Soul Hunger: The Silent Epidemic of the 21st Century

2022-05-26T07:11:19-06:00August 19th, 2021|

Soul hunger arises when there is a gap between how we’re living our lives and what our soul intended for us.

I experienced this “soul hunger” for a long time before I was able to understand what it was trying to tell me.

I had the privilege of interviewing some amazing women for my book: Awakening A Woman’s Soul: The Power of Meditation and Mindfulness to Transform Your Life. As I  listened and transcribed their stories, I began to see patterns emerge.

There was a common thread that existed between their stories and my own. There was a sense that they were hungry for something. A sense that something was missing in their life.

What was the source of this hunger that I’d heard over and over again in these interviews?

A few days later it came to me in the shower as I was conditioning my hair: It was soul hunger!!!

Not only was it explaining what so many women (and men experience this as well)  had been describing to me, but it helped me to make sense of what I had experienced in my own life.

It was soul hunger that led me out of retirement and soul hunger that got me curious about meditation.

I came to understand that our souls, like our bodies, need to be fed in order to flourish and thrive.

I have also come to believe that soul hunger is a silent epidemic in our society. Large numbers of us experience it and yet we have no idea what it is.

I hear people say on a daily basis that “something is missing and I have no idea what it is. I’m willing to make some changes, but I don’t know what to change.”

This notion of trying to hit a dartboard in the dark, reminded me of my many years working as a nurse. One of the foundational aspects of providing excellent care to clients was and continues to be the nursing process. The process includes the assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation of care and services.

The challenge with soul hunger is that its signs and symptoms are so vague it is often misdiagnosed or missed altogether.

Without the awareness to know what it is, it is virtually impossible to develop a plan and implement some changes in order to evaluate whether the soul hunger is being alleviated.  In the post, Soul Hunger Is A Symptom That Our Deeper Self Is Awakening I shed a light on what triggers soul hunger.

In order to fully describe and begin to explore this concept of soul hunger, I decided to determine how actual physical hunger is described. I came across words such as craving, desire, longing, urge, yearning, ache, emptiness, void, urge, vacancy, empty, lacking, and want to name just a few.

It became eerily familiar to me when I realized that these same words are what I heard on a daily basis from people who by no means were experiencing physical hunger. They were experiencing a hunger that was being described in the same way but wasn’t physical in nature and was from a different source.

I was then reminded that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Meaning we are both spiritual and human. Perhaps the physical hunger that people experience can help us explain the spiritual hunger. Perhaps those same words that describe how it feels to be physically hungry can help us understand when our soul is hungry.

I turned to Google to explore phrases that people used when they described a sense of physical hunger:

My energy would desert me and weakness would take over.

I was so tired and lethargic.

My brain didn’t work properly and it was hard to concentrate.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

There was a nagging feeling of emptiness.

I had physical symptoms such as being irritable, dizziness, and nausea.

Then I went to my transcribed notes and found the following from a couple of women. One was in a corporate job where she was miserable and the other woman felt disconnected from her husband of 40 years:

          I felt tired all the time and would get sick with infections.

I needed a “brain restart” because it wasn’t working properly.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.

I felt empty inside.

I had a longing for things to be different.

I was showing signs of stress.

When I compared the above descriptions, I could see the overlap.

We’ve created a society that values physical needs (and rightly so) and ignores spiritual needs.

It’s as if we’ve developed a mindset that says, “If we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.” We can value and acknowledge physical hunger because there’s a tangible cause, but we have greater difficulty acknowledging soul hunger because the cause is not quite so obvious.

Soul hunger is a very real experience and just as physical hunger is a sign that we need nourishment, soul hunger is a sign that our soul needs nourishment.

In this post, I expand on what this soul hunger is all about: The Call of Your Soul: 10 Signs Your Soul is Speaking to You.

When we as human beings neglect the non-physical parts of ourselves and our core essence, we will at some time in our journey experience this deep inner ache in our souls.

This ache often manifests in physical and mental health issues, relationship troubles, and a lack of meaning and purpose in our lives. It’s an invitation to walk through the doorway of self-exploration and discovery.

It’s a beautiful reminder that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. An invitation and a call to connect with our deeper more authentic self.

In the following video, I share a personal message about soul hunger:

Did this article support or inspire you on your path? If you feel called, comment below to share with our community.

(Original publication; Dec. 1, 2017, Edited; August 19,2021)

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About the Author:

As a former nurse turned certified meditation teacher, author and spiritually-inspired life coach, Bev guides people around the world who feel called to become more resilient and flourish fully in their lives. Bev’s on a mission to empower people with the wisdom, self-awareness and spiritual practices to make the shift from feeling stressed, disconnected and like something is missing in their lives, to thriving from the inside out with the courage to follow a path that’s true to their soul.

12 Comments

  1. Tena Martin May 22, 2022 at 2:56 am - Reply

    I’m 52 years old and a nurse also. I have been feeling this for some years and never understood what was happening. Thank you so much. I came upon you 3am by asking God to help me understand what is happening to me. I have also had this sense of their is more but not in the sense of material things
    Something much deeper and satisfying. I feel like a weight has been lifted because now I have a diagnosis. Now I desire to be aligned

    • Bev Janisch May 22, 2022 at 7:15 am - Reply

      Hi Tena,
      WOW, I loved hearing how you asked God for help and you got an answer by way of helping you understand what is happening to you. Thank you so much for sharing that with us here. That’s very inspiring for many reasons. What a gift it is to feel lighter now that you have a diagnosis. What I wish for you and all others with soul hunger… may you take courageous action to align your life with your soul. Love, Bev.

  2. Lisa butcher September 30, 2021 at 5:48 am - Reply

    Glad I came across this I’m feeling lost

    • Bev Janisch November 6, 2021 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      Dear Lisa,
      I’m glad you found the article helpful as I know how difficult it is to feel lost. You’re not alone! Love, Bev

  3. Laura Boyse December 15, 2017 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Hi Bev,
    Love the phrase “soul hunger” ! It’s exactly what so many of us are experiencing today in this crazy world. I still work as a nurse in areas of critical care and hospice and am fortunate to witness both physical and emotional pain and suffering, but even amongst my co-workers. I say I am fortunate because it is an honour to witness this experience and to see those who nurture their soul and spirit, and how it can change their lives. The unfortunate ones who do not feel healing the soul is just as important as healing the physical body, seem to struggle and suffer more. That’s is just my own personal thought. How wonderful that you will be helping other women in this journey. Thank you!

    • Bev Janisch December 15, 2017 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Hi Laura- Thank you for your insightful comments and for sharing your wise perspective with us. You and I have a lot in common in terms of our experience with palliative and end of life care. It was powerful to hear from you how you have noticed that “the soul is just as important to healing the physical body.” So very important!!Thank you for taking the time to share!

  4. Rachael Seupersad December 13, 2017 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    To reiterate what others have said, thank you Bev for this insightful post. You have reached deep into our humanity to the core of a shared experience…and revealed a universal truth. Your words will sit with me and I also know they will drive me forward on my journey…both human and spiritual.

    • Bev Janisch December 14, 2017 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Rachel, thank you for sharing your reflection about our shared experience. I love how you highlighted the human and spiritual aspects of our journey.

  5. Carleen Ellis December 13, 2017 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Thanks for articulating so beautifully Bev the deeper part of life that needs to be seen and lived. Especially in these tumultuous times!

    • Bev Janisch December 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      Carleen, thank you for your insightful comment. I love your idea of a “deeper part of life.” Very beautiful.

  6. Bev December 3, 2017 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Wow Bev !
    This posting is exactly how I have been feeling for sometime and didn’t know how to put into words. Soul Hunger,
    I am searching for meaning in my life. Especially on the dark days where I have a hard time just getting out of bed. Forcing myself to get out of the house that has in some way become my familiar and “toxic” tomb.
    I look forward to your next posting.

    • Bev Janisch December 4, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

      Hi Bev, thanks so much for sharing how the feeling of “soul hunger” resonated with you. Searching for meaning and purpose is the sign that you are being called to evolve and make some changes. It is often a scary and confusing time, but also very necessary and part of the journey for many of us. The challenge is to look inside ourselves for the answers that are often overshadowed. I’m looking forward to sharing my next post as well. With deep appreciation, Bev.

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