Do you ever have those days where nothing’s really happened but you just don’t care, about anything? Maybe it’s just me but sometimes I’m just… numb. The things that you’re passionate about aren’t as interesting to you, a disaster could strike and you’d just sort of say ‘meh…’ or your significant other feels like you’re being distant even though you love them just as much as you ever did.
I’m sure there’s a well thought out psychological explanation for emotion numbness but I have looked and haven’t really found much. This is what I’ve gathered.
It can be linked to past trauma. In cases where it can, the mind has sort of ‘forgotten’ the emotional details of said trauma and if a person hasn’t quite understood and truly dealt with their feelings about a situation, they can suppress them to move on. I very briefly spoke about this is my previous post.
When someone is experiencing emotional turbulence, they will often push it aside to deal with things that seem like a priority but this only leads to forgetting what has made them feel that way in the first place (at least a little). When a person does this they may have forgotten the details of a situation or the situation itself but unfortunately this does not make the emotions go away, they are just sitting, waiting to be felt again. To be truly dealt with.
If and when this happens, it can cause emotional outbursts that may seem random and without cause but I assure you that is not the case.
Every single thought you have has meaning or reasoning behind it even though it’s not always obvious what it is.
However, temporary outbursts and emotional instability are not the only outcome from suppressing emotions. Sometimes it can actually cause lack of emotion or feeling numb, as you may have guessed from the title. Now, I’m no psychologist but I think that this could be because your mind needs a break every now and then and if you’re not consciously giving it one, it can go into a state of calm. This calm feeling could be your minds way of silencing any unnecessary emotion to get a better perspective of a situation. When you think about it it’s almost primal, in the days when we had to defend our lives on a regular basis, being flooded with emotions while maintaining survival probably wouldn’t go so well.
We still have survival instincts embedded in our way of thinking, they just aren’t used for survival anymore (for most of us anyway). Instead we’ll use them for more trivial situations where even though it’s not life or death, we still need to get a better perspective so we need to silence our emotions.
I think this is why we feel numb sometimes.
Emotional numbness could also be a form of anxiety or at least a way of coping with it. When we get anxious, it can be hard to think logically so if we’re stripped back to our most primal thinking, we can sometimes deal with things a lot easier.
Like with anxiety there are things that you can do to get rid that numb feeling. These are the things I try to do:
Ground yourself by looking around you and finding 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This is a great technique for bringing your awareness back into the room and feeling present!
- Meditate. Meditation is SO important for a healthy mind frame for many different reasons but it becomes especially beneficial in times of stress, as it’s the most effective way of silencing the mind. This may seem counterproductive in times of emotional numbness but once you are finished meditating you just have a completely new perspective. You sort of hit the ‘reset’ button during meditation allowing you to subconsciously let go of what you don’t need and shine a light on what’s in your best interest. You’re allowing the purest and most authentic part of yourself speak.
- Exercise. I know, I know. On every single article or post about mental health you’ll see the word exercise but it really does work wonders for a healthy mind frame! Particularly exercise that requires attention rather than repetition like your favourite type of sport, yoga/Pilates even just walking the dog! Anything that gets your heart pumping a little harder is great.
- Go upside-down. Try sitting/laying in a position that puts your head lower than your feet! Laying on your back with your legs flat against the wall or just stand up straight then grab both elbows with the opposite hands and fold forward until your comfortable and relaxed. These are both SUCH good yoga poses for your blood flow, not only does it just help your circulation but it gets new blood to your brain, which is another way of getting a new perspective!
- Analyse what’s happening. By ‘analyse’ I don’t mean ‘fixate’ or ‘dwell’, I mean really try to comprehend what’s happening and how you feel about it. Write it down, make a video log or tell a friend. If you don’t understand what’s going on in your mind, it can be difficult to get a grip on reality and learn about yourself. We’ve been taught that if we talk about our feelings we’re ‘weak’ and we should just ‘move on with our lives’ but it’s so important to self reflect (I’ve spoken about this a little in my previous post). Self reflection in the only way we can truly evolve as individuals.
The last thing I want to talk about is that the most important thing, I feel, is to remind ourselves and others that everything, EVERYTHING is a learning experience! I honestly believe that the meaning of life is just to experience it, so if we go around being angry at ourselves and other people for not experiencing life the way someone once said we should?????????? As long as we’re not harming ourselves or anyone else, we should be able to live how we choose.
Until next time,