This is part 2 of my series on being highly sensitive. If you missed, part 1, click here.
In this post, I’ll share with you some simple, practical, potent tools to help you when you are going into emotional or energetic or sensory overload.
Overload Is No Fun
If you are a highly sensitive person, you will already be familiar with what overload feels like. You are flooded with too much sensation, emotion, thoughts, images. Your mind may be spinning, or you feel fuzzy, unable to focus. You feel overwhelmed, stressed, possibly confused, checked out, scared or out of control. It’s not fun.
That kind of overload is normal for a highly sensitive person living in the contemporary world. We live in a world which is too fast-paced, full of constant sensory bombardment and many extremely harsh and ugly things, and full of unprocessed emotions (other people’s and our own). Our contemporary way of life is painfully disconnected from heart and spirit.
There’s Nothing Wrong With You
So, first of all, I want you to know there’s nothing wrong with you for being highly sensitive or going into overload. Many highly sensitive people become addicts because they can’t find any healthy ways to turn off the too much emotion, sensation, information flooding their systems, and it’s unbearable to stay in overwhelm. But there are better choices you can make.
What To Do When It’s All Too Much
When you are feeling emotional-sensory overload, you need some effective tools to help you come out of it. Here I share with you 7 of the best, easiest and most effective tools I know for releasing the overwhelm and coming back into balance.
1. Bath or shower or swimming. Running water moves emotion and washes energies off us. If a simple bath or shower isn’t helping enough, switching from warm to cool water at the end might help.
2. Nature bath. Getting outside in nature, connecting with the trees, earth, rocks, land, birds, wind and animals helps restore balance. Nature knows a lot about balance, peace, harmony, acceptance, and our bodies and hearts respond to that.
3. Vigorous exercise. Walking fast or running or any vigorous movement, such as dancing, biking, jumping on a trampoline, going to the gym, helps to move the powerful energies out.
4. Moving and sounding. This is one of the most powerful and helpful practices I know, not just for overwhelm but for life. And it takes a little getting used to. It does require you have a private space to do this in, whether at home or out in the woods or wherever. It’s important to do this when you are not around other people who might be frightened, hurt or disturbed by it.
Whatever emotion you are feeling strongly, let yourself move your body in the way that emotion wants to move. Let yourself makes sounds, noises, swear or shout or sob, or even just breathe loudly, allowing the emotion to express itself as fully as possible.
With grief, let your body be racked by sobs. With anger, pound the bed or some pillows or just make vigorous pounding motions in the air with your fists and shout, scream. When I’m angry and there are others in the house, I will do this in the shower with a silent scream. It still helps. With fear, let your whole body shake intensely. You can even say over and over, “I’m so nervous. I’m freaking out!” or however else you want to give voice to the emotion. If you are elated, jump up and down and express it with your voice.
In order for this to work, it is essential that you do not keep replaying the story of why you are feeling the way you do in your mind. The story will keep you stuck in the emotion and not allow it to move and heal. So, let the story go and simply move and sound the feelings and sensations.
5. Journaling can be an incredibly helpful tool to acknowledge and give voice to our feelings. Sometimes this is all they need in order to begin to let go. You may find yourself working them out on the page, even finding solutions. However, sometimes journaling can just make the feelings stronger, as we replay the story and get stuck in it. If this is happening, try one of the other tools. I recommend #4. Remember to release the story, if you use #4.
6. Soothing music/sounds, smells. Help your body and emotions come out of overwhelm by playing soothing music or nature sounds, using calming essential oils such as lavender, touching or wearing something soft (petting a cat or dog is wonderful, but this could also be a favorite blanket or comforting article of clothing). Often what we most need is to be reassured and to treat ourselves with utmost gentleness and kindness and care.
7. Deep breathing. This is our Goddess-given, always available, incredibly simple and incredibly powerful tool for restoring balance. Studies have shown that taking just three deep, slow breaths can immediately reset the nervous system of the body. Try taking ten or more, focusing on the breath and making it as smooth, continuous, deep and long as you can.
Print This List and Post It Where You Can Find It Easily
You will need to keep this list somewhere you see it regularly and can access it when you need it.
I’ve made a beautiful, simple PDF of these tools that you can download here:
7 Tools for Overwhelm
Post it on your fridge, mirror, desk, by your bed, or put it in your wallet. Make multiple copies and carry one with you, have one at home, one at your work place.
When we are stressed and overwhelmed, we can’t think clearly or remember things well. Until these tools become familiar habits, you need handy reminders you can easily refer to in times of emotional-sensory overload.
Which of these tools have you used before and found effective?
Which are you most curious to try now?
What else has helped you?
Post your responses in the comments below. And remember to share this with friends who might need it.
To your peace,