Overstimulation and feeling overwhelmed

Everyone detects a lot of stimuli during the day. When you are in balance, you can process all these stimuli well.
It is OK to cross your boundaries occasionally. Taking an extra step is part of life. It gives you energy and makes you feel you are alive.

Sensitive people can become extremely overwhelmed by situations and the sheer amount of information they may be asked to process.

On this page you find more information about common situations of overstimulation and symptoms of feeling overwhelmed. Besides, I’ll give you some helpful tips.

What causes overstimulation?

Why and how someone can become overwhelmed is different for everyone. Here you find some examples:

  • Busy places with lots to see, hear and do, e.g. a station hall, town centre on a Saturday, festivals, etc.
  • The atmosphere you pick up in a room you enter. It is cosy, icy, busy, inviting, etc.
  • Scents, loud music, people talking loudly
  • Impressions of people and events that stay in your mind
  • But also, your own thoughts, your inner critic or things you worry about

A combination of these can be too much if you are sensitive. However, you may have learned to cope with that feeling over the years.
Only if you are already tired or if you don’t have time to process all these stimuli, they may become too much for you.

What happens if you become overwhelmed for a long time?

Symptoms of being overwhelmed and stress

When you are over-stimulated, your body and mind indicate that you are not doing well. You are not comfortable with yourself, you experience stress and notice that you don’t recover enough after a period of rest.

Some symptoms that can arise:

  • concentration problems, your head is full of information already
  • Frustrated, being snappy to the people around you
  • Being extremely tired, having no energy
  • Physical complaints, stomach pain, shoulder pain, headache, dizziness
  • A weakened  immune system with illness as a result
  • Your mood goes from sun to rain to thunder and everything in between
  • Feelings of panic and anxiety, hyperventilation, palpitations.

Some helpful tips

If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, you can try a few things.

First of all, you need to recognise that you are exhausting yourself and need to take a step back. That’s easier said than done, I know. 
Once you have noticed that something needs to change, you can use these tips to feel better:

  • You need to be alone sometimes (go out for a walk, read a book in a quiet room, listen to your favourite music using earphones).
  • Do not plan new appointments that cost energy. Keep planning nice things, your moments of pleasure.
  • To maintain overview and focus, keep a schedule at home for a while and plan not only your appointments, but also your rest and moments of relaxation.
  • Have a regular daily routine. Get up early, eat regularly and go to bed on time.
  • Go outside and surround yourself by nature, a garden, a park etc. Nature helps you to feel more grounded and relaxed.
  • When it is difficult to stop the process of overwhelming and stress, you can read this article: stress and anxiety, three tips to cope.

Help with long-term overstimulation and stress

All kinds of causes can be mixed up: this can be confusing and tiring.

If you can’t figure it out by yourself, if you want to change things but don’t know how to start, counselling may be right for you.

  • Counselling can give you self-confidence.
  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) can help you cope with anxiety and stress. This is a form of therapy that integrates mindfulness practice such as meditation and breathing exercise.
  • You learn how to recognise signals of overwhelm and set personal boundaries with time and energy.

Make your Spiral of Life personal plan with workbook and exercises. Explore and choose essential tools and skills to cope in times of pressure and stressful situations

Contact and appointments

You can contact me for more information by email or make a telephone appointment here.

If you prefer personal contact, you can make a first introduction Face to face appointment or Online appointment. 

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