I Feel Nothing: Emotional Numbness and How to Cope | Psych Central

In the moment, you probably don’t feel like doing much at all. Sometimes, just curling up in a blanket and making yourself comfortable can feel soothing. Other times, it can help to move around, talk with a friend, or release some pent-up emotion. We talk more about these methods below.

Move your body

Emotional numbness may feel like being “frozen” for some people. If this is the case for you, exercise might be the last thing on your mind.

However, doing any form of physical movement is a great way to get out of your head and into your body. Try just walking around your room and shaking your arms out to connect with your body, or put on a lively song and move to the music in a way that feels good.

If you want to crank it up a gear, try working up a sweat with a bike ride, a brisk walk outdoors, swimming, or some yoga.

If none of these options sound appealing, remember what physical activities you used to love as a child — the hobbies that brought you pure, unbridled joy. Maybe that’s roller-skating, horseback riding, or boogie boarding. Do more of these activities to see if you can tap into that youthful exuberance.

For optimal health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise at least 5 days a week. Moderate exercise means you’re breaking a sweat and your heart is working hard. Regular exercise will get the endorphins flowing and perhaps help you feel more alive, yet grounded in your body.

Talk it out

Sometimes, when we feel like we have no one to talk to, we shove our uncomfortable emotions down because we feel safer that way. Do this for long enough, though, and you might find it easier to feel nothing at all — as in, emotional numbness.

While it’s hard to be vulnerable, it’s also hard to keep everything bottled up inside. It can help to open up to someone you trust about what you’re going through. You might say something like, “I notice that lately I don’t feel much of anything at all. Has this ever happened to you?”

The bonding experience will release a neurotransmitter called oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone. This feeling of connection may be a welcome relief from the sense of “nothingness” you may be used to.

If you don’t feel like opening up to a friend or family member, you might consider reaching out through an online forum, a support group, or a session with a therapist to talk about what you’re experiencing.

Try grounding exercises

If you feel numb and disconnected, it might help to gently bring your awareness to your body and your surroundings using grounding techniques. These techniques are often recommended for coping with PTSD and anxiety.

Grounding can be physical or mental. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Breathe deeply and notice your breath moving in and out of your body.
  • Touch a familiar object and notice how it feels in your hands. Is it heavy or light? What texture does it have? Does it feel warm or cool?
  • Notice the colors of objects around you. Try to find and name five blue, green, or red objects in the room.
  • Hold a piece of ice in your hand. How does it feel as it melts? Challenge yourself to name the sensations.
  • Put on a favorite song and really listen to it. How does it make you feel?

You can find lots more ideas for grounding exercises in this guide.

Release pent-up anger

If you suspect that the emotional numbness has to do with repressed frustration, consider going to a beach or a lake and throwing stones into the water. Or you might consider taking kickboxing classes or booking a day at a batting cage.

You can also look up a local Rage Room. Once there, you’ll be given safety gear and weapons to smash things, like plates and old TVs, in a safe environment.

Learn about emotions

Self-study can be an effective tool to become familiar with what you’re feeling. Create a mood diary, set a daily alarm, and jot down your emotions every day at the same time. Assign what you’re feeling a number between 1 and 10. If digital note-taking is more your style, try these mood tracker apps.

There’s way more to the world of emotions than just happy, sad, and angry. If you’re trying to figure out what you’re feeling, refer to this list of emotions — 54 of them, to be exact.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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