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12 Quotes for When You’re Feeling Overstimulated

Bright lights. Strong perfumes. Intense music or loud conversations. Any of these, or any combination of them, can make us feel overstimulated.

But what does overstimulation look like? We might become irritable or restless, lose our focus, or sleep less. Though overstimulation is a symptom of several different conditions, any of us can experience it in passing in everyday life. In fact, one 2022 study of Americans showed a stunning 82% of respondents had experienced at least one kind of sensory overload in their lives.

As William Wordsworth wrote in an 1807 poem, sometimes it just feels as though “the world is too much with us.” And when we find ourselves overloaded, we might feel lost or ready to lash out. But there are ways to counter the excessive stimulation.

For someone sensitive to sounds, for example, using noise-canceling headphones or finding a quieter space may help; if texture is a problem, trying clothes in different fabrics could do the trick. Getting proper rest and hydration and making ourselves comfortable with asking for adjustments when we can are also crucial to avoid that point of overflow.

But most of all, it’s important to remember that feeling overstimulated isn’t a shortcoming or a weakness. Feeling a lot is a very normal reaction to our loud, bright, intense world. So, if you’re feeling overstimulated or if you’ve ever experienced that overwhelming sensation, we hope these quotes will help you feel less alone.

Life [is] messy and complicated when you [are] in the middle of it, while [it’s] rushing toward you from all angles, close-up and in full color.
Terry Miles

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If I'm overwhelmed, I slow down. It's more effective.
Kirsten Gillibrand

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[Life] can be overwhelming and magnificent — therein is all its tragedy. Without beauty, love and danger, it would be almost easy to live.
Albert Camus

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Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.
Anne Lamott

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And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses?
Edgar Allan Poe

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Find your balance between the world’s noise and your voice — between the clatter and clamor of everyday life and the peace and quiet of your own place (wherever that may be).
Emily Graybill

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The world is a loud talker but a very poor thinker … It does not understand that solitude is the home of great thoughts and aspirations.
Abram Joseph Ryan

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When feelings go on overload, / I pause and breathe / And all is … slowed.
Jolene Gutiérrez

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I can’t stand chaos. I hate loud environments. Art makes me cry. Bright lights hurt my eyes. No, I am not a frigid, unsociable, boring buzzkill … I’m a textbook example of a highly sensitive person.
Anne Marie Crosthwaite

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I do not understand people who like to make noise; consequently I fear them … It is a vicious emotional cycle.
Patricia Highsmith

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It's all too much for me to see / … / The more I learn, the less I know / But what I do is all too much.
George Harrison

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If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here. If you feel too much, don’t go. If this world is too painful, stop and rest. It’s OK to stop and rest. If you need a break, it’s OK to say you need a break.
Jamie Tworkowski

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Featured image credit: Sophie Bassouls/ Sygma via Getty Images

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About the Author
Paola Bennet
Paola Bennet is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She writes a fortnightly newsletter that treasures the mundane, called Small Histories. Find her on Instagram @paolafbennet.
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