How to not be numb

I Feel Nothing: Emotional Numbness and How to Cope

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It’s hard to describe what feeling numb is like, but you’ll intuitively know it if you’ve felt it. Know that you’re not alone.

Many people report feeling disconnected from the world around them sometimes, feeling “flat,” or feeling like life is on autopilot. Perhaps events and people seem muted, or less colorful somehow.

It can also be described as chronically running on empty, feeling ungrounded, having a hard time focusing, or losing track of time throughout the day. Feeling numb can make it hard to connect with others, which creates loneliness or a sense of isolation in your experience.

Emotional numbness, also called “affective blunting,” is most commonly associated with depression. It can also occur with other mental health conditions and medications. It can be linked with states like dissociation or depersonalization — feelings of being disconnected from yourself, your emotions, or your surroundings.

The good news is, emotional numbness is usually temporary and treatable. This article will walk you through causes, treatment, self-help strategies, and additional resources.

There’s no one answer to this question, but experts have a pretty good theory. Emotional numbness can occur when the limbic system is flooded with stress hormones. This is the area of the brain that deals with emotional regulation and memory.

There’s an emotional component as well. High-stress situations can tax our emotions and exhaust the physical body. The combination of the two can lead to a feeling of being drained and, consequently, numb.

Numbness may also be a coping mechanism to prevent more pain from entering the psyche. This is especially true for those in high-stress environments and those who have experienced trauma.

The mental health conditions most often associated with emotional numbness are depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emotional numbness can also come up in some dissociative disorders, which are connected with a personal history of trauma. Depersonalization is the sense of being disconnected from yourself, as if you’re having an out-of-body experience.

Anyone can experience this disconnect. Sometimes, it’s linked with an anxiety disorder or depersonalization-derealization disorder. It’s also one of the less talked about symptoms of a panic attack.

In some cases, antidepressants may be the cause of emotional numbness. A 2017 study showed that 46% of research participants experienced emotional numbness as a side effect of medication, most commonly with a classification of antidepressants called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

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.

Chances are that you’ve felt numb at times in the past, too. When this feeling comes up again and again, it’s worth considering making a longer-term action plan.

Try talk therapy

A doctor or psychiatrist may recommend psychotherapy, or talk therapy, to work through the challenges in your life. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, can help you bridge any gaps between your thoughts, emotions, and behavioral patterns.

Somatic experiencing therapy can also help. Somatic means “of the body.” This therapy focuses on the mind-body connection to address physical and psychological symptoms of trauma, grief, and other mental health issues.

Another method that some therapists use is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Using a series of light taps or tones, you review past trauma through an observer perspective and anchor new thoughts and beliefs about what happened.

The American Psychological Association provides a search tool to help you locate a psychologist near you.

Visit a psychiatrist

Depression and anxiety are associated with low serotonin, the “happy hormone.” Low serotonin levels can contribute to a sense of numbness. If you’re not currently on medication, then a psychiatrist may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help you feel better. Some medications you may have heard of include Prozac and Zoloft.

If you’re already on a medication and experiencing emotional numbness, a psychiatrist will provide you with options of what to take instead.

When switching antidepressants, be patient with the process. It may take up to 6 weeks for the new drug to create an impact on your system. In the meantime, your psychiatrist may provide antianxiety medication to help your symptoms subside more quickly.

The American Psychiatric Association provides a search tool to help you locate a psychiatrist near you.

Meet with a doctor

If you feel nothing at all, it can help to get some answers about why it’s happening in the first place. This is best reserved for a doctor or trusted mental health professional.

They will ask about your medication regimen and personal history in order to rule out the possibility of an underlying health condition, like a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Research shows this can be a cause of emotional numbness.

Start a meditation practice

A consistent meditation practice can help you get in touch with your feelings by introducing you to your inner world. You’ll get to see the full extent of what goes on in your mind. Awareness can be a powerful tool for broadening the gap between your trigger (emotional pain) and response (emotional numbness).

Smart small. Find a comfortable seated position with your back up against a wall. Relax your gaze or close your eyes. Maybe turn on a diffuser with some lavender essential oil. If it feels good, add some light classical music, a genre known for evoking powerful emotions.

Set the Insight Timer app for just 2 minutes and see what comes up in your mind. Congratulations, you just meditated. There’s no wrong way to do it.

Attend a yoga class

To build on a meditation practice, consider attending a yoga class. As a yoga student and, later, as an instructor, I can’t tell you the number of times I witnessed myself and students spontaneously shed tears during practice.

In yogic tradition, it’s said that emotions are stored physically in the body. It makes sense that if you twist, turn, and bend enough, eventually something will loosen up and release. Think of it as a way to unclog the cork.

If this happens to you in yoga class, try not to be embarrassed. It’s totally normal. You can always go down onto your mat and rest in a child’s pose while you wait for the moment to pass.

Now that you know some steps you can take toward feeling better, now’s a good time to remind you that you’re not alone in your experience. It may be comforting to read about other people’s journeys as well.

Here are a few resources to explore:

  • From Emotional Numbness to Wholeness is a podcast episode about learning how to develop a full range of emotions.
  • Check out these apps for depression that can help with mood tracking, meditation, journaling, and more.
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness is a detailed account of what it’s like to go through depression, emotional numbness, and recovery.
  • Running On Empty is an audiobook about emotional numbing and how it relates to childhood neglect.

Causes and Treatment for Emotional Numbness

Feeling emotionally numb or feeling no emotions can be a symptom of several different medical conditions. It may also occur as a side effect of some medications.

Emotional numbness creates a sense of emptiness, isolation, or emotional disconnect from the rest of the world. The numbness can be unbearable for many people who experience it.

Find out what it’s like, why it happens, and how to manage and prevent it.

Emotional numbness, also sometimes called emotional blunting, can be difficult to imagine if you have not experienced it.

Some people describe it as feeling emptiness or despondency, while others report feeling isolated. Some feel as though they have no future or that there is no hope for the numbness to ever fade.

“Often I feel invisible, like I’m a ghost. I watch my family engaging with each other, but feel like there’s an invisible barrier that keeps me from joining them,” describes Amy H. , who has experienced emotional numbness from depression. “I’m like a submarine drifting undetected, picking up on other people’s emotions like sonar. However, if you were to ask me what my own feelings are, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.”

Rebecca C.* has a similar experience with numbness caused by depression: “The world around me often seems slightly superficial, [like] I am simply going through the motions and can’t connect to my environment,” she explains. “It makes me feel as if there were analog TV static in my brain. I am unable to communicate or think deeply.”

Some people describe emotional numbness as feeling unfocused or ungrounded.

“It basically feels like when you zone out before you go to sleep,” Amanda D. said. “Feels like being unfocused. And sometimes, especially right when you are going through it, it’s really hard to understand how the world keeps moving when it should have stopped.”

*Some names have been changed at the request of interviewees.

There are a number of different things that can cause emotional numbness to occur. While depression and anxiety are the most common causes, others include the following:

  • Stress and stress hormones: Elevated cortisol levels can lead to emotional numbness in some people.
  • PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may change your stress hormone levels, can be tied to depression, anxiety, and symptoms like emotional numbness.
  • Medication: Some medications used to treat anxiety and depression affect how the brain processes mood and emotion. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) affect serotonin levels in your brain, which could also alter dopamine levels. Most evidence is anecdotal, but a 2021 review of research suggests this could explain medication-induced emotional numbing.
  • Depersonalization-derealization disorder: People with depersonalization-derealization disorder may experience numbness in their minds or bodies.
  • Fatigue: Experiencing physical fatigue and burnout could lead some people to have emotional blunting.

Despite how it may feel, emotional numbness is not permanent. Treatment is available to provide both immediate relief and long-term remission.

The first step in treating emotional numbness is to identify and treat the underlying cause. A healthcare professional can help with this, or they may refer you to a mental health professional.

You’ll be asked what medications you take and what other symptoms you have. If your doctor thinks one of your medications is to blame, they may substitute it with something else.

If you do not already have a mental health professional, the FindCare tool can help you locate one in your area.

Immediate relief options

To start getting more immediate relief from emotional numbness, you can also try several treatment options:

Make an appointment with a mental health professional

A mental health professional can offer coping techniques to help you regain your feelings. Some professionals, like psychiatrists, can prescribe different medications.

While antidepressants typically take up to 6 weeks to start working, your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medication like benzodiazepines or beta-blockers for you to take while the other drug builds in your system.

Rely on your support system

Even if you’re having trouble connecting, reach out to the people who love you. They may be able to help you connect, and you may find relief in telling them what you’re going through.


When you’re feeling numb, the last thing you may want to do is get up and move, but it’s one of the best things you can do.

Running, swimming, yoga, and kickboxing classes are all great for stress relief, but even just taking a walk around the neighborhood can help flood your brain with endorphins. To get the best results, exercise daily.

Get plenty of sleep

Getting 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night could help improve your mood.

Long-term care

For long-term methods of treatment and prevention of emotional numbness, you may want to follow these tactics:

Eat a healthful diet: By eating nutrient-dense foods, you fuel your body to work at its best. Specifically, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other antioxidant-rich foods can improve mood regulation.

Minimize stress: Minimizing stress or improving how you manage it can positively affect your body, reduce stress hormones, and help you regain emotional feeling. Reduce the stressors in your life, and practice stress-busting techniques like meditation or mindfulness to better manage stress.

Learn to identify and express emotions: For those who have been emotionally numb for an extended time, it can be difficult to identify or process different emotions. A mental health professional can help with this. Make an appointment with a professional in your area who can help you tap into your emotions.

If you’re experiencing emotional numbness, know that no matter how you feel, you aren’t alone, and it won’t last forever.

Reach out to the people you love and make an appointment with a mental health professional. They can help you bridge the gap and bring you one step closer to feeling your feelings.

Summer residents are different ... But everyone wants to get confused about something - Channel 9 Stary Oskol

66 0 Comments beds, dacha, Dacha Day, news Stary Oskol, rest

Dacha is the most pleasant of all the useful ones. Rest outside the bustling city and the opportunity to grow something with your own hands. Today Russia celebrates the Day of the summer resident. For thousands of Stary Oskol residents, the word "dacha" has long become an integral part of life. Some spend the weekend there, others move for the whole summer, and some have made the dacha a permanent place of residence.

Sergey Danilov's garden has a variety of vegetables: cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, eggplants, but the main pride of the owner is cucumbers.

There is more interest in them than in some other cultures. Well, tomatoes are tomatoes, but my favorite cucumbers. No secret! Hands and care.

- Sergey Danilov

Together with his wife Elena, they purchased a summer cottage in 2010. Previously, they came here to relax only for the weekend, but now they don’t want to return to the city.

Was abandoned. I have been gardening since I retired two years ago. The house was 4 by 5 - small, one room. The fire helped - the roof burned down. They built a new house. We live here all year round. In the winter I go to the city only twice a week: to buy bread and swim.

- Sergei Danilov

In two years, Sergei has grown a rich garden, he does not let his wife into the backyard. Elena is engaged in crop rotation and floriculture.

Almost everything: vegetables, berries. You go to bed early, at 10 o'clock and get up early. Sometimes at 4, sometimes at 5., at 6 - no later. He did something in the garden, walked around, pulled out some grass somewhere. Children spend most of the summer here.

- Sergey Danilov

Dacha is not always potatoes and raspberries. Today, many owners prefer a different type of recreation - without a chopper in their hands early in the morning.

Alla Vasyutina has been hosting this dacha for 13 years. The Oskol woman was in no hurry to acquire her piece of land - she spent all her childhood in the garden with her parents.

Actually, it was my daughter's idea. Because a small child appeared, he needed fresh air, which we found here. All around are pine trees. These are the virtues of this place. Lake, river - fishing, if anyone wishes. As soon as it gets warmer, the end of April-beginning of May, we move here. With cats - cats enjoy life. And that's all - until the end of August, even until the end of September, we are here all the time.

— Alla Vasyutina

When the land was first purchased, there was a solid garden behind the house.

Gradually this garden waned, waned, and finally dried up. That is, we decided to rest for the soul. Beds... beds somehow... well, there is no reason to grow crops on the sand here. Maybe the harvest is obtained, but it is very troublesome. It's not mine, no. Flowers, lawn - this is mine, but the beds are not.

— Alla Vasyutina

But there is always work to be done on such a plot: mow the lawn, clean the pool, break through the weeds in the flowers, feed the fruit trees.

Children come, we play lotto, some board games. Again, we breathe fresh evening air, fry kebabs - naturally, necessarily, often, well, we communicate, we even sing songs sometimes. In winter, it pulls, pulls again into the bathhouse, and from the bathhouse into the snow.

— Alla Vasyutina

For some, a dacha is a place of rest for the soul, for others it is a good support for physical fitness, and others are waiting, can not wait for THEIR harvest. One thing unites everyone: with the advent of heat, summer residents rush to nature.

Dacha… well, how can I tell you, in a dacha, life is somehow more intense. What to do in retirement? Sit on the sofa? Here is expanse and fun.

— Sergey Danilov

Maria Kretova, Alexey Grachev, Alexander Balakin - Channel 9

Get confused by the label | Yuliya Rubleva, psychologist

One day I was brought to a party from our magazine, where in the women's gilded toilet of a pretentious hotel I heard a twittering in gibberish that I didn't know: “Just Cavalli is not cool,” one lady said to another quickly, quickly. “I bought Premium Cavalli.”

Once upon a time, a few years ago, I worked in the magazine "I Buy" as a column editor, and it was a whole favorite era in my life. What did it mean to come to I Buy magazine? (At that time it had not yet been released in Moscow and was not called "Shopping guide"). It meant plunging headlong into a world where everyone buys with gusto, knows how to buy, knows what it is, this was in those years when wearing an Armani jacket was really cool.

One day I was brought to a party from our magazine, where in the women's gilded toilet of a pretentious hotel I heard a chirp unfamiliar to me in gibberish: “Just Cavalli is not cool,” one lady said to another quickly, quickly. “I bought Premium Cavalli.” And these justcavalli of theirs - premiumcavalli, thrown back and forth, terrified me and made me stagger, I did not know how to mutter these names so casually.

In general, I never learned. Fashion advertisers didn't get me into the ranks of yearning groupies.

I was an apologist and neophyte for other beautiful rubrics: pleasure and beauty. I basked in soft chairs for massages and learned how Japanese women feel about aging; at night I interviewed restaurant owners and learned the phrase "give me a steak couple"; I was fed and watered, wiped and massaged, and by the end of my career I got fat and smoothed out, and the population of Ufa was culturally enriched, entertained and beautiful.

Then I came to Moscow and here I was shocked. The large Moscow publishing house, where I treacherously left to work from my favorite magazine, ran up and down the stairs in T-shirts, jeans and slippers, no one bothered with labels with inscriptions about Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan: to be confused by a label means to strain, and to strain because of a label means that you somehow live wrong - how did you manage to prioritize so much that you can be stressed by a label or its absence

Nevertheless, shopping took place here too, for example, at a flea market in Paris, it was more fun than Place Vendôme. It was also very welcome to support little-known young designers with the ruble and the euro. This democratic inoculation took root in me only partially, and I still terribly hedonized, sorry for the word, in some beauty salons on gentle procedures and stared at the windows with a conditional cavalli, while having mastered and loved flea markets well and shied away from young designers . Thanks to the work in this magazine, I was probably forever poisoned by the elements of the dolce vita and always went to the bakery by taxi, and on the Place Vendôme I was in awe of the Chanel and La Perla boutiques for a long time.

And this therapeutic role of shopping is so great that I have to talk about it separately. I don’t know what exactly you call shopping, let’s agree that in this article I call consumption in general. For example, I could never refuse the opportunity to sit in an expensive quiet cafe alone just over a cup of coffee, thinking about this and that and recovering from all sorts of worries. Sometimes it was against the backdrop of total lack of money and looked like waste: I really chose expensive establishments so that, like Bulgakov’s, no one would hit the face with a grape brush.

Over time, my habit evolved: at first I resorted to my favorite cafes to give myself a break, where you are not responsible for anything and they set the table for you. Then I did it to collect my thoughts or write a text, an hour and a half of an early breakfast in a coffee shop around the clock, mindlessly staring at traffic, a noisy city morning for some reason inspires me a lot. I wrote my first book in coffee shops in Moscow.

Now I just think that breakfast is beautiful. Whether you set the table for yourself at home, or get up early to get to your favorite coffee shop, in any case, you provide yourself with slowness, sybaritism and pleasure, and in the mode of all sorts of traffic jams, meetings and work, this is a great skill. Juice and oranges, and even better white tea with apricot flowers, oatmeal and chai masala, cozy eggs in a bag and a sandwich with cheese, fresh crumbly cottage cheese or croutons with jam, hot croissants with butter and jam, tender pates, millet porridge with pumpkin, sweet Baku tomatoes and Borodino bread, green salad with goat cheese, thick hot coffee with foam. Breakfast, unlike dinner, is a territory of beautiful permissiveness, and the above is a mix of my favorite breakfasts throughout Moscow and at home.

I like to buy dresses, I like to buy shoes a little less, and if I were tortured and tortured into choosing only one thing: either rags or breakfasts in coffee shops, I would choose coffee shops. It turns out that I am not a fan of shopping as such, in the whole process of any purchase I am attracted by its end, when you can sit down at the table with all these beautiful bags and exhale, and they will immediately bring you fresh orange juice, and you feel a little more beautiful, than before.

I didn’t know how to bother with a label, I never learned, but I took a whole course of lessons from a good stylist and stopped shying away from young designers: for example, the British design group Acme does good things, and when I get old, I will buy myself a cashmere a cape from Pierre Cardin or from Dior, I confuse them, but in twenty years I plan to distinguish them.

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