Story #2 │ Burned by Curiosity

Walking the tightrope between boredom and overstimulation

‘Lively butterflies are buzzing through my entire body, pulling me forward from one challenge to the other. My energy bursts like an active volcano ready for eruption. Motivated by an unstoppable eagerness to enrich the person that I am today. Taking the risk of overwhelming myself. Yes, it happens, sporadically. And when it happens, I get burned by that same volcano. Resulting in a body that yearns for space, stillness and alone time. Inviting me to slow down in order to breathe again.’

This is how I continuously oscillate between boredom, excitement, and overstimulation. It is a tango. Gifted people often have this innate craving for novel, complex and intense experiences that provoke a variety of different sensations and feelings. Driven by an indomitable, childlike curiosity and an undeniable sense of urgency (so many options, so little time!) they soak up every experience life has to offer. Their susceptibility to boredom keeps them constantly on the move. It is like driving on a highway (called life) that is brimming with exits to yet undiscovered territories. Whenever they decide to take an exit, they go 110%. They are in, ALL in. This journey represents a lifelong quest for meaning and truth. Sounds exciting? It is!

Can you already sense the intensity in which gifted people live life? It is an absolute gift to engage in life that vividly and wholeheartedly. However, this intensity (combined with a heightened sensitivity) can quickly shift into overstimulation, physical and emotional exhaustion or even burnout. Gifted men and women process sensory stimuli more deeply and thoroughly. For example, they hear what’s left unsaid, they discern the subtle shifts in people’s voices and facial expressions, they get deeply moved by the beauty of a melody, and they soak up other’s feelings like a sponge. That is a tremendous amount of information to process on a daily basis.

How to maintain balance in daily life?

  1. Embrace and accept your unique blend of contrary traits
  2. Plan enough personal downtime to let go of stress, to digest present thoughts and emotions, to relax and recharge
  3. Be curious about what stimulates you (igniting your inner fire) and what leads to boredom (draining your energy)
  4. Pay attention to subtle cues of overstimulation (i.e. feelings of overwhelm, restlessness or agitation, losing mental focus, lacking energy, being extra sensitive to sensory stimuli like noise, rapid and shallow breathing, feeling physically tensed, or other signs)

How to deal with overstimulation?

  • Music sooths. Here you find a music album that can help with calming down your nervous system. Put on your headphones, find a cozy solitary spot in your home or in nature, make yourself a cup of tea, and meander around on soothing melodies.
  • Reconnect with your body. Place a (yoga)mat or rug on the floor, start the same playlist (or in silence), and lie down on your back. Feel your spine sinking down and bring your attention to your inhalation and exhalation. Follow your breath for a couple of minutes. Be patient, be gentle. Observe what physical sensations arise. Try to notice what body part requires a bit more attention. How does this body part want to be moved? Allow any movement to arise. There is no such thing as “a wrong movement”. Continue and move up to another body part.
  • Unite with nature. Go out for a walk and soak up the natural beauty. Find the right cadence that suits your inner rhythm. Feel the sun kissing your cheeks, notice the fresh wind blowing your hair, soak up the smell of grass and trees, and let all thoughts and emotions slip away through your feet.
  • Other practices that involve the body: freely dancing, keeping a dairy, practicing meditation or yoga, colouring mandala patterns, receiving seiki, baking your favourite cookies, gardening, molding clay, getting a massage, painting, staring at the sea and letting your imagination freely flow,… There are endless ways to overcome feelings of overwhelm. Each person is unique. So find out what works best for you.

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