1 Easy-Peasy Step To Eliminate Sensory Overload
You feel empty.
You have no energy to move forward. It feels like you’ve hit a wall. You’re grumpy, sometimes a little aggressive and feel „meh“. All your efforts for getting your business moving forward feels like an effort…and to top it off, you feel you’ve lost your passion. Deep sigh. Don’t fret! There’s light at the end of the tunnel! What you’re experiencing is totally normal and is commonly known as sensory overload…
Did you know that from the moment you wake up in the morning, to the time you finally drift off into a deep sleep, your mind has sucked in over 60 000 sensory impulses (!!!) That’s a lot of impulses to process. No wonder, you feel „meh“ and have hit a wall. So what’s to do, to „un-load“ and find your zing again?
“Don’t lose heart, let go of a fart.”
Have you ever eaten so much that you need to loosen the pressure around your waist, to let your stomach „breathe“? It’s a suffocating experience. So how do you breathe again? You need to fart. As funny as this is, we all know that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Right? It’s not like you can switch the switch to release the flatulence. Nope. The release is found in movement. Action. At best you need to do some kind of non-rigorous movement to relieve yourself of the bloatedness.
“ Turning input, into output.”
Our sensory overload works much the same, as a bloated stomach, i.e. you need to get those 60 000 sensory impulses which are clogging your brain, out! This way, you’re able to release the pressure of feeling overloaded and start feeling light again. As with relieving yourself of bloatedness, you need movement. But of a different kind. Something unexpectedly easy and effective… …a journal. Yes, you read correctly. “A journal is NOT a diary! ” Although quite personal. From the way it looks to the paper, to the content. It’s anything but a daily entry about feelings and emotions. A journal is simply, getting all your sensory input onto paper. This could be in the form of a doodle. Or just random thoughts about a topic that was floating around in your mind. Your agenda for the week. Or simply, words which you found interesting to remember.
Alternatively, your journal could contain your „five goals a day“ (suggested by none other than the motivational legend Jack Canfield).
Or perhaps, you prefer to make a collage of your goals and dreams with your own photos? There really is no right or wrong for starting and maintaining a journal. You just need to start outputting. I can promise you, that you’ll not only free up some space in your brain, but you’ll be able to stock up on new information to propel you forward.
„If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad“ – Lord Byron”
Here are my 4 tips for starting your journal:
- Time yourself: Writing forever could leave you feeling bored. Asking yourself „What should I write next?“. Just stick to a minimum of 10 minutes. That’s enough.
- Experiment! Play around with materials and make a mess. Your journal should allow pedantic perfectionists to „let go“ and explore new things within a relative safe boundary.
- Random instead of Regular: It’s idealistic to think you could have time to write an entry in your journal every day. So just go for random. If you do manage to do this every day, then WOWZERS!!!! If not, keep striving, but get that input – out!
- Assumptions: Often, we don’t try things, because we think we know what’s going to happen: we make assumptions about outcomes. By keeping a journal, you realise how powerful it is not knowing what’s going to happen, and discovering an unexpected result.
In fact, there’s so much data about the mental and emotional benefits of journaling that counselors, social workers, and therapists often encourage their patients to do it. This study from the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment is a great experiment, and a solid summary of current research on the topic. In the piece, the researchers noted that 15–20 minutes on 3–5 occasions was enough to help the study participants deal with traumatic, stressful, or otherwise emotional events. It’s been specifically effective in people with severe illnesses, like cancer, for example. In fact, the practice is so well regarded, there’s a Center for Journal Therapy dedicated to the mental health benefits of regular journaling, both in therapeutic and personal settings*. It’s not just what you write about though. How you write plays a role as well. This University of Iowa study showed that journaling about stressful events helped participants deal with the events they experienced. The key, however, was to focus on what you were thinking and feeling as opposed to your emotions alone. In short, you get the best benefits of journaling when you’re telling your personal story, not just writing about your feelings on their own. It’s a great example of how telling your own personal story can make a huge difference in your well being.
Eating too much and feeling bloated can leave you angry. Angry at yourself for making the decision to eat that second piece of cake because it was so damned delicious (!) However, you also have the choice to relieve your bloatedness by engaging in some kind of non-rigorous movement. The same goes for starting a journal, whether in a paper notebook or digitally. You’re able to unload your sensory overload.
Get focused. Get energized. And keep your passion alive. And whilst doing all this, find new inspiration for your business. New ideas for your next blog or team meeting or even a new campaign. Your journal is your Judgement-Free Zone. You can write whatever you like, and no-one is going to judge you for it. In fact, you’re guaranteed of a few epiphanies.
“You’re not you, when you’re bloated!”