Why Do I Have No Life?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated June 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Have you hit a point in your life where you are dissatisfied with your routines and choices? Does it seem as though life just isn't what it used to be? These emotions don't necessarily mean that you have “no life.” Perhaps you've just lost touch with parts of your life that sparked interest and motivation, or maybe you're in a rough patch.

Many people experience periods of dissatisfaction or feelings of stagnation after experiencing transitions like graduating, changing careers, or relocating. Some individuals experience loneliness or social isolation even while living near friends and family. Whatever your situation, you are not alone, and with the right tools, your life can be fuller and more satisfying.

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Do you feel like you're just drifting through life?

Experiencing a lack of purpose

You may have the sense that you are lost in your existence, drifting through life with nothing truly important to do, almost as if you lack purpose to drive you. Believe it or not, that's okay. It can often be overwhelming to think that you need to focus your entire life on some big end goal or dream job. Many people experience a sense of purposelessness or drifting at some point in their lives.

Rather than spend your energy trying to determine your life's purpose, try taking small steps. Start by asking yourself a simpler question, such as, "What would be a good use of my time today?" You may envision several activities that you would like to pursue. You can then break these down into smaller, more manageable goals and interests.

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Keep in mind that a “good” use of your time does not have to include making money or being productive, popular, or even logical. Allow yourself the space to explore positive interests and passions, and don’t let negative thoughts make you feel guilty.

Enjoy trying new things and discovering which ones bring meaning to your life. Remember, you may have different purposes at different stages of life, so don't worry about changing your mind later on.

Facing fear

Fear can stop people from living the life they desire. Lingering fear from a past experience could be impacting you to this day. Maybe you tried something new and experienced failure, or you lost someone you cared about the last time you took a risk. 

Fear can influence people over time in many ways. It can cause people to sit on the sidelines, avoid trying new hobbies or life experiences, or stop doing things they used to enjoy. It can even make people believe their lives don’t matter. It can be difficult to figure out how to overcome these impacts because few people realize that fear itself is the root of the problem. No matter how fear is affecting your feelings of worth and meaning, know that you always have the power to create change and decide on a new path.

Regaining a sense of purpose in your life

There are ways for you to start living life to the fullest again, even if you are currently lacking motivation.

Start volunteering

If you believe you are stuck, you might be focusing too much time and energy on yourself or on problems that are too big to be solved by one person. If you aren't sure how to spend your time more beneficially, try looking for organizations where you can volunteer. Pick a cause that means something to you. If you find fulfillment in helping animals, volunteer at a local animal shelter. If you care about helping children, consider becoming a mentor through a community organization. If you want to help put an end to food or housing insecurity, then reach out to a local nonprofit or other organization focused on those concerns, and find out how you can help.

When choosing somewhere to volunteer, finding a cause that brings you out of your home and your comfort zone and encourages you to be around other people is important. You'll start making connections with other people who have similar interests and passions.

Reconnect with old friends

In addition to making new friends, you might want to prioritize reconnecting with old ones. Sometimes, we lose contact with people simply because we're busy. If you've lost touch with a close friend, give them a call, send a text, or arrange to meet up.

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Do you feel like you're just drifting through life?

Let go of old friendships when you need to

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, holding on to old friendships can keep us from forming new ones. If your old friends have moved on to different stages of life, then it might be time to move on or take a break.

It's okay to accept that your old friendships don’t fit the way they used to—not everyone has the same best friend throughout their life. You can cherish the fond memories, but don't let that stop you from making new friends.

Engage in social activities

Rather than spending time surfing the internet or keeping to yourself, try to branch out and discover social activities. Perhaps try talking with someone you don't know. Practice your conversation skills in low-stakes situations like grocery stores, libraries, or even parks. Most people will be receptive to friendly conversation, but don’t feel bad if some people don’t want to talk. As you find activities you enjoy and practice conversations, you'll eventually feel more comfortable in social situations.

Find a meetup group

Meetup groups, or other support groups, can help you discover more friends who have the same interests. A quick web search might lead you to a group that regularly meets for running, paddle boarding, or hiking. Perhaps you'll find a group that attends plays or even goes out to dinner. Especially if you've just moved to a new place, meetups are a straightforward way to meet new people and become more socially active.

Meditate

Meditation can help you get back in touch with who you are as a person. With meditation practice, you can reduce brain fog by enhancing your state of consciousness. When you stimulate your mind in a healthy way, you may find yourself more willing and motivated to engage with life, opening up new possibilities.

Read a book

Nearly two-thirds of American adults have read at least one book in the past year. While there's nothing wrong with watching a little TV or YouTube every now and then, a good book can be educational, entertaining, and inspiring. 

Connect with a professional

Many people experience periods of self-doubt or low motivation. These emotions may stem from past trauma or heartache, they might be symptoms of anxiety or depression, or they might have emerged after a transition or life change. Whatever the cause, a sense of purposelessness does not doom you to a life of loneliness or drifting; it just means that you might need to try something new or seek additional help. Treatment or assistance from a mental health professional can help you find greater meaning in your life, relationships, and surroundings. Online therapy services offered by BetterHelp could be beneficial.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

Online therapy can be flexible, affordable, and convenient. Because you can arrange your sessions with a therapist around your schedule and lifestyle, you can meet whenever and wherever you’d like, via video chat, phone call, or text message.

Takeaway

It is possible to create a life that is fulfilling and meaningful, even if it currently seems as though you are living without purpose. If you are having a difficult time, it's important to know that a licensed therapist can help. They can work with you in a non-judgmental way to help you feel a sense of purpose in your life again.
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