A staggering 82% of Americans say they have felt overstimulated at some point in their lives, and many experience this on a daily basis. The overwhelm of work life, family life, hobbies, housework, and everything in between may leave you feeling like you’re going to burst from stimulants. This guide explains how to find relief when you’re overstimulated so that you can regain control of your day.
What Does Overstimulated Mean?
Overstimulated means that your mind, body, or both combined feels overpowered by stimulants. This could be anything from your children climbing on your back to your phone ringing off the hook. You reach a point where you cannot absorb any new sensations, and you just want to explode.
Feeling persistently overstimulated can lead to depression, anxiety, mood shifts, feelings of helplessness, or complete shutdown. While this is a common experience, it is not something you have to succumb to. Getting in control of your feelings will help you navigate day-to-day stress without feeling like you’re on the brink of combustion.
Figure out What’s Overstimulating You
There are different ways to feel overstimulated. Overstimulation may come from too much noise or touch, but it can spring from any of your senses. You might be experiencing a combination of sensory stimulants that just don’t mesh – too much perfume in the air, loud construction down the street, pets lying on you, etc. If you can quickly assess what is irritating you the most, you can work towards getting away from it or reducing your stimulants in some way.
How to Calm Your Body and Mind When You Feel Overstimulated
Here are some ways you can calm your senses when you’re overstimulated:
- Take a long, deep breath. Take a few of them if you need to! A big inhale acts as a quick reboot when you’re in need.
- Remove yourself from the situation, if possible. This may mean shutting your computer screen for a moment or excusing yourself to another room. Take a step back to allow your mind and body to process the stimulants you’ve already been exposed to.
- Vocalize your feelings. If your kids are overstimulating you and you have someone else in the house to help, tell them that you need a short break. If your boss is asking you to do too many things at once, tell them you need time to get through those tasks. Express your feelings and set boundaries as needed.
- Shut your eyes for a few minutes. Your eyes do more work than you think, and they are often the biggest receptors of stimulants. Put your head down and close your eyes to create a feeling of calm. If you spend a lot of time on your phone or computer, try doing this once an hour to reduce overstimulation.
- Do something completely different. Go for a walk, fold a load of laundry, or make yourself an afternoon snack. This will break the momentum of overstimulation so that you can regroup.
- Do not ignore or minimize your feelings. Doing so may lead you to your breaking point. Take care of yourself in the moment, and give yourself grace.
How to Avoid Overstimulation in the Future
You cannot always control the circumstances around you, but you can control how you interact with and interpret them. Start by adjusting your daily tasks based on priority. Don’t agree to a new project at work if you already feel overwhelmed with your current workload. Cut back on extracurriculars or events if you need time to rest and reset. You may feel like you’re missing out, but in reality, you’re giving yourself a chance to enjoy more in the future.
Change aspects of your environment that you do have control of, such as the lighting in your office or the volume of the radio in the car. Create a calm, low stimulus setting so that you have room for extra stimulants that may arise. If you constantly feel like you’re at max capacity, any little change could push you to your breaking point.
Create a work/life balance that allows you to compartmentalize the different stressors from your day. Work with a therapist to find personalized coping strategies for your stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. CNLD Testing & Therapy has a team of seasoned specialists who would be happy to assist you. Call (734) 994-9466 to set up an appointment with a therapist near you.