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Top tips for feeling flat

How to re-connect if you’re feeling flat

In my therapy and coaching practice, my clients sometimes describe feelings of numbness, disinterest and ‘complete overwhelm’.

This article looks at how you can best recover when you’re feeling disassociated, shut-down or disconnected from life (aka your ‘Dorsal’ state).

What’s going on?

When you’re in a Dorsal state, you’re in energy-preservation mode

Imagine a tortoise retreating into their shell, or a lizard playing dead. This is a strategy that your nervous system uses in order to help you manage overwhelm when everything gets ‘too much’.

As I discussed in my blog about your real secret to career success, it’s natural and normal for us to have moments of disconnect in our day where we feel numb or a bit collapsed. These moments give us rest and respite. Once we’ve had that ‘time out’, we can transition back to feeling safe, open and connected.

Problems arise when we find ourselves stuck in a Dorsal state and unable to navigate back to where we feel safe and resourceful. We might find ourselves lacking drive and energy and struggling with thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness like “what’s the point?” 

If we remain stuck in disconnection, we can also be much harder on ourselves. We tend to be less self-compassionate and make negative comparisons as we feel less worthy compared to those around us.

Tips for shut-down recovery

If you struggle with disconnection, here are some suggestions to gentle re-introduce some energy to the body:

  • Splashing your face with cold water. Or run an ice-cube over your face and hairline. Cold water stimulates your Vagus Nerve and can result in a feeling of rejuvenation and energy in the body,
  • Engage your sense of smell and taste: essential oils such as citrus or mint can be particularly grounding. Some people find foods that are crunchy or have a strong taste are helpful in bringing them back into their body.
  • Use your voice. singing, chanting and humming can be soothing and uplifting.
  • Listen to uplifting music. Music is one of the most powerful ways we can shift our emotional state. Think about songs that you find empowering and positive but don’t overwhelm you.
  • Take a mindful walk in nature. The shapes and colours of nature are soothing to our nervous system. Taking gentle exercise can gradually build energy as you savour the sights, sounds, sensations and smells around you. This is a powerful recipe for reconnecting with life.
  • Confide in someone you love and trust. The caring presence of another person can gradually guide you back to connection through listening, soothing touch or gentle eye contact.

What if I still feel disconnected?

If you’re still struggling with feelings of disconnection, I recommend explore the possible deeper reasons why that may be. Here are the most common causes I come across with my clients:

  • trying to juggle too many plates and responsibilities.
  • Overworking or struggling with a toxic working relationship.
  • lack of meaning, purpose and fulfilment.
  • going through a time of intense stress including redundancy, bereavement or loss of any kind.
  • addiction to technology and social media.
  • significant events or trauma from childhood.

If any of these resonate with you, I can help. You’re welcome to book in for my free, 30 minute clarity call where you’ll gain insights on what’s holding you back and what you can do about it.


10 July 2024