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5 Tips For Mental Health: What To Do When You Have Sensory Overload and Too Much Mental Stimulation

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Mental Overload

It's very easy to feel overwhelmed, especially during the time that we're going through. I have five things that I do that helped me keep my sanity. Try these out and maybe they'll help you as well.

Mental Health Concerns Us All

Hopefully, you can find some semblance of peace by implementing these five small things. We might think that mental health challenges and staying mentally fit is for people who have mental illnesses. But actually, mental health concerns us all.

For example, physical health is important for all of us. You don't have to have heart disease diabetes or high cholesterol to take care of your physical body. We know that physical health is important, regardless of whether you have an illness or not. Now we're starting to learn that mental health is just the same way. Everybody needs to take care of their mind because if they don't, they will suffer.

Mental Health Tips that Helped Me in a Bipolar Episode

I have bipolar and recently had an episode. During it, I used these five tips. So if they can help me during a really challenging time, I'm sure that they can help you as well.

When you're stressed, there tends to be sensory overload, which means that colours seem brighter, noises seem louder, or when you're touched, you feel irritated and frustrated. Your mood might be down or it might be too high if you have bipolar or a mental health challenge similar to that. So here are five tips you can use when you have sensory overload.

1. Wear Sunglasses to Limit Visual Overstimulation

The first mental health tip concerning sensory overload is about your eyes. If you find that colors are brighter for you, when you are feeling mentally overwhelmed, what you can do is actually wear sunglasses, even inside your home or even at night.

You might know this tip already or when you go out in the sun when it is really bright, you put on sunglasses. But you can actually use them inside your home when you find that one person in the house needs a bright light to work yet it's just too much for you.

When I drive at night, I just find other car's headlights are very bright. So sometimes I actually wear sunglasses at night while driving. That just limits the visual overstimulation that hits my eyes. Then, it makes it a little easier on my brain to deal with that stimuli.

2. Wear Noise Cancelling Headphones to Limit Auditory Overstimulation

The second tip for mental overstimulation concerns your sense of hearing. If you find noses are very loud, and there's a bunch of people in the house, or if you have kids, it's very hard to concentrate. There's so much noise that you can't even get a moment of peace.

Therefore, use headphones or noise cancelling headphones are even great, because then you can zone out. You can tune out all the noise. However, there are some things I need to hear. I still need to pay attention to my environment, especially when they're young kids around.

Electronic Earplugs To Block Impulsive Noises

Thus, I found these cool headphones that are used in shooting ranges. What I really like about these headphones is that they reduce the wind noise in the environment. They lessen the sharpness and pitch of noises. That balances all the sounds in my environment. Then, you can actually concentrate on the words others are saying without the piercing and shrilling stimuli hitting your ears. It just makes it softer to understand what people are saying around you.

Moreover, you can actually lower the volume. For example, if somebody is talking and you need to hear them because they're far away, you can increase the volume. However, if somebody is closer and it's too loud, you can decrease the volume.

These electronic earplugs are the great. In the video and podcast version of this post, I forgot to mention the technical name for these headphones. So, keep in mind that the are called "Electronic Earplugs." These special headphones also feel very snug on my ear. It seems like I'm wearing a hat and makes me feel very cozy.

3. Use Gloves or Sweaters to Limit Tactile Overstimulation

The third mental health tip is for your sense of touch. Sometimes when you're not feeling well, or have a mental health disorders, you have a hard time when with skin to skin touch. The tactile stimulation is too much for your brain to process, or it's just very irritating and frustrating. Also, if you have little kids, they just touch you all over and keep pulling or your hand. That can be very frustrating. Trust me. I know this all too well.

An easy solution, without exploding, is to wear gloves to cover your hands or long sleeve clothing for your arms. Sometimes when I'm not feeling well. I even have a hard time holding food because of the texture of it. Therefore, I wear surgical gloves while I'm eating.

Covering my hands helps me, especially when I go into mania. I have a very hard time holding stuff. Moreover, in mania, my appetite will go down. Thus, putting on gloves really cuts down on the stimuli on my skin. It makes it easier on my brain to process the tactile stimulation.

4. Use Perfumes or Mask for Olfactory Overstimulation

The mental health tip involves your sense of smell. Often, when you're feeling overwhelmed, and frustrated, normal smells can be a trigger for sensory overload. I'm not merely talking foul smells but even foods like fried onions (us desi peeps know that all too well) can make you nauseous.

Moreover, if somebody is cooking something that you really don't like, it can be irritating and make it hard for you to concentrate on your work or rest. Well, there's an easy fix! Wear a mask (we already do that for COVID-19). You can also pick up a perfume you like, and just spray it on yourself.

Mental Health Improves with Calming and Tranquil Essential Oils

Moreover, you can use essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus. Just take a little bit and rub it under your nose or on the back of your neck. Just make sure it does not irritates your skin.

5. Use Colors to Change your Mental State

The last mental health tip that helps you with sensory overload has to do with your mood and how you can actually regulate it. You've probably seen yourself naturally wear dark colours when you feel down. Thus, when you feel drained, take a shower and change your clothes. Neglecting personal hygiene is a mark of mental health challenges.

Thus, wear something bright and light and watch your mood improve. Of course, your depression or sadness will not go away completely. However, it will definitely lift your mood inshaAllah. Moreover, the color change doesn't just have to do with clothing.

Use Sun and Nature to Boost Your Mood

You could sit in a bright room or in front of the sun. Even having fake plants that are green can really boost your mood. In addition to that, walking outside in nature with the greenery, the blue sky, really lifts your mood. "The Nature Fix" by Florence Williams is a book full of research studies proving how nature can improve our mental health.

Hence, go for bright light colors to lift your mood. Here's a cool one for people who are bipolar. If you're feeling high, or have too much energy, you can do the opposite of wearing bright colors. Wear dark colors to bring down the energy in brain. This helped me when I was going high, and there was too much mental stimuli hitting my brain. Wearing something dark on purpose calms down the mental tone and energy which helps me feel better and balanced.

When to Seek a Mental Health Professional

The above five mental health tips for sensory overload are normally good when you don't have a serious mental health condition. If you do, then these tips are not going to work because they are preventative measures for every day. But if you're having delusions or hallucinations, seek professional help.

The Difference between Delusions vs. Hallucinations

Delusions are erroneous thoughts or beliefs you have that are really far fetched, and you really believe them. However, hallucinations are actually things in your sensory perception. That means you actually might be seeing things or hearing voices.

Thus, these five tips are not going to work if you have delusions and/or hallucinations,. These tips are "too soft." Thus, if you're experiencing a serious mental health challenge that distorts your reality, seek help by calling your psychiatrist or even 911 if there is self-harm involved.

To recap, these mental health tips are for everyday challenges. Here they are again:

1. Wear Sunglasses to Limit Visual Overstimulation

2. Wear Noise Cancelling Headphones to Limit Auditory Overstimulation

3. Use Gloves or Sweaters to Limit Tactile Overstimulation

4. Use Perfumes or Mask for Olfactory Overstimulation

5. Use Colors to Change your Mental State

I really hope that these tips helped you. Please share this post and remember to donate HERE to help us sustain this valuable resource. We are a nonprofit organization which means that all your donations are tax deductible. Also, join our email list for podcast updates using the orange form below.!

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