6 min read



Hi there nesstie,

I learned the phrase “psychic numbing” this week. It’s a feeling, or the absence of feeling, when it’s just all too much. “It” can be a lot of things—past trauma, economic collapse, a constant flood of bad news, environmental destruction, a pandemic. It’s like your mind and heart check out, withdrawing from the Bad and moving in rent-free to the Nothing. This makes it possible to go on with your day even when you’re aware that awful things are happening across the globe, but it can also sap us of our empathy.

While feeling numb might sound better than suffering, those aren’t your only two options. You can actively choose compassion. The effect of making the world a better place, even if through one interaction, is the obvious way to flex your empathy muscle, but it also has mental and physical health benefits. Altruism can literally boost your immune system.

Therapist and clinical ethicist Michele DeMarco lists a bunch of ways you can cultivate compassion. I like her suggestion to “listen generously”. Stop yourself from trying to think of what you want to say next while someone is talking. Digest it, embrace some silence, be thoughtful in how you respond. (IDK about you, but it’s easy to tell when you’re talking to someone who loves the sound of their own voice more than they like hearing what you have to say.)

And here’s a 10-minute writing exercise to dust off that psychic numbness and feel more connected to yourself, your people, and your community. If nothing else, it’s a good reason to buy a new notebook. 🤓

Numb belongs next to Encore, not in your spirit,

Melanie, editor at The Nessie

This post is for subscribers only