Sensory overload happens when you get more input from your senses than your brain can process. This can manifest in different ways and to a different level of intensity, some of the symptoms include:
- Difficulty focusing
- Restlessness and discomfort
- Possibly feeling the need to cover your ears or eyes to limit the input
- Feeling overexcited or "wound up"
- Stress, fear or anxiety regarding your surroundings
- High levels of sensitivity with your sense, for example, you may be more sensitive to certain textures on your skin
When there are too many environmental triggers your brain struggles to prioritise just one and your brain gets stuck trying to process everything, sending you into panic to get away from the sensory input.
If you struggle with sensory overload often it is important to recognise your triggers. For me, I find trying to process information visually while there is a lot of noise around, whether it's music, TV noise or just background noise, I start to get overloaded. If I am emotionally vulnerable or tired, bright lights and loud colours send me into a panic and I start to feel like I'm suffocating. It is important for me to focus on one thing at a time so I don't get overwhelmed. If you are sensitive to your environment or suffer from intense emotions it is important to do just one thing at a time and practice mindfulness. I have found this a huge help in dealing with sensory overload.
If I am at a point where I am in a complete panic and am experiencing this overload to a high degree I find that best thing for me is to make a hot water bottle. I personally find warm sensations very calming and it tends to quiet the "noise" around me and inside my head. I also dim the lights and sometimes put on some quiet, chill music as complete silence can also be too much.
In my next post I will talk about sensory modulation and how that has helped me managing everyday life and also managing sensory overload. It's all about finding what works for you!
I hope you enjoyed this post and learnt something new, there are plenty of resources online if you are interested in learning more.
Until next time,