The Overstimulated Mom: How to Go From Te Ka to Te Fiti Fast
For me, it's the noise.
We all have a sense that is the first to derail our peace when we begin to feel overstimulated, and mine is sound. I began to feel my breath shorten and rise to my chest, as I tried my best to hold back from the impulse to yell at the kids over the noises that were assaulting my ears. I felt hot and overwhelmed, frustrated. A sensation that presented much like the character Te Ka in Disney's Moana (the lava monster of earth and fire) was brimming.
While these emotions are felt in the body and often expressed much like anger... it is not the same. This, my friend, is overstimulation. And if you have kids (or grands, or students, or colleagues) you likely know exactly how it feels. In fact, many of us are living in a state of chronic overstimulation so severe that silence and peacefulness actually make us uncomfortable!
I felt the irritation rising like lava and took a moment to place my hand on my heart and breathe deeply to keep from erupting. It's not my children's fault that I'm overstimulated. They're just being happy kids, playing and giggling, banging blocks together in the spirit of creative play. But over the course of the last 10 minutes I heard "Mom, Mom" at least 72 times, obnoxiously expressive toddler nursery rhyme music blaring, the banging of toy tools, the hum of the furnace, the buzz of the dryer, the barking of our dog who wanted to go outside, my phone vibrating against the table with notifications, and the beeping of our microwave on top of their sweet but naturally loud little playful voices.
For a highly sensitive woman who thrives on peaceful and soothing tones or the comforting quiet of the woods, this was a serious problem. But I didn't want it to become theirs.
Unlike in the movie Moana, I thankfully didn't have to wait for someone else to retrieve my glowing green heart of peaceful love and joy. I could create it myself. And you can too. Fun fact, your heart chakra is actually represented with the color green. As it the process of healing and growth!
So how do we heal overstimulation when it is happening all around us? You may experience it differently... overwhelmed by too many visuals. Or the feeling of touch with too many people or the wrong kind of fabric touching the skin. What we have in common is that we all have the ability to relearn to self-soothe in healthy ways.
While it's true that we often cannot control what goes around us, we can create little micro-environments of calm within the chaos and know when to remove ourselves entirely from situations that do not support our lasting peace.
For example, I do not wish to control my children's joyful playing. But I can play meditation music in the background and put in my noise-reducing earbuds. Here are a few more ideas to soothe the nervous system and navigate overstimulation:
Take 5 deep breaths when you feel the sensation rising within.
Keep lights low and soft.
Take frequent breaks from electronic screens to focus on a natural image (ex. out the window).
Get outside for a quick walk.
Ground your feet into the earth to recenter (weather permitting).
Close your eyes for a few minutes as you breathe.
Play healing frequencies or nature sounds.
Breathe in a relaxing natural scent such as lavender or cedar.
Sip a cold or hot drink.
Ensure you've had enough to eat.
Remove yourself from the situation (if possible).
Communicate your feelings and needs.
Shift your area of focus to something entirely different.
Begin (or return to) a meditation practice. By intentionally creating more peace and relaxation in your life, you're less likely to feel overstimulated during times of stress. Think about how you feel before and after a relaxing vacation or weekend off. This practice is like giving yourself a daily mini-vacation. Meditation gives yourself time to process the stimuli your brain has received while returning your natural state of peace, love, and creation... much like the beautiful goddess of life, Te Fiti. This may not initially be a fast solution, but over time it will become easy to maintain that inner peace you've nurtured.
If you'd appreciate support learning to meditate, exploring techniques to keep your calm, or simply the accountability of doing so together... I look forward to you joining me! Find details of our new meditation class in the Cedar Valley and individual sessions here. Looking forward to helping you release the overwhelm and rediscover your sense of inner peace.
Love & Healing,