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If you are energy sensitive, there may be times when you are out in public or with friends that you feel like escaping. This is what happens when you hit the overload threshold.
You’re at a party with friends when suddenly it hits you…an overwhelming feeling of discomfort. You feel like you need to get away from the people and noise. And you want to get back to the comfort, and quiet space of your home. If you have to stay longer, then the discomfort grows. You become more restless and may even become a little grumpy.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t like the people you are with. You’ve just hit what I call the “overload threshold”. Those who are energy sensitive can tolerate a certain level of being with other people and being exposed to external stimulation before they hit this threshold. It’s at this point that they need to retreat to a quiet and safe space. There they can deal with the energy they’ve absorbed from other people and external stimulation.
This is similar to the response that non-energy-sensitive introverts experience as well. But it happens for different reasons. For introverts, it’s about recharging. With energy sensitives, it is about having an overload of energy that needs to be released.
The overload threshold occurs for both introverted and extroverted energy-sensitive people. It is why many extroverted empaths actually think of themselves as being ambiverts (both introverted and extroverted).
Stress and the overload threshold
The overload threshold is a sign that your body is overwhelmed by external stimulation. In response, it creates a stress response that won’t stop until the external stimulation is removed. Energy-sensitive people need to be more mindful about practicing stress management daily. This will help increase the amount of time that it takes to hit the threshold.
So what can you do when the overload threshold hits?
Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do once you’ve hit the threshold, except get to a place away from people and other external stimulation.
But there are things that you can do daily that can help you to extend the amount of time it takes to get to the overload threshold! Having a daily self-care routine to reduce the energy you’ve absorbed is crucial! The more pent-up energy you are holding onto, the shorter amount of time you will have to be around people until you hit the threshold. But by managing energy regularly, you can extend that time.
Taking time to meditate, be in nature, laugh, exercise, create art, breathe deeply or do energy healing work such as EFT, Sedona Method or Reiki can all help. These tools can lower stress levels that are caused by excessive external stimulation.
The other piece of the puzzle is knowing yourself and understanding the typical length of your socializing time before hitting the threshold. For this, you will need to pay attention to patterns. The next several times you go to social events, take note of how long it takes before that feeling of discomfort sets in. When you understand that, you can begin to plan to make a graceful exit more easily.
For example, for me, the threshold typically hits after about 4 hours. Any longer than that, and I get very antsy and grouchy! So I know that if I’m going to an event that may last longer than that, I may need to drive separately from others if I find that I need to leave before others are ready. A getaway plan is a must!
While you can’t overcome the overload threshold, it is easy to manage it better with some self-care, understanding who you are and what you need, and with an escape plan!