Hey there, Psych2goers! I hope you’re doing well.
Have you ever felt caught in a state of emotional numbness? Whether it’s due to trauma, stress, or something else, emotional numbness can make you feel trapped, and like you’re just floating through life (Gotter 2018). You’re not alone. In this article, we wanted to give you a few tips you can use to begin to work through any numbness you may be feeling.
As a disclaimer, it is so important to seek counseling in addition to these home remedies. Working through trauma or high levels of stress isn’t easy, and a mental health professional can help you stay on track with your goals and make sure you’re overcoming your numbness in ways that are best for you. With that, here are 5 steps to overcome emotional numbness.
1. Understand what numbness feels like
It’s not easy to recognize when you’re feeling numb, or to recognize that it is a problem. Emotional numbness can feel like a whole lot of…nothing.
According to Healthline, numbness can feel like you’re on the outside of your own life, watching everything happen around you (Gotter 2018). With that said, when you’re living in numbness, it can be hard to actually identify what is going on. So, before trying to understand the sources of your numbness and how to move forward, it’s important to recognize that you’re feeling numb in the first place.
2. Realize that numbness is not the absence of emotions
Though it may sound contradictory, numbness is actually made up of so many feelings coming together.
Healthline also explains that excess stress often brings about numbness (Gotter 2018). Too many stress hormones in your brain can lead to a number of things–depression, anxiety, and emotional numbness. Though you may feel nothing, know that there’s likely a lot of buried stress and emotions in your brain.
3. Release your emotions
Releasing your emotions sounds intimidating, but there are some effective ways to do this. Exercise is a great place to start! After exercising, have you ever felt more free, less stressed, just, better? It turns out that exercise has an actual positive effect on your brain that could help you release your emotions (Riley).
According to an article from Well and Good, exercise can trigger a spontaneous release of emotions, especially more introspective exercise such as yoga (Weiner 2019). When you exercise, you release chemicals called endorphins which can interact with other mood-altering chemicals in your brain. All this to say, if your working out and find yourself shedding tear, don’t worry! Not only is it totally normal, but it’s a healthy way to release emotions that have been bottled up inside you for so long.
4. Fix your sleep schedule
How consistent is your sleep schedule? Did you know that getting better sleep can help you overcome emotional numbness?
According to a 2017 review, when you spend more time engaging in healthy sleep patterns, you are more likely to develop stronger connections between brain regions that will help you control, process, and regulate your emotions throughout the day (Vandekerckhove and Wang 2017). When you’re on your journey of overcoming emotional numbness, this becomes especially important because good sleep will give you the clarity you need to bring your stress and emotional expression back to healthy levels.
5. Process your emotions
Once emotions bubble up to the surface, do they feel hard to control or process? Journaling and other mindfulness techniques can help with this!
Journaling is a great way to organize, process, and make sense of your thoughts. It provides a cathartic, yet confidential way to take that huge emotional weight off your shoulders. Emotional numbness occurs when your brain is overwhelmed by stress that it’s hard to tell what’s happening. Journaling and mindfulness, such as meditating, can help ground you, and help organize the emotions your brain was suppressing.
We hope this article gave you some tips to overcome emotional numbness. Could you relate? Did we miss anything? Let us know. Thanks for reading!
- Gotter A (2018, Sept 17). “Understanding Emotional Numbness”. Healthline. Falck S, reviewed by. Retrieved from www.healthline.com/health/feeling-numb
- “How to Overcome Emotional Numbness” (2019, Apr 18). Watershed Counseling. Retrieved from www.watershedcounselingms.com/2019/04/emotional-numbness/.
- Riley C (n.d.). “Why Can’t I Feel: Overcoming Emotional Numbness”. Zion Restoration Counseling Services. Retrieved from www.zrcounselingservices.com/why-cant-i-feel-overcoming-emotional-numbness/
- Vandekerckhove M, Wang YL. Emotion, emotion regulation and sleep: An intimate relationship. AIMS Neurosci. 2017;5(1):1-17. Published 2017 Dec 1. doi:10.3934/Neuroscience.2018.1.1. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7181893/.
- Weiner Z (2019, Apr 24). “Ever Find Yourself in Tears During a Workout? Here’s Why It’s Very Common”. Well and Good. Healthy Mind. Retrieved from www.wellandgood.com/crying-during-workout/