Do you know someone who is always on the go, constantly moving and talking? Maybe they seem like they can’t stop for a second. They may be experiencing sensory overload. Sensory overload occurs when someone’s senses are overloaded with information. This can be very overwhelming and frustrating for the person experiencing it. In this blog post, we will discuss ways that you can help someone who is dealing with sensory overload.
- 1 What Is Sensory Overload?
- 2 How to Help Someone With Sensory Overload?
- 3 Can Physical Therapy Help With Sensory Overload?
- 4 Why You Should Help Someone With Sensory Overload?
- 5 Conclusion
What Is Sensory Overload?
Sensory overload occurs when one or more of the body’s senses are overloaded. This can happen when someone is exposed to too much stimulus, such as loud noise, bright lights, or strong smells. It is a condition where the body’s nervous system is overwhelmed and can no longer process all of the information coming in. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, dizziness, and even pain.
Moreover, there are different types of sensory overload. The most common are visual, auditory, and olfactory (smell-related). However, any combination of the senses can be overloaded. According to studies, around 4% of the population experiences some form of sensory processing disorder.
Therefore, if you or someone you know is struggling with sensory overload, it is important to seek help. There are many ways to treat and manage the condition. With the right support, people can learn to cope with their symptoms and live a normal life.
How to Help Someone With Sensory Overload?
There are a few things that you can do to help someone who is experiencing sensory overload:
Identify the trigger
The first step is to identify what is causing the person’s sensory overload. Is it a certain noise, smell, or light? Once you know what is triggering the person’s reaction, you can work on avoiding or removing that trigger. It works best if you can identify the trigger before the person experiences sensory overload. For example, if you know that a certain sound is triggering your friend’s reaction, you can ask them to wear headphones or move to a different location.
Provide a safe space
If possible, create a safe space for the person to retreat to when they are feeling overwhelmed. This space should be quiet, dark, and free from any stimulating stimuli. It should also be large enough for the person to move around and lie down if necessary. A safe space can help the person feel more in control and prevent them from feeling further overwhelmed.
Be there for the person both emotionally and physically. Let them know that you are there for them and offer to help in any way you can. This might include helping to remove any stimulating stimuli, providing a shoulder to cry on, or simply being a listening ear. It is believed that sensory overload can be caused by, or made worse by, stress, so offering support and reassurance can be vital. When you offer support, be aware that the person may not want to talk about what is going on for them, and respect their wishes if they don’t want to open up.
If the person you are supporting is feeling overwhelmed, encourage them to take regular breaks. This might involve:
- stepping outside for some fresh air
- going for a short walk
- taking a few minutes to relax in a quiet space.
These things are believed to help calm the nervous system. For instance, if you are feeling overwhelmed by noise, stepping outside for a few minutes can help break the “sound wave” and provide some relief.
Use calming techniques
There are a number of calming techniques that can be helpful for people with sensory overload. These include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization. Help the person find a technique that works for them and practice it together. Relaxation techniques are most effective when they’re used regularly, so encourage the person to use them every day.
Encourage them to express feelings
When you want to help someone with sensory overload, it’s important to encourage them to express their feelings. This can be done verbally or through writing, art, or music. It’s important to provide a safe and supportive space for the person to share their thoughts and emotions. Because expressing can be difficult for people with sensory overload, it’s important to be patient and understanding.
Encourage a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can go a long way in managing sensory overload. Encourage the person to eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep. These things will help to reduce stress and make it easier to cope with overwhelming sensations. A healthy lifestyle is also important for overall physical and mental health. Because sensory overload can be a symptom of other conditions, it’s important to encourage the person to see a doctor if they are experiencing any other health concerns.
This is probably the most important thing you can do to help someone with sensory overload. Help them understand what their limits are and work within those limits. Don’t push them to do more than they’re comfortable with, and be understanding if they need to take a break or leave an event early. Also, let them know ahead of time if there are any potential triggers in the environment so they can prepare themselves.
So, these are some ways you can help someone with sensory overload. Just be understanding and patient, and remember that everyone’s experiences are different. You can also encourage them to seek professional help if they feel like they need it.
Can Physical Therapy Help With Sensory Overload?
Many people with sensory overload find that physical therapy can be helpful in managing their symptoms. Physical therapy can help to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination, which can all help to reduce the effects of sensory overload.
In addition, physical therapy can help to teach people how to better manage their symptoms and cope with the challenges of living with sensory overload. For example, physical therapists can teach people relaxation techniques, how to better organize their environment, and how to pace themselves throughout the day.
Also, there are several techniques in physical therapy that can help to reduce the effects of sensory overload. These techniques include:
- Massage: Massage can help to relax the body and reduce stress.
- Exercise: Exercise can help to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination.
- Joint mobilization: Joint mobilization can help to improve the range of motion and reduce pain.
- Therapeutic ultrasound: Therapeutic ultrasound can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Electrical stimulation: Electrical stimulation can help to reduce pain and improve muscle function.
If you are interested in exploring physical therapy as a treatment option for your sensory overload, be sure to speak with your doctor or a qualified physical therapist. It is believed that physical therapy can help to improve the quality of life for people with sensory overload.
Why You Should Help Someone With Sensory Overload?
Sometimes people with sensory overload just need someone to be there for them. By being understanding and patient, you can help make their day a little bit easier. There are several reasons why should you help someone with sensory overload:
- May Be In pain: People with sensory overload often experience overwhelming sensations that can cause them physical pain. If you see someone in public who appears to be in distress, they may be experiencing pain caused by sensory overload.
- Having A Panic Attack: Sensory overload can also cause panic attacks. If you see someone who appears to be having a panic attack, they may be experiencing sensory overload.
- May Be Disoriented: People with sensory overload often have difficulty processing all of the stimuli around them. This can lead to disorientation and confusion.
- May Be Having A Meltdown: People with sensory overload can sometimes have meltdowns. This is when they become so overwhelmed that they can no longer cope. If you see someone having a meltdown, they may be experiencing sensory overload.
- Need Your Help: People with sensory overload often need help to get through their day. By being understanding and patient, you can help make their day a little bit easier.
These are just a few of the reasons why you should help someone with sensory overload. If you see someone who appears to be in distress, don’t hesitate to offer your assistance. It could make all the difference in their day. Because, sometimes, all they need is someone to be there for them.
In a nutshell, if you want to help someone with sensory overload, the best thing you can do is try to understand what they’re going through and be as supportive as possible. Try to provide a calm and safe environment, avoid overwhelming them with too much stimulation, and be patient while they learn how to cope with their condition.
Remember that everyone is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so you have to be flexible and understanding. With a little bit of patience and compassion, you can help someone with sensory overload lead a happy and fulfilling life.
Physical Therapy help patients recover from pain. If you’re experiencing Back pain, Shoulder pain, Knee pain, Neck pain, Elbow pain, Hip pain, or Arthritis pain, a physical therapist at MantraCare can help: Book a physiotherapy session.