3 Signs You’re Numbing Your EmotionsBy Homaira Kabir
Emotions are messages from our interior—little bundles of information that allow us to navigate the world around us. Painful emotions tell us what to avoid and when to fight back. Joyful emotions do the opposite; they open us up and make us seek oneness with others and life.
In life, naturally, we experience both types of emotional states. But some of us may experience more of the negative, either because life just throws more pain our way, or because we are genetically wired to experience more distress than other people.
When painful emotions are a constant part of life, many of us resort to anesthetizing them in order to survive the day-to-day business of living. Although we may feel protected in the short term, this strategy cuts us off from everything that makes life worth living, such as joy, creativity, and connection. When life becomes devoid of meaning and mere existence, we are disregarding the blessing of being alive.
Here are three signs you may be numbing your emotions, and what you can do about it.
Sign #1: You Experience Less Joy
Numbing emotions is not a selective practice—when you numb negative emotions, you also feel less in general, because pathways in your brain dedicated to helping you feel become weaker. As Brené Brown says in The Gifts of Imperfection: “… when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
If you'd like to experience more positive emotions, more joy, more empathy, more gratitude or contentment, you need to rebuild the pathways that were lost or create the ones that never developed. Savoring helps you do so; for example, when you sit with a positive moment in your day and purposefully feel the emotion in your body. Describing these moments (rather than analyzing or relaying them) is also very helpful because it creates connections between the logical and emotional parts of your brain. Think not so much of what you did, but how it made you feel.
Sign #2: You're Addicted to Doing
People who are uncomfortable being with their emotions become hooked on doing, checking off lists, planning the next event, perfecting a task that’s already complete. As a women's well-being coach, I've worked with clients who drive themselves to burnout because the kitchen