Stop sensory overload with these tips for sensory regulation. Discover 8 methods to balance sensory input and improve mental well-being.
In our modern world, every minute is filled with noises and buzzes.
Think about it – our phones are always beeping, and our streets are filled with sounds.
It’s no surprise we often feel like everything is too much. It’s like trying to chat with a friend while many radios play loudly around you. That’s how our heads feel, dealing with so much stuff all at once.
What does this mean for us?
Well, this constant noise tires us out. It can give us sensory overload – and make us anxious, stressed, and even give us headaches or body pains. It’s not just about being tired. It’s a real problem that affects our happiness and health.
But don’t worry! There’s hope.
Even if the world is noisy, you can learn to handle it better. And I’m here to help!
I’m a leading Behavioral Change Expert, and author of the bestselling book Happy Habits. Coming up I will explain why we feel so overwhelmed – so frequently. Plus how we can feel better. I’ll give you simple tips to reduce sensory overload and tips to embrace sensory regulation. By the end, you’ll know how to live a calmer, happier life, even when the world around you is chaotic.
You know when you have too many apps open on your phone and it starts to freeze or slow down? That’s your brain on sensory overload. It’s when life tosses way too many sights, sounds, and smells our way, and our brains are like, “Hold up, I can’t keep up!” This jam-up can make us feel all out of whack, frazzled, and just off our game.
Sensory regulation is like your brain’s inner thermostat. Just as a thermostat keeps the room at the perfect temp, sensory regulation adjusts and manages all the stuff coming our way. It filters and organizes all the incoming “noise” so we can feel balanced, alert, and in the zone. It’s our built-in system for keeping things cool and steady, even when the world’s going a mile a minute.
Ready to navigate the sensory overload chaos? Dive into these 8 tried-and-true simple sensory regulation tips.
Breathing is about more than keeping us alive. Research from places like The University of Massachusetts Medical School tells us that focused breathing can change how our brains handle sensations.
By consciously slowing down your breath and focusing on each inhale and exhale, you give your brain a much-needed break from processing external stimuli, reducing the potential for overload.
Quick Tip: Spare five minutes in your day. Find a quiet spot, close those eyes, and just breathe. It’s like giving your brain a mini-vacation.
Our screens – from phones to computers to TVs – are constant sources of sensory input. The American Academy of Pediatrics highlights the importance of managing screen time to prevent sensory overload, especially for children.
But this advice isn’t just for the young ones! Adults can benefit significantly by setting boundaries for screen use. In fact, managing screen time is an essential part of avoiding sensory overload.
Quick Tip: Designate specific times to check emails or social feeds. And unplug at least an hour before hitting the sack. Your brain will thank you.
Sometimes, the best way to recalibrate your senses is to get back to the basics of nature. The natural world provides a gentle, calming sensory experience, helping your brain to relax and reset.
Numerous studies report the power of nature in significantly decreasing symptoms of sensory overload. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that spending time in nature significantly decreases sensory overload symptoms.
Quick Tip: Aim for at least half an hour outdoors daily. A park, garden, or even your backyard works wonders.
Ever wondered why the sound of rain or the smell of coffee can feel so calming? It’s all about redirecting your brain’s focus away from the overload, and purposefully engaging your senses in a more gentle, intentional way.
Quick Tip: Inside my online program, The Anxiety Cure, I delve deeper into sensory therapies. I show you how to harness the power of your 5 senses – sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch – using these as grounding tools. Learn more here.
Order can breed calm. Daily predictability and structure can lower the demand for sensory processing. Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information supports this. They found that a structured daily routine reduces the need to process excess information. Translation? You will feel calmer and more in control.
Quick Tip: Craft a daily routine. A mix of work, chill time, and rest helps keep things on an even keel.
Our surroundings influence our mood, focus, and overall sensory well-being. We often overlook the importance of our environment, but it plays a significant role in our sensory health. So it helps if we can create a “sensory-safe space” as a sanctuary to go to when things feel overwhelming.
Quick Tip: Dedicate a spot in your home as your Zen Zone. Make sure it has soft colors, comfy seats, and maybe even some plants. Or introduce elements like dimmable lighting, soundproofing, or white noise machines. When things get loud, this is where you can go to recuperate, and relax.
Our relationship with food is complex. Beyond just providing nutrition, meals can be a “sensory anchor” – if you enjoy mindful eating. However, our fast-paced world often stops us from being fully present when we eat. Or we might find ourselves turning to food for emotional eating.
So before eating it helps to take a moment to decide to become a mindful eater! This approach will not only make you more aware of what you eat. It will ground you in the moment. Plus it will help to improve your digestion.
Quick Tip: Start to practice mindful eating – with snacks as well as meals. During this time, switch off all distractions, focusing solely on your food. Chew slowly, savoring every bite. Notice the color, taste, texture, and aroma. Plus make sure you’re mindful of WHY you’re eating too. Become aware of the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. If you need support in this area, explore my Stop Emotional Eating Online Course – which is both nutritionist and therapist recommended.
Scents have a profound impact on our mood and emotions. Aromatherapy can help tap into this connection, when you use specific fragrances to evoke desired states of mind.
Quick Tip: Invest in a quality diffuser and a set of essential oils. Start with calming lavender for evenings and energizing citrus for mornings.
While we can’t mute the world, with these tricks up your sleeve, you’re all set to find your own volume level.
Plus if you want more support, explore working with me as your Mindset Mastery Coach. I will help you to delve deeper into these strategies, so you can navigate the world’s sensory maze with confidence and calmness.
Remember, it’s not about avoiding the world. It’s about engaging with it in the most balanced and healthy way.