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10 Ways to Overcome Emotional Numbness

March 19, 2024

A Manhattan woman sitting on a dock, breathing and trying to reconnect with the world around her. Emotional numbness happens, but with therapy, you can find new strategies to overcome.

When you’re experiencing emotional numbness in the moment, it can be challenging to know how to cope. We can feel disconnected to skills, people or activities that typically boost our mood. Numbness can come up when we are avoiding feeling something painful, we are stressed and dissociating from the present moment, and in many other unique situations.

Here are some strategies to help you manage and potentially alleviate emotional numbness when it occurs:

1. Acknowledge It:

Recognize and accept that you’re feeling emotionally numb. Trying to fight or deny it may only intensify the sensation. Allow yourself to acknowledge what you’re experiencing without judgment.

2. Grounding Techniques:

A soothing bath with a cup of tea can help you reengage with your emotions and those around you.

Use grounding techniques to connect with the present moment. Focus on your senses by touching objects around you, paying attention to the texture, temperature, and weight. Describe your surroundings to yourself in detail, which can help bring you back to the present.

3. Deep Breathing:

Practice deep, mindful breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can help calm your nervous system and bring a sense of relaxation, which may help lessen the emotional numbness.

4. Engage Your Senses:

Engage in activities that stimulate your senses. Listen to music you enjoy, eat something flavorful, smell pleasant scents, or take a warm shower. Sensory experiences can sometimes help awaken emotions.

5. Physical Activity:

A woman working out in a Manhattan gym. Emotional numbness happens, but physical activity can help.

Engage in gentle physical activity, such as stretching or taking a short walk. Exercise can release endorphins and improve blood circulation, which may help lift your mood and reduce emotional numbness.

6. Reach Out:

Talk to someone you trust about what you’re feeling. Sometimes, sharing your emotions with a friend, family member, or therapist can provide relief and help you process your feelings.

7. Practice Self-Compassion:

Be kind to yourself. Recognize that emotional numbness is a common response to stress or difficult situations. Give yourself permission to experience this feeling without self-criticism.

8. Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

Tense and then relax different muscle groups in your body. This technique can help you become more aware of physical sensations and reduce tension, potentially helping you connect with your emotions.

9. Mindful Journaling:

Write down your thoughts and feelings in the moment. The act of putting your emotions into words can sometimes help you become more aware of what you’re experiencing and facilitate emotional release.

Group of Brooklyn friends sitting on stairs laughing and enjoying each others company.

10. Distraction Techniques:

Sometimes, engaging in a distracting activity, such as reading a book, watching a movie, or doing a puzzle, can temporarily shift your focus and create a window for your emotions to resurface.

Feeling numb can be scary, uncomfortable and can leave us feeling cut off from access to our emotions. Using these skills, in conjunction with seeking support from your therapist and support system, can be helpful in beginning to break through that numbness so you can begin to reconnect with yourself and a range of emotions.


Ready to break free from negative thoughts and live the life you’ve always wanted? Start therapy for depression in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or anywhere in New York with Manhattan Wellness. Embrace a transformative journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Get support in creating empowering habits, using positive language, and appreciating your uniqueness. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Contact Manhattan Wellness today or email us at
  2. Schedule your first appointment with one of our Manhattan therapists
  3. Embark on this empowering path to a confident, happier you


Our therapists recognize that discovering your “enough” is a journey. And it can become even more complex when the inner critic interferes, giving rise to additional challenges. We provide a range of services to ensure you receive the essential support, care, and guidance to achieve your goals. Our offerings include specialized support for women, anxiety treatment, and dating therapy. Along with services for college students, maternal mental health, body image therapy, and much more. If you feel dissatisfied with your current life and are seeking meaningful changes, let’s have a conversation about it.

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