Solution Name: Sensory Regulation Program
What Causes Sensory Overload?
The brain functions like a complicated computer system. Senses relay information from your environment, and your brain interprets the information and tells you how to react.
But when there’s competing sensory information, your brain can’t interpret it all at the same time. For some people, this feels like getting “stuck”; the brain can’t prioritize what sensory information it needs to focus on.
The brain then sends your body the message that you need to get away from some of the sensory input you’re experiencing. Your brain feels trapped by all the input it’s getting, and your body starts to panic in a chain reaction.
The individual can try to avoid triggers of sensory overload once the causes are identified. The individual may also want to do the same activities and attend the same events that you would if you didn’t have this condition.
The individual can be proactive about sensory overload by thinking creatively about how to reduce sensory input when triggering situations.
Asking for the lights or music to be turned down and closing doors to limit noise pollution when you enter a social gathering are preemptive steps you can take before sensory overload sets in.
If the individual knows that senses get overwhelmed and trigger sensory overload, you can cope with the condition by recognizing your triggers. It might take some time but work to understand what your sensory overload experiences have in common.
Some people are more triggered by noises, while others are triggered by pulsing lights and large crowds.
What to do:
Take a list to the store to focus in on the task at hand. This can help prevent becoming overwhelmed by the options, scents, and sounds when you’re shopping.
Hold conversations in the corners of the room or in separate rooms when you’re at a big gathering.
Keep a plan with you when you enter a highly stimulating environment. Write your triggers down and identify safe spaces ahead of time and share the plan with someone you trust. This can help reduce anxiety over sensory overload.
Plan to leave events early so you feel you have an escape.
Get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. This helps the brain function at optimal levels.