What To Do When You Feel Emotionally Numb
Have you ever feel emotionally numb - like you don’t have any feeling because they’re all gone?
Sometimes feeling sad, down or even depressed can have this effect. It can be scary and you can begin to think you will never have feelings again. Usually you don’t even know where to start to get your feeling back or how to figure out exactly what you are feeling. Sometimes a negative life experience can cause the wide range of your feelings to be limited to only a few feelings like sadness, or anger or no feelings at all. When you are emotionally overwhelmed by a situation, and don’t know how to respond, you may shut down and feelings of numbness can arise.
It is my belief that you don’t have to feel numb and that there are ways to get your feelings back. Here are some strategies to help:
- This is something very simple you can do. Go to a drug store and pick up a small, light notebook to keep with you on a regular basis. It helps to get something you can throw in your bag or back pocket and carry with you throughout the day. In this notebook create a list or chart. When you notice that you have a feeling or sensation in your body, write it down. Then, next to that sensation keep a list of what you were doing or thinking about right before the feeling or sensation came up. You may be able to use this list to help identify your emotions. So for example, if you notice your hands clench and body tense up while watching a movie that is suppose to scare you but you don’t feel scared, write that down! You may start to notice that your hands clench and body tenses up when you feel fear. Try it with all types of sensations and see if a pattern starts to emerge. More strategies like this here: How Your Body Can Reveal Hidden Feelings You Don’t Know You’re Having.
- Don’t isolate yourself, spend time with others. Find a way to get yourself out in the world interacting with other people. We learn by interacting with others by observing their behavior. And sometimes they can even help us identify our feelings. One way to spend time with other is to join a group. It could be something like a psychotherapy group or a knitting group you find on meetup.com. The main goal is to find a way to feel connected to others.
- Try volunteering for a cause you really believe in like Big Brothers Big Sisters. Do something that brings you pleasure, even if it’s only a tiny amount. Follow your interests and you may find that those interests end up blossoming into a passion.
- Talk to someone you trust. Whether it’s calling a friend to go for a walk with you, or inviting them over for some popcorn and a movie, hang out with a good friend. You don’t need to have 15 best friends – in fact most people don’t. It’s helpful to have one good friend you can count on and confide in when you are feeling down.
- Have compassion for yourself – try not to get too negative or down on yourself if you are feeling numbed out. Many people have gone through tough times. You are not alone, and you are not the only one to feel numb. Sometimes it’s a normal response to your environment. You may feel numb because what you are dealing with now or have dealt with in the past was overwhelming and this was the way your mind decided to manage that stress. There’s nothing wrong with that and you shouldn’t be hard on yourself for it.
- Find a therapist you can work with to begin to identify and explore the source of your sadness. This process can help you get back in touch with your feelings and free up the feelings that may be trapped under your depression.
Hopefully once you begin to access your feelings, you’ll feel lighter, freer and more in touch with who you are. Sometimes difficult life experience can cause you to feel numb. Part of the healing process can entail being more mindful of your body, pursuing your interests, not isolating yourself and developing a trusting relationship with another person who respects and values you. Over time with these strategies I hope that you may begin to notice what you are feeling.
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