Feeling Full or Feeling Empty

There have definitely been plenty of days where I have felt pretty empty, meaning mentally drained and/or physically exhausted and my outlook on life is pretty poor. When I am feeling empty, it’s easy to get lost in all the negativity around me and feel like nothing will ever improve or I will never catch a break.  It is in these times that it is difficult to find any positives, even though they are there.  There is always something we can be grateful for though, whether it is something small or something big.  A previous post titled “The Little Things and The Big Picture” addresses this.

There are definitely days where I would say I have felt full, meaning full of love, full of joy, full of hope, and full of positive thoughts and energy. The day each of my kids was born is the first thing coming to mind as I write this.  There are other examples popping into my head as well, many of which are special occasions like holidays, vacations, weddings, and so on.  When the kids were younger and needed me more and things were better in many ways, I did have more days where I felt content and emotionally full that had nothing to do with any special occasions.  Over the last decade or so, things have changed and I have had my fair share of challenges, and consequently the number of “feeling full” days significantly decreased during this time.

More recently however, not only have some of those stresses diminished some, but I have been more consciously trying to focus on the positives and being grateful whenever possible.  Plus, things like volunteering at the kids’ schools makes me feel like I am making a difference and has reminded me of my purpose and what makes me happy.  In other words, sometimes I am making myself feel more emotionally full by doing things for others, which in some cases may be helping them feel more emotionally full as well.  And I am trying to fit more things in like yoga class, going to a good concert, or taking some time out of my day to put on some music and just sing along without doing anything else. These things always helps tip the scale closer to a full day.

If only there were more time in a day to do more things that might help make me feel more full!  I would love to find time to sing in a choir, which has always made me feel so good in so many ways, but I just can’t fit that in right now.  However, I am being more conscious of soaking in the positive feelings from the things I can enjoy.  Even raking the leaves satisfies my senses, and I think about that while I am raking.  I like the smell of the leaves and the crunch of them under my feet.  And there is something about the methodical “whoosh” of the rake pushing the leaves that is soothing to me.  Plus, I am using my muscles, which releases dopamine, the hormone that helps us deal with stress better and feel more calm.

I guess it’s kind of like the glass half empty, glass half full metaphor.  For a while, I had more days that were half empty or less, but now I am having more days that are half full or more, partly because I am choosing to look at things differently.  I still have my half empty days, but they are less often.  I think they key is to find time to do things that will make me feel full but also do things for others that will help them feel full. Imagine if we all went through the day consciously thinking about that!  I am increasingly more hopeful that in my future I will have more days where I am feeling emotionally full.  I’m trying, anyway!  I hope you will, too.

If you have any thoughts to share on this topic, please feel free to click on “Leave a Comment” below the title to this post.  You can easily read any or all previous posts by clicking on the “Home” page tab and scrolling through the topics, or you can search by clicking on a category or tag word or by using the search box to the left.

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