7 Simple Ways to Calm an Overstimulated Mind

We all have experienced an excess of energy, known as an overstimulated mind. This occurs when you exceed your brain’s ability to process information. The result is a lack of clarity with your thoughts, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, headaches, digestive issues and even heart palpitations.

The biggest culprits of overstimulation

Modern Technology-Searching the internet, social media surfing and working too many hours on the computer, all contribute to overstimulation. It is not unusual to have multiple windows open and running in the background. This is symbolic of our own minds, trying to be in the present moment, yet getting distracted by x, y and z.

Obsessive Thinking- Many people believe the more time you think about a problem, the faster you get to a solution. The opposite occurs because you can get stuck in obsessional thinking. Over thinking is an attempt to control and is fueled by anxiety. The more anxious and out of control you feel, the faster you run on the hamster wheel. Getting no where, fast.

Analysis Paralysis- Creative people are blessed and cursed with too many thoughts. Too much head energy can lead to creative and writer’s block. Analysis paralysis is often fueled by perfection. Your mind falsely believes there is only one right action and fears you won’t choose the right one.

How do you get out of this behavioral loop?

No matter what causes overstimulation, the solution is to let go and begin small. Slow your brain down in order to give yourself a chance to pause, think and respond. Now you have the power to choose what to do next. Here, I outline seven ways to get you started.

  1. Unplug from Social Media for at least one day a week. Give your brain a break.
  2. Have a Healing Session– Some examples are: Reiki helps you release energy and restore balance. You may also want to move the excess energy from the head into the heart, through your breath and conscious intention. Place one hand on your forehead and the other on your chest. As you breathe slowly envision the energy balancing between the head and heart. Massage grounds your energy and establishes a connection with the physical body. Psychotherapy can help you gain self-awareness and insight. Find out why you are busy and distracted. Not only will you release stress but also learn new coping strategies. Having a psychological evaluation can determine if other mental health issues are contributing to overstimulation.
  3. Write- Get all of the thoughts in your head out and onto the page in fifteen minutes. Use creativity as a vehicle to transform chaos into calm.
  4. Meditation and Mindfulness– Slowing down the brain and your impulses will help you be in the present moment and make healthier choices. Combine walking with mindfulness, to shift the energy. Do something physical to move the energy from your head into your body. Go for a walk, clean the kitchen or your closets.
  5. Avoid Crowds and Large Gatherings- Minimize shopping online and in stores as much as possible, until your mind feels at peace again.
  6. Rest and Replenish- Create quiet. Turn off the TV, radio, computer and be alone with your thoughts. Create stillness and drink lots of water. Get out into nature.
  7. Pray. Connect to your Higher Self. Ask for healing and guidance from the Divine. Accept and Surrender. Admit you are overthinking and choose to give up control. The serenity prayer can work wonders in this type of situation. The world will not fall apart if you let go of your thoughts. In fact when you let go of busy thoughts, inspiration has room to enter your mind with new ideas.

To further prevent and decrease overstimulation, you may want to read: Important Information about How Your Senses Get Overloaded

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my You Tube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

6 Facebook Behaviors that Suck Out Your Energy

There are many ways empaths can feel depleted energy wise and one is sitting in front of you in the form of your phone or computer.  As human beings we have a healthy drive to be social and desire connection. From my clinical work, I am observing increased social media use with disconnection and energy depletion especially among sensitive souls.

I decided to write this blog as a way to increase your awareness around these Facebook behaviors that suck your energy dry, if you let them. It isn’t fair to blame Facebook as it is a neutral entity. It is you who gives social media a positive or negative experience through the thoughts and actions you create about it. You can take your power back by choosing how to use it and listen to your feelings as guides. Sometimes you need outside help such as a psychotherapist to do this and that is okay too. When I was on a recent retreat and shut off my Facebook for an entire week, these behaviors that I have seen in myself and others became crystal clear.

  1. Eye Rolling at Other’s Posts- When your judgment towards other’s self-expression sets in know that it isn’t so much about them but about you. This irritation has to do with a lack of keeping up with social media boundaries. Simply you are on it too much, otherwise these type of posts wouldn’t bother you that much.
  2. Increased Checking- Watch for this behavior when you are bored or trying to avoid feelings of loneliness, sadness, grief, anger, etc. Do you find that you are watching TV and scrolling through the news feed at the same time? Most likely you missed the ending or an important part of the movie or show. Your friends and loved ones may not tell you but they feel unheard when you are checking your phone during conversations.
  3. Posting Everything!- Are you telling everyone what you are doing all throughout the day, reporting in on every place you visited, who you were with, what you ate? You may believe that you are experiencing the moment when you are doing this. In actuality, you are commentating upon your life which removes you from the present moment experience. You are no longer a participant but an observer of your own life once you begin checking for likes and responses.
  4.  Sharing to Receive Validation and Recognition- When you share anything whether it is family photos or your creativity, check in with yourself first. How am I feeling? If you are feeling good, go ahead and post. If not, are you looking for love in all the wrong places?
  5. Just Browsing- You may not be a poster but more a window shopper, going into Facebook to see what everyone else is doing. If your browsing is taking up more and more time, it can be due to a fear of missing out. “The fear of missing out is defined as a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent, FoMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.” (Przybylski, A. K.; Murayama, K.; DeHaan, C. R. & Gladwell, V.,2013)  Similar to the serial poster, you are not connected to your own self and missing out on your own life.
  6.  Adding More & More Friends– You may think that adding more friends will equal more connections, yet it only equals more people who aren’t liking and commenting on your posts. Stick to people you know, have met in person or have a common interest. Otherwise don’t add to gain numbers, in the end does it really matter?

To learn about the psychology behind this behavior and tips you may also want to read my previous blog How To Stop Falling into the Social Media Habit.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empaths who want to recharge and refill their depleted energies in order to heal themselves and others. As an intuitive psychotherapist and certified angel card reader she helps her clients find realistic life solutions that work whether it is health concerns, work or relationships. To Get her FREE 10page E- book, 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos Now visit www.lisahutchison.net

References: Przybylski, A. K.; Murayama, K.; DeHaan, C. R. & Gladwell, V. (2013), “Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out.”, Computers in Human Behavior, 29 (4): 1841–1848, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014

How to Stop Falling into the Social Media Habit

I had a problem and yet I knew that I was not the only one. I went into Facebook to send a message to someone. Instead of sending the message, I was in the news feed for a good 15 minutes to then log out, realizing that I did not do what I originally intended to do. I was shocked at how easy it is to go unconscious on social media. I logged in again, accomplishing my mission by completing that message and sending it off.

I noticed an increase in social media use after my cat’s death. This distraction was normal and okay for a short amount of time because it helped me cope. It was a good way to numb out the intense feelings of loss and grief. As an empath, I feel a lot and deeply. Perhaps you can begin to see that this type of social media checking is not all bad because it would be too overwhelming to process grief/loss all at once.

There comes a time when you and I need to face the music; meaning we need to sit with the feelings, deal and heal. When is that time? The time is when you or others become aware of what you are doing and are no longer comfortable with it. If you do not notice your over usage, you may hear comments from family or friends. Not only can it cause problems in relationships, the longer you avoid your feelings, the more disconnected you become to your own soul and that of the Divine.

Social Media Boundaries

I am not here to tell you what the proper boundaries are for you concerning social media. I believe that you as much as I already know that answer. Trust your instincts, get off social media and do something else. What I will do is share some definite warning signs to be aware of. Many of these can be applied to abuse and addictions behaviors of all kinds.

  • If you spend more time with your nose in your phone than talking to your significant other or family.
  • If you need to check social media first thing in the morning, all throughout the day and last thing before bed.
  • When your friends’ social media responses or lack thereof starts affecting your mood in negative ways; anger, depression and sadness.

 

The Psychology Behind this Habit or in Some Cases this Addiction

When any habit gets rewarded, it increases the likelihood of you doing it again. Every notification, like, reaction and share reinforces our social media checking behavior. Guess what? When you are stressed you rely more on your habit system as a way to feel in control. It is understandable why during times of high stress; grief, loss, unemployment or illness an increase can be found with social media use. Even positive stress can trigger an increase in usage such as a move to a new home, new job or a book release.

Here is the kicker, the reward does not even have to feel pleasurable in order to repeat it.  This is what happens in all addictions. Clients tell me I don’t even enjoy using yet I can’t stop; why is this happening? When you repeat a behavior, the brain gets rewarded with a release of a chemical called dopamine. This dopamine sends a signal within your brain that says whatever you just did, do it again regardless of whether it has a positive or negative outcome. This creates a compulsion to repeat that behavior.

How do you get out of this behavorial loop? You need to slow your brain down in order to give yourself a chance to pause, think and then respond. Now you have the power to choose what you want to do next. For some it is shutting off notifications, deleting the app from your phone or taking days off from social media. If you continue to have difficulty, there is no shame in seeking professional psychotherapy.

The move from Mindless to Mindful Usage

Sit down and pick a goal for your social media use. Is it for fun, business or connecting with friends? Yes, it can be different each time you log in. Think before you post; what is the purpose of this sharing? Does it fit with my overall goal of social media use?

Notice your mood prior to logging in and stay aware of how it shifts and changes. Do you log in when you feel bored, alone, empty or to calm your nerves? When you feel stressed, aggravated or numb that is the time to log off. If you are using it to boost your self -esteem, remember the real work is within. Social media is a place to express not to impress. If you are trying to feed your ego, it is time to sign off.

When you are in the present moment, you are awake to what you are doing and what is happening. Anytime you notice your distraction, like I did in the opening paragraph, use it as a reminder to get back into your body and connect. After all, that is what we are truly searching for when we go online, an authentic connection. When you don’t find it online, make time to connect in more direct ways through meditation, prayer, phone calls or in person meetings.

More about Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empaths who want to recharge and refill their depleted energies in order to heal themselves and others. As an intuitive psychotherapist and certified angel car reader she helps her clients find realistic life solutions that work whether it is health concerns, work or relationships. To get her FREE 10 page E- book, 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos Now visit www.lisahutchison.net