Sometimes you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by the world around you. The lights might seem brighter, the people’s voices are louder, and your heart rate skyrockets. It’s possible these feelings are your body’s response to overstimulation.
Overstimulation is experienced by everybody and does not discriminate based on sex, age, or any other natural metric. However, youth are particularly susceptible to bouts of overstimulation because they have less experience managing their sensory responses than adults who may be more adept at recognizing their body’s response to high-octane environments.
What is Overstimulation?
Overstimulation happens when people are bombarded with lights, sounds, physical sensations, or experiences. For example, a university student may feel overwhelmed at a school football game where there is an abundance of noise, activity, lights, and other sensory stimuli.
An overstimulated person often feels panicked when things become too much to handle and will likely suffer a loss of focus, feelings of agitation, difficulties calming down or resting, or other unsettling effects.
Overstimulation can also happen when you’re alone. If you’re by yourself in a dark room studying, going on social media, and watching movies, you can experience overstimulation. There’s always something going on digitally, and neglecting to take breaks harshly taxes your mind and body.
How Overstimulation Impacts Mental Health
Overstimulation, either by socialization, multitasking, or digital devices, wears down your brain and tires you out, triggering an onset of anxiety in your brain.
Let’s take the example of digital devices. People were able to focus on the task at hand before the mass adoption of smart devices. If someone was out with friends, they would be focused on having fun. If they were waiting at the bank, they’d enjoy a moment of peace. Now, any sort of downtime is consumed by technologies.
The problem with this is that constantly using your devices releases more dopamine than you’re designed to. Liking posts, calling friends, watching videos, etc are all activities that release dopamine. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that emits pleasure, is not intended to be released at the rate it is in the digital era. Humans need breaks from stimulation to recover and process information received by their senses. The result of overstimulation and a lack of rest are symptoms of anxiety and other mental health-related conditions.
If you’re experiencing mental health-related issues from overstimulation, consider seeking anxiety treatments and counselling from Capital Choice Youth Counselling. Our experts are very familiar with overstimulation-related issues and are ready to help.
Tips to Remain Calm in Overstimulating Situations
While overstimulation can be debilitating, there are strategies you can employ to mitigate anxious feelings or mentally-damaging sensations.
Limit Screen Time
This one is difficult, especially for students, but it is not impossible to accomplish and may be the best remedy for overstimulation situations. Make use of the do not disturb functions on your devices and set your phone and other communications devices on silent. We recommend you make a point to do this when you wake up and before bed. Starting and ending your day with this anti-overstimulation treatment will improve your brain’s ability to block out overstimulating sensations throughout the day.
Set Boundaries With Others
If you’re a student living with roommates, this one is a must for you. Being unable to find peace and quiet in your own home is a big issue and would certainly contribute to overstimulating anxieties – especially if you have long days with extracurriculars and multiple classes. Talking to your roommates about boundaries may be difficult, but the benefits of creating a safe space undoubtedly outweigh those of staying silent.
Mediation is a quick anxiety treatment that will put your mind at ease. At its core, mediation is a practice that is designed to empty your brain of thoughts. Considering that somebody experiencing overstimulation may feel like they have too many thoughts, meditation presents itself as an effective way to combat an overstimulated brain. There are many ways to meditate. Meditation-focused YouTube videos, apps, yoga, and classes are all valid methods of meditation. You should not experience overstimulation as long you are at peace and tranquil.
Mental Health Counselling for Youth in Ottawa
Contact Capital Choice Youth Counselling if you’re suffering from overstimulation or other mental health-related situations. We have decades of combined experience and possess the appropriate knowledge to address your concerns with the delicacy and expertise you deserve.
We’re proud to be Ottawa’s most trusted provider of youth counselling services and our anxiety treatments have helped countless students and young adults in the area. Are you ready to start your journey?