How to Deal with Overstimulation

How to Deal with Overstimulation

Life, at times, can take us on a marathon race of emotions. We start strong, smiling and waving at the crowd while pacing ourselves and getting into our stride. Then, at the halfway mark, we're running over to the same crowd begging for more water, and at the finish line, we're drenched in sweat, hoping to make it over the finish line. Our sensors are overloaded, and we're trying to do all we can to calm ourselves down. I've been on this emotional marathon many times, and each time, I've learned something new about myself and how to manage my emotions.

Like running a marathon, being overstimulated in life can come from a compounding of several things happening at once or over time. This overstimulation can significantly impact our emotional well-being, leading to feelings of stress, anxiety, and even burnout. Have you ever repeatedly experienced unforeseen circumstances and thought, 'What is happening?' That's your body telling you to check into your emotional state and regulate the changes your body is experiencing.

Recently, I've experienced this 'compounding effect' of being overstimulated by many things happening in my life. It's not just one overwhelming thing but a series of events that build up and make it difficult to cope. For example, I'm selling a book, which is an overwhelming undertaking for positive and negative reasons. My husband and I unexpectedly put our fur baby to rest. It's been raining in Dallas for forty days and forty nights, and people are still, well, people. These events might be a few, but it's a lot to handle when they happen simultaneously.

My sounding board to get my emotional regulation regarding this together is to understand I can't avoid overstimulation and, instead of preventing it, reframe my thoughts to be more aligned with what my body is giving back to me, feeling the feels. Similar to when we were infants, we would cry for minutes because our sensors were telling us something was wrong, and our way of expressing that as a baby was to cry until what? Someone came and held us and asked us what was wrong as they began to calm us down.

As an adult, no one regularly comes to calm me down, and life has made me miss being cared for like a baby. However, I have to do the work for myself now. Learning to tolerate and normalize my overstimulated state of being looks like me cooing and soothing myself like my mother would, saying things to myself like, 'Calm down, 'one thing at a time,' 'Step by step.' Taking breaks, practicing deep breathing, and engaging in activities that bring me joy is also helpful. Much like a marathon race runner would do to make it across the finish line.

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