Sensory Overload

Hi guys, 

I’m just wondering if anyone has any advice on what to do when you realise you are in sensory overload (especially with friends or in public). Also, does anyone have any advice on how to prevent becoming sensorily overloaded or how to recognise the triggers? Thank you so much in advance.


Someone who really struggles with sensory overload 

  • Go to the loo. Decide if you want to leave, if you do, go back and tell your friends you don't feel good and go home.

    Supermarkets and nightclubs are hellish.

    Dip your face in cold water if it helps.

    Find a quiet place.

    Breathe 4 seconds breathe in, hold, breathe out for 6 seconds repeat.

    Predict noise, lighting, touch, smell etc before going. These are the senses which get overloaded. Lots of people talking at once can do it.

    I get sight disturbances when overloaded.

    It's ok to go to bed early on Saturday even on fridays!

  • Lots of people talking at once can do it.

    Oh boy is that the truth.


  • On the very rare occasions I venture into town, earphones are a must. I have in ear ones, that effectively shut out the world, so a lot of the sensory input is limited to music that I choose to listen to. This helps me.

  • I find that generally I'm too masked to recognize triggers when I'm out. My counselor says I not only mask but dissociate as well in public. So the way I've been figuring out what's triggering my is by writing it all down when I'm more calm at home after an event. 


    6am - woke in pain didn't think to take pain relief. Had a drink couldn't face food

    7am -sat in bed. Weather noise outside, windows rattling, rain, dog licking 

    9am - walked dog. Cold. Shoulders tense. Wind noise in ears, hat too hot, hip pain, waiting for text response to know whether to stop at friends for cuppa. Cold. Avoidant of other dog walkers

    Then I can see I was overwhelmed from the moment I woke and kept getting more overwhelmed by my senses. 

    The next step is to plan for the next time. So pain relief by bed,  different hat, another jumper, different coat/different route that avoids the worst of the wind when going out.

    Putting that into practice when I go for a walk later, however, will be the challenge because I don't stop and think, I just pick up the dog lead and go!

  • I relate to this. I used to know i felt off or anxious but i couldn’t work out why, I now know if I don’t know why i feel that way, it’s probably because i am over stimulated.

    I find that wearing sunglasses and headphone helps me. Especially if I am going out with others I always make sure I have my sunglasses with me. As others have mentioned going to the toilet and just regrouping and having a second alone quietly helps me too.  Lastly I find practicing breathing and grounding techniques helpful. That way if I am ever in a situation where I then feel over stimulated, I can try zone in on myself, how i’m breathing. 

    I hope you find some strategies that help you feel more comfortable 

  • Thank you so much; this is really helpful!

  • This is really enlightening and will help me a lot; thank you!

  • Thank you for your response!

  • Thank you for your response; this is really helpful Slight smile

  • Omg yes I love my buds