yourself, “Am I ready to live again?”
4. Sleep right.
We all know that sleep is important, but we usually focus on making sure we get enough. One of the biggest causes of my personal numbness and lack of energy was getting too much sleep.
Oversleeping can cause depression and not sleeping enough gives us no energy to live. I used to oversleep massively, getting nine hours a night (seven hours extra every week). I didn’t want to get up because I didn’t want to work, which caused me to feel unhappy and unmotivated to get up. Yup, a deadly cycle.
If you are also guilty of oversleeping, force yourself to get up earlier tomorrow. Set your alarm and put it on the other side of the room. Then when you get up, go straight to the shower. Over time, you will naturally find the best sleeping pattern for you.
5. Work from the inside out.
Let’s finish off with the most important solution. You have to complete this to allow yourself to enjoy the other steps. It’s time for you to let go and fill your emptiness with love and joy.
I discovered that ten minutes of meditation a day aligns my focus and allows me to instantly feel happier and let go of my problems.
For those of you familiar with meditation, think about the calming feeling it provides and the feeling in your gut as you breathe deeply. Then use this technique to provide clarity right now.
If you’re ready to end that persistent feeling of emptiness, fill it with your love for yourself, and get out there and have fun.
Close your eyes right now and take a deep breath. Imagine what your life would be like if you followed each of these five steps. Imagine the feeling of happiness, excitement, and curiosity flowing through your veins. Imagine the pure feeling of delight.
There is no point living in emptiness, so let go of that feeling of numbness and truly enjoy what life has to offer you.
Man on a mountain image via Shutterstock