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Sometimes I Feel Too Much, Other times I Feel Numb


If your experience with feeling your emotions is all or nothing, know that you are not alone.

Reestablishing a strong connection with your emotional self is an essential component of experiencing connection to your whole self.

In a prior article on self-connection, I shared a holistic approach to self-connection encouraging you to assess the connection you have with all parts of your self, your physical self, emotional self, mental self, relational self, and intuitive self.


In Therapeutic Coaching we examine and assess our awareness, attention to, and connection with each of the 5 key elements of Self:
 Physical Self
, Mental Self, 
Emotional Self
, Relational Self
, and Intuitive Self.




The Physical, Emotional, Mental, Intuitive, and Relational Selves.

 Well-Being Arises With The Experience of Balance Amongst The Parts of Our Selves

Well being arises when we experience balance amongst the Physical, Emotional, Mental, Intuitive, and Relational parts of ourselves. Balanced awareness and attention to each part contributes to an optimal connection with the Whole Self.

The demands of the culture in which we live can make having a balanced connection easier said than done. Sadly, many of us do not experience balanced self-connection with all of the parts of ourselves for a sustained period.


We have some parts of the self that we over-identify with and other parts of the self that we disconnect from. Well-being or the lack of well-being in one area of the self creates imbalances in the other areas of self. The integrated relationship between all of the parts of the self makes it critical to see each part individually as well as the way the parts influence each other.


Disconnection With Our Emotional Self

In this article, I will share with you the benefits of a healthy connection to your emotional self and the effects of experiencing disconnection or over-identification with your emotional self over a long period of time.


(To read about over-identification and disconnection with the physical body go here.)

Emotions Have Cognitive, Imagistic, and Somatic elements 

Emotions are rooted in our subjective experiences. They have cognitive, imagistic, and somatic elements which means they impact how we think, see in our minds, and feel in our bodies. Emotions show up in the way we talk to ourselves and in our implicit beliefs about our selves.  Emotions affect how we imagine ourselves in our mind's eye. Emotions create body sensations such as goose bumps, inverted eye gaze, flushed face, or the feeling of butterflies in our stomach.


Disconnection From Emotions Leads to Only Noticing Negative Emotions.

When we are emotionally imbalanced we may feel numb or only able to access more extreme emotions or difficult emotions such as depression, grief, anxiety, fear, stress, or anger. We may experience our emotions as feeling out of our control to regulate which can lead to a feeling of being over-whelmed by stress, anxiety, or depression.

Research on the experiences of people who felt disconnected from their feelings described the experience of disconnection as being the source of many different emotional  states, including sadness, fear, stress, confusion, anger, and darkness.  Disconnection from our feelings promotes only noticing those negative emotions that grab our attention, despite our disconnection. When we over-identify with challenging low vibration emotions, we may feel as if the world is an unsafe place and that danger is forever lurking around the next corner. 

When we cut off allowing ourselves to feel certain emotions, we tend to dampen our ability to feel all of our emotions.


Cutting off feelings of positive emotions cuts off their benefits.

Positive emotions contribute to psychological and physical well-being via more effective coping.  Positive emotions help us to overcome negative emotions faster and contribute to coping styles that emphasize resource building. Research on the subject supports the idea that positive emotions play a critical role in contributing to psychological and physical well-being.


Accepting Our Negative Emotions Leads to Less Negative Emotions


Over time, allowing ourselves to process lower negative emotion actually promotes our psychological health. It may seem paradoxical that accepting negative emotions leads to less negative emotion.These are some of the reasons why this is true, despite the paradox.

Accepting negative emotions and thoughts lead us to experiencing less negative emotion because:

  • the acceptance of the negative emotion makes us less likely to ruminate, a habit that perpetuates negative emotions,
  • the acceptance of the negative emotion makes us less likely to attempt to suppress mental experiences, which often backfires with negative real-life consequences, and

  • the acceptance of the negative emotion makes us less likely to experience negative emotional reactions toward our negative emotions, such as feeling guilty about feeling angry. 
  • By accepting and processing negative emotions we allow them to naturally run their
    course and may gain the opportunity to learn from the experience. Rather than not feeling the emotion which tends to cause it to remain and grow in intensity. 
  • Energy build-ups from ignored or stored emotions can create blockages both within our bodies that lead to illness and blockages in our ways of thinking, that can create mental health issues or trigger an inability to cope.


Allowing ourselves to feel negative emotions and finding acceptance that doing so is a part of what it means to be alive, helps keep us from exacerbating our negative mental experiences.  For all of these reasons, allowing ourselves to process lower negative emotion actually promotes our psychological health.


A Viscous Cycle.

If our core emotional needs were not met when we were children, we may have established negative core beliefs about ourselves which create feelings of shame within our adult selves. Intense feelings of shame become unbearable, which triggers a need to dissociate from shame. Remember, a goal of not feeling one emotion leads to not feeling all of the emotions.  Once dissociated from our emotions, we begin to feel unreal or as a stranger to ourselves. The need to feel morphs into reaching for feeling and further feelings of shame.


How do we stop the Negative cycles of intense emotions?

Now that we know that dissociation from negative emotions creates a negative cycle of experiencing even more emotion, how on earth do we stop it?  The negative cycles of emotions can be stopped by processing our emotions, gaining support in processing difficult emotions, and being willing to engage in problem solving.


Two Step

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