We’ve all been there: Something bad happens, whether a breakup or a tough meeting at work, and we come home and drown out the feelings by distracting ourselves with anything that’s available to us. According to licensed clinical psychologist Amber Groomes, Ph.D., numbing emotions out is a surefire way to deplete your EQ. “Stop numbing out,” Groomes tells mbg. “There are endless ways to numb ourselves to our emotions. Relying on drugs or alcohol, screens, social media, food, television, etc., to avoid feeling our emotions can become a hard-to-break habit that puts us chronically out of touch with what we feel.”
When you have an impulse to turn to any of these coping mechanisms, take a step back and ask yourself why you want to escape the emotion you’re housing. Once you figure out the excuse, acknowledge it, and then choose instead to sit with your emotion as long as it needs to be felt.