Rita Thompson, NBC-HWC
National Board and Mayo Clinic-certified Health and Wellness Coach
What's the difference between a calming and numbing behavior?
This topic recently came up with one of my clients as we considered options for coping with stress and anxiety.
Numbing behaviors are grounded in avoidance or the “pushing down” of emotions. They can take on the form of an addiction, but in many cases are simply autopilot behaviors we do to feel less.
E.g. Excessive social media or TV consumption, “retail therapy”, or over-working
Calming behaviors are a response to the recognition of emotions, and act as a way to self-soothe by directing oneself to a point of focus. E.g. Breathing exercises, a creative activity, or movement practices
We all use numbing activities to varying extents, although we might not always realize it.
Long-term we want to develop more calming behaviors than numbing behaviors, but we should start by honoring that both are ways we try to cope with difficult situations and emotions.
Do you have a numbing behavior you'd like to change?
Before trying to change anything, give yourself credit for being aware of how you numb. Once you become aware, you can make a different choice when you are ready.