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“I’m fine. I am. I really am. I’m fine. Yep, I’m good. I’m coping. I’m fine.” But, the reality is, when you say that you are fine, you generally aren’t. In this episode, Jen explains what happens when we say, “I’m fine”, and the impacts of numbing our emotions when the world seems too big and complex.

Did you enjoy the podcast today? Please let me know by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Every month I draw one lucky reviewer to have a free one-hour consultation with me. Also, remember to subscribe wherever you’re tuning in from so that you always catch the next episode.

SHOWNOTES

“I’m fine. I am. I really am. I’m fine. Yep, I’m good. I’m coping. I’m fine. Yep.” 

But the reality is when you say that you generally aren’t. You’re numbed out. It’s almost like our brain wants to check out for a while because the world seems too big, too complex, and you have to escape. 

Brené Brown talks about numbing out, and I have to agree. I have done it, and I’ve worked with so many clients who do it.          

So, I wanted to talk about this today because it’s a big and important topic. I’ve also been talking about this in my Rising Crone group, where I mentor women 40+ who are looking for what is next in their life. We found ourselves on this topic as we worked our way through Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly.

So, let’s get into it.

When we numb our emotions, it’s our way of avoiding painful feelings or traumatic experiences. 

Brené Brown says it best:

“We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

Common ways we numb our emotions

  • Saying, “I’m fine!”
  • Consuming alcohol and drugs 
  • Mindlessly scrolling social media 
  • Staying crazy busy
  • Eating sugar or carbs
  • Binge-watching Netflix 
  • Shopping online

Not all of these things are bad, but if you’re using them to escape from feeling real emotion, that is.

Brené Brown explains that when we do something that numbs our feelings, we don’t experience vulnerability. By numbing ourselves to vulnerability, we also numb ourselves to love, belonging, creativity, and empathy.

How do we tell if we are numbing?

It’s a good question because what could be numbing for one person can be energising and genuinely comforting to someone else. It depends on the feeling you have after it. This is what reveals whether it was numbing or pleasurable.

Imagine I’m consciously hanging out with a friend and watching a movie – conscious + connected = pleasurable.

Imagine watching something you don’t really want to, and you start scrolling socials, mentally checked out, restless, and bored. That is numbing.

When we numb, we avoid vulnerability. 

Brené Brown describes vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” It’s uncomfortable.

She also says, “vulnerability is the core, the heart, the centre of meaningful human experiences.” 

We can’t selectively numb our emotions. If we choose to numb, we numb our pain, restlessness, or boredom, but we also numb our feelings of love and joy.

How to stop numbing emotionally

  1. Be real are the practices pleasurable or numbing 
  2. Make a list of pleasurable activities – walking, surfing, reading, gardening
  3. Consciously schedule pleasurable activities
  4. Feel the discomfort of emotions and be ok with it
  5. Don’t justify, blame, or complain – feel it all and breathe
  6. Remove the distractions that allow you to numb like your phone and socials – or limit time on them
  7. Set an alarm

Brené says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

Helpful Links

Healthy Life Hacks

The Healthy Life Hack I want to share with you today is:

  1. Choose one of the hacks in advance as a strategy for when you notice you are checking out and numbing 

Did you enjoy the podcast today? Please let me know by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Every month I draw one lucky reviewer to have a free one-hour consultation with me. Also, remember to subscribe wherever you’re tuning in from so that you always catch the next episode.

Are you looking for more great resources? Get a free copy of my Feed Your Body ebook here and be sure to explore my blog while you are there.