If you’ve ever felt like ‘I Don’t Know How I Feel’, this is the guide for you. It presents 10 ways to pull yourself out of this situation.
As an experienced life coach, I have been able to help many people who felt this way and these exercises always prove useful.
I know they can help you too. So, let’s explore what they are.
1. How Do I Know If I’m Emotionless?
Here are the most common symptoms of being emotionless.
- You recognise situations when you know you should really be feeling a specific emotion, yet you feel nothing.
- You experience physical sensations of emptiness or numbness, particularly around your heart, head and stomach.
- You often have to force yourself to have fun in situations where it comes naturally for others.
- You don’t enjoy your favorite hobbies, media, foods or drinks as much.
- You find yourself wanting to indulge in extreme hedonism, self-sabotage or self-harming, mostly in an effort to ‘feel’ something.
Some people may experience these symptoms all the time. This condition is called Alexithymia.
Others may get them temporarily, or only sometimes in scenarios which should trigger specific feelings.
2. Is It Normal To Not Know How You Feel?
Yes, it’s normal.
It can occur when you’re still processing your emotions. Let’s say something unique happens that really shocks your system. In this case, it’s common to experience that emptiness while you process what has happened.
This emptiness can also fester when you’re repressing your emotions. It’s common to stuff away emotions that we don’t feel like dealing with, and this can produce feelings of emptiness too.
3. Realize The Importance Of Opening Up
In either of these situations, it can be uncomfortable to allow ourselves to experience extreme emotions. It involves a level of vulnerability that a lot of people aren’t ready for.
But, embracing and expressing your feelings is in your best interests.
To process and experience your emotions is to be alive! This is how we develop fulfilling relationships with others – and with ourselves!
You’ve probably noticed not knowing how you’re feeling doesn’t really feel good. Something feels wrong. Whether it’s an emptiness, numbness or an emotional constipation you’re experiencing, you probably want it to go away.
Although the process of investigating and accepting your feelings can be overwhelming, it ultimately lifts a weight off your shoulders. That’s because you’re embracing your true self.
During this process, you’ll often realize that sharing these emotions with others is not as scary or shameful as you thought. In fact, it tends to bring you closer to others.
4. Maybe You Just Can’t Put The Feelings Into Words
Is it that you don’t understand your feelings, or that you’re unable to put your feelings into words?
Often, it’s the latter.
Connecting with a therapist or life coach can really help someone get through this problem.
These qualified professionals act as a sounding board for emotionally stifled individuals. They know the right questions to ask to help people get to the bottom of their emotions.
5. Connect With Your Body
As previously mentioned, a person who doesn’t know how they’re feeling tends to experience physical disturbances. An emptiness, a numbness, an ache, a knot. Something. Perhaps this disturbance is unconscious.
Either way, you can begin to understand your feelings by connecting with your body, and these sensations in particular.
Begin by getting comfortable in a room with no distractions. One common position to try is to sit on a chair with a straight back and your hands on your lap.
Take deep meditative breaths to disconnect from your mind and connect with your body. Focus your awareness on your stomach and chest and look for uncomfortable sensations in that area. Perhaps you need to think about the specific scenarios where you’re feeling emotionless in order to find these physical ailments. Don’t judge or resist anything that arises.
Once you’ve located these uncomfortable sensations, focus all your awareness on them. Breathe deeply from that part of your body. Become that part of your body.
Once you’ve done that, you should be able to communicate with your pain, asking it questions to understand where it comes from and why.
I appreciate that this might sound kooky to those who have never tried it. It might be impossible to those who struggle to empty their mind.
However, this is a powerful exercise that many therapists and life coaches will be able to guide you through, if you’re unable to do it alone.
6. Communicate With Your Pain
Here are some questions that therapists will ask you during this process of connecting with your body.
To clarify, these are questions that a therapist will ask to the pain of X, the patient.
- What makes you appear within X?
- How do you make X feel when you’re around?
- When did you first arrive?
- What are you trying to protect X from?
- What would happen if you didn’t protect them?
- How are you trying to make X feel?
- Are there some occasions when X doesn’t need you?
These questions will lead to others and ultimately reveal a lot of information you didn’t know about how you were feeling.
A good therapist will always be aware if you’re resisting the answer to a question, and then probe deeper.
The best answers are usually found from the questions you’re resisting. Be aware of this if you’re self-treating.
7. Meditate To Summon Repressed Feelings In Everyday Life
The above process is a long-winded method of discovering how you’re feeling.
If you regularly struggle to understand how you’re feeling, I would recommend meditation as a method of feeling more connected to your emotions in everyday life.
There are many ways to meditate, but a common method is sitting and focusing on your breathing. During this method, thoughts will inevitably pop up. When they do, acknowledge them, then place your focus back on your breath. Practice this for 10-20 minutes a day.
This practice will help you get used to separating yourself from your thoughts and feelings. Ultimately, when they pop up in future, you’ll become more aware of them.
8. Avoid Distractions
Escapism is an incredibly common strategy that people use to disconnect from their feelings.
Instead of taking the time to know and understand how they feel, they choose to distract themselves. Common distractions include media consumption, shopping, eating, drugs or any other form of hedonism. Many people work long hours to avoid having to confront their feelings.
If you’re experiencing the sensation of not understanding your emotions, avoid these escapism tactics.
Instead, take the time to sit and analyse your feelings without judgement.
9. What Does It Mean When Someone Is Feeling ‘Empty’?
Emptiness is a feeling in itself.
It often occurs after a disappointment or a loss. It coincides with a lack of energy or motivation, and feelings of apathy or uncertainty about the future. It’s also common to experience a physical emptiness in your chest or stomach.
So, sometimes if you think you don’t know how you’re feeling, it might just be that you’re suffering from this feeling of emptiness.
10. What Is It Like To Have Alexithymia?
Alexithymia is a mental health condition, where sufferers don’t understand their feelings. It translates from Greek into “no words for emotion”. There remains a lot of unknowns surrounding this condition.
A person with Alexithymia does feel emotions, but they don’t really understand what they’re feeling or why they’re feeling how they do.
There’s a possibility it might be genetic, but it may also be caused by trauma or damage to the brain.
Alexithymia is diagnosed by mental health professionals, and sufferers will usually be referred to a therapist for help living with this problem.
Any more questions about not understanding your feelings?
I hope reading this article has shed some light on what could be happening when you don’t understand your feelings.
Hopefully, you’re now feeling like you know how to move past this emotional state.
If you’d like to ask me anything about this topic, you can do so in the comments section below.
It would be great to know what you think.