Numbing (n.) – Numbing is a way of running away from the pain, boredom, or discomfort of the present moment. Almost anything can be used to numb. Often times, when people think of numbing out, they bring up things such as alcohol, drugs, smoking, sex, pornography, television, video games, and cell phones. But, people often don’t realize that things like meditation, exercise, creating art, and even reading can be used to numb.
Your Intent Matters
Being mindful means to be fully engaged in the present moment – even when it’s difficult or is simply unappealing. Numbing is running away or avoiding what is present. With this, you can see that there are times when something can be used for numbing and times when that exact same thing can be used to be fully engaged.
Sex, for example, can definitely be used for avoiding or fully engaging in the present moment. Meditation can be used either way as well. Are you meditating to avoid difficult feelings or are you meditating to become more fully present with those feelings?
Alcohol is one of our culture's most popular numbing devices. If we look at the research, people who drink and vent about their problems when trying to numb actually feel worse about their problems as a result. People who drink and engage in something that distracts them from their issues do much better in the stress level surveys.
Cell phones have also become a tremendous numbing device in our culture. PsychCentral has a shorter article to help determine if you are over-using your cell phone and what to do if you are. That article is at http://psychcentral.com/lib/coping-with-cell-phone-addiction/ if you are curious.
Learn to be mindful of the ways you numb.
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