What you need to know about a Blank Mind (+what to do)

In this brief guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about a Blank Mind, and what you can do about such a feeling.

What is a blank mind?

A blank mind refers to a feeling of not being able to think about anything properly, or feeling like your mind is “Empty”. In more serious cases it can also mean depression, anxiety, nihilism, or depersonalization.

A blank mind is not a disorder on its own but rather a symptom, and when the underlying problem causing the blank mind goes away, a blank mind will usually go away with it.

Blank Mind and Empty Heart

An empty heart means a lack of feeling, otherwise known as Apathy, and feeling like you have no emotions or not being able to react emotionally to things is called being Apathetic.

Depression can make you feel like your mind is totally blank and you may not be able to feel anything properly either, leading to a sensation that your mind is blank and your heart is empty and you may be apathetic towards everything and everyone.

According to the theories of reinforcement, prolonged states of apathy may reinforce the tendency to feel nothing because it is better than feeling sad or negative all the time, but emotions are necessary for optimum success in life, and apathy can be just as dangerous as sadness or depression.

Anxiety and depression can lead you to have a blank mind completely devoid of thoughts.

People report feeling moments of blank mind during the depression, where they would simply think nothing.

They have described it as “like meditation” but they may not that it’s particularly helpful like meditation, because your emotional state does not get any better.

In fact, the longer the mind stays blank, the more apathetic, or emotionally empty, you may get.

The reason this happens to people suffering from depression is that they may often be denying their emotions, which can make them feel like they are empty of emotions completely as well.

The mind automatically shuts down in the presence of all the negativity, and it may give them a brief reprieve from feeling bad.

Usually, there may be nothing wrong with that but it becomes a problem when it is a prolonged state and improves those feelings, on the contrary, it just starts making them feel nothing at all.

What you need to know about a Blank Mind (+what to do)

Why do you have a blank mind?

You may have a blank mind due to mental health issues, being bored or it may have some sort of physical reasons. A blank mind is usually just a symptom of a bigger problem, and it can make you feel like your brain has gotten foggy and that your head is totally empty.

Other reasons for why you have a blank mind are:

Change in things around you or inside you

Sometimes our mind goes blank in order to avoid dealing with the change that it doesn’t like, and you are not able to feel anything if you don’t think.

Anxiety

If this blank mind happens when you are in a group, it may be a fear of public speaking or just being in a social situation. You might want to see a psychologist as this may be a symptom of social anxiety.

Medication

If you just started taking antidepressants or other kinds of psychiatric medication, it can also cause a blank mind sometimes.

If this happens you can discuss it with your doctor and see about getting your dosage changed, as that can alleviate the symptom.

Lack of sleep

Our mind often goes blank when we are running on no rest. Get some sleep and check back in with your mind when you are well-rested, it will likely thank you.

Feeling Overwhelmed

A blank mind may occur when you are just slammed by things to do, you have homework, you have to clean your room, you have to go out with friends and at the same time your phone is ringing, your mind shuts down temporarily due to the overwhelming sensory stimuli.

Medical Conditions

On rare occasions, a blank mind could be caused by medical conditions that include inflammation, fatigue, and changes in blood sugar levels like hyper or hypoglycemia.

Also, people diagnosed with fibromyalgia may also experience more mental fatigue than other people on a daily basis.

Anemia, hypothyroidism, depression, arthritis, and the immune system disease Lupus are other medical conditions that may cause an empty mind. In older people, Alzheimer’s disease can also cause a feeling of a totally blank mind.

Exam Anxiety and Blank mind

Exam anxiety is one of the most common situations where your mind may go blank.

How often has it happened to you that you studied all night for the final, went in prepared and ready to ace the exam, and right when the questions appear your mind just goes blank?

This may be happening because you are suffering from a Specific Phobia called Examination Anxiety.

Other symptoms of Examination Anxiety include:

Physical symptoms

·       excessive sweating

·       shortness of breath

·       stomach pain

·       nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

·       rapid heartbeat

·       headaches

·       Lightheadedness or fainting  

Mental symptoms

·       stress

·       fear

·       hopelessness

·       anger

·       self-doubt

·       inadequacy

All the emotional or mental symptoms always occur in the context of the exam or in situations when you are trying to study for the exam or when you see the schedule and so on. These symptoms will only occur in the situations revolving around exams and the other times you might be totally fine.

What you need to know about a Blank Mind (+what to do)

Depersonalization

Depersonalization is a feeling that many people mistake for a blank mind, and it refers to a state where the person feels like they are not really at one with their body, and everything may seem really hazy and fuzzy, including their own mental condition.

Depersonalization may feel like a blank mind as it makes you feel very hazy and empty like you are just a shell of yourself.

Typically there are no emotions involved and if this happens as a part of the depression, it may be in severe depression when the low mood has turned into an extremely dysfunctional emotional state.

Depersonalization is also common in panic attacks or anxiety, and especially together with the physical symptoms of these two disorders.

The person may feel like they are going to die or have a heart attack, and just when they start to spiral out of control they may start to feel separated from their body and surrounding, along with a sensation that their mind is totally empty.

The most common condition in which depersonalization is found is psychosis.

Psychosis is a condition where the person’s touch with reality is severed completely and they may not be able to tell what is in their mind and what is actually real.

Psychosis is a debilitating condition marked by delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorders, where the person may feel like their thoughts, are being read or broadcasted to the world, among other things.

Depersonalization is commonly reported in schizophrenia, the primary psychotic disorder found in almost all populations.

Other disorders where one might find depersonalization as a symptom are dissociative and substance use disorders.

How to get rid of a blank mind?

To get rid of a blank mind, figure out why you have a blank mind because if it is just boredom you don’t need to do much, but if it is a serious mental illness, like depression or even psychosis, then immediate attention is required.

Here are some other things that may work to get rid of a blank mind.

Understand How the Brain Works

You need to first understand how the brain works if you are going to get rid of your blank mind.

Sometimes the brain can go on overload and needs a break; the way computers crash, so just take it easy, and take a short break.

Don’t take everything so seriously

Re-adjust your priorities and expectations about your productivity; you may even temporarily reset your goals.

Learn to Laugh at yourself

If you are in a group situation and you constantly keep feeling like your mind goes blank, try to laugh at yourself and treat yourself a little lightly, this may help.

Use Specific Techniques for relaxation

You can look at learning deep breathing exercises and incorporating them into your life can be a way to stabilize and maintain a sense of inner calm and help with the feeling of a blank mind.

Acquire knowledge

If you find your mind going blank all the time, read about it.

Read research papers on this phenomenon and the things you can do, at the very least it will distract you and stop making you ruminate about the fact that you have a blank mind.

Also, if you experience a blank mind when you are trying to give a presentation or take an exam, practicing a little extra beforehand may alleviate some of the anxiety and take away the feeling of a blank mind.

Be self-aware

Getting to know yourself and what makes you tick can be a great way of removing any problems you have, which may be causing a blank mind. Try to really think about when you get these feelings and what makes them go away, and cultivate those situations on purpose.

Seek medical attention

Recurrent feelings of blanking out can be problematic, so see a doctor if you feel like it’s happening to you so much and rule out serious problems.

Talk to people about your mind going blank.

Talking about what is happening to you might trigger something in your brain and jolt it awake again, and this may get rid of the blank mind.

Follow Grounding techniques

Look around, find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can smell, and 2 things you can hear. This makes you take stock of your environment and makes gets you out of your blank mind.

Relax, maybe get some sleep

A blank mind very often happens because of lack of rest, so get some rest and you might be well when you wake up.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed everything you need to know about a Blank Mind, and what you can do about such a feeling.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Blank Mind

How do you stop a blank mind?

To stop a blank mind, try slowing down your pace, pausing regularly whatever it is you are doing, get rest, and use repetition to get things across to your mind.

Is it normal to have a blank mind?

Yes, it is normal to have a blank mind once in a while but if it happens too often it may be a sign that something is seriously wrong.

How can I make my mind blank?

To make your mind blank you can try Meditation, as it can help you clear your mind in a very good way and can allow you to pick and choose the thoughts that get your attention.

Why do I suddenly blank out?

You might be blanking out suddenly due to seizures, particularly an absence seizure, so if it happens more than once, you need to see a doctor.

Citations:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00650/full

https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/How-To-Cure-Blank-Brain-Attacks

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3784796/

What you need to know about a Blank Mind (+what to do)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.