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  • Writer's pictureRim

4 practical ways to calm down when overstimulated as an HSP (and a surprise gift at the end)

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

Calm, peaceful, bordered by a cute tree-lined promenade, the Lac du Bourget always has a calming effect on me. There’s something about water that instantly soothes me. This lake in particular, with the mountains all around, has this special serene vibe that I cherish so much. Every time I go there, it works its magic.

Last Sunday was no exception. I had been feeling tense and quite overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to do in my business. Ideas kept pouring in my head, like a waterfall. While this is pretty cool and exciting, I felt stressed because well, I can’t implement them all, I need to do some research for some of them, and I have some deadlines for other things going on, and family engagements, and art to make, and this, and that…

Baaaaah I could feel the frustration rising in me and taking over my joy. It was becoming more difficult to focus and I was becoming frankly irritated. That was the signal to take a break.

As soon as I arrived by the lake, I could feel a wave of relaxation washing over me.

And, if you’ve ever experienced overwhelm, then chances are you can relate…

Previously,I shared powerful mindset strategies that actually work for Highly Sensitive People to help you break free from overwhelm.

But when life seems way too much to handle, it’s helpful to address the physiological symptoms before you can get to working on your mindset.

That is why, when working with my clients on overwhelm and anxiety, I always start my coaching sessions with a calming exercise that helps you go into a relaxed state, and as you feel yourself relaxing, your nervous system gets calmer and balanced. Then you can get better results.

To give a chance to your nervous system to calm down, the best thing to do in these situations is to rest. If the day is close to an end, give yourself the permission to pack up earlier. If there’s still plenty of time ahead, and you can’t take the day off, then here are a few things you can do to calm and refresh your thoughts in a few minutes.

#1 Take a break:

As soon as you start to find your breathing constricted and your thoughts looping in your head, take a break. A little can go a long way here.

In fact, if you can prevent overwhelm by taking regular breaks, it’s even better.

#2 Focus on your breathing for a bit.

Long, deep abdominal breathing is your best ally in these situations. Make sure your exhalation is longer than your inhalation. A longer exhalation is said to engage your vagus nerve (constituting the parasympathetic nervous system) function, leading to lower chronic stress levels, better overall health, and improved cognition.

#3 Move your body.

Have you ever noticed how animals shake their whole body off after a stressful, scary event? Shaking increases blood flow to the skin and can therefore be a useful automatic response to minor or superficial injuries. It’s a great way to release stress.

The good news is that it works for humans too!

Go for a brisk walk, do a workout, dance it out, shake your body. If you’re short on time, even 5-10 minutes are enough to diffuse the pent-up energy rising in you by overwhelm.

If you choose the outdoors, try to pay attention to your surroundings. Notice the scenery, the plants texture, the colours, the sound of the wind on the tree branches, the birds chirping, twigs cracking on the floor. Notice if there is any smell. Notice the sensations in your body.

Next time you feel anxious and you’re unable to “escape”, you can easily close your eyes for a few seconds, take a few deep breaths and visualize that special moment in nature. Tapping into your senses will make the memory of your relaxation even more vivid to your subconscious and therefore more effective.

#4 Adding sound to movement is even more powerful.

Ever felt like singing when relaxing in the shower? Singing releases endorphins associated with feelings of pleasure as well as stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that is found to alleviate anxiety and stress. So next time you’re feeling tense, try singing a few tunes when taking a movement break.

Something I learned in yoga which I absolutely love is the Lion’s breath. It is a type of pranayama that's said to alleviate stress, eliminate toxins, and stimulate your throat and upper chest. I’ve been known to take a couple lion’s breaths in the street (when no one is watching) before important meetings. It works!

If you feel brave, I challenge you to a 5 minute screaming session! If you can, it is great to release heavy, negative emotions. If you’re taking a walk in nature, go for it, and add screaming to your steps. Or you can add a few primal screams when doing a body shaking session! This is something I’ve been implementing lately and wow, so liberating! Primal screams release anger and frustration and take the edge off of building feelings of anxiety.

Give it a go and let me know if these tips work for you too!

And now…Gift time!

At the lake, the view was so beautiful that day that I couldn’t help but think of you, and I recorded a short calming meditation for you that will instantly help you feel more serene and relaxed.

You are welcome to listen to it whenever you feel stressed, overwhelmed or close to reach the last straw. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You can live a beautiful life with ease and grace!

Maybe you just need a little help getting there.

If you need help navigating how to handle anxiety, stress and cope with overwhelm, I look forward to connecting over a session. Book a free discovery call here.

To your creative energy,

xo Rim

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