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Emotional numbness is a condition when a person is unable to feel, identify, and express their own emotions. In fact, what causes a person to become emotionally numb and how to deal with it? Find out the explanation in this article
Emotional numbness is described as feeling hopeless and empty, both physically and emotionally. People who are emotionally numb also usually experience anhedonia, feel isolated, like to be alone, are more sensitive, lonely, even feel they have no future or hope to continue living.
Sometimes, emotional numbness is a way of escaping from problems or the effects of extreme emotional swings that occur all too often. If left unchecked, gradually, a person who is emotionally numb will get used to denying emotions and not expressing them, leading to broken relationships with other people.
Causes of Emotional Numbness
Emotional numbness is often associated with unmanaged stress. Prolonged stress can cause disruption of hormones that regulate mood and emotions. Physical factors, such as fatigue from certain activities, can also increase the risk of developing emotional numbness.
In addition, emotional numbness is also often a sign or symptom due to the following conditions:
- A traumatic event, such as an accident, the loss of a loved one, cyberbullying, or sexual harassment
- History of taking certain medications, such as antidepressants
- Alcohol addiction or drug abuse
- Mental illness, such as anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), or schizophrenia
How to Overcome Emotional Numbness
When experiencing emotional numbness, you must first realize and accept your situation. If possible, also identify what triggered the numbness. Next, you can do the following ways to solve it:
1. Seek support from the closest people
Sometimes, we feel like we can solve all the problems by ourselves. In fact, there are people around who can provide support and help us, you know. Stress and problems that are often kept to themselves sometimes trigger emotional numbness.
Therefore, try to tell and express whatever you feel and experience. You can confide in the closest person you trust the most, be it a partner or family. Sharing your story with someone you can trust can make you feel more relieved.
2. Focus on yourself and don't pay attention to what other people say
When experiencing emotional numbness, it is possible that people who do not know and understand your condition will criticize you. So, for the time being, don't pay attention to this criticism, okay? Instead, focus on recovering and re-experiencing various emotions, such as anger, anger, joy, or sadness.
Remember that emotions are natural, as long as they are not excessive and can still be controlled. Cry if something really makes you sad. You can also be angry if someone really hurts you. Don't deny the emotion that comes, but accept it and manage it in the right way.
3. Do grounding exercises
Grounding exercises are a useful mindfulness technique to help you focus, reduce anxiety, and train your emotions. Some steps to do grounding exercises are as follows:
- Do breathing exercises by taking deep breaths, feeling the air flowing, and exhaling slowly. Do it until you feel calmer.
- When you are calmer, touch an object around you, such as a book, pen, or bench, and then feel its texture, temperature, or weight.
- Pay attention to the colors of the objects around you. Try to find and name five blue, green, or red objects that are near you.
- Hold a piece of ice cube in your hand. Feel how when the ice melts. Try to name the sensation.
- Play your favorite song and listen really hard.
4. Apply a he althy lifestyle
Implementing a he althy lifestyle also needs to be done to help overcome the emotional numbness you are experiencing. From now on, try to exercise regularly. You can start with yoga, dancing, or just walking. Exercise is known to help increase levels of the happiness hormone.
Don't forget to eat he althy food and get enough rest. Also, you can try different stress management methods, such as journaling or taking up a hobby that once made you happy.
Emotional numbness can indeed be overcome. However, if after doing the various methods above, the emotional numbness you experience does not improve, you should consult a psychologist or psychiatrist.
To overcome this condition, usually a psychologist or psychiatrist will advise you to undergo psychotherapy in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).